Six Classroom Management Ideas for the Science Classroom

How to maintain control in the science laboratory and classroom

      Implementing powerful strategies and rules to maintain conduct and control of the classroom is a necessary step at the beginning of the school year for every teacher. For the science teacher, it is even more important because safety truly becomes a factor in managing behaviors and discipline in the laboratory. Below are six easy to implement strategies that you can use to have a structured, fun year with your students.

Tip #1: Create a Respectful Environment

I believe that creating a respectful environment is the most effective way to manage your classroom. When students feel respected, they will elicit respect in return. Simple ways to initiate a respectful environment at the beginning of the year are to:

-       Treat students with respect from day one. Forget about the rumors or what you’ve heard about the student in the past. Each day is an opportunity for a clean slate. Demonstrate this by respecting each and every student in your classroom. Simple conversations like saying, “I missed you,” when students are absent can go a long way with kids.
-       Stop gossip in the classroom. Be a leader by not gossiping yourself and ending any conversations that you hear.
-       Rules are for everyone. You can’t allow one student to wear a hat, but not another. Be fair and consistent with all students.
-       Send positive emails to parents. 

back to school create a space to welcome students into your classroom

Tip #2: Have clear expectations.

Sometimes it sounds easier than you think. Creating a syllabus to start off the year, giving directions auditorily and visually, and having classroom conversations to build relationships, increase student comfort levels, and assess understanding are all ways to ensure your expectations are clear so that students will remain on task. 

classroom syllabus for management of science class

Tip #3: Consistent classroom procedures.

The procedures you set on the first days of school are essential to maintain in January, March, and May. You must adhere to your own procedures, that also comply with school rules, and repeat them consistently throughout the year. Some procedures you may want to think about how to best implement are:
-       Organization (where and how they will keep their work)
-       Where to find necessary laboratory items
-       Aim and Do Now
-       Passes
-       Lateness / Absences

Being organized and consistent gives students structure to maintain expectations

Tip #4: Engagement.

I truly feel that an engaged, respectful classroom environment will manage itself. In doing so, I try to make science as hands-on as possible. Students want to be part of the hands on experiments, so their behavior will fall into place. If budgeting is an issue, ask students to bring in supplies. Often, their families can help by providing some necessary items. Other ways to engage are
-       Including technology into the classroom through a digital curriculum or blended learning lessons that allow students to tap into their strengths and interests. 

Increase student engagement to decrease negative behaviors in the classroom

Tip #5: Collaborate!

Vary your teaching style to liven up the classroom. This will also help to increase engagement. Students get bored of always listening to the teacher in front of the classroom. Studies show that often they learn best from one another. Try out letting students work in small groups, make sure to set up rules first, but see how the students respond to the different teaching method.
-       Allow students to make up their own small groups or randomize groupings based on ability or behavior.
-       Use rubrics to grade students on the assignment.

Tip #6: Consequences

No matter how respectful and kind you are, there will be times you need to establish consequences for your students. I feel it is best to have predetermined consequences that adhere to your individual school policy. Before the school year starts, determine what would warrant a consequence. You should establish this with your students on day one, it could be worthwhile to put this in your syllabus. To maintain credibility, be sure to follow through with your consequences, but do not put yourself in a struggle in front of the class. Keep a respectful tone by talking to the students after class or in the hallway. Also, think of positive rewards that students can earn. Sometimes it is helpful to focus on the positive instead of the negative.

Classroom management ideas and strategies to use in science on he first days of school through the end of the school year

We are so excited to get this school year rolling and helping you focus on easy classroom management! Check out these other classroom management and organization ideas for upper elementary! 

    I hope these classroom management techniques help you out in your science room. If you have any questions or comments, let me know below. 

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    5 Classroom Decor Ideas for the Science Classroom

    adding decorations to your science classroom on a budget

    Decorating the science classroom can be a challenge, especially at the middle school level. Students are older in grades 6, 7, and 8, so you don’t want your classroom to look too juvenile, but the students still enjoy a warm, fun environment.

    Tip #1: Keep it science: You can decorate your classroom and still keep your science flair. Don't be shy to hang up those anchor charts you use to remind students of important concepts. Another good idea is to use quotes from famous scientists will cement your content area while also adding warmth and a personal touch to your room.  

    Famous scientist back to school classroom decor for science

    Use anchor charts and science banners to decorate your grade 6, 7, and 8 science classroom

    Tip #2: Hang student work: Every science teacher starts the year off with lab safety. Have students illustrate a lab safety rule and then hang them around the room. Now you have student work hanging around the room that will remind them of the rules of the lab. This is also great to point out when administrators are observing you!

    Hang student work to add warmth and color to your middle school science classroom

    Tip #3: Memes! Students love memes. You can use them to help remind students of classroom rules and procedures. If you don’t know how to make your own, click here to learn. It would also be fun to offer extra credit for students to create memes about the topic you are studying. Again, this is great for admin to see when they are in your classroom. It’s also another way for students to connect to the content in a way they are familiar with.

     Tip #4: Studying the periodic table? One project that I love doing is having students research one of the elements and make their own element tile. Assign each student a different element so that you can piece them together to make your own periodic table of elements. This works great if you have a big blank wall in the back of your classroom. You could even arrange it in the hallways is you have bulletin boards.

    Display science projects in your science classroom

    Tip #5: Honor women scientists with these free posters. All too often people think of science as a “man’s world”. Honor the women that helped make important scientific discoveries with these smart looking posters. Simply download the posters and print them out. I would also suggest laminating them for durability. Beneath each poster is an explanation of what the woman is famous for.

    Creating a warm, welcoming environment should not be difficult, even in the science classroom. It can be done on any budget. Let me know in the comments how you decorate your science classroom. 

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