Effective classroom management skills are the key to success in the elementary classroom. Developing a classroom management plan, fine tuning your classroom management strategies and strengthening your classroom management techniques will make you a more productive, efficient teacher. This will increase student learning, decrease your stress level and make your job even more enjoyable. This post will share 5 classroom management strategies for elementary teachers. In addition, it will showcase a collection of very popular printable classroom management tools.
I’m going to be completely honest, but I’m probably not telling you anything you don’t already know. As a classroom teacher you are constantly being judged by students, parents, administrators and colleagues on your classroom management skills. It doesn’t matter how well-educated, well-planned or dedicated you are. If your classroom management skills are lacking, you may be unfairly viewed as a “bad teacher.”
These days this accusation goes beyond gossip on the soccer field among parents. In more and more districts, teacher evaluations and student performance is weighing heavily into teachers’ pay rates. Newer teachers, or experienced teachers new to a district, are especially at risk of being unfairly penalized. There is an increased ease of termination that can put your job in jeopardy. These realities are why having a toolbox of classroom management strategies is so important! Read below to get some helpful tips and resources to help you become a model of classroom management best practices!
5 Classroom Management Tips
Below are 5 classroom management tips for elementary teachers.
1. Create a Management Plan
Classroom management is so much more than discipline and behavior management. Classroom management includes all of the things a teacher is responsible as part of the job. It is important to map out all of your procedures and routines before the school year begins. In addition, you’ll need to invest the time into teaching them to the students on the first day. Be sure to think through every aspect of the school day and year and all that you need to manage. Develop systems for documenting communication, sending things between home and school, and handling requests to go to the nurse and everything else that needs to be on your teacher radar.
2. Prepare for Distractions
You are going to be interrupted throughout the day. Students will blurt things out. Your phone will ring. The intercom will come on. People will stop by your classroom. Plan ahead for these events to minimize the disruption. In my classroom, I found that assigning spots in our line and seats for whole group, establishing clear expectations regarding bathroom breaks, setting guidelines and routines for sharpening pencils, and implementing hand signals for non-verbal communication all greatly attributed to a positive environment.
3. Try What Works for Others
There is a lot to consider as a classroom teacher. The good news is that you don’t need to think of everything. I tried so many different things over the years. Some worked and some failed. After you have listed all the things that need managing you should see what others have done successfully. Find a veteran teacher and run your ideas by them. Ask what worked well for them. See if they see any obvious flaws with your plans. Go to teacher forums online and seek additional advice. Typically there are lots of experienced teachers willing to help you by responding to your posts. Join my Facebook group called The Clutter-Free Classroom Club: Solutions for Busy Teachers. It’s a community of 4,500+ teachers who are eager to collaborate and answer your questions.
4. Develop Procedures and Routines
Create systems and routines that enable your learners to navigate the day independently. Having procedures in place for everything from ordering lunch and taking attendance to packing up and being dismissed will ensure a smooth day for all. Establish parameters and expectations for behavior and be clear and consistent. Clear rules and consequences decrease the need for teachers to discipline students. This creates a positive environment and builds relationships between the student and the teacher. Enabling a classroom to run itself helps prevent teacher burnout and fatigue. It also allows the teacher to have better, more positive rapport with the students, which increases trust and student learning. Check out this procedures and routines resource for more helpful information and support!
5. Use Management Tools
Classroom decor is important when it comes to creating a cohesive and organized space. Classroom themes and color schemes play a big role in the aesthetics of the space. However, it’s also important to include purposeful resources. Birthday charts, tooth tallies, assignment management boards, dismissal charts, and interactive positive behavior systems are all important. They deserve some prime real estate too. These tools will help you reach your goal of improving your classroom management skills. Check out the classroom management tools below!
Classroom Management Resources
Below are classroom management resources for elementary teachers.
Classroom Management Bundle
Putting together a classroom management plan is hard. Thinking through the details and creating classroom resources to make sure the room runs smoothly is a big undertaking. I’ve spent months putting together a resource that will be a time-saver and improve your classroom management skills. The Clutter-Free Classroom Management Bundle contains an abundance of ideas, tips, and resources to improve your classroom management. It includes all of the items listed below.
