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. Select a Secret Student
Why not try the Secret Student Strategy (or for Among Us fans, an imposter strategy!) for classroom management this school year? Each morning, a student’s name is “randomly” chosen, but only you know who your secret student is.
Throughout the day, that student can earn points for good behavior choices — which you can track on a Secret Student Mystery Points Tracker. At the end of the day, if the Secret Student has earned enough points, they will be recognized as the Secret Student for the day.
Download a pack chock full of Secret Student resources, including the points tracker plus awards for your secret student!
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.
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!
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.
- 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.
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.
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!
Thanks to the wonderful @thekozyclassroom for this awesome idea!
8. 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.
Thanks to the amazing @misstrikolas for this great photo!
Learn more ways to use equity sticks in the classroom.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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 full of ideas!
Banner image via Shutterstock/GagliardiPhotography