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4 Tips for Middle School Teachers

Learn four class management tips for middle school teachers from education consultant Grace Dearborn in this Howcast video.


Classroom management tips for middle school. Number one, get a seating chart. Have a seating chart. Do not let middle school students sit wherever they want to sit. They'll sit next to their friends and they'll drive you crazy. Have a seating chart. I like at the beginning of the year, actually, to seat my students before I know them and who shouldn't sit next to whom. I like to have my seating chart be alphabetical by their first names. That way, as I'm trying to learn their names, it helps me because if I'm looking over here in aisle number one, I know that name starts with an A or a B. Adam? Adrian? Right? But it helps me remember kind of what their names are. As the year progresses then, obviously you can move them to different parts of the room but always, I think have a seating chart.

Also, with middle school students you want to have them moving as much as possible. Their little bodies are going crazy, and the more that we can help them kind of move some of that out by having movement incorporated into our lessons, the less they're going to be fidgeting at their tables, distracting each other during silent seat work and other activities like that. Have them stand up every ten minutes. Do a jumping jack or turn around, do the hokey pokey, or whatever it is. Or have them stand up and pair. Anytime you want them talking with other people that can be done from standing instead of from sitting. So instead of turn to a partner and share for 33 seconds about what I was talking about, stand up, high five the person next to you, share something about what we were talking about, sit back down. Once they have the freedom to move their adolescent bodies around a little bit, they will be much more calmer when they are actually needed to sit in their seats and do what we are asking them to do.

The last thing I would say is try to incorporate humor into your instruction. Laughter is great for learning. When we laugh our circulation increases, which is great for the brain because is pushes oxygen and glucose into the brain, but also it releases endorphins and endorphins are a mood enhancer. Laughter is always great for learning. If you're not a very funny teacher then just bring in some jokes. Pull them off of the internet, and try to tell a couple of them to your class. You'll probably fail but they'll think it's hysterical that you even tried and that will soften them for you which is great for rapport and relationship in the classroom as well.

If you're not comfortable doing that, have joke time in your class. Kids if we get through what we need to get through in the next 10 minutes, then before we transition to the next activity, we're going to have one minutes of joke time where you can tell the class jokes. Now, don't tell any inappropriate joke because if you do, then you'll never get to participate in joke time again, but if you have an appropriate joke... then some students, three or four students can share a joke, everybody has a laugh and you move on. It's great for learning. It's great for teaching. It's great for middle school students.

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