Classroom Management eBook and Workbook
The Classroom Management eBook is an 80-page resource that lists out everything a teacher will need to manage. In addition, it describes in detail tried and true methods for managing each management task. The Classroom Management Workbook is a 57-page resource that is a perfect complement to the Classroom Management eBook. It will walk you through the process of thinking about classroom management via prompts and reference to the eBook. It includes designated space for organizing your to do list and supplies needed to put the plan into action. There are even notes in the workbook directing you to the pages in the eBook specific to that topic. There is also a note identifying when there is an included product to help you. Both are included in the Classroom Management Bundle.
30 Classroom Management Printables
The 30 Classroom Management Tools resource is jam-packed with some of my best-selling resources. These tools have been used in tons of classrooms with great success. Most of these resources include multiple versions. This allows you to elect to use one with clipart or not. The majority have editable components to enable you to customize them for your own classroom. This is also included in the Classroom Management Bundle.
1. Behavior Calendar
This behavior calendar and tracking sheet system for documenting student behavior works really well for elementary teachers. It is a 55-page resource that includes expectation posters, class logs, individual student logs, and monthly calendars.
2. Schedule Cards
Post these schedule cards at the front of your room each morning. This gives students a big picture of what the day will look like. Having them posted allows students to check them to see what is coming up next. This is especially helpful for students with Autism and Anxiety. This resource includes 30 printable pages and 21 editable pages. You’ll have access to schedule cards, time cards, and additional accessories.
3. Name Tag Labels for Cubbies and Lockers
These name tag labels are perfect for labeling cubbies and lockers. This resource includes 28 printable pages and 28 editable pages. You’ll have access to tons of different labels to choose from that you can customize to fit your needs.
4. 180 Attendance Questions or Journal Prompts
Are you looking for a fun and interactive way to take attendance? Taking attendance doesn’t need to be boring! Simply display one of these questions on the board (or read it aloud to younger learners). As you check attendance, the children respond with their answer to the question of the day. It’s so much more fun than simply saying, “here!”. This 23-page attendance questions resource includes question of the day signs, question cards, a teacher checklist, and differentiated journaling pages.
5. Pencil Management System Printables
Pencils can be the root of many distractions. Let’s be honest, as a teacher you don’t have time for that! Kids wander the classroom to sharpen them… or worse, they intentionally break the tip as an excuse to wander the classroom pretending to need to sharpen them. This resource will help you effectively manage pencils in the classroom by providing you with printable tools to help. This 15-page pencil management resource includes a teacher guide, sharp and dull labels, parent volunteer note, supply labels, how to use the pencil sharper poster, and thank you note templates.
6. Lunch Choice Display
Taking lunch orders is often part of the morning routine in an elementary classroom. This lunch choice display makes it a lot easier to manage! This 24-page resource includes printable and editable display circles that come in different styles so you can choose what looks best in your classroom.
7. Parent Communication Documentation Notes
It is important to always document any interactions you have with your students” families. This is necessary for several reasons. You want to be sure you follow-up on conversations with parents. In addition, you want to make sure you take the steps necessary to collaborate on ensuring student success. It is also important to have a detailed record if conflict arises. Knowing when you spoke, what was said, and who was involved may be crucial. You may be questioned by administration on an issue and will want to be prepared. This 13-page parent communication documentation system resource includes binder covers and communication log templates.
8. System for Walking in the Hallway
Do you struggle with getting your students to walk in a quiet line in the hallways? Lining students up and walking them down the hall is no easy task. It’s even more challenging if your school has stairs! However, it is crucial that you are able to manage your student line for 3 reasons. First, it’s important for safety reasons. Second, you want to make sure the other classrooms are not disturbed by you. Finally, your administrators and coworkers are judging your classroom management skills based on what they see in the halls. This 44-page secret walker resource includes a teacher guide, certificates, raffle container labels, brag bracelets, monthly tally tracker to manage the winners, and stationary for listing your line order.
