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Rick Smith’s Classroom Management. Bringing Out the Best in Students and Teachers By Sheila Berkley and Angie Whitlow with credit to Dean Perkins. Invisible Classroom Management. Prevention. Intervention. Foundation. Assume the Best. Holding Our Ground. Rules and Consequences.

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rick smith s classroom management

Rick Smith’s Classroom Management

Bringing Out the Best in Students and Teachers

By Sheila Berkley and Angie Whitlow

with credit to Dean Perkins

invisible classroom management
Invisible Classroom Management




Assume the Best


Our Ground

Rules and




Inner Authority


the Cycle



Ask for Help


Got Stress?

Getting Ready

Lesson Design

polish procedures throughout
Polish Procedures Throughout
  • Procedures are the Railroad Tracks - Content is the Train
    • Content-Free to start (ideally)
    • Alternate between procedures and content
      • Goal of two procedures per class or lesson
teach procedures
Teach Procedures
  • Taught the same way content is taught
  • Address students’ learning styles
    • Visual
    • Auditory
    • Kinesthetic
  • Break into parts, teach the parts and connect them
giving directions
Giving Directions
  • “When I say go”
  • “You will…”
  • Check for understanding
  • “Ready and, Go”
hand raising
Hand Raising
  • Procedures Precede Content
  • Hand-raising consistency will improve all classroom consistency
strategies for participation
Strategies for Participation
  • 8 Raised Hands
  • Class Consultant
  • I don’t know…yet
  • What I do know is…”
what procedures do we need
What Procedures Do We Need?
  • Beginning class
    • Entering the room
    • Using cubbies
    • Tardies
    • Absences
    • Absent students making up the work
    • Turning in homework
what procedures do we need9
What Procedures Do We Need?
  • During class
    • Getting student attention
    • Passing out papers
    • Headings on papers
    • Getting student attention
    • Using the bathroom
    • Getting a drink
    • Sharpening pencils
    • Etc.
what procedures do we need10
What Procedures Do We Need?
  • Ending class
    • Assigning homework
    • Dismissing class
    • Students putting materials away
    • Students cleaning up the room
    • Lining up for recess, lunch, assemblies
    • Using cubbies
    • Putting notebooks in backpacks and backpacks on backs
what procedures to do first
What Procedures To Do First?

Take extra time in the first weeks to lay down the railroad tracks of procedures. It’s worth it!

  • Special assemblies or schedules on the 1st day
  • When students first enter the classroom. How will you greet the students? How will they know where to sit?
  • Quiet signal
  • Hand-raising
  • Starting the class or lesson
  • Distributing and collecting materials
  • Bathroom policy
  • Dismissal
nonverbal procedures
Nonverbal Procedures
  • Rubrics
  • Visuals (lining up, computer carts, readiness to learn, desktops, headings on papers, etc…)
  • Sound Signals
    • Chimes
  • Play music for transitions
  • Hand Signals
    • Bathroom, drinking fountain, yes, no
  • Be ready with a list of rules and consequences or a plan for getting students involved in designing the rules and consequences
  • Prepare a quiz on the rules
  • Talk to the students about the importance of rules. Model appropriate behavior in specific situations.
  • Assume the best in the students
  • Set procedures
  • Consistency
    • When students test us, they want us to pass the test.
  • Create positive connections
    • 2 x 10 Strategy
      • 2 minutes a day - 10 days in a row
  • What do I need to do now in order to learn better behavior?
  • Anger is a feeling. Reactivity is a choice.
  • Respond rather than react.
  • Lower the tone, soften the voice.

Principles are like guidelines, but more general and value-laden and are not specific or behavioral.

  • Treat each other fairly
  • Respect and responsibility
  • The students have the right to learn and the teacher has the right to teach

Rules are what we can and can’t live with in our classroom.

