Looking to set your class up for success or feel like you might need a mid-year “reset” when it comes to classroom management and expectations? These 5 easy classroom management strategies are just what you need! And . . . you can use them in your classroom starting today!
Longing for a classroom that runs smoothly? Feeling burnt out by repeating expectations and having to dole out discipline? Want to avoid feeling any of the above? Try out a few of these classroom management strategies to get you off on the right foot or get your class back on track.
5 Classroom Management Strategies
1. Co-Creating Expectations
If you want students to buy into the expectations, the number one strategy I suggest is having your students help you create the rules for the classroom.
This is a great beginning-of-the-year activity or works well if your class needs a “reset” when it comes to expectations. Simply start by asking students what they think needs to happen to have a classroom environment where they can learn. Some students will have ideas right away and others will need you to break them down a bit.
How to Create Expectations as a Class
For those classes that need some more scaffolding, I always start with a few key concepts such as safe, respectful, responsible, etc.
These are the overarching things I wanted our classroom to be. Then I ask them what it means to be safe, respectful, or responsible. They write down their answers or draw a picture to show what it means to them.
We share ideas and talk about how we can make rules for our classroom that can help us be each of the concepts we identified.
From here, the class narrows down to a few rules (one for each concept we want to make sure our classroom embodies), and then I would add a few of my own if anything was missing.
Getting students in on creating the expectations and rules makes them feel like part of the classroom community. It helps them understand why the rules are important, and thus leads to them being more likely to follow through with those expectations.
Pro tip: To get your students involved, break them into groups and have each group create a poster of one of the expectations. Hang them around the room as visual reminders!
2. Pom Pom Jar
Once you have established expectations, having a way to keep students accountable can be a huge help for ongoing classroom management. One way you can do this is with a Pom Pom Jar.
There are numerous ways you can set up the Pom Pom Jar system, but at its core, it is an incentive program. Your students follow the expectations (or go above and beyond!) and they earn pom poms for the jar. Once the jar is filled, they receive some sort of incentive. This could be a class party, extra minutes of recess, stickers, etc.
To utilize this classroom management strategy, all you need is a container (of any size you wish), pom poms, and a list of expectations that you have gone over with the students. I also suggest having a list of approved incentives for when the jar is filled so that your class knows right up front what they can earn. Nothing deflates great classroom management strategies more than student disappointment!
The driving force behind the Pom Pom Jar is that students get to choose their incentive. So, you could even have your students help you brainstorm the list that way you will know for sure that they are motivated. The more motivated the more they are likely to follow through with expectations!
Pro tip: Don’t let your jar be too large. If it takes too long to earn the incentive, this classroom management strategy might not work as intended. It might take you a few rounds to find the best fit. I like using a plastic container that is made for holding pasta.
3. Bingo Games
The best classroom management strategies don’t feel like classroom management strategies at all! They feel effortless and fun.
That is why I love using bingo games to keep students engaged and on track! To start using bingo games as a classroom management strategy, you first need to come up with a list of ways that the class can earn points on their bingo board.
Some behaviors my class can earn points for include:
- Lining up quietly
- Getting praise from a specials teacher
- Cleaning up quickly after an activity
- Following a specific classroom rule
- Working together as a team
The list could go on and on! Just brainstorm behaviors you want to be seeing more of in your classroom and add that behavior to the list.
Next, print out a bingo board, laminate it, and attach it to your board so that all students can easily see it. I love creating themed boards for each month to keep up the interest! Then print out the bingo pieces and laminate them so that you can easily tape or Velcro them to the board when points are earned.
Just like any classroom management strategy, make sure students are clear on what is expected of them. Go over the logistics such as how they earn bingo pieces and what happens once the class earns bingo. I find it helpful to post the expectations right next to the bingo board to keep us all accountable!
Then get your bingo game underway! Each time the class is successful with a behavior from your list, pull out a bingo piece and attach it to the board. You can get them even more engaged by having a student pick out the piece and another attach it!
Once the class earns bingo, they can get a prize. Again, make sure to outline prize options from the start so that there is no disappointment. Each month the game starts over.
Individual Student Use of Classroom Management Strategies
Feel like you don’t need whole-class classroom management strategies? Maybe you have a few students you would like to engage with more?
You can adapt the bingo game for them as well. Each student can have their own board and their own specific list of behaviors.
This is a great way to individualize your classroom management!
If you are loving this idea, but are wondering when you will find the time to create bingo for your classroom, you don’t have to worry!
I’ve created a whole Bingo Games Bundle that you can use all year long. Simply print and go!
4. Role Playing
If you truly want a classroom management strategy you can start today, choose role playing! Role playing expectations requires no prep work or extra materials.
Simply, give students scenarios to act out that include following and not following expectations. As a group of students acts out the situation, have the class guess what is going on and if the students are following or not following the expectation.
Take the activity one step further by discussing how they felt in the role plays. Did it feel good to not be following the expectations? Did they notice how others were affected when they didn’t follow the expectations?
It seems simple, but role playing can be an amazing classroom management tool! You can even choose a particular situation that your class is struggling with to bring it to their attention.
Role playing can also be powerful for that student that seems to struggle with following a specific rule or expectation. Give them a chance to role play the right way and watch as they gain self confidence in their actions.
5. Rapport Building Activities
When it comes down to it, we can play games and have fun incentive programs until the cows come home, but at the heart of classroom management is the rapport that you have built with your students.
If you were to do nothing else on this list, I urge you to incorporate rapport building activities into your classroom routine. The more connected students feel to you, their classmates, and you to them, the more smoothly your classroom will run.
Now you might be saying, “Of course! I do these kinds of activities at the beginning of every year!” Which is great! We should start rapport building right from the get go. Unfortunately, once the “new” of the school year has worn off, we tend to forget to return to these types of activities.
Rapport building has to be on-going and genuine. So I suggest incorporating these types of activities at least once a month (or more if needed!).
Here are some ways you can continue to build rapport all year long:
- Interviews: take a little time to sit down and chat with each student
- Have fun greetings that are personalized for each student
- Do feelings check-ins and follow up as needed
- Build time into your schedule for non-academic talk
- Use Morning Meeting to build connections with students
Save These Classroom Management Strategies
Make sure to pin this post to your favorite classroom Pinterest board, so that you can quickly come back when you need some new classroom management strategies for your classroom!