16 Classroom Management Examples That Really Work

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Updated | 6 min read

Classroom management strategies are key to starting off your school year on the right foot and maintaining a positive classroom environment all year. The strategy you go with has plenty of variables from the ages of the students in your classroom to personal experience to even any IEP considerations.  And let’s face it, we’ve all had those lessons, days, or even weeks where it feels like all you have done is manage the running of your classroom… and that’s about it!

So what are the classroom management strategies that will work with a variety of students? And how do you make classroom management effective? We’ve come up with a collection of easy, yet effective classroom management strategies that may help with the day -to-day running of your classroom.

Classroom Management Strategies

So you already know the three C’s of classroom management — compassion, connection, and consistency. 

But if you’re looking for some ways to put those three Cs into action, we chatted with some of the teachers on the Teach Starter team to get you exactly that! Here are some super easy classroom management ideas from classroom teachers!


1. Traffic Control

The trusty craft stick saves the day again! Add some bright washi tape and students’ names and you have a classroom management tool that can be used in a variety of ways.

  • Use these equity sticks as a random name selector — You know how it goes, you ask for a volunteer and ALL the hands go up, now you can randomly pick a name out of a cup.
  • Keep track of students you have checked in on during individual work. Turn their name stick upside down when you have checked in!
  • Students can use these sticks to express when they have a question about their work. Rather than having multiple hands up and then ultimately distracted students waiting, they can grab their name stick and place it on their desk – or put it in an ‘I have a question’ cup.

Talking sticks for the classroom

Thanks to the amazing @misstrikolas for this great photo!

Learn more ways to use equity sticks in the classroom.

2. Effective Transitions

Using effective transitions in the classroom can give students a break by providing them with a chance to get out of their seats and switch their focus to a new task. Effective transitions also mean no time is wasted!

While these How to Walk Like a… Instruction Cards were created to assist students in walking through the school quietly, they can also be used for transitions in your classroom. For example, walk like an ant to your designated center.

How To Walk Like Cards for kids

3. Lucky Duck Bowl

Hit the dollar store and load up on rubber duckies to create your very own Lucky Duck bowl!

This idea comes from teacher Brittany Botta (you’ll find her on Instagram at @projectsandpompoms) who fills a bowl with rubber ducks each year and uses them to make job assignments or for sharing time. They’re a fun alternative to pulling craft sticks! 

bottle with words lucky ducks on it


4. If You Hear My Voice

Trying to control that post-lunch or post-recess excitement? Get students’ attention by providing directions for what to do if students hear your voice.

For example:

  • If you hear my voice, touch your nose.
  • If you hear my voice, touch your head.

5. Set Up a Note Station

There are always going to be those kids who want to talk your ear off. And then there are the kids who go to the other extreme – they’re too nervous to tell you things, even when something is really weighing heavily on their mind. 

Take a page out of teacher Miriam Patrick’s book, and set up a “leave me a note” station in the classroom like this one for both kinds of kids — and all the rest, too. This will help curb the chit chat, plus it gives kids who need to be able to write down their thoughts a way to communicate too. 

Patrick mounted a funky old-fashioned mailbox on her wall (you can get more details on her Instagram), but you can also print and assemble this free mailbox template

old-fashioned mailbox in a classroom with sign that says leave me a note


6. Quickly Getting Students’ Attention

Getting your students to quickly stop and listen to you is something that sounds simple, but we all know can sometimes disrupt a lesson. And before you know it, a quick message turns into a half an hour of discussion about your expectations of their behavior! Plus, let’s face it, clapping to capture your students’ attention can get boring for both you and your students.

Why not try something more fun for classroom management, such as our Attention-Grabbing Phrase Cards? The teacher says the first part, and the students respond with the second part.

My fav would be…. “Zip it, lock it… Put it in your pocket!”


7. Quick and Easy Check-In + Grading Pile

This classroom management idea is totally worth a shot! Not only will it get your grading piles in one spot, but it also gives your students the opportunity to self-monitor their learning.

Any simple trays will work and you may like to check out our editable tray label collection for the signs. The rest is pretty self-explanatory!

classroom management hack for teachers

Thanks to the wonderful @thekozyclassroom for this awesome idea!!


8. Mystery Student Strategy

Why not try the Mystery Student Strategy (or for Among Us fans, an imposter strategy!)? Each morning, a student’s name is ‘randomly’ chosen and placed under a crystal ball. Of course, you may need to ensure that the same students don’t get chosen again and again. Only you will know whose name is under the crystal ball!

Throughout the day, that student can get magical stars for good behavior choices. At the end of the day, if the Mystery Student has all of their magical stars colored, they will be recognized as the Magical Mystery Student for the day.

 

9. Use Brain Breaks

We all know about the importance of incorporating brain breaks into the running of a classroom. But, coming up with new and fresh ideas can take a lot of time. This super cool IKEA hack for the classroom is one that will provide many brain break opportunities in the classroom.

Download our Classroom Spinner Template – Movement Activities, and stick it on the famous IKEA spinning wheel as a visual reminder for you and your students to take a brain break. A selection of fun exercise moves that are conducive to a classroom setting is included!

 

10. Curb Calling Out

Blurt Buttons are a bright, fun classroom management strategy to help curb calling out. Students thinking aloud: “It’s cloudy outside”, telling you about their neighbor’s three-legged cat, or asking you how many days there are until Christmas?

Give each student a number of buttons to keep on their desks. If a student blurts, he or she must put a button back into the Blurt Buttons jar. At the end of the day, any remaining Blurt Buttons on desks go into the Rewards Jar, earning kids points towards a treat!

 

11. Use Hand Signals

Cut down classroom interruptions by using hand signals. Students can use these to show that they need to use the restroom, have a question, need a pencil, or have a comment to share. Keep your classroom running like a well-oiled machine!

hand signal posters


12. We Missed You!

During the day-to-day running of your classroom, there may be times when students have been absent from the class for a short period during the day or the whole day due to illness. Keep track of catch-up work by easily displaying this work on a hanger.

As you hand out worksheets or notices, clip the leftovers to the hanger. Either label the clothespins or clips with the day of the week the activity was completed, or the name of the student who missed out!


13. Fast Finishers

Rather than the usual, ‘I’m done… now what?’ having a fast finisher folder or even a display like below for students to pick extension work will limit these sorts of interruptions!

I'm done now what fast finisher display

 

14. Use Job Cards

Streamline your group work in your classroom by providing students with specific roles. These Group Work Role Cards are the perfect addition to your classroom to set your expectations up for group work in the classroom.

group work role cards


15. Voice Level Push Buttons

Whether you call them tap lights or push-button lights, these have been popping up in a lot of classrooms — and can be used in all sorts of ways. Add voice level labels, and just tap a button to let your kiddos know when it’s time to use those whisper level voices or pipe up.

tap lights monitoring voice levels in the classroom

16. Visual Schedule

Having a visual schedule is a must-have classroom management strategy that will ultimately reduce the ‘what are we doing next?’ question!

Print out these Visual Daily Schedule cards and stick them on your board as a visual reminder for your students about the daily events.

Need more ideas? Our Classroom Management Booster Pack is free and full of ideas! 

Banner image via Shutterstock/GagliardiPhotography

4 Comments

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  • Liz Cloter
    ·

    Thank you so much!

    • Natalie
      ·

      You are very welcome!

  • Liz Cloter
    ·

    Love the attention grabbers and effective transition, look like we're going to have a lot of fun!

    • Natalie
      ·

      We are so glad you like them Liz! We hope you and your students have a great 2020-21 school year!

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