9. Tardy Student Log
Do you have students who are frequently absent or tardy? Are you looking for a simple and effective way to track, document and communicate student tardies? This tardy student resource will make it easy for you to collect data showing how often students arrive late. It includes tardy slips and tardy arrival attendance logs.
10. School Nurse Passes
Don’t let boo boos and children requesting a trip to the nurse disrupt learning or take up your instructional time. This classroom management resource includes everything you need to minimize distractions and save you time. This 14-page school nurse visit resource includes nurse passes, nurse visit report checklist and narrative, donation request sheet, classroom first aide kit label, and accident report.
11. Classroom Hand Signals
These classroom hand signal printable posters are a highly effective classroom management tool. You will find you have fewer student distractions, less disruptions while teaching and more time on task. The classroom hand signal printable charts were designed so you can mount them onto any color paper. This will allow you to match it with your classroom color scheme or theme while saving money on ink. This 42-page resource includes a teacher guide, 3 versions of the hand signals, posters, hand signal quick reference guide, and an outer circle template for mounting.
12. Bathroom Sign Out Sheets
This 20 page bathroom sign out sheet resource includes a variety of sign-out sheets to monitor restroom visits. This data will be helpful in instances when a child is having trouble using the school restroom. In addition, it’s helpful for when students are using it as a way to avoid tasks or take breaks.
13. Bathroom Management System
Teachers are often interrupted by students asking to use the bathroom. Using the restroom is a basic need. However, restroom trips are also a common avoidance tactic. Students will use a bathroom trip when they want a break from a lesson or academic task. You need to develop a procedure and set expectations that works for everyone. This tool works perfectly for managing trips to the restroom without causing distractions to your lessons. This 16 page bathroom management resource includes boy and girl cover cards, student number cards and a background display. These will equip you with what you need to create a great system for managing bathroom breaks.
14. Hand Washing Poster
This resource is exclusive to the classroom management bundle. It is a simple printable poster to remind students of the hand washing procedure.
15. Clip Charts
Classroom management and behavior management are essential for effective teaching. A clip chart is one tool that you can add to your behavior management toolbox. This 10 page resource includes full-sized clip charts that you can use for your whole class. In addition, it includes individual-sized clip charts you can use for a single student.
16. Dismissal Chart
Is dismissal crazy in your classroom? I know dismissal was the craziest time of day in my classroom. Transitions are always challenging, but there was so much to do in those final minutes. You need to make sure everyone has what they need and safely goes home the way their parents had intended. By implementing this dismissal chart as well as other classroom management strategies, I was able to end my days calmly. I would even say happily! I took great comfort in knowing my students were where they belonged. This 23-page resource includes everything you need to create a dismissal chart in your classroom.
17. Water Bottle Container Label
This resource is exclusively available in the classroom management bundle. It is simply a printable label to keep student water bottles organized and mess-free.
18. Student of the Week
Student of the week is a great way to spotlight each of your learners. However, teachers are busy. Often something like Student of the Week can feel like “one more thing to manage.”. This student of the week resource makes it easy to do a Star of the Week. This resource includes 3 student of the week activity pages for the student of the week to complete, 36 job cards, editable student name cards, student of the week student book covers, and writing and drawing pages for classmates to create a page for a student booklet.
19. Daily Communication Folders
Are you looking for a great tool for daily communication between home and school? It’s important to establish a consistent method of communication between home and school. A daily communication folder is the perfect method. It becomes part of the daily routine and parents know to look for it each evening. This 98-page daily communication folder resource includes daily folder labels, name labels, student number labels, pocket labels (leave at home and return to school), money/forms printables, and communication pages.
20. Classroom Job Chart
Assigning classroom jobs is a great way to teach responsibility. It’s also great for getting some help managing and maintaining the classroom so that the day runs smoothly. This 98-page classroom job chart resource includes assembly directions, job chart tile cards, 26 job cards, editable job cards, and editable student names cards.
21. Birthday Packet
Birthdays are special to students. This bundle includes everything you need to celebrate birthdays in the classroom. These printable resources make it easy to acknowledge the students’ special day and integrate learning activities without distraction from learning. This 28-page birthday packet includes birthday certificates, birthday student book book cover, writing and drawing pages for the student book, classroom birthdays charts, birthday tally charts, and birthday bar graphs.
