Classroom Management Tips For Teachers

Helping Compulsive Talkers

What if you do nothing?

  1. Starting class will be tough.
  2. Everyone is distracted and others join in.
  3. If you take too long to address it, students will see it as unfair. Play video
What Do You Do?
  1. Identify Why They Are Talking- Attention, Peer Status, Sense of Achievement, Aggression?
  2. Talk Privately With Students Right Away
  3. Contact Parents/Guardians
  4. React Consistently
  5. Give Students Small Helper Tasks
  6. Position Student Closer To You (Teacher)
  7. Reinforce Positive Behavior
  8. Find Time to listen to the student. Build a solid Teacher-Student relationship.

Behavior Strategies for Disruptive Students

As teachers we often work with students who are uncooperative or disrupt other students. If you do not address this type of behavior quickly, it can lead to many problems. Here are some quick tips when confronted with disruptive students: Play video

  1. Know Your Students- Most times problems in school are caused by outside forces.
  2. Use a Team Approach- Talk to other staff members that work with the student. See what works for them.
  3. Don't Embarrass Students- This will only lead to more problems.
  4. Model Behavior- Model the behavior you expect from your students.
  5. Speak with Students Privately- It's best to approach students outside of the places they are seeking attention or being disruptive.

How To Start A Class

Getting the ball rolling can be the hardest task of all. Here are some things to keep in mind when you want to begin class. Play video

  1. Greet students at the door.
  2. Make a starting class routine for the kids and yourself.
  3. Use a "do now" or quick assessment.
  4. Remember to take attendance.
  5. Have a sign-in area.
  6. Hear student concerns.

10 Things For Your Substitute Teacher Folder

Every school year teachers worry that they are not prepared to leave their classroom for a day. Everyone needs a day off every now and then. Put these 10 things into a folder and you can rest easy! Veteran teachers share their experience. Here are 10 things you should make sure to place in your folder for substitute teachers: Play video

  1. Class lists
  2. A description of your routine.
  3. School forms and passes.
  4. 2-Days of emergency lesson plans.
  5. Related puzzles.
  6. Review work.
  7. Candy
  8. Maps & floor plans- Point out where things are in your classroom.
  9. Writing prompts and writing starters.
  10. Seating charts- Make sure they are up to date. That is very important.

and Sign-out Sheets

Being aware of where your students are at all times is critical. Parent entrust us with their children. Here is a simple way to monitor your students automatically. We also provide the printable sheets to go with the tip. Play video

I'm Late Sign-in Printable | I'm Leaving Printable

Lessons For The End of the School Year

Here are some great ideas to help teachers get through the final weeks of the school year.

Play the Video

1. Use White Boards- Create white board trivia games as a method for review. You can just use white paneling from your local hardware store.

2. Create a Time Capsule - Highlight a the great things that happened in school and around the world over the year.

3. Learning Year Books- Create a scrap book of everything you learned over the year a great review tool.

4. Pictionary- A great review game for any vocabulary words you have learned.

5. Write a Letter To a Future Student- Have students write letters to the student who will sit at their desk next year.

6. Write a Letter To Their Future Teacher- A great reflection activity for both the teacher and the student. Give the letters to their future teacher to help them better understand incoming students.

7. 10 Important Events- Have students pick the 10 biggest events of the year either in school or throughout the world.

8. Image Match- Have student find or make images that capture their favorite parts of the year.

9. Year Review BINGO- BINGO is always a hit and really can be a positive learning activity.

10. School-wide Olympics- Student have a great deal of fun with this. Make the tasks academic, as well as physical. The goal is to provide students with as many avenues as possible to display their talents.

Teaching Idea

"Battle of the Brains"
Jennifer Warren, 7th/8th Spanish Teacher

"I have a chart on my bulletin board that tracks the average of each class (I have three 7th grade classes and three 8th grade classes). Each Friday I print a report with the averages and post each class's average in either 1st, 2nd or 3rd place. The kids LOVE running in to see where their class placed. They work together to raise the class average, so individuals aren't targeted to compete. At the end of the quarter, I list the top class and they earn a prize."

