By Jana’ Thomas, Scholastic Chess Instructor
To close the series, I’d like to share with you my final tip on creating a classroom culture using the final ‘S’ from our acronym C.H.E.S.S.
Security & Safety
You are on your way if you have: Control of the environment, Have rules, Everyday practices, and a System of rewards and consequences. You have had to be there and be consistent, which should give your students a Security making them not only look forward to seeing you, but also, your class.
Just as your students trust you will come to class, they should be able to trust you to keep them safe. Here are a few ways you can make Safety part of your classroom culture:
Ask students to walk in the room (unless otherwise directed for another activity)
Try to arrange seating so all students can see you
Move around the room, among the students, during class
When stationary, make sure that you can see all the students
With permission, allow only a few students to be out of their seats at once
Of course, efforts towards maintaining a safe environment in your room will not be limited to this list.
Hopefully, safety will not be a major concern; however, my tips put you in position to be preventative and proactive. For instance, children love to run, skip, hop and horseplay, but those are activities more appropriate for outdoors, away from table edges and windows (unless you have prepared the room for such). Additionally, when you move about the room, near the students, you can pick up on side conversations and make assessments of temperature changes in the room. This will allow you de-escalate unwanted tension between students and keep the peace.
You and your class can become a fixture in the school, and if ever missed, leave your students asking why and where is (in a good way). Your presence is the most important part of your class culture. So Keep Calm and CREATE!