Classroom Management Tips For Elementary Teachers - Hello friends! I'm teaming up with my good friend Eliza from Proud to be Primary to bring you a set of classroom management tips and tricks... plus a set of free classroom management suggestions!
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Classroom Management Tips For Elementary Teachers
I use a variety of classroom management techniques, including both individual and group approaches. Now it's important to remember that I'm not pulling all of these class management tricks out of the bag at once. Leading a novel about class management motivates my little friends to make positive decisions!
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My students love to "hang around for good behavior"! Maybe you're thinking... say what? This behavior management strategy is exactly what it sounds like! I start with the opposite word and flip a letter every time I catch my class behaving positively. If I notice undesirable behavior, I can return a letter. Once all the letters are turned the right way round, the class gets their prize!
Since I love planning fun events for my classroom, I thought...why not pair them with a behavioral incentive?! The following rewards were all ideas I wanted to implement in my classroom, but then I decided my classroom deserved these special events. The kids didn't know I was planning to make them anyway. They just thought they were working toward that reward by making good choices. Sneaky I know... but it was a very effective way of managing entire group classes! Take a look at the fun we had...
In November we made a good decision to earn a letter with the word "friendship" in it. After we spelled the word, we enjoyed socializing with our classmates, just as Native Americans and pilgrims did on the first Thanksgiving.
In December we spelled the word "ginger" and then explored gingerbread cookies with our five senses. You can always make or decorate gingerbread cookies too.
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If you'd like to start 'encouraging good behavior' in your classroom this year, you can watch it here. It includes 10 seasonal rewards as well as 12 rewards (pajama day, stuffy day, no homework, game day, etc.) that can be used anytime throughout the year!
The next classroom management strategy is all about teamwork! I start with these game boards attached to my whiteboard. Each table group works as a team to earn game pieces for their board. I always like to come up with a list of ways we can fill our chalkboards (eg, be first to clean up quickly and quietly, walk quietly on the rug, share supplies, help each other, stand still, etc.). The first team to fill their board wins!
Each month we use a different game board. My kids are always excited to see what to fill or build next!
I love that this lesson management strategy encourages teamwork and helps build collaborative skills! Check out all 12 monthly game boards here!
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The first thing I like to do at the beginning of the year is David Goes to School and How Dinosaurs Go to School. As I read, we give thumbs up for good choices and thumbs down for less good choices. After the story, we'll complete this free behavior type quote I found on Ms. Rika's blog. We sort a lot in the first week of school! We even make a code of conduct that we all sign (unfortunately I don't have a picture of our class constitution).
Another classroom management trick I'm introducing at the beginning of the year is attention-getters. These are perfect for transitional periods or just when you need the kids' attention. Mine hang on the door frame above my door so I can take a quick look and choose one to yell at.
I usually just teach my kids one at a time, and when they get bored of the good one, I introduce a new one. The ones I have are from Top Teacher, but I've seen a ton on Pinterest. I just love this eye-catcher from Simply Kinder and the teacher Laura, and it's free!
I also like to teach my kids some catchy anthems of this line. Constellation songs are very helpful for conducting the class and getting students to line up quickly and quietly. I keep these songs at my door. As soon as we line up, I start singing and the class follows. You can purchase these songs free of charge from Mrs. Rika's kindergarten.
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One of our favorite classroom management games as a whole group is Behavior Bingo. I pin the bingo card to my board. At the beginning of the year I like to use a board with only 25 numbers. Later this year I will be printing out the Bingo Behavior chalkboard poster size. After that I look for good decisions!
Whenever I catch someone making a good choice, they go upstairs and take a numbered rock from the bucket. These stones have magnets on the back so they can cover that number on our plaque. Once we get 10 in a row, there's a special reward day! Actually, you can pick any number in a row, but I like the 10 because it helps us look at the structure of the hundreds table in more detail. We always discuss our reward before we start the game. So my children know what they are working for and are motivated to win this award. We love this game! In addition, it also helps to strengthen number recognition and number sense! Win, win! Get your free copy here!
Another tip for teaching is the use of motivational supports as behavioral incentives. These cones were super cheap but really motivated the kids to stay focused and make good decisions. As soon as I put one on someone's desk, everyone wants one!
I also grabbed some motivational construction signs from the dollar tree. I like to use them in guided reading, day 5, math baths or literacy baths. When I see a group staying on task, I give that group a signal. The teams that have a sign at the end of this block of time can move their name up our music video charts or fill their buckets.
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Speaking of clip charts... I still use mine and find them to be good for encouraging positive behavioral choices early in the year. My kids work really hard to “save”. Strengthening positive choices helps motivate my other children to make the same choices. Grab my clip chart on the board here!
Any student who makes it to the top by the end of the day will receive their Rockstar Behavior card. Trust me... I try to really focus on specific kids so they all have a chance to make it to the top.
After five hits, the children can choose a winning coupon from the My Coupons coupon. They absolutely love these coupons! I got this set from Proud to be Primary. You can find the box here.
During the year we move on to filling buckets. We start by reading the story Did You Fill the Bucket Today by Carol McCloud. Next, let's create a list (anchor chart) of all the ways we can be bucket fillers at school. Having created this list, I will introduce our buckets. Each child receives a numbered cup. I use numbers so I can reuse them next year... no one has time for renaming!
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I like to use cotton balls to fill our buckets because they are cheap and my parents donate them. Whenever I catch a good selection, I ask them to fill their bucket. They take a cotton ball from my big bucket and put it in theirs. With dippers it is exactly the opposite. Bucket scoops should take cotton out of their bucket and put it back in mine. They hate doing it, so I usually have very few situations where I dip the bucket.
I don't leave the kids with their buckets on the desk just because I don't want them to be distracted by counting the cotton balls. We keep them in a shoe organizer hanging over the closet door. I'm pretty sure I got this idea from Mel D. at Seusstastic.
On Fridays we count our cotton balls and redeem them for prize vouchers! I have several boxes of vouchers. To keep it fresh I will rotate these coupons throughout the year.
Alternate seating is another classroom management tip I can't live without. I've found alternate seating to provide just the right amount of exercise for some of our young learners that they need.
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