Let’s be honest… we know how important community and relationships are with our students, but what is the glue that holds the whole thing together? Classroom management must haves, that’s what!
But classroom management is a daunting part of our job that sometimes feels like too much. How many times have you felt overwhelmed? Overstimulated? Like you just can’t even anymore. Have you ever wondered to yourself how other teachers make it look so easy or that if you could just fix this one thing it might be easier. The answer is more simple than you may think. I’m going to share with you some easy to implement tips that are structured in a way that can change how your entire classroom feels and runs if you stay consistent.
In this post you are going to learn about 10 must have classroom management must have tools that will not only help your day run more smoothly, but also help your classroom almost run itself like you aren’t even around! By the time you are finished you will feel so good about classroom management, with less stress and more time to have fun! So let’s get to it.
#1: It’s All About the Visuals
Classroom management must have number one is all about visual aids. You might think that these are only posters and pictures hung up around your room, but modeling behaviors are also a powerful visual aid that can transform the way your students interact.
Procedures need to be modeled EXPLICITLY in order for students to understand and know their expectations. They are the backbone to your classroom management and if you can get these down, you can do anything. Think about how you want your classroom to function. For example, how do I envision how students will use the bathroom or get a new pencil? I ALWAYS have high expectations for everything, so when thinking about how it will look and sound when students use the bathroom, I know what my standard is and I’m going to stick to it. Then you MUST model it for your students.
If you expect that students use a hand signal to go to the bathroom, uphold it and make sure they do that EVERY TIME. If Johnny needs to go to the bathroom and uses the signal, but then Katie needs to go, doesn’t signal but instead just gets up, what would you do? If you don’t hold every student to the same standard, then they won’t follow the expectations. This is where you have to be vigilant. It gets exhausting and your patience will be tested. It takes practice, practice more practice, and then more and MORE practice, but you must stand strong and I PROMISE it will pay off in the long run.
Now that you’ve visually SHOWED your students what you want, you’ve practiced and drilled into them that on certain procedures that there is no room for wiggles, help the memory last with your posters and other pictorial visual aids. One thing that I have found that really helps students is to snap pictures of them upholding the expectation. Students love seeing themselves around the classroom and what better way to showcase them in such a positive and powerful way?! I love using THESE editable posters and making it into a digital presentation to use with students!
Don’t forget to also check out these editable classroom procedure posters to fit all your needs!
#2: Nonverbal Communication
Another great classroom management must have hack is to capitalize on nonverbal communication. With this type of communication, we can get needs met, less interruptions, and an overall quieter environment so everyone can hear what’s going on around them.
Have you tried nonverbal communication like hand signals instead of students raising their hand for EVERYTHING? These are a great alternative for the traditional questioning process we normally see in the classroom. If you assign hand signals to the most frequently asked questions or responses, you can provide visuals for students to communicate their needs throughout your entire day. I love to set up signal signs in a designated spot in our room so students know EXACTLY how to ask for anything and everything they might need. From whole group to small group instruction, students will get their needs met easily and you won’t be interrupted for a million and one different things!
#3: A Solid Plan
Have you ever had one of those days when nothing is going right? It can feel SO stressful for us and for students when we don’t know what to expect or when things aren’t running smoothly. A solid plan is everything for these types of days because if something isn’t running right, we can scratch it and move on to our next scheduled program.
If you don’t have a plan, you plan to fail and this is one quote I have lived through! One thing that’s really helped make our classroom run smoother is using daily slides. I love using these simple templates to plan out my entire week with students. It helps students have a predictable schedule, shows those clear expectations, and provides time limits on activities.
These slides make planning a breeze and can help get things organized. Check them out in action HERE!
#4: Ross Says Quiet Down
Have you seen Ross’s quiet down symbol? It is hilariously annoying, but a great way to understand a way to indicate that it’s time to quiet down. I don’t know about you but as an introvert, I can get overstimulated by the noise levels… even if they are learning! Instead of using the infamous quiet symbol, teach students exactly when to use which voice levels and effective techniques for quieting a chatty class. Utilize those visuals and don’t forget how important ample practice time is for students! Learn 5 easy tips HERE!
