3 Powerful And Unique Ways To Model Smart Classroom Management

4 min read

Going a day without modeling is like gardening without a trowel.

Because modeling engages students. It draws them in and holds their attention. It removes any doubt about what you want them to do.

It also provides purpose that motivates and dissuades misbehavior.

But you can’t just go through the motions. You can’t approximate what you want and assume your class will get it. You can’t rely on the same modeling approach day after day like the dance moves you’ve been using for past 20 years.

Otherwise, you’ll bore the life out of your motley crew.

So what follows are three powerful and unique ways to spice it up, improve your modeling performance, and become a more effective teacher.

1. Detailed Modeling

One of the first articles I wrote here at SCM back in 2009 was about detailed modeling. If anything, its importance has only grown. Details, you see, are interesting to students.

And they’re lacking in nearly every classroom I visit.

The way detailed modeling works is simple. You just model in a highly explicit way. You don’t just use a paintbrush, for example, you show your students how to hold it.

You explain the finger position in relation to the ferrule while walking around the room and showing them. You tell a story about how Monet compared its pressure to holding an injured bird. You allow them to try it out and mimic basic strokes.

You get the idea. Details, details, details. The smaller and more descriptive, the better and more interesting.

2. Silent Modeling

While maintaining your focus on details, you’re going to model what you want your students to do or accomplish without saying a word. Not one word.

It’s super fun and students are mesmerized by it. Teachers tend to talk too much and stray off topic. They also tend to ignore the most fascinating stuff.

Silent modeling forces you to be more demonstrative and mime-like. It forces you to be detailed, exacting, and right on target. It pulls you out of your comfort zone and automatically makes you better at modeling.

The best part is that students like the challenge of trying to follow and understand without verbal cues, and then doing it themselves every bit as good as you.

3. Complex Modeling

One of the problems with modeling routines in particular is that they’re too straightforward. There aren’t enough details for students to hang on to and hook into their personal memory map.

They also don’t offer the kind of challenges that students love and that great teachers are constantly putting in front of them. The solution is complex modeling.

The way it works is that you’re going to add steps to boring routines. For example, instead of just entering the classroom in the morning and sitting down, you’re going to have them hang their backpacks in a certain way, check their mailboxes, align their homework in the top left-hand corner of their desk, record reading from the night before, etc.

All done in a precise way.

The idea is to extend your routines into more responsibility. Continue to add until your room runs like an atomic clock and you can focus solely on instruction. You can also add nonsensical steps like giving two classmates a fist bump and dancing a jig on an X taped to the floor.

Your Own Garden

The better you are at modeling, the more effective and successful you and your students will be.

So work on it. Try being just a bit more detailed each day. Experiment with silent modeling. Add an extra step or two to your routines.

Increase the challenge and interest in your classroom through modeling, and you’ll reduce misbehavior and captivate more and more of your students every day.

Just be sure to have fun with it. Keep your attitude lighthearted but revel in your performance. Embrace it like Monet and his beloved garden at Giverny, and it will repay you generously.

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