Classroom managment is arguably the most important element to a smoothly flowing and successful classroom. Can anyone share any classroom management strategies that work well, or even ones that do not?

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I inform that the classroom is actually my sandbox and they are guests in it...so come and play, share etc. but the ultimate rule of the sandbox is mine...we do do common guidelines at the start of the year but they know that it is my call in the end.

W respect each other first...so the word hate and gay are not allowed...in any format...you may say you dislike something ...that we can discuss.

Have them come from the "I" instead of the "you". It allows them to know that it is their experience and not mine...you are not able to speak for me from your experience. So for example..."you know when you are walking down the street and you see somebody you don't like and you cross the road and walk on the other side?'...well actually I do not do that...did you mean to say "When I walk down the street and I see somebody I don't like then I cross the road to walk on the other side."...it then opens a place for a dialogue to happen..."So why might you do that if it is your experience?"

...and finally...we all have a story to tell...but that does not mean that your story is any more important or less than mine..pain happens..suffering is a choice.

I teach High School...so this would not likely work for the intermediate and junior sections or it might:-)
Thank you for sharing that with me, I appreciate the ideas and input, and I could definately use some of those ideas to guide me in the future!
I think that's a good method. It teaches discipline, respect, and collaboration. With this kind of method, the classroom doesn't feel like a jail cell, but it doesn't feel like an open, anarchist black top either. There is a good balance of strictness and free reign, which is sometimes hard to find.
Have a look here for some strategies...

www.WholeBrainTeaching.com
Thank you for sharing that website with me, it is a great resource I will definately use in the future.
Just to add my two cents worth, last year I had a very rowdy class. It helped me that I had smooth transitions between activities. I have everything ready to go when they walk in. I even have the handouts and other supplies already distributed on their desks.
This one group last year was awful. Some how all the immature boys got in the same class. Everyone was a class clown. In order to adapt and not lose my minds, I pretended every day that I was so glad to see them and that stuff they said funny. It seemed to take the proverbial wind out of their sails. For example, one day Johnny--the ring leader was out. The kids all asked me if I was glad he was out, I replied, " I miss his input" I hope he is back tomorrow" The next day, when Johnny was back, I told him publicly that the class was not the same without him and that I was glad he was back. No sure if they bought into the idea or if I convinced myself that they weren't so bad but the year flew by.
I was not sarcastic with them. I was sincere.
I tell my class that we are flying a plane to exciting places - in order to be a pilot I have to have excellent co-pilots or our plane will not make it!
The kids see this as a real way of being a part of the learning process. If somebody is acting out they are told that the plane may not finish its journey if they continue to act that way!
Lots of positive tangible reinforcements are also very handy - sometimes just having them there works.
I like to send notes home - for good things rather than bad. Also having a good home/school relationship works really well, make phone calls early on - and always start with something positive. Also make sure you make just positive calls - parents really appreciate it!
Thanks for your response tracy, I agree that good parent/teacher relations is a great way to stay connected and prevent alot of bad behavior. Great Ideas!
Everything works for a while, and then it doesn't. If I could recommend a single approach to you it would be Ronald Morrish, Real Discipline. As he says in his book:

The easiest way to think about real discipline is to view it as having three parts.

The first part is called training. With these techniques, children are taught to comply with rules and limits and do what they are told to do by people in a legitimate position of authority.

The second part of real discipline is the teaching component in which we teach children the skills and attitudes for being responsible and cooperative. This part is also omitted from today's popular discipline which assumes that children will learn their skills from the consequences provided by adults.

The third part is called managing in which we provide children with more and more choices as they get older so they learn how to handle independence. Today's popular discipline concentrates on this part to the exclusion of the other components. What we have forgotten in our rush to provide children with freedom of choice is that adults are supposed to prepare children to handle choices and make sure they are ready. It is well-trained, well-taught children that handle choices responsibly and with respect for the rights and needs of others.

Remember:

"If you bargain for compliance now,
You'll beg for it later."

From the book, "Secrets of Discipline".

Find the book and read it. It is very manageable and I have found it effective. Remember too your classroom is not isolated. Your classroom management fits within the larger philosophy and approach of the school.
I will certainly look into that book, it sounds like an incredible resource. Thank you!
In the UK there was a pretty good series of books called "Getting the buggers to behave!". Unusual title, but it has some sound research methods used.

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