Teaching Idea

"Finger Communication"
Jim Jones, Teacher

"Rather than having students raise their hands and wait for me to call upon them to see what they want, I use a different approach. If a student raises one finger, we both know he/she wants to sharpen a pencil. Two fingers means he/she wants to turn in a paper. A teacher can come up with his/her own ideas for more signals."

Teaching Idea

"Bathroom Signal"
D. Lafrance, Teacher

"First of all each student is allowed 2 emergency bathroom passes each week - one in the morning and one in the afternoon. I have a sign up sheet on the blackboard. If they need to use the washroom while I am teaching, they raise one finger, I can just look over and nod to give them permission. They must quietly go to the board and sign their name on the sheet in either the morning or afternoon spot. I glance over at the sign up sheet before I nod; to make sure they have not used up both passes. This cuts down on trips to the bathroom, but also allows me to keep teaching without being interupted if someone has to use the washroom. If they have already used their morning pass and want to use their afternoon pass (when it is still morning) they can - but then have no more emergency bathroom time for the rest of the week."

Teaching Idea

"Keeping Up With Paperwork"
Karen Pollard, 5th Grade Teacher

"When you are trying to collect papers, permission slips, registration etc. from all your students, have them place the number that's beside their name in your gradebook in the upper right hand corner. You can quickly put papers in numerical order and know immediately if all are turned in when a number is missing."

Teaching Idea

"Bathroom Privileges With A Sense of Humor"
J. Martinez, Middle School Teacher

"In order to cut down on the number of times that a student goes to the bathroom on a daily basis, some teachers have prepared a toilet seat as a bathroom pass. Yes, it was new! It's painted and decorated very craftily. For some unknown reason, students just don't want to be seen walking down the hall with a toilet seat! Unneeded visits to the bathroom have dropped substantially!"

Teaching Idea

FROG Homework Folders"
Uzma Raza, Teacher

"I created FROG folders for all my second and third graders this year. The FROG stands for Fully Responsible Organized and Growing Students. I got the idea off a web site, but it has worked wonders in keeping all the homework and parent communication in one place. I no longer have lost homework papers because there is a section for homework. There are separate sections for lunch money, newsletters, reading log, sight words, and daily behavior charts. Parents have responded positively and no one leaves the FROG at home. The binders are lime green and I have added FROG clipart on the divider pages to go with the theme."

Teaching Idea

"Weekly Top Ten"
Reynaldo A. Sy Jr., Teacher

"During my student teaching, my class is very bored and uninterested on our lessons in math. I decided to give them incentives to boost their attitudes towards activities in mathematics. Every week, I announce the top 10 students of each class based on the sum of their scores on quizzes, long tests, classwork, and assignments.The outcome is great because the students give extra time on my subject. Most of the students do their assignments. The students scores in long exams and quizzes are higher than before. The students do not want to miss the class. Eventhough it is tiring, I am fulfilled to see my students excited for the announcement of the TOP 10."

Teaching Idea

"Cost-Free Reward"
Fredda Rosenbaum, Music Specialist

"When you teach a zillion kids, it is impossible to give a reward without reaching very deep into your pockets. I hit on this by accident, and kids love it. I set my computer screensaver to scrolling marquee. As a reward, I type in a student's name in a quick "brag." Kids will even compete for their classes to be on the teacher's computer. I am sure to turn my computer monitor toward the kids and I set it to come on after only one minute, so they can all enjoy the messages. It's fun -- and free!"

Teaching Idea

"Hogwarts Houses"
Maxine Bonneau, Grade 4 Teacher

"Instead of seeming to advocate witchcraft and wizardry, I based the House names on the symbols of the 4 Gospels of the New Testament. We have a Sorting Hat ceremony and the student draws out a paper with the color of the House on it, then signs in on a paper beneath the House symbol.

The Houses are:
Lionsheart (Mark), Eaglesclaw (John), Oxenstrength (Luke), and Angelclouds (Matthew).

I award points for good listening and geting ready for the next class, transition times, kindness to classmates, etc. After the student earns 10 points, they place a symbol onto their House Page. At the end of the school year, I award a House Cup to the House with the most points. I have a large Trophy cup with the name of the winning House and the Year on the front plate and a gold, double-handled trophy cup on top. Each student receives a 5" version of the cup with their name and year engraved on it. They understand comaradery and mutual support, as well as good listening skills.

