Classroom Management Strategies

Tried and True Strategies from Experienced Teachers

  • Remember, 80-15-5! Most management strategies will work with about 80% of the students most of the time, 15% of the students some of the time and 5% of the students none of the time! So be prepared to utilize different strategies!
  • Speak Softly and Carry...Well, Speak Softly! It's tempting when students are loud to raise your voice to get their attention-try speaking softly instead. Begin your next part of the lesson in a soft voice, almost a whisper and once the students realize your talking, they'll start quieting themselves.
  • Our Teacher is Expecting! Before you begin a lesson, tell the students what you expect of them and what you'll be doing during the lesson. For instance, "Today we're going to do an activity to show how different people use water and what effect that has on our water supply. We'll do an activity as a group and during this time, I need you to listen carefully to what your fellow students say so you'll know if you're connected to them or not." This is sometimes called "The Anticipatory Set."
  • Teaching on Roller Skates-Be On the Move! One of the most effective ways to keep students on task is to move around the classroom or teaching space while you're talking and doing activities. If there is a student who is not paying attention, sometimes just your proximity will get them back on track. If that doesn't work, try just touching their shoulder. Monitor what students are doing when they're engaged in activities and ask key questions to provoke them to think about what they're doing, rather then telling them what.
  • Keep a Low Profile When you have a student who is disruptive, chose the most unobtrusive way possible to talk with that student. Avoid calling attention to the student and if at all possible, remove the student from the setting, talk with him/her in a low, calm voice and do so away from the ears of others. Avoid getting into a public power struggle!
  • Positively Rewarding! Catch students being good, doing what you want them to do and tell them so! Use praise liberally and this will not only encourage this behavior to continue in the student you're praising, but with others as well. Use statements like, "Hey, I really like the way Bobby waited until Sally was finished before adding his comments!" or "I really love the way you followed directions just now Sara!" Even just a thumbs up or a smile to kids being good will help.
  • Attention Grabbing Before you begin a lesson, especially one that requires some movement of kids or lots of interaction between them, establish a mechanism for calling back their attention. Some tried and true attention grabbers include clapping in a pattern and having kids repeat until you have everyone participating, ringing a bell which means freeze and give me your eyes, holding up two fingers which means close your lips and look to the teacher. Practice this with the kids BEFORE you begin! If you're in another teacher's classroom, ask him/her what they use to get the student's attention and use it!
  • Playing the Name Game Do your best to learn the students' names as quickly as possible or make sure they have nametags on or on their desks that you can easily read. Calling a student by name is much more effective than not. Ask if you have to.

Follow the 10 Demandments: (from Not all of these will apply to all teaching situations you're in, but they're good to keep in mind!

  1. Always treat youngsters with respect and preserve their dignity.
  2. Always do what is in the students' best interests.
  3. Seek solutions, not blame.
  4. Model tolerant, patient, dignified and respectful behavior.
  5. Use the least intrusive intervention possible.
  6. Connect with your students and build strong personal bonds with them.
  7. Instill hope for success (otherwise there is no reason for kids to behave in your class).
  8. NEVER do anything disrespectful, illegal, immoral, ineffective bad for health/safety, or that you wouldn't want done to you.
  9. NEVER give up on a student. Be perturbed with the actions of the student, but keep believing in his/her ability to change for the better.
  10. Catch kids being good- A LOT!