  • Specific, clearly stated and worded behaviorally.
  • Limit to 5 or 6
    • Follow directions
    • Don’t interrupt others’ right to learn or my right to teach
    • Follow all school rules.
    • Listen attentively while other students contribute to a class discussion
    • Keep hands, feet, and other objects to yourself
    • Speak only at appropriate times
more rules that are appropriate
More Rules That Are Appropriate. . .
  • Raise your hand and wait for permission to speak
  • No put-downs
  • Listen quietly when someone else is talking
  • Use a low-level voice in the classroom
  • Touch other students’ belongings only with their permission
  • Place all trash in the basket
  • There is no “arguing with the ref” during class. If you disagree with the teacher’s decision, wait until after class to express your opinion.
arguing with the ref
“Arguing With the Ref”
  • Student arguing is in itself a disruption, deserving a second consequence
  • Conversations are on the teacher’s timetable
the 5 step lesson plan
The 5-step lesson plan


  • Refer to previous lessons/units
  • Point to what’s coming
  • Whet the students’ appetites
  • Assess students’ abilities/past performance
the 5 step lesson plan21
The 5-step lesson plan

Direct instruction

  • Direct the learning
  • Facilitate, without necessarily lecturing
  • Assess students
the 5 step lesson plan22
The 5-step lesson plan

Guided practice

  • Provide opportunities for students to work with new material/ideas
  • Guide students through the process
  • Assess students
the 5 step lesson plan23
The 5-step lesson plan

Independent practice

  • Encourage student autonomy
  • Recognize the benefits to long-term memory development
  • Choose appropriate homework, a prime example of independent practice
  • Assess students
the 5 step lesson plan24
The 5-step lesson plan


  • Review what has happened
  • Emphasize key points
  • Point to what will happen next
  • Assess students
consequences reminders and warnings
Consequences—Reminders and Warnings

Nonverbal reminders

  • Pause
  • Look at the student
  • “The Look”
  • Turn and face the student with arms at side
  • Place hand on student’s desk
  • Point to the work the student is supposed to be doing
  • Give a nearby student a positive behavior coupon
consequences reminders and warnings26
Consequences—Reminders and Warnings

Verbal reminders

  • Say the student’s name, either privately or in front of the class
  • State the class rule aloud to the class
  • Comment on those who are behaving appropriately
consequences reminders and warnings27
Consequences—Reminders and Warnings

Nonverbal warnings

  • Look at timer, signal that you are about to add time to a class consequence or remove time from a class reward
  • Remove a post-it note or similar sticker from the student’s desk—start with 3, and removal of the third one means a specific consequence
  • Pick up a clipboard where individual student behavior is kept
  • Use a prearranged hand signal to warn the student
consequences reminders and warnings28
Consequences—Reminders and Warnings

Verbal warnings

  • Tell the student—either privately or publicly—that, if the behavior continues, a particular consequence will occur
  • Say to the student “that’s one.” At “three,” the student knows that a particular consequence will occur
  • Let the class know that its group reward is in jeopardy
actual consequences inside the classroom
Actual Consequences Inside the Classroom

One step up from warnings, in that specific and concrete student behaviors result. They can be delivered aloud, in a whisper, or non-verbally as long as the procedure has been taught in advance.

  • Change seats temporarily
  • Change seats permanently
  • Lower class participation points
  • Time out
  • Private meeting either after class, at lunch, or after school
more actual consequences inside the classroom
More Actual Consequences Inside the Classroom
  • After-school or lunch detention
  • Remove a potential group reward such as extra time for a class game or preferred activity
  • Remove an individual privilege, such as computer time
  • Give a nearby student a positive behavior coupon
  • Verbally appreciate other well-behaved students
  • Verbally appreciate the student when caught being good
  • Let the student know that parents will be called
  • Place a referral slip on the student’s desk with the understanding that if appropriate behavior occurs it can be ripped up
  • Flip a color card—each student starts with green and can go yellow or red, each color referring to rewards or consequences.
  • Have student check a box on behavior card and place it in slot on wall. Behavior card has check boxes that delineate the particular infraction—blank=no infraction; white=one; pink=second
sheila s hair looks fabulous today
Sheila’s hair looks fabulous today.
  • Strongly Agree
  • Agree
  • Disagree
  • Strongly Disagree