Sticking to it…Like Glue

Teachers struggle mightily with classroom management when they abandon following their classroom management plan exactly as it’s written.

This quote is according to Michael Linsin and his blog Smart Classroom Management, which I am following this week in order to revamp my own classroom management. Today I am going to share with you my exact plan for classroom management of individual behaviors, one that I will follow concentrate without fail this week. I already have a plan for group voice level seen here.

WHAT is my PLAN?

A classroom management plan has two, and only two, purposes:
1. To state the rules of the classroom.
2. To state exactly what will happen if those rules are broken.

Sending the letters home makes me nervous, however I do think this will make a difference, especially coming from the art teacher.   I will let you know how it goes.

I will stick to this plan with NO exceptions this week.  What will you be doing to make sure your students are learning with no distractions and that your teaching is stress free?

Jessica Balsley

Jessica Balsley is the Founder and President at AOE. She is passionate about helping art teachers enhance their lives and careers through relevant professional development.


  • I use the same rules in my class as well. One thing that I have tried this year for my older class (7th and 8th graders) is I have a 20 minute “quiet work time” in the beginning of class.This gets them right to work and it is less than half of the class period. Because this fosters a quiet work environment, when the 20 minutes is over, they usually continue working in a quieter manner for the rest of the period. If they do not get right to work, I re-start the 20 minutes until everyone is working. This has worked well for this chatty class!

    • I like this idea- I could use it with my chatty group of 30 5th graders! Thanks, Jennifer.

  • Jessica,

    I love that you are doing classroom management this week! I think that a lot of teachers let their CM go lax the weeks before the winter break. . . And the problem is when kids return they will always have forgotten parts of the structure, but when you let that structure fall apart first. . . Well, then you’re going to have a big CM mess when you return from break! I was just talking about this today with another teacher!! :)

  • I enjoy your blog and stop by often to see what’s new here. I loving the timeliness of this post. I agree with Amy, I too find that as the holidays approach discipline tends to loosen up in the art room. I’m so ready to get off the lax train and start the New Year off with renewed energy and focus. Thanks for posting your classroom rules and the fabulous links in previous posts. I think I’ve made my New Year’s resolution, and it’s not even Christmas.

  • CJ

    I am curious how the letter home works. I just finished my teaching internship and I am taking over my clinical teacher’s position starting January. Classroom management in “our” room is a MESS. One that I now have to clean up. Because my teacher was leaving, she let everything virtually fall apart with a “what are they going to do, fire me?” attitude. I’m currently spending Christmas thinking of all new rules, consequences, and procedures. I think a letter home is a great idea, but how do you make sure it is returned and signed? I only see my students once a week and my classroom teachers probably would not support having to keep up with MORE paperwork. Just wondering how you enforce the letter.

    P.S. Your blog is really helpful.

    If you have any first year advice, I’d love to hear it!

    • Hi CJ!
      I was in a very similar situation to you back in the day! I got my cooperating teacher’s job for the following fall as she was moving away. It takes time to build your own style of management and for the kiddos to get accustomed to it. As far as the letter goes, I will keep a log of letters that get sent home, and if I do not have it returned in a few days I will call the parents. The letter is the extreme consequence for me and I do not plan on giving very many at all, thus, they will be easy to keep track of. I told the classroom teachers they did not need to do anything with the letter, the student needed to bring it down to ME or the teacher could put it in my mailbox. Again, this is a rare occasion. I have found once the kids are sitting out of the group they know the letter is next and when they come back they really shape up. I hope to do more posts for 1st year teachers soon- You have inspired me… good luck and please keep in touch!

  • Deb

    I like the idea of a form letter. I write letters home but with classes coming and going so quickly it is hard to get them finished and to the student before the end of the day. Do you mind sharing what your letter says?

  • Hi Deb! I posted about the contents of my letter right here:

    I hope it helps! I also have another version I hope to post soon. This one is more impersonal but gets the job done, my new letter is a little more “flowery”… I am still figuring out just what I am going for- It’s all a process!

    Hope it helps!

  • mrs g

    Hi Jessica,
    Thank you for your site, it is very helpful. Would you enforce the art rules as rigidly for a K, 1 or 2 class as say for a 4,5 or middle school? I have all grade levels and have just begun a serious classroom management overhaul.
    mrs g