How can we create a classroom that is calm and inspiring, and also allows learning to be fun and engaging? We start day one with our classroom management. We then train our students and empower them to make good choices. Finally, we use tools that reward and remind them when they do something right or wrong. This is how I start off each school year on the right foot.


I’m a true believer that we must almost overtrain our students from the start. The first time I meet my students, becomes my very first lesson on how to handle the daily routines. We begin with lining up in a straight line, and treating others as you would like to be treated. I make a point of meeting my students, the first few days, as they start their day outside. I create a path and location for them to line up each day. We then talk about what it looks like to stand in a line. We speak about why we do the things we do in line. Lastly, we discuss why some manners and activities won’t work in this environment. (i.e. throwing footballs and playing tag)

As we enter the building, the training continues. Together we practice lining up and walking in the hallway. I show them how we enter the classroom and how we unpack our backpacks in the morning. The list go on and on, but I find the more I train them and explain the reasoning behind certain rules, the better students they become. Of course, I make this repetitive learning fun. I have students act out the right ways to complete certain routines. I also give out points to students that can teach routines to their peers. Is it me, or do student, do anything for a reward point?


I love my classroom rules! I use the Whole Brain Classroom Rules and the hand gestures that go along with each rule to train my students. Each year, I stand in front of my group of students and hold up my pointer finger. I then state, “Rule 1, Follow Directions Quickly!”. As I say the rule, I begin to wave my hands, as they are clasped together, to signify a fish swimming quickly in the water. I do this with enthusiasm and with joy! My students usually smile and get excited. After I teach rule one, I have them repeat it back to me with the same energy. Yes, I do have kids that look at me like I’m crazy, and refuse to join in. Those students continue to  observe and I don’t draw attention to the negative. I smile and make a connections with the all of my students. We repeat this method for the following four rules. We also stop and discuss why we have each rule. Kids always want to know why. So I explain by asking them, what would our classroom be like without rules? They quickly understand that there would be chaos. 

The classroom rules are taught everyday, for the first few weeks, sometimes multiple times a day. I allow students to stand in front of the classroom and challenge them to recite the rules along with hand gestures and they love it! Give them the tools and they will succeed.

Whole Brain Elementary Classroom Rules Decor


Finally, I track the good and the bad. A few years into my teaching career, I found Classroom Dojo. This website changed the way I felt about tracking classroom behaviors. In the beginning, I struggled with organizing my behavior data. Now all I have to do is assign a Dojo for each student and click on that Dojo to reward or reprimand them on a certain skill that I assigned. Classroom Dojo tracks the positive and the negative points automatically.  I am able to show students and parents quickly what points they have earned daily, monthly, or even yearly. It doesn’t get any easier than that. 

It is key to train and retrain your students as needed. You, along with your students, will be thankful for the calmer and more structured learning environment during the school year. Happy Teaching!

Follow this blog to get a complete break down on how Classroom Dojo works in my classroom. 



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