25 Game-Changing Classroom Management Hacks & Strategies


25 Game-Changing Classroom Management Hacks & Strategies

With a new set of students in the fall comes the responsibility to find a classroom management system that will motivate and engage this particular set of students at the start of a new school year. We’ve all dealt with the chatty kids, the choppy transitions, and the impulsiveness of some students. Spend some time this summer planning how to get ahead of these behaviors! Promoting positive behaviors in the classroom is essential to ensure the most amount of academic learning time possible. From incentives and conversations to games and books, there are so many ways to teach classroom expectations.

So, how can you make classroom management both appealing to the kids and beneficial to your teaching? How can you manage a class virtually if needed? Check out these 25 management hacks!

Just so you know, we may get a small share of the sales made through the links on this page.

1. Use table trophies to manage group activities

Whipping out table trophies provides a quiet reminder to students to watch the noise level, be productive, or get back on track. Adults or a designated student can even “pass on” trophies during an activity if one group earns it over another! At the end of a collaborative activity, the teams with trophies can win a prize.

2. Flashlight Fridays motivate students to be productive throughout the week in order to earn reading time as a reward

Students love to use a flashlight to read their books, and teachers love to reward positive behaviors with reading! Grab a pack of 30 flashlights for less than $1 each on Amazon!

3. Play Classroom Management Bingo to target specific behavior needs!

4. Classroom Connect reward system is a classroom management game I can get behind!

Target specific class goals or behaviors, like transitioning smoothly, and reward with Connect Chips when the whole class does well after a lesson. Students can decide on a prize when they win in this version of Connect Four!

5. Use Quiet Critters to encourage appropriate noise level

Quiet critters only come out when students are following noise level expectations! Place them on student desks as a visual reminder to remain at an appropriate level of noise. You can find quiet critters here, or you can make your own with some pom-poms, and googly eyes.

6. Provide time for students to self-reflect on behaviors using “Fix it tickets”

Fix it tickets provide a perfect opportunity to discuss classroom expectations on an individual basis!

7. Hand out Behavior Buddies to students who have worked hard to do their best in class

Behavior Buddies could include self-control sloth, patient parrot, positive pig, helping hippo, and so many more! Who doesn’t love a new stuffed animal friend?

8. Display digital slides as often as needed to discuss classroom procedures

If students know and understand classroom procedures, management during the day will come with ease. These slides provide talking points and should be referred to during morning meetings as frequently as 2-3 times a week, especially at the start of a school year. This hack could be used to discuss virtual learning expectations as well with a tweak to the specific procedures.

9. Hold up visual reminders of expectations during online meets or in-person instruction!

10. Use Chatty Beads or Blurt Beans to control calling out

You can purchase very affordable beads on Amazon.

Via: Miss Giraffe’s Class

11. The Great Dot Challenge is a simple way to encourage positive behaviors!

With a bingo blotter and a piece of paper, you can totally transform your classroom management! Blot a dot for each positive behavior displayed by the class as a whole, like working together productively to solve a challenging math problem. When every dot is filled, students earn a special activity.

12. Sometimes all you need is a fresh Attention Getter to manage behaviors!

Try displaying your attention getters on an anchor chart too!

Check out this list of 35 Fun Attention-Getters to Keep Your Classroom Under Control!

13. Display Zones of Regulation to help students self-identify their actions

14. Play Classroom Crack the Code to encourage specific behaviors

Have a secret code with themed images to target any expectation. Students get the chance to guess letters when they’ve earned it and will reveal the code (which will be the prize) on the board!

15. Create a class mantra that students repeat daily to promote positivity

Repeating a mantra encourages students to think and feel successful. In turn, they are more likely to do their best work and demonstrate their best behavior. You might try a mantra like “We are kind, open-minded, and accepting students!”

16. Assign classroom jobs that promote kindness and responsibility

25 Game-Changing Classroom Management Hacks and Strategies You Need to Try

Get a full set of classroom job cards for free here!

17. Switch it up and teach inspiring Class Values instead of Rules

By creating Class Values, teachers can show the true importance of positive behaviors. Students will find new inspiration in having values instead of rules to follow! Find out more on Building-Brilliance.com

18. Use push lights to let the class know what noise level you’re expecting in your class

25 Game-Changing Classroom Management Hacks and Strategies You Need to Try

Kids need structure and having clear rules that they must follow is important. Saves you time and gives them a visual guide to their behavior. Win-win for everyone! You can find cheap push lights on Amazon.

19. Display just a few vital expectations and acknowledge when students exhibit the behaviors

Get these free expectation posters here

20. Read a book to students about classroom expectations

This seems so simple and obvious, but we can’t forget to overlook the power of literature! Here are some great book ideas addressing classroom rules, kindness and bullying:

Check out this extensive list of LGBTQ+ books you can add to your library, as well as these 50 Books About Race For Kids & Young Adults.

21. Make an engaging classroom management board to display your system of choice

22. Promote good choices with a shout out board!

Students and adults can shout out students for specific positive actions noticed in the classroom. This can be done verbally or through this awesome shout out board hack!

23. Prepare for classroom management that can be used with a substitute 

24. Encourage students to manage their problems when and if possible by using a Problem Solving Wheel

25. Expected and Unexpected Behavior Boom Cards can be used virtually or in-person

These Boom Cards are a gamified method of learning behavior expectations in the classroom. Students can navigate the Boom Cards on their own (or in a group), discuss the behaviors pictured on the cards, then decide if behaviors are appropriate or inappropriate. 

26. Use social stories to remind students of expectations

Social stories are an engaging way to review expected behaviors and spark conversation!

As you are picking and choosing from this amazing list of classroom management hacks, remember that there is almost always a reason behind a behavior. Don’t underestimate the power of an honest conversation with a child who is having a hard time. And don’t be afraid to reward students for being AWESOME!

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Jenna Marcal

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Jenna is a 5th grade teacher in Upstate New York! She loves to cook, dance, and dance while cooking! When she's not taking care of her succulent babies, Jenna can be found grading a stack of papers with one hand and holding a chilled glass of white wine in the other.

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