As a teacher, you continually try to keep your students engaged and on-task. This list of classroom management strategies can help you accomplish this goal! Your classroom management strategy will encourage students to follow your classroom rules and behaviors, all while helping to keep them engaged and learning.
The Ultimate List of Classroom Management Strategies
There are many classroom management strategies out there; you simply need to know where to look. This list of classroom management strategies helps you get started as you develop a plan that works for you and your class.
I interviewed over 300 teachers to find out their favorite tips and tricks for classroom management, and these are many of their ideas. Here are strategies you can use immediately at the beginning of the school year, from games to prizes, to create an effective classroom management plan. And the best part about them is that they are all POSITIVE methods – perfect for positive classroom management.
Table of Contents
- The Ultimate List of Classroom Management Strategies
- Classroom Management Resources
- Read More about Classroom Management
List of Classroom Management Strategies for Whole Class or Small Groups
Small groups are great for student learning and classroom management. Not only do students enjoy group work, but you also get the chance to observe students more closely. This list of effective classroom management strategies can help you manage your small groups, whether for learning centers or classroom lessons.
- Morning Meetings – Hosting a morning meeting is the perfect way to start the school day. It is an informal and unintimidating way to get important points across to students. The conversational style of a discussion lends itself to open communication and encouraging talks about expected behavior. It is also an excellent time for kids to check in with their emotions and develop self-regulation skills.
- Team Points – When your classroom is set up in small groups, give each group a chance to earn points when they complete an activity or exhibit positive behavior. Your small groups will work hard to earn those points!
- Table Wars – Similar to Team Points (above), use a little friendly competition to help manage your classroom. When your students work in groups, have them compete, earn points for teamwork, stay focused, and clean up supplies.
- Team Names – Another great way to manage your groups is to give students a way to take ownership of those groups. Let them work together to come up with a team name.
Visual Classroom Strategies
When students can see how they’re doing, they will likely continue the positive behavior or change the unwanted behavior. Visuals are perfect for this.
Whether it’s a clip on a chart, a color-coded card, or a countdown clock for an activity, visuals allow students to gauge their behavior at a glance and make positive adjustments.
- Class Dojo – Class Dojo is an online student behavior tracker perfect for classroom management. You can display Class Dojo on your smart board to give students rewards and tokens. You can even use it to communicate with parents!
- Sticker Charts – Sticker charts also help students visually gauge their behavior. Students will love working towards a prize or goal as they fill their charts with stickers or punches.
- Yacker Tracker – When students are working in small groups, you can use a Yacker Tracker to show students if their voice levels are appropriate. A red light would warn students to quiet down, while a green light would encourage them to continue their behaviors.
- Responsibility Punch Cards – While your students work independently or in small groups, walk around with a fun-shaped hole punch and punch their cards when you notice positive, responsible behavior.
- Gold Tags – When you notice a student following classroom rules or completing an activity, give them a gold tag. Gold tags can be exchanged for a classroom prize at the day’s or week’s end.
- Countdown Clock – Students who know when to expect an activity to end can complete their learning goals before the time is up. That’s why a countdown clock is perfect for your classroom.
- Fill A Jar – Every time an individual student, table group, or the whole class does something positive, you can add an item to your jar. It can be anything, from pom-poms to rocks or marbles.
Your voice is a powerful tool classroom management technique to use in the elementary school classroom. This list of classroom management strategies focuses on verbal cues and transitions you can use during your interactions with students to keep them organized and ready.
- Call backs – Call backs or attention-getters are an excellent way to get your student’s attention, elicit participation, and give them instructions for the next activity. Call backs can be anything, from saying “Class, class” and having your students answer back with “yes, yes” to saying “1-2-3, eyes on me.” Find a callback that works for your class and make the most of it!
- Shushing Pattern – Words aren’t the only thing you can use to get your students’ attention. You can also make a shushing pattern and have your students shush it back to you.
- Classroom Transition Songs – When it’s time to move on to the next thing, get students moving with a transition song. You can come up with a transition song or chant or easily find a class favorite online.
- Line Up Chants – A chant can also get your students lined up for leaving the classroom. Not only will this get students in line faster, eliminating long transition times, but it will also keep them focused and on good behavior as you take them into the hallway.
Non-Verbal Classroom Management Strategies
There are also plenty of non-verbal ways for you to keep your classroom under control. This behavior management strategy list allows you to keep your students on task and learning.
- Raise Your Hand – If it’s time for your students to transition to another activity or work more quietly, then raise your hand and wait for students to quiet down and raise their hands.
- Sign Language – When you’re in the middle of an engaging lesson, the last thing you want to do is stop teaching the whole class to tell a student they can grab a tissue. That’s why sign language can be such a critical classroom management strategy. Teach students simple signs such as bathroom, tissue, sit, stand, or I have a question. This will eliminate plenty of interruptions!
- Routines & Schedules – Kids thrive on routine and a schedule they can follow, so you should make routines and develop a classroom schedule as part of your classroom management strategy. Decide what works best for your class and use that throughout the year, remaining consistent with routines and expectations.
- Proximity – If you have a student that is not on task, it’s incredible how focused they can become as soon as you walk near them. Use your proximity to help manage students, encouraging them to be well-behaved and on task.
Classroom Management Games
Games are a great way to get students excited to learn! You can use these classroom management games to help encourage the behaviors you want and discourage the bad behavior you don’t want.
