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Texas ISD School Guide
Texas ISD School Guide

Lessons & Classroom Games for Teachers

ESL First Grade Classroom Management Ideas
By:Kara Page

Classroom management is an important part of education that is difficult to master. With children in first grade, it can be particularly difficult, as in most schools this is their first true year of elementary school. English as a Second Language (ESL) students pose another challenge, because an important part of discipline is explaining the rules clearly, which might be difficult if the student is not fluent in English

Role Play Rules
Most teachers will have clearly outlined rules prominently displayed in the classroom. However, the meaning of some of these rules may be lost on some students. To review the rules, practice English and have fun at the same time, engage the students in a role-play game. For example, if one rule states "No gum, food or drinks allowed in class," call on one student and ask him to act out the action. Have another student act as teacher, doling out the appropriate punishment. Move through all of the rules, always having a student play the part of the teacher to ensure they understand the consequences that come with breaking the classroom rules.

Hands-On Teaching
Physically active teachers generally maintain calmer, more orderly classes. A first grader's attention span will not last through a 10-minute lecture at the front of the room, particularly if that lecture is in his second language. With every lesson, activity and project you introduce, move constantly around the classroom. ESL students are sometimes too shy to speak up or ask a question when they don't understand. Monitor them by moving around the room, checking their work and actions to see signs of confusion. When students are confused, they become frustrated, which often leads to disruptive behavior.

Reward Good Behavior
This is not to be mistaken with bribery. ESL teachers should not have to buy their students candy to maintain a well-behaved class. However, constantly punishing a first grade student for poor behavior will only work so well. First grade students are very aware of what happens with their peers, and if they see something exciting happen for a friend, they will want the same thing. Start a system in class that rewards children for good behavior, such as a chart with stickers. For example, each time a child receives a star on the chart, she is allowed to have first pick of the books during reading time. Pay just as much attention to good behavior, like sharing and raising hands, as you do bad, and bring it to the students' attention by announcing what the student did and what her reward is. This will encourage students to follow her example.

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