22. Parent Survey
Would you like to learn more about your students and their families? Do you value home and school communication? This parent survey resource will help you get to know your learners from the parents’ perspective. You’ll be amazed at how much information you gain about your students from there families. These parent surveys are perfect at the start of a new school year. They can also be used effectively at any time of year. This resource includes a printable 3-page survey packet and a blank editable template so you can customize it to fit your needs.
23. Must Do May Do Board
Do you want to put an end to the students saying “I’m done. What do I do next? Would you like a systematic method for planning and tracking student assignments? This resource solves both those problems! It will make it easy for you to stay on top of student assignments. It’s also great for teaching students valuable time management skills. This 46-page must do may do resource includes a two column planning sheet, weekly assignment planners, assignment tracking sheets for students and the teacher, choice cards, and must do may do header title cards.
24. Active Listening Chart
The active listening chart is exclusive to the classroom management bundle. It’s a poster that shows students what it looks like to “listen with the whole body.”
25. Teamwork Bingo
When it comes to behavior management it is important to have lots of things in your bag of tricks. This Behavior Management Teamwork Bingo is one of my favorite behavior management strategies. It’s a great way to focus on the positive and get your class working together. Over the years I have tried many different methods of behavior management. Some focused on the positive and some were reactive to negative behaviors. Each worked for different reasons. However, Behavior Bingo was consistently one of the students’ favorite tools and found it to be highly effective. This whole class positive behavior management system is a 24-page resource. It includes bingo boards, posters explaining how to earn Bingo squares, team posters, signs for teamwork bingo number draw container and discarded numbers container, and number cards 1-100.
26. Lost Teeth
It doesn’t matter if you teach kindergarten or 5th grade. Most likely you will have at least one student lose a tooth in class during the school year. This lost tooth resource includes everything you need to acknowledge the lost tooth. It even helps you to channel the excitement kids have over losing teeth into math and writing activities. This 26-page resource includes lost tooth tally charts, lost tooth bar graphs, lost tooth certificates, a class book cover, and writing and drawing templates for the class book.
27. Turn in Bin Labels
This 14-page resource is exclusive to the classroom management bundle. It includes directions for adhering the labels as well as tons of labels for creating a turn in bin.
28. Student Participation Hand Signals
This hand signals resource is a great way to promote meaningful student engagement during whole group lessons. It includes several types of display cards showing signs for comment, question, and answer.
29. Attention Getters
Attention getters are essential for strong classroom management. You need strategies for getting the students’ attention so you may give directions. This resource will provide you with tips and tools for improving your classroom management using attention grabbers. Strong classroom management skills are necessary for effective teaching and for maintaining your professional status with administration and parents. This attention getters resource makes it easy to get your students’ attention. This enables you to give directions and communicate with them. This 82-page resource includes projectable call backs to teach attention getters, binder/booklet cover for attention getters, 10 nonverbal attention getters, 10 response attention getters, 20 call back attention getters, student cards for submitting knock-knock attention getters, and attention getter journaling stationary.
30. Teamwork Paper Chain
When it comes to behavior management, it is important to have lots of things in your bag of tricks. This Behavior Management Paper Chain is one of my favorite ways to focus on the positive. The best part is that it gets your class working together. Over the years I have tried many different methods of behavior management. Some focused on the positive and some were reactive to negative behaviors. Each worked for different reasons. However, the Behavior Chain was consistently one of the students’ favorite tools and found it highly effective. This 24-page resource includes header posters and chain pages with phrases.
In closing, we hope you found these classroom management strategies for elementary teachers helpful. If you did, then you may also be interested in these posts:
- How to Improve Classroom Management with Procedures and Routines
- How to Manage Student Bathroom Breaks at School
- Classroom Arrival and Dismissal Routines
- How to Improve Classroom Management Using Hand Signals
- Attention Grabber Examples & Other Listening Strategies
- Strategies for Quick Classroom Transitions
- How to Line Up Your Students and Walk in a Line
- How to Solve All Your Pencil Problem in the Classroom
- Behavior Management Strategies for Elementary Teachers