10 Easy Classroom Management Ideas
The Glossary of education reform defines classroom management in this way: “Classroom management refers to the wide variety of skills and techniques that teachers use to keep students organized, orderly, focused, attentive, on task, and academically productive during a class.“ Teachers want to educate their learners effectively with minimal classroom disruptions, but unfortunately with our large classes these days, there are times when classroom management can be very challenging. If you are always looking for simple but useful strategies to try, here are ten ideas you might like to build on.
1. Be clear about expectations from Day 1
Right from Day 1, a teacher should know what his or her expectations are, and consistently enforce them. Harry and Rosemary Wong who are experts in classroom management techniques, suggest that teachers develop a well-thought out classroom management plan which they even take with them to an interview for a job! Some teachers put their plans on to a PowerPoint to present on Day 1 so that all the learners know exactly what is required. After presenting the plan to the learners, the class practices the procedures. Classroom management is about organisation and consistency. The two questions to ask before creating a classroom management plan are:
- What do I expect to accomplish this year?
- What plan do I have to achieve my goals?
2. Create a list of rules with your learners
Discuss what the class goals should be and what behaviour should be expected. What are the learners’ ideas about disregard of rules? Record their ideas on post-its and make a display of these. This could give the class some ownership! If some really good ideas emerge, add them to your classroom management plan.
3. Divide the class into teams
If your classroom has enough space for groups, then encourage teamwork in some of your lessons. Collaborative learning is one of the important aspects of 21st education. This is also a good way to add some competition to the class in terms of behaviour. Each group works together to earn points. You will need to think though a final reward that is not costly. This practice promotes community among learners and it also gives them the opportunity to practice good sportsmanship. Add group roles to the mix and your learners will become great team players.
4. Use Class Dojo – a motivational, digital tool for classroom management
Class Dojo is a motivational, digital way to create classroom spirit in a class. Younger learners respond well to this tool. Class Dojo is a free online tool which allows the class teacher to manage and record behavior digitally and provide instant feedback to the class. It encourages learners to take responsibility for their own behaviour and puts the focus on positive instead of negative behaviour. As well as awarding or removing points one can give the whole class a point each for a good behaviour. Best is that a graph can be created easily for each learner daily and this can be shared with the parent of the learner. An end of term/year a certificate can also be created for a learner and sent home.
5. Class coupons
Class coupons provide a fun way to manage a classroom. The learners are awarded certain coupons for positive behaviour. These can rise in value and can eventually be exchanged for certain activities. Activities could include relocating seats for a couple of days or doing something fun like a special game that is reserved only for this purpose. Learners could also choose their classroom job for a week or wear sunglasses to school. It all depends on what your school allows.
6. Create enjoyable lessons that include an element of surprise
Surprises energise people and bring a feeling of enjoyment to an activity. This also combats the problem of boredom in the classroom and rather increases engagement. What kind of activities could you do for surprises? Here are some ideas:
- Fun quizzes or other games. Gamification spices up lessons.
- Vocabulary contests in different subjects
- Tell interesting stories and anecdotes. These are attention grabbers.
- Play a fun, short but relevant YouTube video.
- Guessing games that relate to your lesson, about what is in a mystery box.
- A scavenger hunt or a trail of hints hidden around the school grounds.
- Doing a lesson outside. This immediately brings a feeling of relaxation to the class.
- Introduce role-play into a lesson. Role play is a great way to get important concepts understood by the learners.
7. Play soothing music in some lessons
Play soothing music during some lessons where the learners are working quietly. Carefully chosen background music can improve classroom behaviour and atmosphere and improve the quality and quantity of the work that is produced.
8. Introduce brain breaks
Get your students moving. Did you know that regular breaks throughout the school day from short brain breaks in the classroom to the longer break-times in the day are not simply downtime for learners? Edutopia, in their article on the research-tested benefits of breaks, says these breaks increase learners’ productivity and provide them with opportunities to develop creativity and social skills. Go Noodle is a site with a great collection of songs and movements
9. Make positive phone calls home
Try to make positive phone calls home every so often. Every parent wants to hear positive news about their child, and they will undoubtedly tell their child about your call. This will undoubtedly translate to their behaviour in class.
10. Take care of yourself
A day of teaching can be very tiring as there are so many tasks to do! Teachers need to practice self-care so that they don’t get exhausted. Keep a positive frame of mind. Make sure you don’t take school problems home and upset the family. Get enough sleep at night, ensure that you are eating nutritiously and add exercise to your weekly routine.
There are many more ideas we could add to this list of classroom management skills. Have you tried any of these ideas before? If you have any good ideas to contribute, we would love to hear from you.