11 Practical Classroom Management Ideas

One of my favorite things to do is peek inside other teacher's classrooms. I love seeing what kinds of things they are up to, checking out their favorite tricks of the trade, and to sniff out new tips that I can bring back to my own classroom.

If you're like me, then keep reading. This post is full of all my favorite classroom management ideas and tips.

Warning: This post is long, so grab a cup of coffee and cozy up while you enjoy peeking inside my classroom. :)

Classroom Management Ideas Practical Easy

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I started using a movement code word just this year. My class just couldn't seem to wait for me to finish giving directions before they started to "follow" them. To save my sanity, I started using a code word system which turned our transitions into a game of sorts. The students had to wait for me to give directions and could not move until I said the code word.

I will say, I wasn't sure if this would work, but it did! So, I stuck with it all year. And, I'm going to continue to use it in the future.

As you can see, I don't do anything special as far as displaying the code word. I just write it on the board. Pretty printouts aren't necessary for everything. ;)

I change my code word at the beginning of each week, and I like to use fun/funny words. Some people like to use vocabulary words, but I prefer keeping it light and fun where I can. :)

Some code words I used this year include:
-Cactus Pants
-Llama llama
-Rainbow Dash
-Sugar Cube
-And too many others I can't remember

If you ever feel like your go to "attention getter" isn't getting the attention it needs, then I highly suggest you invest in a wireless doorbell. For $13, it's a fun and effective way to mix up your attention getters. Click here to see this item on Amazon.

I don't use the doorbell exclusively, I use it when the kids are working in pairs or groups and the voice levels in the room are above a whisper level. It's easily heard and immediately gets their attention.

When I ring the doorbell, I tell the class to fold their arms and face me. Then, I say what needs to be said, and everyone returns to what they were doing. It's great!

Sometimes transitioning from desks to the carpet area can be slow. One way to help pick up the pace, and eliminate talking along the way is to lead students in a chant. We used a few chants this year, and once the kids learned them, I would let them be the chant leaders. I would signal for table groups to head to the carpet one at a time as the chant was going on.

I'd like to say that I'm so incredibly talented that I can write my own chants, but that would be a HUGE lie. I'm the least musically/rhythmically inclined person I know. Buuuut, click here for a (free) fun transition chant I found at Classroom Freebies. Pinterest is also a great source of chant ideas for those of us who need it. ;)

Guided reading is that sacred time of day where we all tell our students not to bother us unless something extreme is happening. It is also the time of day where our students seem to forget that we are not to be interrupted for minor things. Or, was that just my class this year?

Seriously, my class this year was just.not.getting.it. Every time guided reading rolled around they seemed to forget that we had a hand signal system in place. To them, I abandoned the role of teacher and swapped it for role of IT professional. I've never had problems with students solving their own problems or using hand signals during groups before, but this year was different. So, I invested in a pair of special glasses.

These glasses became my "Don't talk to me during reading groups" glasses. I hoped that something visual like the glasses, that I only wore during group time, might remind them to follow procedures. Guess what? It did (of course there were a few hiccups here and there, these are kids we're working with, after all)! Click here to see these glasses on Amazon.

If glasses aren't your thing (or you already wear them), then a headband or hat would work too.

The last thing I want to hear is "Can I get a new pencil/tissue/drink of water/go to the bathroom?" 95 times a day. Thank goodness for hand signals. I introduce these on day one and they are a sanity saver. My only rule is, don't use a hand signal during teaching time unless it is a dire emergency.

These hand signal posters are from Rachel Lamb- The Tattooed Teacher. You can edit them to meet your needs!

I used to play relaxing music via my CD player, but this past year I've relied on You Tube for all our relaxing sound needs. I could use Spotify, or other music apps, but I like to project the image from the You Tube video for extra ambiance. "Meditation Relax Music" is one of my favorite channels. Toward the end of the year, the "A Day of a Unicorn" song/video quickly became a class favorite.

I have an entire post about this. Check it out HERE!

All I will say here is that my students loooooooove their sticker books. And thank goodness, because I loooooooove to buy new stickers.

Whenever we enter the classroom (from our morning patriotic ceremony, from Specials, after lunch, etc.) I use point of order. The students enter at a zero voice level, and stand behind their desk with their arms folded. This just helps them remember that it's time to focus on learning. They sit down when I give the code word (see above).

Anytime my class walks together from point A to point B, I choose two mystery walkers. I do this by pulling two name sticks from the container on my desk (sorry, no pic).

I keep a careful eye on these two students as we walk to wherever we are going. If they follow hallway expectations, they earn the status of Mystery Walker and earn a ticket (in my classroom, tickets are used to earn special privileges). If a student earns the status of Mystery Walker twice in once day, he/she earns a special reward tag!

I made these using my Editable Reward Tags. Read all about reward tags HERE.

If you have a classroom economy, you could pay your walkers a small amount of classroom money. Or, give them a sticker. Or, they just get bragging rights to being named Mystery Walker. Basically, you can reward your walkers however you'd like. :)

My friend Deirdre (A Burst of First) shared this genius classroom job idea a few years ago. I took her idea and made it work for me. Because, isn't that what teaching is all about? Hehe.

Seriously though, this system is a life saver (for me)! Every week, I assign two students the role of classroom helpers. These students basically do anything from running errands to collecting papers to passing out papers to carrying the lunch bin outside.

This system works for me because I cannot keep up with assigning 23+ jobs a week. It's just too much. If you prefer assigning specific jobs to all your students, that's awesome, but this is a great alternative for those of us who can't keep up with that.

After school on Friday, I take down the two names from that week and replace them with two new names for the following week. I keep the name cards in a small basket and just rotate through the pile of names two at a time. I keep it as simple as possible.

You can download the chart here for FREE!
What you'll need to do:

  • Print out the chart.
  • Use an exacto knife to cut small slits toward the top and lower middle portions of the white section of the chart. 
  • Place paperclips through the slits. 
  • Slide your name strips under the paperclips. 

(You'll need to make your own slips of paper with student names printed on them....or, just cut up index cards and write the names on that).

For some reason, the idea of using student numbers seems to really irritate some people. If that's you, please don't read the rest of this section. Student numbers, however, can make things easier when it comes to labeling. My students are not called by number, nor are they just a number to me. It's simply a way to streamline classroom organization for the students, and me.

I use student numbers because I don't have to spend time relabeling everything in my classroom at the beginning of the year. This is especially helpful as class sizes continue to increase.

I label our mailboxes with numbers. These numbers have been in place for a few years now. Such a time saver when I'm trying to unpack and set up my classroom at the end of summer.

Students write their name on their paper, followed by their number. This way, papers can be quickly and easily placed in the correct mailbox.

Our brag tag display is also labeled with numbers. These numbers have been up for about 3 years because I haven't had to customize the labels with names.

That's all, folks! I hope you found an idea or two that you can use in your own classroom. Do you have another tip or idea to share? If so, comment below!


Classroom Management Ideas Practical Easy

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  1. I have a Movement Code too. My class calls it the Magic Word. The line leader choses the word during our morning meeting. I will definitely use is again next year.

    1. I love that you have a student choose the code word. What a great idea!



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