Guides on Demand

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Help when you need it!

Guides on Demand support teachers by providing personalized and timely assistance.  Teachers needing support complete an online Request for Assistance and are connected within 24 hours to one of our panel of master practitioners (guides).  

Support may include: classroom management techniques, strategies for relationship building with students and families, navigating Infinite Campus, Canvas and/or Curriculum Engine, technology tips for utilizing Google suite, implementing the state standards, and attendance/grading procedures. 

Teachers receive individualized help from one of our subject matter and/or grade level guides.

Special Education (17)

Take some time to reflect on your classroom management and relationship building strategies!

Below are some research based, and teacher approved, strategies for effective classroom management, and for building positive relationships with your students.  Please don’t hesitate to reach out to our Guides for further assistance.

In a recent study, greeting students at the door helped teachers set a positive tone for the rest of the day, boosting academic engagement by 20 percentage points while reducing disruptive behavior by 9 percentage points—adding roughly an hour of engagement over the course of the school day.

Building relationships with students through strategies like greeting them at the door is a good start. It’s also necessary to maintain them over the course of the school year, and to repair them when conflicts arise. “The stronger the relationship and the better we understand our students, the more knowledge and goodwill we have to draw on when the going gets tough,” writes Marieke van Woerkom, a restorative practices coach at the Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility in New York.  Strategies for establishing, maintaining, and restoring relationships—such as regular check-ins, and focusing on solutions instead of problems—can reduce disruptions by up to 75 percent.

“Novelty—such as the sound of a wind chime or rain stick—captures young students’ attention” writes Todd Finley, a former English teacher and current professor of English education, who suggests using these techniques to quiet a noisy class.  For older students, give plenty of warning if you need them to follow instructions. Reminders and cues are helpful ways to encourage students to follow instructions without being overtly controlling or forceful. For example, if you can anticipate a disruption—such as students getting out of their seats if they finish an assignment early—give a short reminder of what they should do instead.  Reminders are commonly verbal, but can also be visual (flicking the lights to signal that it’s time to be quiet), auditory (ringing a small bell to let students know they should pay attention to the teacher), or physical (using a hand signal to let students know to get back in their seats).

When students choose their own seats, they’re three times more likely to be disruptive than when seats are assigned. After all, they’ll probably pick seats next to their friends and spend more time chatting.  But that doesn’t mean choice is always bad. Giving students a sense of ownership in the room, paired with clear expectations for behavior, can have surprisingly positive effects. A welcoming space can reduce anxiety and boost academic performance

It may seem counterintuitive, but acknowledging positive behavior and ignoring low-level disruptions can be more effective than punishing or disciplining students. Instead of focusing on specific students, offer praise for the behavior you want to reinforce. For example, tell students, “Excellent work getting to your seats quickly.”

Instead of just displaying rules for behavior, have a discussion with your students about why those rules matter. Or consider student involvement – instead of a top-down list of rules that a teacher gives to the class, work collaboratively with the students to create rules together. 

Presence is crucial to maintaining classroom management and to effective delivery of instruction, and it’s a skill we can develop with effort. Although it’s tempting to sit at your desk and grade papers, that’s also an invitation to your students to get distracted. Be active: Move around the room, check in on student progress, and ask questions. It’s not about policing your students, but about interacting with them.  A 2017 study found that a teacher’s nonverbal cues—such as smiling and making eye contact—can “reduce physical and/or psychological distance” with their students, boosting students’ positive feelings toward the teacher and the course material while improving behavior.

School and classroom expectations, rules, and routines should be followed and applied fairly to all students. Don’t single out certain students—it’s the behavior you should be focused on, not the student. Correct errors when you see them and provide additional instruction or reteaching when misbehavior occurs.

One of the best ways to begin building relationships with students is to learn their names as quickly as possible in the first days of school each year. Spend your opening day prioritizing introductions and connections rather than overwhelming students with traditional first-day activities such as pretests, syllabus reviews, and textbook distribution. Give students a brief questionnaire or play a game to learn their preferred names, personal details, and any fun facts you may also use to help build relationships among students.

Students feel more comfortable around adults and authority figures with whom they are more familiar, and sharing information about yourself helps them see you as a human being. Let them know about your family, pets, or hobbies you enjoy outside of school—while maintaining a professional distance and not oversharing, of course.

Begin class with a communal “circle time” or brief, structured social check-in period to serve as a relaxed introduction to the day’s agenda. You might choose to:

  • Discuss daily announcements
  • Preview upcoming activities or assignments
  • Introduce current events
  • Ask for recaps of students’ weekends
  • Check in on sports teams and other extracurriculars, or inquire about anything else that’s interesting to them

These brief conversations can help make significant strides in both overall classroom behavior and relationship-building efforts.

Class-wide conversations or small-group interactions may reveal individual students who need additional instruction or may be struggling with any number of factors in or out of the classroom. Depending on your students’ ages and device preferences, you could begin with a shared survey document or email thread as a safe space to facilitate a check-in before setting up individual conferences with students. You may learn about family or home life developments, personal learning preferences, or other insights to help you better understand your students’ needs.

From simple conversations in class or over lunch to hosting a book club or opening your room for study sessions, look for any chance to build sincere rapport.

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