3 Tips for a Calmer Classroom

When it comes to your classroom community, the issues that cause the most disruption often boil down to one issue: students’ impulsiveness. Whether your most common issue is students talking, not staying in line, or a lack of focus during transition periods, all of these problems center on a child not controlling their impulses.

Elementary students aren’t exactly known for their self-control or long-term thinking. How then can we get students to be aware that they are often subject to impulses that do not benefit themselves or their peers? Here are three tips to help you guide your students to a place of awareness and self-control.


  1. Create structure and guidelines. It’s no classroom management secret that students thrive in structure. The difficult part is being consistent. Students must receive the same outcome for the same behaviors every single time. When feedback is not consistently given, students may feel unclear about the rules and push against expectations. If certain behaviors always lead to the same outcome, students are better able to control their actions within the guidelines you’ve set out.


  2. Have fun with it! Many classic childhood games are impulse control games. Activities such as Simon Says and Red Light, Green Light allow students to practice control their impulses while having fun. As Dr. Bena Kallick says, “We shouldn’t forget that learning is about the fun of it all!”


  3. Use social stories to model and correct impulsive behavior. Storytelling has been the dominant method for teaching the why behind certain behavior rules since the dawn of time. Even though storytelling looks different now, the idea is the same! Students are able to empathize with and understand fictional characters in a way that leads to deeper internalization of behavior expectations. Children’s stories such as Little Red Riding Hood and The Tortoise and the Hare make big lessons easily understandable to children. However, it can be difficult to find good social stories for classrooms. The Habits of Mind system teaches students sixteen problem-solving and critical thinking skills using the proven methodology of storytelling and animation. There is even a video addressing “Managing Impulsivity” for your students to enjoy! After watching these videos and creating a shared set of knowledge and expectations, the content can be referenced during behavior corrections to shift the tone of the discussion from accusatory to solution-oriented. For example, instead of “Stop yelling out!” you can say “How did Chris feel when he managing his impulsivity?”


Learn more at www.habitsofmindkids.com!