Classroom Management Tips You Can't Teach Without

Veteran teacher Heather draws on 15 years of teaching experience and shares her most effective management tips for your classroom. These are so good you are going to want to use them all.

Updated on: November 21, 2019

Classroom Management Tips You Can't Teach Without

“Children are like the ocean. You should never turn your back on it.”

You have probably heard this quote before, and it couldn’t be truer. Whether you’re a first year teacher or you have decades under your belt, every teacher can always benefit from some classroom management tips. As a teacher who has been in the classroom for 15 years, I’ve picked up a trick or two. Here are my top classroom management tips that you can consider trying in your classroom.

Before sharing some tips and tricks, it’s important to get on the same page when it comes to defining what classroom management is.

In a nutshell, it is the act of making sure the teaching and learning process runs smoothly, with minimal distractions and disruptions from the behavior of your students.

1. On-Task Trinkets

This management method is free and highly effective. Grab some trinkets that you have around your home. It could be anything -- from unique looking stones you’ve found in your yard to old coins or treasure jewels that your kids are done playing with -- as long as it’s small, anything will do.

When you’re teaching and you notice certain students are on task or going above and beyond during your lesson for that day, place an on-task trinket on the corner of their desk. It’s something that can be done silently, but will make a big impact.

This can also be encouraging for students who struggle with following classroom rules. Getting caught being good is a huge milestone for them, so they’ll be eager and willing to earn those trinkets.

Collect each trinket at the end of class and give each student a smile and high five when they return it to you. Begin again during your next lesson!

2. Random Name Selection

Random name selection can be a powerful way to reward positive behavior, encourage on-task behavior, quiet mouths, and controlled bodies. Using a free computer system, like Class Dojo, you can enter all the students in your class.

Before wrapping up your lesson, you can designate one minute of your time to recognize outstanding behavior. Click on the site’s name generator to make a random name pop up on the screen. If the student, whose name has been selected, had a great class, they can be rewarded with a prize from your basket, a homework pass, or whatever else you set up for your students.

If they did not perform up to par, silently hit the button again and search for a different student!

3. Music Transitions

Save your voice and stop speaking over students when it’s time to get their attention to transition from one activity to another. Consider managing the flow and productivity of your classroom by embracing musical transitions. Using a music source, like Spotify or Prime Music, choose a song that signals when it’s time for lunch, time for math, time for circle time, or time for bathroom breaks.

You aren’t saying a word at all, and your students get conditioned like Pavlov’s dogs to silently clean up, move quietly, and they are being given a heads-up in regard to what they should expect to happen next (the lunch song can bring lots of happiness and excitement into your room!).

4. Utilize a Clipboard System

Clipboards are nice for classroom management because they can travel with your class. Your students’ behaviors aren’t just monitored in your room, but in the hall, at bathroom breaks, at specials, and also in the lunch room.

Using Google Sheets or Excel, make a chart (Monday-Friday) and designate a column just for students’ names. Clip this sheet into a basic clipboard. Create a code on the bottom of the sheet that works for your class. For example, if students don’t have their homework, they get a number 1 next to their name for the day. If they are showing disrespect, they can get a number 2 next to their name (and so on). The code should be simple, communicated to students, and clearly understood by other teachers who are using it.

A collection of numbers could signal a number of things. It could result in a lack of recess, a parent conference or phone call, or zero participation in a special event coming up if a certain amount of numbers are accumulated.

Parents should receive a copy of what the clipboard looks like at the beginning of the school year so they can help reinforce behavior at home.

The clipboard concept is a nice way to collect data because it can keep track of infractions for testing purposes, meetings with administrators, or conferences with parents, all in one place.

This method works best for students in grades 3 and up.

Classroom management is the heart and soul of your classroom. When it’s established, you can get a lot done each day, with minimal disruptions and distractions.

When your expectations are clear and you are firm, fair, yet friendly -- you’ll be amazed at how smoothly each day will run!

Consider giving these four tips a try, and adjust them as necessary to fit YOUR classroom!

What are your personal tips for classroom management? Share with us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Heather Aulisio is a third grade teacher in Pennsylvania. She has been a teacher for nearly 15 years and holds multiple degrees and certifications. A freelancer for The Mailbox and other education-related clients and publications, she enjoys writing in order to help and entertain fellow teachers. She currently resides with her husband, Bryan; son, Matthew; and two pugs, Lily and Leo.

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