If you can't have Religious symbols, I developed 4 Houses based on the 4 Nature Symbols:
Earth=Groundwalkers, symbol, green Apatosaurus, colors: green/white; Air=Swiftfliers, symbol,flying eagle or bird, colors: blue and white; Fire=Flamekeepers, symbol, fire held on an alter-shaped stone, colors: red and grey; Water=Waterbearers, symbol, two leaping dolphins, colors, turquoise and blue."

Teaching Idea

"Hand Signals"
Jennifer Hagen, Grade 3 Teacher

"I use hand signals in my class. They are outstanding for classroom management. When a student had a question, they raise their hand as usual. If they need to use the restroom, they hold their hand up and cross their fingers. If they need a tissue, they hold their hand up and make a "peace" sign. I can either get the tissue for them, or I can simply nod for them to get up themselves. Lastly, if they need to sharpen a pencil, they raise their hand and point their index finger up. I like the signals because it keeps my classroom quiet, I can nod yes or no, and I know what they need with out having to walk over to each student and disturb others with our conversation."

Teaching Idea

Ms. Azelda Ellis, Tutor

"I had a chance to work with a Pre-School class. To keep them off the floor and calling out my name, I had to come up with something. So, I decided to make a flower out of construction paper, cut it out, and paste it to a popsicle stick. And I wrote the word "HELP" on each flower. I placed one at each table in a cup. I instruct each child to raise the HELP sign when they needed help. Thank God this was a good thing."

Teaching Idea

"Missing Work"
Gina Taranto, Teacher

"I have a number of students who will constantly not turn in work. In order to know who had missing work before recess, I did a stand up and stretch role call during transitions. Each time we ended one assignment, I take the papers from today's work bin and call out the names of students who turned in their work. When their names are called, they are to stand up and stretch. Those students left sitting names were added under the assignment on the board. Assignment were to be finished by the end of the day, lunch, recess, ... or added to their journal as homework to be signed by parents"

Teaching Idea

"Explanation for missing homework"
Gina Taranto, 5th Grade Teacher

"As any teacher knows, students have many excuses for not completing their homework. I created a simple form that is placed in the front of my room. The form has a space for name, assignment, date, and reason the assignment was not completed. These reasons go home in weekly folders with their grade of a zero, as a reminder of missing work. This also allows parents to see these creative excuses. Be sure to leave plenty of space for their excuse."

Teaching Idea

"Improved Test Scores"
Krista Grace, East Intermediate/Teacher

"Some of my students were not working to their full capabilities. I came up with the idea of rewarding them with a snack for scores of 80% or above. You wouldn't believe the difference this has made. They receive a canned drink and an individually wrapped snack. The snacks are provided by the parents and local businesses. Sometimes they come out of my own pocket. Try it, it really works. Those who don't make it get really upset with themselves and it gives me the chance to encourage them and tell them how to improve before the next test."

Teaching Idea

"Rolling Dice"
Kerry Dobson, Relief Teacher

"I was in a classroom with a few difficult students. I found a foam dice in the classroom, had the students form a circle and explained the rules. Someone picks a magic number, that number is the same for the whole rotation of the circle. Everyone has a turn at rolling the dice. If the magic number is rolled, then that student gets to tell a class rule, something about their town or do a quick dance. I went to the same class the following day and the students all wanted to play the rolling dice game. That is what makes teaching fun! "

Teaching Idea

"Bathroom Procedure"
Christina Demonbreun, 1st Grade Teacher

"I teach first grade and in order to keep the bathroom from being an excuse to get up, I have a "chart " in the back of the room, where the bathrooms are located. My chart is on a magnet attached to a metal file cabinet. You can just tape it to the door, etc. This is very easy to make. On the computer, I type the students' names; two columns - one for boys, one for girls. The names are in alphabetic order by first name. There is a clothespin clipped to the bottom of the paper.

When a student needs to use the bathroom, he/she puts the clothespin, on his/her name. When done, he/she puts the clothespin back at the bottom. If another student needs to use the bathroom, he/she looks at the chart to see if it is in use. This prevents any lines from forming, or time wasted if it is occupied. My bathroom is in a small hallway adjoining the other classrooms, so there is no way to see if it is already occupied. I suggested this to my intern, when she obtained a fourth grade position and this is working in her class very well, too."

