Classroom Management – Use Time Wisely

So far in this series on classroom management I have talked about consistency and routine.

Today I want to talk about using time wisely.

Teachers with solid classroom management skills use their time wisely and fill it with a variety of activities.

I recently volunteered at a French immersion nursery school where the teacher did this really well. First, she followed a routine with the kids. Second, she filled every minute with a variety of interesting activities. The class was from 9:30 – 11:30 and the kids were so busy doing interesting activities that I saw very few behavior issues and the teacher had to discipline a child once. They were given play time, circle time, different and interesting group activities, snack time, etc. The teacher kept them hopping! And the kids had a great time!

I was really impressed by this preschool teacher. She used the time she had wisely and filled it with a variety of activities that grabbed the kids attention and kept their interest.

Sunday School teachers have a similar situation. They have a limited time with the kids in the classroom.

First, use the time you have wisely.

Sunday School teachers have 45 min to an hour and a half. When you consider all the other ways kids spend their time during the week, that’s not a lot.

Make good use of every minute you have with the kids in your class. Plan activities for the time you have and then plan a few extras. Sometimes activities will not take as long as you think they will or the service may run over time. Always have something prepared to use with any extra time you have.

A well-managed classroom is one that engages a child as soon as they arrive with interesting activities that focus on the theme of the morning. When kids are engaged in a variety of interesting activities they have less time to misbehave.

Second, fill the time with a variety of interesting activities.

A variety is important. Not all children learn the same way. When you vary the way you teach and present a lesson and the types of activities you provide for the kids in your class, you are including all children no matter how they learn.

By providing a variety of interesting activities you are also showing an understanding of children’s attention spans. Children just can’t sit and listen to a lecture for an hour! They are developmentally not able. But when you offer a variety of activities you are keeping their interest and attention and again giving them less opportunity to misbehave.

Develop your skills in classroom management by using the time you have wisely and filling it with a variety of interesting activities. Look at the routine you have for your class. Does it use the time wisely? If not, you may want to consider changing the routine. Does it offer plenty of opportunities for the kids to be involved? If not, you may want to consider changing it.

These classroom elements are all connected. Find a routine that uses the time you have wisely and then stick to it. Be consistent in the classroom. Consistently fill your time with interesting activities.

This week, take a close look at how time is spent in your classroom. If there are empty spaces, fill them up with interesting activities!

Classroom Management – Introduction

childrens ministry classroom managementOver the next couple of weeks I will be posting a series on classroom management. Not realizing that it was going to turn into a series, last week I posted Classroom Management – Consistency and Routine.

Before I continue with the series, I want to take a step back and talk about why classroom management is so important and why I am doing a series on it and not on discipline.

I get asked about discipline a lot. Volunteers have specific situations in mind and specific questions about discipline in the classroom.

Discipline is an important topic. I have talked about it before and I will talk about it again. But discipline is a skill teachers need to learn to deal with situations that have already arisen. Classroom management is about preventing those situations.

That is why I want to do a series on classroom management. Learning the skills of managing a classroom well prevents a lot of the behavior issues that lead to discipline and gives the teachers confidence and hopefully joy as they serve the Lord.

So in the next few posts I will be talking about what a teacher needs to know and do when it comes to managing their classrooms well.
I have already talked about consistency and routine. These 2 things are hugely important to a well-managed classroom. Continuing the series I am going to write about being prepared, using time wisely, making use of reasonable consequences, and a few other tips and skills.

Teachers, remember, you are in charge in the classroom! Embrace your role. Lead with confidence and love.

Check out these other posts in this series:

Classroom Management – Consistency & Routine

Classroom Management – Use Time Wisely

Classroom Management – Preparation

Classroom Management – Offer Choices

Classroom Management – Expectations

Classroom Management – Reasonable Consequences



Classroom Management – Consistency & Routine

Consistency and routine are two very important parts of classroom management. The teacher needs to be consistent in their response to discipline and inappropriate behavior. Also, the teacher needs to stick to a routine in the classroom, giving the kids a measure of control by knowing what to expect.

First, let’s talk about consistency.

Being consistent in how discipline is dealt with is important. Kids are watching and will notice if you are inconsistent. They will take advantage of it. They will also be watching for how fairly you treat everyone in the class.

When you are consistent as a teacher, you are showing respect to your students. You are showing that each one is important and each one will receive the same consistent responses from you.

Be consistent in your praise of students and in your discipline of students. If you state a consequence for a behavior, use that consequence every time. If you state the classroom rules, expect them to be followed by all students.

Being consistent in your classroom management helps the students feel secure in their boundaries and minimizes inappropriate behavior.

Second is routine.

It is really important to have a routine for your class and to stick to it. Kids will come to recognize the routine and will flourish in it. Having a routine gives the kids a measure of control. They know what to expect; they know what will happen when.

A routine minimizes distracting questions of what will happen next. For older classes, you may want to post the routine. Kids that need assurance can read it and kids disrupting the lesson with questions about when something will happen can be directed to the posted routine.

A routine is important for the schedule of your class, but also for how you deal with classroom management. Have a set routine for how you deal with behavior issues. Talk about it with the kids so they know what to expect. For example, a classroom management routine may look like this:

The teacher notices a child behaving inappropriately. The teacher goes to the child, crouches to their level and tells the child the rule that relates to their behavior. The teacher also tells the child the consequence for breaking that rule. The teacher lets the child respond. If the teacher notices that the child is continuing in that behavior, the teacher approaches the child again and speaks to them at their level. The teacher should ask the child what the rule is and what the consequence is for breaking that rule. Then the teacher should then ensure that consequence is carried out. Once completed, the teacher should welcome the child back to the classroom activities.

Consistency and routine are important parts of classroom management. They are especially important if a classroom has multiple sets of teachers. Teachers are all different so it’s important that they agree on and follow a routine and are consistent in dealing with classroom management.

Your classroom will run smoother when you adopt consistency and routine as part of your classroom management.

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