Easy & Effective Classroom Management Ideas

One of my favorite things to do is see what other teachers are up to in their classrooms. When teacher's share their ideas, I eat it up! I'm always on the lookout for new ideas, new tricks, and new tips.

If this sounds like you, then keep reading. This post will peek inside my classroom as I share more of my favorite classroom management tips and ideas. Click here for my other classroom management ideas post.

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Like I mentioned, I love learning new things from other teachers. Welp, guess how I learned about this handy classroom management tip? Another teacher! My teammate shared this genius idea with me.

Basically, the time keeper holds this oil timer and watches the rest of the class during independent work time to make sure they are doing what they are supposed to. It is a way to encourage kids to stay focused (and quiet) during their independent work time. It works because everyone wants to be the time keeper!

Once the kids have started working, I choose a student to come to the front of the room. I do this by casually placing the timer on their desk. That's their signal that they have been chosen as the first time keeper. This student gets to hold the oil timer at the front of the room (where they can see the whole class). As the timer runs its course, the time keeper is looking for their replacement (someone who is working, not talking, not messing around, etc). When the oil timer runs out, the time keeper simply places the timer on the next student's desk. This continues until your independent work time is over. You can find these oil timers on Amazon. 

I know checking the cleanliness of student desks is nothing new, but one day I found a fun and exciting way to do this. The kids loved it so much, that I do use this method of checking desks often.

I took this flashy wand (as I call it) and went desk to desk. If the inside of their desk was meeting the expectations I made perfectly clear to them the first week of school (and all the days after that), I tapped the wand on their desk and they got a reward tag. They take great thrill in seeing the wand light up. It's the little things, friends. Since it was such a hit, I've continued to use this method.

Note: Sometimes I give a reward tag that is specifically for having a clean desk, but other times, it's just a reward tag reminding them that they are awesome (see above).

This is something I'll often do if we have an extra 5-7 minutes because it doesn't take long to peek inside a desk and see who knows how to keep their materials organized and who doesn't. You can find these flashy wands in the Target Dollar Spot (or whatever it's called these days).

Oh goodness, there is sooo much I could say about reward tags. They are such an effective tool to use in your classroom. So effective, that I've written several posts about them. Click here for allllll the details.

Basically, reward tags are little tags that students earn for making good choices, working hard, meeting goals, working toward goals, accomplishments, and whatever else you want to recognize a student for. Over the course of the year, they collect tags and place them on a ball chain necklace (a ring clip works too!). In my classroom, students wear their necklace any time they earn a new tag, and everyone wears their necklace on Fridays. Again, click here to read the many blog posts I have detailing all things reward tags, including useful tips and tricks and the ins and outs of using them. 

This trick may just make an appearance in any classroom management blog post I write. That's how much I love it!

A movement code word is exactly what it implies. You move when you hear the word. I started using this several years ago when my class thought they should follow the directions as I was giving them. Sigh. It was driving me bonkers. I started using the code word and told them they could not move until I was done talking and I said the code word. It turned things into a game of sorts (and no, no one loses and you don't get in trouble for forgetting).

I change my word weekly because changing it daily would never work for me. Like never. I like to use silly words. Some people like using academic words. Our day is so regimented that I prefer using a fun, silly word. It's a simple way to add more fun to the day.

I have an entire blog post about using a movement code word. Click here for all the specifics.

Sticks with students names. I don't know what genius came up with this idea years and years ago, but it's a management trick that's still going strong.

You can use name sticks for so many things: calling on students, pairing students, choosing a mystery walker, attendance, and MORE! Click here to read (in detail) the many ways that name sticks can be used in the classroom.

You need to have a plan for students who finish their work early. Otherwise, chaos will ensue. Okay, maybe not chaos, but you'll have a handful of kids just doing what they want and most likely distracting their classmates.

In my classroom, if you finish an assignment early, you can either:

  • Work on unfinished work (must do, if you have any)
  • Read silently
  • Choose a fast finisher activity

Giving students a choice is important, and this is one way I can do so when there are so many restrictions in place that dictate how our day looks.

My fast finisher activities are kept in drawers. The students can choose any activity from any drawer. I have 9 drawers total so I don't have to swap out the content very often. I typically stock the drawers with various sight word activities, grammar puzzles, and/or math puzzles. Here are a few examples of what I have put out in the past.

Sight word drills:

Sight word flash cards:

Miscellaneous puzzles and activities from Oriental Trading:

I'll admit, this little trick is definitely fluff. But, I won't apologize for it because the kids love it. I found this light up bubble wand when we went to Disneyland last year. I had to have it. I

I use the wand to shower partners/small groups of students with bubbles when they are working with an appropriate voice level. When kids work together they have a harder time with voice levels. When one group sees another being showered with mini bubbles, they work harder to control their voice levels because, I mean, who doesn't want a 15 second bubble party?

You can find light up bubble wands on Amazon. I haven't used them, but if you like this idea, and don't plan on visiting Disneyland any time soon, maybe there is one here that would work for you. :)

I have five table groups in my classroom. Sometimes, I need one person at that group to get materials for the table, or get privacy offices for the group, collect papers from the group, etc. I've found that designating one student as the team captain is the easiest way to do this. I don't have to spend time picking a student. The captain just does it.

Every Monday, I choose a new team captain. When the students see a little dino like this one on their desk, they know it's their turn to be team captain. I only have one rule...do NOT touch the dino. If they do, they lose it. They don't lose their position as team captain, they just don't get to sit with their dino pal for the week. Basically, they get to practice some self-control with this position. ;)

The dino is a bath toy. I got this set on Amazon.

That's it, friends! I hope you found an idea or two to try in your classroom. Don't forget to click here for more classroom management ideas like picking a mystery walker, using sticker books, and more. 


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1 comment:

  1. Brilliant techniques! Thanks for sharing these. The movement code word is probably the new best use variation for a code that I've read about! Great idea! And the oil timer could be very mesmerizing! :) Watching all those colors and shape bubbles swirling around would probably lead me to experiment with it, however!!! :) I'd want to swish it, move it, turn it back and forth!


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