Teaching Idea

"Save Those Glue Caps"
Eileen Ellis, Elementary Art Teacher K-8

"When students are using glue sticks, we place the stick and the lid in a margarine container. Lids still manage to roll off the table and vanish. (We have glue lid gremlins in the artroom so we now save all glue lids in our LOST and FOUND basket.) Any student may help themselves to a matching lid whenever they need one! Very simple and very effective!"

Teaching Idea

"Maths Boxes"
Tracey Schumacher, Deputy Principal

"I teach 5 and 6 year olds. To make it easy for them to find maths equipment without having to read words, I photocopied 2/3 of what ever is in each equipment box (eg, Counters, blocks)and glued a picture on both ends of box. The children can instantly see what is in each box and can easily find things when asked to!"

Teaching Idea

"Classroom Currency"
Cris, Elementary Teacher

"A couple of years back, I came up with the idea of using a classroom currency. I find that it makes real world connections while helping me reinforce behavior and responsibility. Students receive currency for doing their work, just as if they were working a job. I pay them a fixed salary. Students get more money when they put a great deal of extra effort into their job. They also receive less money if they do a poor job. They can use their currency to receive extra time at play, purchase things at the school store, or use it for the weekly prize bag. I have also been using the concept of banking this year. Students who do not use their currency over the week, can bank the money and receive interest."

Teaching Idea

"I'm Absent"
Barbara Hall, Kindergarten Teacher

"After taking attendance I place a colored file folder on the desk of those absent. On the front of the folder I write "I'm Absent". The folders are used to collect any worksheets that are passed out during the day. The folders stay on the desk until the student returns. The day that students return the worksheets are taken out and put in planners to take home. This way I don't have to worry about students missing classwork."

Teaching Idea

"Peer Tutoring"
Jason, Elementary Teacher

One technique I find my self using more and more in the classroom is peer tutoring. As the class size increases just about every year, it is a great technique for keeping your class in check. This year I decided to create create peer tutoring groups after the third week. I sorted students so that I had the stronger students paired with weaker student. Each day I have planned group activities and have used the groups every chance I get. I have to say that it was very successful, especially for math skills. It really has sped up the learning process. You may want to give it a shot.

Teaching Idea

"Homework Leader
Nanette Avery, Teacher

"One of the classroom jobs that I assign weekly is the "Homework Leader". I tell the children that this person is "on-call" only in an emergency. The way it works is as follows. If a student arrives home and for one reason or another does not have an assignment written down in his/her planner, they may call the "homework leader" to tell them what the assignment is. They are not there to explain or give answers, strictly as a resource for what is due. I have found this job to be a wonderful way to get those students, who in the past, are not responsible, to now gain confidence as the person others may look towards. In addition, no matter how hard we try to get children to write in planners, some do make errors and the "homework leader" job has cut down on excuses the next day and anxiety at home."

Teaching Idea

"Do Now!"
Charlotte Babishkin, Middle Level Teacher

This was my second year teaching. One technique that really improved my classroom management and overall success with my students was the use of a daily "Do Now!" activity. I have 6 classes throughout an average school daily. Our periods are 45 minutes in length.

During my first year of teaching, I had a lot of trouble getting the students settled and focused. This process would take any where from 5 to 10 minutes.

On the advice of a senior colleague, I started using "Do Now!" activities. I write a quick assignment on the board that requires 5 minutes of my students time. The assignment reviews the past day's lesson.

This technique turned 5 wasted minutes into an engaging activity. It also helps me assess the students on a daily basis. I highly recommend it!

Teaching Idea

Individual Student Accountability
T. George, Smitha Middle School

"I teach Interrelated Special Education, Math to 8th Grade Students. As my fellow special education teachers know, we have to make sure that we cover ourselves. There are thousands of lawsuits yearly, and we, as special education teachers have to show that we are doing what we can to help the students.

In addition to modifications, to make sure that I cover myself regarding grades, I hold the students accountable for each missed assignment.

Students know that if they do not complete an assignment, they have to write (in their own handwriting):



I keep these sheets in the students folder. When parents come for conferences, students have no way out. I have done my part by making sure that they have their assignments written in their agendas. If they do not do their part, I have proof of why.

