Managing an Active Class

How do you maintain classroom management and control during active science lessons? I am curious about how to keep students under control when encouraging movement and active involvement in teaching. 

— A., Texas

I have always liked an active class—provided the activity is focussed on learning! Observing what is happening is important—so pick a spot in the room where the entire class is visible and set yourself up there. A corner is often the best. When helping someone, turn yourself to have as many students (or particularly sneaky ones) in front of you.

I think a key management strategy is having the class listen to you. Developing procedures to quiet the class is a good place to start. Use your teacher voice and be direct: “I need everyone back in their seats.”

Don’t talk over a class. Give one simple command and wait until all students have complied. Insist that students put everything down and face you before talking. When needed, you may want to count to three out loud. Most students respond quickly to this—especially if you have been using it all year.

A last resort for a rambunctious class would be to look at the clock and write the time you asked them to settle down on the board. Remain quiet until the last student is seated and looking forward. Write down this time. Add the delay time to the end of the period (provided it didn’t interfere with the next class or bussing). You’ll likely only need to do this once.

Hope this helps!

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