In a perfect world, kids would automatically listen to us and behave without needing instructions or discipline. Unfortunately, this is no perfect world and even the most well behaved kids still need guidance. Here are 10 classroom management tips we give our staffers each summer to help them make the most out of the time with campers. Check these tips out and share them with your teachers!
• Lay out some ground rules for your group at the very beginning. Make sure kids know the rules/expectations. Keep them short and simple, but creative.
Example—Keep it REAL:
Respect, Encourage, Attitude, Listen
• Some kids don’t realize they have habits that are distracting to other children. Pull them aside at an appropriate time, and come up with a hand signal as a reminder when inappropriate behavior happens. Eliminate having to call them out in front of the group.
• Don’t just interact with kids who are easy to love. Hang out with the difficult kids and use your time to build a relationship and a trust with them. Build relationships with all your kids.
• Give kids responsibilities and choices. Let them help you and help other kids.
• Give positive attention rather than negative attention, especially to kids who demonstrate difficult behavior. (Spend more time highlighting the positive things they do rather than telling them not to do this or that.)
• Be consistent. If you have expectations, stick to them. Do what you say.
• Find a creative way to regain kids’ attention, through a clap rhythm or a cheer, etc.
• Direct the kids to where you want them to sit during the lesson so they know your expectations. If you want them to sit in a circle, tell them that before they sit down. If you want them to sit close together, use tape to mark out a box on the floor for the whole group to sit in.
• Move difficult kids closer to you or have them be your helper. If it’s a couple of kids who are talking, make a point to stand or walk near them as you teach. Get them involved.
• Interactive lessons are the best way to keep your kids engaged. Let them act out the Bible story or play a game that relates to the lesson. They will be able to release their energy while staying focused on what you’re saying.