Every single teacher has struggled with classroom management. For many, it isn’t easy to find a management strategy that works consistently. However, there are many fun and engaging ways to ensure that the classroom is an effective learning space for teachers and students.
Classroom Management Strategies to Try
Adopt a Your Teacher's Pet Creature
TheYour Teacher's Pet Creatureis a beautifully illustrated picture book that uses memorable rhyme to introduce the basic classroom management concepts. It combines with the cute plush designed to sit on a shelf or desk, it becomes the cuddly classroom friend that children love and a visual reminder to encourage positive behaviours.
As part of an overall classroom management strategy they have also developed a wide range of supporting digital resources, with resources such as reward charts, positive behaviour posters and more all designed specially for Early Childhood educators.
This is one of the most straightforward classroom management strategies to implement. Visuals help students stay on task because they can see what to do and how to do it throughout the day.
Post reminders around the classroom in a variety of places. Visuals on the walls can map out the daily schedule and routine procedures. Smaller handheld signs will help younger learners remember listening ears, walking feet, and quiet mouths.
For upper elementary and older, you can design fun and engaging digital slides and project them throughout the day. These can include memes, jokes, and timers, in addition to the information needed. The students can work independently and reference the projected slide as required.
For added student involvement, invite children to help design and create the visual reminders either as a reward or a classroom job. Younger children can use art supplies to create visuals, and older students create their own digital slides.
Seeing their work displayed aroudn the classroom can ecourage students to continue to demonstate positive behaviours.
These are wonderfully effective managment technique without having to spend any money or time to prepare. Call and response phrases are quick ways to get students’ attention when it’s time for instructions or transitions.
Some examples include:
Teacher: Macaroni and cheese! Students: Everybody freeze!
Teacher: Hands-on top! Students: (Place hands on head) Everybody stop!
Teacher: Hocus pocus! Students: Everybody focus!
Attention getters like those above are more appropriate for younger learners, but different variations can work in middle school and high school classes. Of course, you can always use popular or nostalgic songs, movies, tv shows, or slogans for inspiration.
Some examples could be:
Teacher: So no one told you life was gonna be this way! Students: *clap clap clap clap* (Friends theme)
Teacher: Heroes in a half shell! Students: Turtle power!
During more prolonged activities and lessons, disruptions arise when students feel fatigued or restless. When this occurs, brain breaks are a quick and easy fix.
For younger students, structured brain breaks can be a quick physical activity like jumping jacks or dancing to an upbeat song. Older students may benefit from more loosely defined breaks that allow them to socialize freely.
After a quick break, students are refreshed and can continue with any activities or learning.
These are essentially a rebranding of traditional rules. Students will often break a class rule or two to test boundaries and assert control. This is mainly because class rules are usually about what you can’t do instead of what you can do.
Switch it up by transforming your class rules into class values. No running inside becomes we walk calmly in the hallways. No calling out turns into we raise our hands. Framing the values to positive traits encourages students to shift focus from what is forbidden to what is expected.
To increase student ownership and voice, include them in the creation of the class values. Have a brainstorming session and reach an agreement as a class.
Traditionally student behavior is called out when it’s inappropriate. As a result, children pay more attention to negative behavior rather than the positive. You can shift the focus by implementing shout-outs.
These can be either verbal or displayed on a bulletin board. Teachers and children can nominate students that deserve recognition for exhibiting positive behaviors.
Giving students opportunities to praise their peers allows them to make meaningful connections to class values and each other. This helps the class bond and build community.
Problem Solving Wheel
This is an effective strategy for conflict resolution. When students disagree and struggle to find a compromise, they can spin a wheel with pre-determined solutions.
Some solutions could include:
Take a break
Pick a new activity
Rock, paper, scissors
Flip a coin
Students spin the wheel, and whichever it lands on is the final solution— end of story.
When conflict arises, heightened emotions can make it difficult for students to find common ground. A teacher could step in and resolve the issue, but the students might feel that they are picking sides or playing favorites. A problem-solving wheel is a completely objective third party that removes emotion from the equation.
Chatty Beads/Blurt Beans
This is an effective strategy for any teacher with a talkative bunch of students.
Students are given a set number of colorful beads or dried beans (between 5-20) at the beginning of the school day or class period. They can keep the bead on their desks or in a designated place in the classroom.
Every time a student calls out, they lose a bead. At the end of the day, the students with any remaining beads add them to a large jar. The jar can be marked at different levels for different rewards, such as extra recess or a movie. When the class earns enough beads to reach the marks, they earn the rewards.
Chatty beads and blurt beans are an excellent way for students to be mindful about raising their hands and maintaining an appropriate level of noise in the classroom.
This strategy is appropriate for older children to practice individual self-reflection.
If a student is struggling with a conflict or disruptive behavior, they can take a ticket that has a few questions or prompts. The child can then sit in a quiet area and write their thoughts out.
Some examples of questions:
What class value or expectation are you not meeting? (The student describes the behavior they are exhibiting.)
How are you feeling right now? (The student can analyze the emotions behind the negative behavior.)
What can you do to fix it? (The student can suggest a solution such as taking a break, apologizing, writing an “I’m Sorry" card, etc.)
You can prepare a stack of tickets and designate an area of the classroom to store them. Then, during the day, direct students to pick up a ticket and fill it out independently. They can be taken home and signed by parents or just collected and stored.
This is an effective strategy for younger students who struggle to moderate voice level during
Quiet critters are pompoms that have been decoratedwith googly eyes and other features. The teacher puts a critter on each child’s desk or work area. The students are then told that the critters do not like loud noise and will be collected from their desks if they raise their voices. As long as the students remain relatively quiet and on task, the critter will stay on their desks.
Teachers can make the critters themselves, but it may be even more effective if the students create their own individual critters. The children will attach more meaning to them if they can design the critters themselves.
Classroom Connect Four
Who doesn’t love a game of connect four? You can either set the physical game on a table or shelf or create an anchor chart of the game board. A reward is specified for each game, such as extra recess, class party, etc.
The teacher adds a piece every time a class value or a specific target is not met, like lining up quickly or noise level. The students can add a piece or color in the space when the expectation is met. Students can be selected at random to add the piece.
If the teacher wins, the reward is lost, and a new prize is decided for the next game. If the students win, the reward is gained, and a larger reward is decided for the next round.
Classroom Management Bingo
Different bingo cards can be designed to target specific tasks or routines throughout the day. They can be completed by individual students, groups, or even the class as a whole.
Some examples of different Bingo boards could be:
Voice level: voice level throughout the various activities or periods
Transition: tracking successful or timely transitions between activities or periods
Kindness: marking different moments when students exhibit thoughtfulness or kindness towards their peers
Participation: encouraging children to raise their hands and take part in discussions or activities
When students complete a row in Bingo, they may earn a small reward and a larger reward when the whole board is full.
Creating trophies can help motivate students for games and also in classes with cluster or group seating. You use freestanding picture frames with images or any other small trinkets as trophies.
Be sure to have enough trophies so that every group can receive one. Otherwise, groups who do not win anything may feel left out and be discouraged from engaging in the next game.
Some examples of trophies are:
1st table ready
Students can nominate other groups for trophies which can be a rewarding way for them to bond and form connections.
It Doesn’t have to Be a Chore
Classroom management shouldn’t be centered around punishment. Instead, the best strategies incorporate play and student engagement. Letting the students have fun with routines and expectations encourages them to participate more and take ownership of their behavior.