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How-To: Manage Your Classroom
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How To: Manage Your Classroom
NYC Helpline: Manage Your Classroom

Managing Non-Routine Days Benna Golubtchik

Often there are days when we can predict that consistent routines and behaviors will be broken. These days occur before holidays, when the weather is bad, or when a special event takes place. The cues you have established can be used to vary your routines on purpose, allowing the teacher and class to preserve the effective routines and return to normal when appropriate. On these days, more right brain (creative, global, non-sequential) activities are effective. The teacher should use a different part of the room, a different activity, and possibly even dress differently to establish the change.

Appropriate right brain activities include group interaction, cooperative learning activities, using manipulatives, creative art projects, games to review and reinforce work, role plays and simulations, and music. The teacher can even join the kids by verbally stating that she would like to vary the routine for that day.

To effectively manage right brain days, two rules are essential:

1) Routines are preserved by temporarily setting them aside; and

2) Use different non-verbal cues to preserve the usual ones. The greater the difference in cues between left and right brain days, the more classroom management is preserved. These are not good days to introduce new material or lecture students.

Right brain days can be characterized by high energy levels, creativity, and a chance to integrate concepts and make associations with other subjects. They could also include distractibility, lack of internal control, inability to focus on lectures or new information, and a decreased respect for authority. Rather than create a situation that puts you at odds with the mood, use these days to harness the energy. These are exciting opportunities to get to know different aspects of your students. They, in turn, can get to know another side of you.

Right brain days are special. They can be inspiring and rewarding, and a source for new types of learning.

 

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