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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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C.M. Corner: Transitions with Pre-school through Elementary

One of the most disruptive times of the day continues to be transitions between classrooms or activities.  If we are able to utilize the transition times to our benefit, this will help students say focused and use their energy in positive ways.  This week, we are going to take a look at strategies for early childhood – elementary class strategies that could help us transition more easily to the next task.


In particular with pre-school through kindergarten, prepare the children for the transition time.  Give them notice that a change is going to be coming, whether with a...

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Substitute Forum: Flexibility in Positions

Our first Substitute Forum went great!  Thank you for all that attended.  As a substitute, whether Teacher of Paraprofessional, a great deal of flexibility is required.  You may be walking into any number of situations, from great lesson plans to no lesson plans, needing to fill extra time, not knowing the student you are working with to working with student needs you’ve never encountered before.  In the forum, we discussed what things we do to help us be flexible in those situations.  What do you do in those situations?  We thought we’d offer some of tips and techniques used by some of...

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The Power of Your Presence: Utilizing Proximity

Utilizing the power of physical presence in the classroom is one of the most underrated tools in the classroom management toolkit.  Often times you don’t need to stop what you are doing to utilize this skill, as you can continue to teach the lesson uninterrupted.  When using your physical proximity to students, they will often self-correct their own behavior.   Jordan Catapano wrote in his article, “Classroom Management Tips for Using Proximity Control”, that there are 5 ways to effectively use proximity. 


  1. Stay on your feet” – Keeping yourself mobile...
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C.M. Corner: How We Communicate pt. 2

Student misbehavior can be caused by any number of factors and most of those factors occur outside of the classroom.  However, it is our responsibility to ensure that while in the classroom, we provide a safe learning environment for all of our students.  One key to remember is to take a supportive approach.  According to the Crisis Prevention Institute (CPI), taking a supportive, or empathic and non-judgmental, approach helps to calm anxious tendencies when students become uncomfortable in the classroom. 


Most educators will say, “I do have empathy for my students and care...

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C.M. Corner: How We Communicate pt.1

We see and hear a ton of messages a day; whether it’s something we’ve heard on the radio, a billboard we saw or something that we were told by a friend.  But communication is so much more than spoke or written words.  Professor Albert Mehrabian, author of the book Silent Messages, found that only 7% of any message is conveyed through words!  Only 7%!  That is a tiny number, when we focus so much on the actual words we say.  Whether or not that specific statistic is universally true or not, it really does show in numbers that what we say may not always be the most important part of how we...

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C.M. Corner: Focusing Techniques for Age 3 to 2nd Grade

Here are some techniques in getting the most productive morning meeting, group time/circle time or between activities when you have energy-filled students.  At times this 30 minute or so whole group activity can feel stressful and long.  It can be difficult to get all those little bodies calm and focused.  Here are some techniques that I have used in my years of teaching and some that past colleagues have used.

  • Wiggles Out-Do before the start
    • Have them dance to a song
    • Do some stretches and in-spot cardio (ex: jumping jacks, touch toes, twist, balancing on one...
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