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C.M. Corner: Physical Contact and Behavior

As we work with new students, we strive to build positive relationships as quickly as possible.  This happens typically through a number of different ways: introducing yourself, positive reinforcement, class activities, games, etc.  One of the more common ways that we communicate care is through what we see as positive physical contact through a comforting hand on the shoulder or light touch on the arm to gain attention.  But what if what we intend isn’t what is understood?  In a 2 part post on the C.M. Corner last year, “How We Communicate”, we discussed how communication is not only...

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C.M. Corner: The First Few Minutes

With the school year well under way, students are now diving into the routine of class schedules, after-school activities and homework.  As we are in the beginning of the school year, this week we will take a look at the beginning of the day/class.  The first 5-10 minutes with a new group of students is a crucial time for any substitute.  You have to not only set the tone and expectations for the day, but establish yourself as a friendly, caring authority in the classroom.  While, each person will have a different approach, we’ve listed some ideas to consider.


Regardless of...

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C.M. Corner: Summer Break!

Congratulations!  You’ve made it!  Whether your districts are finishing up in the next 2 weeks or have already finished, you have made it through the 17-18 school year.  Take a deep breath and enjoy the much needed and deserved break.  In our final C.M. Corner for the year, we’ll take a look at how we can improve our classroom management through reflecting  and looking forward.


Normally, the end of December is reserved for reflection and goal setting, but this is a perfect time to do so for anybody in education.  Take some time to reflect on this past year and self-evaluate...

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C.M. Corner – Stress

We are down to the final weeks of the school year, the grass is turning green, flowers are blooming and the birds are singing.  However, as the school year ends, stress seems to increase.  Often times this stress amplifies or even creates some of the classroom management issues that we face in our positions, whether the stress is coming out in our attitudes or causing us to be more sensitive to various situations.  This week, with the help of our Substitute Services Team, we are going to take a look at some ways to help us reduce stress in our own lives to help positively influence our...

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C.M. Corner: Respect – The Two Way Street

There are a million different factors that play into a class’s behavior.  One of the biggest factors that comes into play is respect.  We often look at a self-centric view of respect when we are dealing with difficult students and situations; they’re behavior is disrespectful to me.  Respect is defined as “esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person” or “to show regard or consideration for” by dictionary.com.  I like to think of it in terms of value.  Because we are the staff member in the room, we expect students to value our authority and experience.  Students, however,...

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Sub Forum: Icebreakers, Motivators, Fillers and Breaks

In our last Substitute Forum for the year, we focused on motivators, icebreakers, filler activities and other things that we could do to engage students in the lesson.  As a substitute teacher or paraprofessional, we don’t always have the luxury of using our previous relationship with the students to communicate expectations, establish a well developed process or appeal to each student’s genuine interest.  We have to do quite a bit on our end to find what works and what doesn’t. 


Multiple people commented on the need to connect with the students, whether giving a 30 second...

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C.M. Corner: Managing Ourselves

With the official countdown to summer having begun, students become more distractible and often less engaged in class.  This can become incredibly frustrating, especially as a substitute.  Whether you are a paraprofessional or a teacher, we are there to help continue the learning experience.  Much of classroom management is influenced by our own attitudes and behaviors and even more so at the end of the year.  If we are frustrated and short with our students, they are going to respond negatively to us.  If we are down, they won’t see us as the authority figure in the classroom.  This week...

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C.M. Corner: Engaging Students in Movies and Worksheets

“Can we have class outside today?”  “Are you going to the game tonight?” “Summer can’t come fast enough!”  As the school year comes to a close, keeping students engaged becomes more and more difficult, even more so when given a worksheet or needing to watch a movie.  However, student engagement plays a very large roll in overall classroom management.  To address this particular issue, in this installment of the C.M. Corner is addressed from suggestions offered our substitutes! 


Engaging students in a movie can be a very difficult job, especially if it is older or purely an...

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Substitute Forum: Connecting with our Students

The day in the life of a substitute is always full of adventures and new experiences.  You may work in a new building and new class everyday or you could sub in a couple particular schools/classrooms.  In any case, building relationships with your students will go a long way to help you manage classroom behavior and have a successful day in the classroom.  We had some excellent questions, ideas and discussions at our Substitute Forum about this subject.  We’ve put together some of these tips and ideas together for you to consider if you need some more ideas.



If you...

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C.M. Corner: Working in ESL/ELL Positions

Since the 1780’s, America has been known for its diverse mix of cultural ideas and nationalities.

We also find that cultural diversity in our classrooms. This week in our Classroom Management Corner, we are diving into some tips and strategies involving working with students from various backgrounds, including students in the English as a Second Language or English Language Learner programs.


One of the biggest issues faced is cultural miscommunication.  As educators, we need to understand that some actions, phrases or gestures may mean something different in other...

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