After a while, students catch on and they tend to remember to complete assignments in a timely fashion."

Teaching Idea

Homework Accountability/ Documentation
Jennifer Camp, 6th Grade Math/ Science

"When I collect a homework assignment, EVERYONE turns in a paper. If you have the assignment, you turn it in. If you do not, you have to turn in a piece of notebook paper with the assignment and an "excuse". If the excuse is the child was absent and you never receive the assignment, you know they do not make up work when absent. If they have excused frequently, you have something from the child to show parents at the conference. A lot of my kids are embarrassed to turn in excuses now. I have found that it motivates some to take the time to do their homework; so they do not have to write me an excuse."

Teaching Idea

Maureen Schafer, Fifth Grade Inclusion

"For individualizing classroom management I created the "Gotcha" system. A "Gotcha" is given to any (sometimes all) students that have been caught doing something positive. This may be as simple as being ready for a lesson, picking up a piece of trash, helping a classmate, etc. Each time a student is verbally told "Gotcha", they complete a small ticket that has a name line, date line, and a line for what they got caught doing. The students keep track of how many "Gotchas" they get in a day and then complete that many tickets during our end of the day routine. All "Gotchas" then go in the "Gotcha" basket.

At the end of the week we discuss probability, percentages, etc. of chances of getting your name pulled. Students will never have "Gotchas" taken away once awarded. I then pull about 10 or so tickets - each student may then choose a prize from the prize basket. We then dump all the tickets for that week and start again on Monday. This system has worked extremely well for my fifth graders over the years! Hope you find this successful also! "

Teaching Idea

Responsibility Monitor for Homework
Sangana William, Special Educator

"Every month I appoint a class monitor. This is no ordinary monitor, he/she will write down the given homework in the class record and sign it. The next day, he/she will check the work done by the students and submit the record to me. If any of students fail to do the homework, they will not be given that day's worksheet. This idea has really worked well for my students."

Teaching Idea

No Monsters In Our Room
Sheri Gibson, 4K Teacher

Objective: This lesson is used to compose a set of classroom rules that are student driven.

Grade Level: Pre-K, Kindergarten, 1st

Lesson: Begin by using the attached Promethean Flipchart to tell the story of The Day a Monster Came to School. At the conclusion of the story conduct a discussion describing what the monster did wrong at school. The next page of the flipchart gives you the opportunity to brainstorm using a circle map with the students generating ideas for rules. The final page of the flipchart is for listing the rules that the class chooses. By letting the students play a part in the decision process they are more likely to remember and follow the rules.

Teaching Idea

"Classroom Control using Clipboards"
Janie L. Eldred, Grade 6 teacher

"I used your worksheets "I'm late" and I'm leaving" for tardies and restroom breaks. Results: my students now know I am treating them as adults, and I no longer have constant classroom disruptions for trivial matters."

I'm Late Sign-in Printable | I'm Leaving Printable

Teaching Idea

"To quiet a room."
Juliette McDonald, Special Education Teacher

To quiet a large assembly or class in our school, the speaker raises his/her hand. Then who ever happens to see, raises their hand and stops talking. Soon everyone has their hand raised and the room is quiet. The principal uses this method to begin faculty or other adult meetings also. The superintendent of our school system now uses this method for her meetings also.

Teaching Idea

Yard Sale
Nancy Lendyak, HS Learning Support Teacher

"Between Thanksgiving & Christmas, our Sp.Ed department rewards the students w/ play monopoly money for perfect attendance, bringing materials to class, good behavior, homework completion, etc. We then have our staff donate yard sale items so that the students can purchase Christmas gifts for their families. We have a gift wrap dept.(that charges a small "fake money fee", and a refreshment stand. The students love it! For many, that is the only way for them to buy gifts for their families."

Teaching Idea

Deb, 6th Grade Teacher

"Preferred Activity Time can be done daily, 2x week, or once a week. Each class starts out with 20 minutes of free activity. Students take away seconds for every procedure, rule infraction, or homework missed. Students get added minutes for positive behavior or showing character/citizenship. Their behavior is shaped by the class and they love the activities I plan for them. If on an individual basis, then those students who do not make activity, sit a watch."