Classroom Management/ 8 Critical Contexts

 Pre-Instruction (before the bell rings)


1.     Be available to students

2.     Initiate contact with students

3.     Use learner names

4.     Individualize and personalize topics of conversation


Rationale:  If you are accessible to students prior to formal time for instruction, you communicate “interest” in students.  Teacher-made access to individual and small groups of students before class invites informal conversation.  Properly managed, pre-instruction is an interpersonal place to gain influence.  I am always in my classrooms before students come in.   When they come in, I can greet them, answer individual questions and establish personal influence one student at a time.


Opening the Session (right after the bell rings and with no delay)


1.  Efficiently manage attendance.

2.  Stand and visually scan the class at the bell.

3.  Call the class to order with a businesslike tone, visual scan and verbal routine. “That was the bell. Let’s get started. Look up here. It’s time to listen.”  Don’t go any further until you have absolute quiet.

4.  Explain session academic objectives.

5.  Explain session behavioral expectations.

6.  Check for materials by asking, “Who does not have what they need?”

7.  Check for understanding “Does anyone have any questions before we start?”

8.  Answer any student questions and then start the lesson.


Rationale:  This structured opening has many management and instructional features.  The most important feature is that it can become a daily verbal and nonverbal routine to establish student attention, cooperation and lesson engagement.  They will learn to listen because the opening is loaded with information important to their success.


Instructional Functions  (after the opening)


1.     Review the previous day’s objectives.

2.     Begin whatever activity you have planned for the lesson. i.e. Presentation/Differentiated/Group/Problem Solving/Lab activity

3.     Create a guided practice activity inside the lesson.

4.     Provide corrections and feedback during the lesson.  Experts use individual questions to help move the group along. 

5.     Assign independent work.

6.     Do weekly and extended reviews.


Rationale:  This just a good lesson design.  This structure will support any kind of instructional activity (#2).  This sequence of instructional activities will produce the most learning across the most grade levels, and across the most content areas.  A novice teacher often starts the session at #2.  No opening.  No review.  They just START.  Opening introduces the whole session.  Experts teach a “busy noise” level to the class early in the year.


Transitions (the student action between lesson activities)


1.  Provide clear verbal and nonverbal cues that a transition is going to happen. “You need to be finishing up now. Its time for social studies.”

2.  Maintain visual scanning as first activity closes. 

3.  Establish a “listening quiet” student noise level and explain expectations for next activity.

4.  Signal beginning of the transition. Expect “transition noise” but monitor     it.  Any student past 1st grade knows what noise level is appropriate.

5.  Maintain visual scanning and monitor student transition noise level.

6.  Open the next activity.