A recent /r/Teachers reddit post from user coraz0n posed the question “What are some silly little things that work for you?“. From the discussion came a torrent of those neat little tips that you only pick up in passing conversation.
This is the beauty of casual discussion networks and communities like reddit. These are not the kind of tips you’re going to get in a professional development course or conference, but they are the small little pearls of wisdom that can make your class a lot more efficient, friendly and fun to teach in. Here are just ten of the best silly little things to help in your classroom, and be sure to check out the full reddit thread to find out many more.
Silly Little Things to Help in Your Classroom
1. Stay Classy
Girls want to be classy. Got a girl who has begun to curse? Ask her if she sounds classy when she has a mouth like that. This was all it took to fix one of my biggest potty mouths. – coraz0n
2. Keep it Light
Enforce the rules, but takes things lightly. Instead of yelling at a kid to take his seat, its much more effective to make a joke about them having ants in their pants. It also reinforces your position of power, since you can decide at your whim the tone you will set, and if they escalate, they lose the joking reminder for a serious one. – coraz0n
3. Eggcellent Time Management
I use an egg timer. I tell my students to work on something for x number of minutes and set the timer. When it goes off, we move on, and I’m not a meanie who didn’t give them enough time, but I also don’t get sucked into wasting class time because they didn’t feel like working. – FlanneryOClowder
4. The Quick Win
Scratch-and-sniff stickers. – buddhafig
5. Encourage Thought
This sounds strange, but I heard it in a workshop and it works: If a kid answers your question with a reflexive “I don’t know,” ask, “If you did know, what would the answer be?” Illogical as it is, they often come up with an answer. – buddhafig
6. Stay One Step Ahead
My wife uses Popsicle sticks to choose random students but added a clever trick. She color coded the sticks without the students knowing. Now if she is being observed, or if they are discussing a topic that might bring some strange responses she can choose the appropriate color for that situation. I thought this was ingenious. – jut754
7. Keep it Real
I love when they finally see you as a “real person”. You know about coding and tumblr and Instagram and Minecraft and Skyrim and cars?? It’s like you’re a real live person!! I thought you only knew about Math and Geology stuff.. – Pi_Maker
8. Set the Example
This is more broad but it helps me. Understand that when it comes to a misbehaving student, you can’t control their behavior. You can only control how you act to it. I told this to a newly graduated long term sub and it seems to help her with her classroom management. – jut754
9. Get Physical
One morning about 2 weeks into my student teaching my first period class didn’t want to participate in the lesson. I told everyone to stand up and do 10 jumping jacks. Many kids rolled there eyes, but everyone did them. Once I re-asked the question about 90% of the hands in the class went up, and had really good participation for the rest of the lesson. – np15
10. They’re Never Too Old for Stickers
I teach 11th & 12th grade. I rarely grade warm-ups but the students still do them because I occasionally give stickers for it. Even the toughest students get upset if they don’t get a sticker. – Yukonkimmy
What silly little things do you use to help in your classroom? Make sure to let us know in the comments below.
Feature image courtesy of Flickr, somegeekintn.