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Classroom Management: Top Ways to Beat the Heat

Annie Condron

Putting your blood, tears and sweat into teaching takes on whole new meaning during steamy summer months.

With the recent heat waves, schools with air conditioning are still warm and those without it are just plain unbearable.

Here are 12 classroom management ideas to stay cool and keep learning alive as the mercury rises in your classroom.

Lights out! 

Whenever possible, let the bright summer sun light your classroom rather than extra heat-inducing bulbs. As a bonus, you’ll win major green points for saving electricity.

 Stay Cool in Style

Break out those cute skirts, dresses and light layers. Though you should make sure those skirts fall below the knee (both for propriety and to avoid sticking to your chair).

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Expel Hot Air

Put a fan facing out the window. Despite the temptation to point the fan in your direction, this tactic should expel the hot air from the classroom and letting fresh air circulate inside the classroom.

Put a Chill in Your Lessons  

Try taking the mind over matter approach to beat the heat AND beef up your curriculum.

  • Covering weather patterns? Dwell on the wintery climate, build igloos and embrace the learning about cold weather places.
  • Lit class? Try your favorite snowy stories, maybe Jack London's To Build a Fire to take it to the subzero extreme. 
  • Use snow balls in your math problems.
  • Geography? Time to cover Canada, the Arcticmaybe some Russia for good measure.  
  • Try any of these winter lesson ideas!

Top 12 Ways to Beat the Heat in Your AC-less Classroom

H2O to the Rescue 

Stay hydrated! Drinking lots of water and avoiding alcohol, sugar and caffeine will keep your body from reacting to the heat.

Keep a little misting fan handy to cool you off and to walk to the room keeping students alert.

Smells Like Teen Spirit

Speaking of sweat, load up on deodorant, keep a spray can or two in the classroom and encourage your students to use as needed. You may not feel much cooler, but the “atmosphere” in your classroom will certainly be more pleasant.

Get Low

A science teacher once told me that hot air rises and cold air sinks. Try sitting on the floor in a circle with your student.

Cool Rewards

Reward yourself and your students with cooling breaks.

  • Get that question right? Here's an ice pack!
  • Volunteer to lead the lab demonstration? The fan's pointed directly at you for 2 minutes!
  • All students at attention? Sprinker runs at recess!

For a quick fix, run cold water over your wrist or a damp cloth on the back of your neck. 

The Great Outdoors

It may still be hot, but it certainly won’t be as stifling as your classroom packed with thirty drowsy, melting students.

Ed Tech Cool Down

Visit the computer lab as often as possible. Since apparently computers deserve to stay cool more than you do, you can at least visit their frigid headquarters with your class.

Alternatively, go low tech in the classroom. If your equipment at school is anything like mine, it gets pretty hot pretty quickly.

Tap into the Tropical Theme

Embrace the tropic climate with a classroom luau. A few ideas:

  • Bring some leis for your students
  • Only the student holding the pineapple can talk
  • Learn the hula for brain breaks. (The laidback dance will wake everyone up, isn't overly strenuous in the heat, and could create a breeze from your grass skirts.)

Turn Discipline into Air Conditioning

Misbehaving students? Instead of handing out detentions, hand your trouble-makers a fan and bask in the satisfying breeze of their punishment.

Don't need these tips because your school has awesome air conditioning? Congrats!! Be sure to keep your complaints about the sweater you need indoors to a minimum in case your boiling comrades overhear. Nobody likes a bragger.

How do you stay cool in your classroom? Share in the comments section!