#5: I Like to Move it, Move it
Have you heard of a movement code word before? This classroom management must have is a super simple way to help students transition to an activity WITHOUT chaos. You provide the word of the day, or week, and it’s the code to move to the next activity! The word can be as creative as you want to be such as “taco” or “robot”. Students know they can’t move, get started, or transition to an activity until they hear that word! It’s a fun and engaging way to get student’s attention and use it as an anchor to remember to move. Grab this Movement Code Word Freebie below!
Grab this free resource now!
#6: Clear and Explicit Expectations
This must-have should really be number one because it’s the backbone for everything. Clear, consistent, and explicit expectations are one of the most important tools for classroom management you have. They contribute to the way your classroom runs so smoothly, even on the days you’re out. So how do you make that happen? In addition to A LOT of modeling and many visual aids, one of my favorite ways to give clear, consistent, and explicitly expectations is using the stem “looks like and sounds like.”
Make this phrase your best friend. Trust me. But what’s it mean? It’s the hack you’ll need those first six weeks when teaching procedures! The biggest secret to having students master their expectations is by teaching them what EVERY procedure looks like and sounds like. You’ll want to EXPLICITLY model procedures for students so they will understand and know their expectations to a tee.
There are so many procedures in the classroom that you’ll have to work at to get down. It could be for sharpening pencils, transitioning to centers, or your whole group time?. No matter what it is, using this “looks like, sounds like” framework is a quick, easy, and effective way to immediately get your kiddos do exactly what you need and expect from them. Like I said, the phrase “looks like, sounds like” will be your best friend. Try it, reap the benefits, and thank me later! This effective and simple tool can be used for EVERYTHING including things like Recess Rules, Flexible Seating, Centers, and much more!
#7: Get Their Attention, Creatively
Ever find yourself losing your voice shouting or talking over students to get their attention? Have you realized that the ‘stand and wait until everyone notices that they should be quiet method’ will have you losing SO much instructional time? Well no more of that! Instead try call and responses. They are SUPER easy and engaging for students and so much fun!! They can be as simple as you calling out ‘class, class,’ and your kids responding with ‘yes, yes’ or you can shake things up and use seasonally themed ones! Check out this amazing bundle of call and responses so you can insert the fun, get their attention, and save your brain some thinking power!
#8: Build Up The Anticipation
Rewarding students is so important to motivate them and it gives them experiences they can remember forever. Combine positive incentives and teamwork.. Yes please! These are a fun and visual way to motivate the entire class to work together and show off all their great behavior! Whenever all students come to the carpet after the first time prompted, or when everyone is walking quietly in the hallway, they’ll earn a piece of the puzzle to complete for their class reward. Each piece shows progress towards their goal and it’s so much fun watching it all come together! You can give your students all kinds of choices for rewards to vote on that are fun and FREE, such as Bring a Stuffy Day, extra recess, or Pajama Day.
#9: There’s a Job for That
When I say you can really set yourself up to have your classroom almost run itself, I mean it! Think of all the responsibilities we have as teachers and all the tasks that need to be completed each day. Why not hand over the reins to students and let them do it?! Not only do they want the responsibility, but it takes the stress off of YOU. Keep forgetting to change the calendar? Task it out! Wish you had a personal assistant sometimes? Hire your student! Whether you want each student to have a job for the week, month, or year, they can help make your job even easier!!
#10: Check it Off
Classroom checklists are another best friend of mine! It takes the hard work and planning out of the equation and provides TONS of organization for your ideas and things to prioritize from the first six weeks of school to after you come back from long breaks. It’s also superrrr satisfying checking things off your lists to show yourself just how productive you’ve been!
BONUS: Don’t Forget About This One!!
Social emotional learning is just as important as effective classroom management. From kindness to growth mindset, these skills need to be effectively and explicitly taught and practiced for them to become a part of your classroom. When students have the structure, routines, and the social emotional skills they need, you’ll be amazed at how your classroom runs! Learn more about those skills HERE!
How are you feeling? Excited to begin? Not sure where to start next? Well check this out! I have got your classroom management COVERED with this jam packed growing bundle. All these amazing tools and more are included in the must have classroom management bundle. You will be able to walk in your classroom from day one with a solid plan as well as detailed lesson plans, visuals, checklists, and so much more! Grab the deeply discounted Classroom Management Bundle below!
Learn more helpful tips and tricks for having a classroom that almost runs itself with the link below!
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