August 21, 2017

5 Ways CHAMPS Will Improve Your WL Classroom Management Today

After my fifth year of teaching in three different rural, urban, and suburban districts (I used to like to move around apparently), I took a teaching position in a new district. I thought after a few rough initial years of gradually improving my skills at managing students, I pretty much had the whole classroom management thing down. When my new district informed me that all new teachers were required to take a three-day classroom management course called CHAMPS, I tried to insist that I wasn't new. Heck, after five whole years, I was practically a veteran, right? Turns out I was dead wrong when it came to improving my management.

After the first day of CHAMPS training, I was completely sold. The training (guided by the book) forced me to completely reevaluate and refine my expectations and the way I explained them to my students.  Sure I expected my students to, for example, not talk while I was giving direct instruction, but had I considered exactly what I wanted students to do while teaching? What if they had questions? Were they allowed to move to sharpen a pencil? How were students to participate appropriately?  Most importantly, if I hadn't clearly considered these details, how were my students supposed to anticipate my expectations?

 5 Reasons the CHAMPS Method Improves Classroom Management

So, what makes CHAMPS so different from all of those other classroom management systems out there?  For me, there are several key features that made CHAMPS doable for me and stood out for the rest of the popular methodologies.

1. It's an acronym!

I mean, hey, in education we love acronyms, right? We need more of them, right? If you're as annoyed by all of the acronyms and tag lines flying around the education world, I'm with you, but this one actually means something worthwhile!  All of the letters in CHAMPS actually stand for expectations that you have for your students for any given classroom activity. The letters stand for:
  • Conversation: Are students permitted to speak during this activity? How loudly? At what level?
  •  Help: How should students get your attention if they need help? Who may they ask for help? What should they do in the meantime?
  • Activity: What is the objective or purpose of the activity? What is the end goal?
  • Movement: Are students allowed to move throughout the room during the activity? When? For what reasons?
  • Participation: What does participation look like during this activity? What behaviors show that students are or are not participating appropriately?
  • Success: When all of the above expectations are met, what will success look like?

2. It's easy to remember and visualize 

 A good chunk of the reason I love CHAMPS is because it is easy to reference during instructional time, which I do often and when students need reminders of what the expectations are.  CHAMPS guided me to really clarify all of the different behaviors I wanted to see for various types of classroom activities.  I sat down and brainstormed all of the different types of activities I do in class and what expectations I was looking for for each letter of the acronym. I decided that, essentially, I could really umbrella all of my lessons under 5 types of classroom activities:
  1. warm-up/ solo work
  2. teacher led activities (aka direct instruction time)
  3. group work
  4. assessment
  5. target language activities
To start, I had different posters with cute little clip art, but I think students had a hard time visually comprehending it all because it was so overwhelming, so I set out to create an easier-to-grasp graphic organizer because, frankly, I'm obsessed with charts. I came up with this poster, which I not only hang in my classroom for decoration, but actually use and reference every day in my classroom.  There's nothing better than classroom decor that actually serves a non-aesthetic purpose if you ask me.

CHAMPS Poster for World Langauge Classroom Management

If you'd like to save yourself the hours it took me to squeeze all of the text into those little boxes and purchase this EDITABLE poster, here's where you should head. I've included a few different backgrounds for you to choose from and you can even change the color of the columns to match your decor.  You can easily send it to a local print shop or did you know you can turn any image into a larger poster for free using Yay for free websites that save money and time!

3. It's not cringy to implement

Shhhh, don't tell anyone this, but despite the mass hysteria around Harry Wong's The First Days of School for the last couple of decades, I think the examples are just too theoretical, lofty, and sprinkled with a bit to much fairy dust for my liking.  Don't get me wrong; I respect Mr. Wong and I'm glad that his methods worked for him and for his students, but I need something more strategic, specific, and frankly, practical.  CHAMPS provided me the structure and tools I needed, but didn't know I needed at the team, to plan out my management philosophy.

4. It's efficient

 While you might be thinking, "Who has time to give detailed instructions like that before every activity," trust me, CHAMPS will make your life easier not harder.  After teaching students how to use the poster and its expectations a few times, I usually only have to remind students by pointing to the appropriate column on my poster, which I keep at the front of the classroom so students are forced to think about it.  Just like with anything else, you'll have to initially train your students to use CHAMPS and be consistent about getting students to comply with all of the expectations on it, but sooner rather than later, my students get on board.  When your kiddos are speaking a little too loud, point to the "C" on the poster and remind them of the appropriate volume level.

I love efficiency more than most things in life.  I love that CHAMPS helps me not to repeat myself 1000000000 in a class period because the acronym reminds me of all of the things I need to say before I set students free to work on an activity.  There's nothing more annoying to me than having to get the group's attention and say, "Sorry, guys, but I forgot to mention what you need to do when you're done..." Your students will know what you expect, including how they should get help, what specific behaviors you want, and what to do when they are successfully done.

5. It's applicable

While it will take time to fully implement the full methodology, CHAMPS is awesome because you will walk away with strategies you can use instantaneously.  Nothing bothers me more than reading an education book or attending a training and thinking, "Well, that's a great idea that I won't be able to use for another 9 months until school starts again."  With CHAMPS, you'll immediately start rethinking the instructions you give your students, which is something I found myself improving on right away.

5 Reasons the CHAMPS Method Improves Classroom Management

So if you're tired of repeating yourself, your students asking what they are supposed to do, and feeling frustrated with your kiddos, I cannot recommend the CHAMPS method enough.  I encourage you to read the book, download my poster, and get starting with a classroom environment that is more efficient and less stressful.  Thanks for reading!


  1. I would like to download your poster; but the link doesn't lead me anywhere. :(

    1. I'm so sorry! I'll get that fixed right away, but here's the correct link:

  2. Gracias! I came across this wonderful blog on Facebook, and it really calls my attention. I have some questions: Do you implement Champs everyday? For the assessment part is it everyday? ans what group activities and target language ones do you do? Me encanta esta estrategia, muy simple y al punto! I am about to buy the template from your TPT store!

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