- Porky the Pig Classroom Blurters – When you have a student that blurts, it’s time to play the Porky the Pig game! Have a pig mounted on your whiteboard and a collection of coins attached to magnets. When a student blurts, they must put a coin in Porky’s mouth. At the end of the week, if Porky has collected too many coins, the class does not earn a reward. If they meet their goal, the whole class can enjoy something fun.
- Candy Land Behavior Game – Mount a candy land board for your class to see. Each student gets five moves a day but can earn extra moves forward or backward based on behavior.
- Kindness Chain – Challenge your class to build a kindness chain. Each time your students are kind or follow classroom expectations, they can fill out a paper link and add it to the chain. Once you reach a certain number of links or lengths, the whole class can be rewarded!
- Brownie Points – Give your students a chance to earn brownie points! These points can be displayed on a baking sheet at the front of the room so they can see how close they are to achieving their classroom prize. The reward could be a brownie dessert!
- Classroom Puzzle – Mount magnets to the back of each puzzle piece and then give your students a chance to earn those puzzle pieces throughout the day. At the end of the day or week, students can put the puzzle together on the dry-erase board, displaying a beautiful picture that represents their classroom behavior.
When students have been working hard on an intense lesson, a brain break can work wonders in your classroom schedule. Give students a constructive way to work out their energy and increase student’s self-esteem, such as playing a moving game or fidgeting with a stress ball.
- Go Noodle – Go Noodle is an online resource that is a must-have for any classroom. Simply play a fun video and watch as students dance, jiggle and wiggle their energy out. They’ll be more prepared to learn after taking a Go Noodle Break
- Fidget Toys – Some students need to fidget to help focus. Give students what they need by providing fidget toys, stress balls, or even notebooks to help keep them focused.
- Calm Down Zone – Students also need a chance to calm down when they’re upset or hyper. Create a safe zone for students to calm down, such as a corner of the room with a cozy chair. During a break, students can use this area to calm down and get focused until the next activity. Make a calm down kit with a few special items that a child can use when needed.
- Brain Break Activities – Have a set of brain break cards ready with simple activities that kids can do easily and quickly when they need a break. Great for the whole class to get up and moving!
Prizes & Rewards for Classroom Management
You can use prizes and rewards to keep your students on their best behavior! In small groups or as a whole class, students can work towards a goal by demonstrating the desired classroom behavior. Here’s a list of fun ways you can include positive reinforcement and reward students for good behavior.
- Prizes – Get some small prizes online or grab some items from a garage sale. Students will love earning little prizes.
- Coupons – If you’re looking for reward ideas that don’t cost a thing, print off some coupons for students to earn. This can be anything, from picking their seat for the day or sitting by a friend.
- Classroom Economy – Print some fake dollar bills and let students earn money to buy prizes. Not only is this a great classroom management skill, it also gives your students practice counting money, as well as spending it.
- Raffles – You can also use raffle tickets for your classroom management strategy. Hand out tickets to students following directions and draw a few names at the end of the week. Whoever wins the raffle, will get a special prize.
- Holiday-Themed Prizes – Students can be extra energetic before a holiday. Use that to your advantage and have a holiday-themed prize box. This can be anything, from a Boo Bucket for Halloween to a Pot of Gold for St. Patrick’s Day.
- Fun Friday – Another free prize your students can earn each week is Fun Friday. If students meet their class goal for behavior, you can save the last 20 minutes of class as their Fun Friday time. Students will be able to play educational board games, centers, iPad apps and more!
Parent communication is an important piece of your classroom management skills and strategy. Enlist parents’ assistance by keeping them informed of their child’s behavior, both positive and negative.
- Positive Notes Home – When a student does an exceptional job, make sure you send a positive note home. This will endear yourself to the child’s parents, letting them know that you love and care for their child. This will also make it easier to talk to the parents if you start to notice negative behavior.
- Daily Folders – Use daily folders to communicate with parents. Each day, write a note to parents with the behaviors you’ve noticed, including both the good and the bad. Parents can also write back to you, keeping you informed of any personal issues that you should be aware of.
- Thinking Sheet – When a student has displayed negative behavior multiple times, it’s time to do a little bit of thinking. Send home a thinking sheet with the student, giving them a chance to reflect on what went wrong for the day. This will also make the parents aware of any issues you’ve noticed.
A strong classroom management strategy is important for your students and for you, which is why this list of ideas is vital. Not only will a positive classroom environment and classroom management help keep your learners make better choices and decrease misbehavior, it will also keep them on-task and learning, a goal every effective teacher has!
Classroom Management Resources
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Read More about Classroom Management
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Thank you for including our kindness chain – it has been a great source of daily reflection for my kids, and it really starts the day off right!
This is such an amazing resource for teachers – pinning!
Proud to be Primary
You’re so welcome! I just love this idea, Jennifer!
Fekara @ School Management Software
I really enjoy your post! When students know what to expect, the class runs much more efficiently.
Excellent list. Before i retired i used many of these strategies.Now that I am on call I mentor others and will be sure to recommend this site.
Proud to be Primary
Thank you, Teresa! I really appreciate it!
How to access the Kindness Calender?
Proud to be Primary
Hi Babette! The kindness calendar is available in the K-2 Kindness unit in my tpt store. For a full year of calendars, you can find them in the Kindness Classroom resource. https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Kindness-Classroom-Challenge-Calendars-Social-Emotional-Learning-SEL-4832893
Is there any way to purchase JUST the calendar? I am a school counselor, so I don’t need a classroom pack.