The procedures have been taught, the students know your expectations, but you still find yourself repeating directions over and over again. Does this sound familiar? Here is how I discovered I could improve my classroom management with a little mystery.
Everyone (well almost everyone) loves games and little competition. With that in mind, I started using Mystery Students to get students meeting my expectations. At the beginning of the school year I used this A LOT and by a lot, I mean any chance I got.
Here are simple steps to letting Mystery Students make Classroom Management Magic.
1. Before you begin be sure your students know your policies, procedures, and expectations.
Make use of the first two weeks of school to really teach, reteach, and review these. If you want to know more about this read The Ultimate Guide for Back to School, The Beginners Guide to Starting the School Year, and Do They Know Your Expectations.
2. State the instructions or expectation (walk in a line, go to an assembly, turn in assignments, transition from one subject to another). The list of instructions are endless. Maybe you have one mystery student to use for the entire day.
3. Have a way to grab student names (popsicle sticks in a cup are my favorite). Draw out one name, but do not announce the name or show the students the name. Just take a quick peek.
4. Then ask the students do what you have instructed. (Walk to lunch, get ready for math, etc.)
5. Monitor the students as they meet you expectation.
Now that the task is completed several things can happen with Mystery Students.
a. The student meets the expectation. If the student met the the expectation, tell who the mystery student is and give a small prize (sticker, school supply). Now here is where it really pays off. Also give them a tally for a class prize. Have the class work as a team to collect tallies for a whole class reward.
b. The student doesn’t meet the expectation. NEVER tell the whole class who the mystery student is if they don’t meet the expectation. Let’s say you were using the Mystery Student for walking to Music and the student was turning around, running her finger over bulletin boards, and then raced into Music which is not the expectation of the Music teacher. Say, “We can’t get a tally this time. The Mystery Student didn’t meet the expectations of myself or the Music teacher. And we need to remember to always keep our hands by our sides so we don’t ruin the work of others.” If you want to talk individually and privately with the student at a later time, then do so, but not in front of the class.
c. Your class is just having an awful day. It is a full moon or the wind won’t stop blowing. Your normally calm students are bouncing off the walls, no one seems to be at their best and the class just needs a turn around. Here is where your private peek can help. Only you know who the Mystery Student is. So turn the day around and find the one person who did something close to your expectations, make a big deal about it, give the class a tally and let the joy of this move your day in a better direction.
I hope this idea will add some fun and help students meet your expectations. Want to learn more?
This book and planner has over 400 pages of tips, planning pages, and checklists for your best school year.
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