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Whole Classroom Management Strategies

Janelle Cox

In order for classroom management to be effective, you have to establish clear procedures.

Once you have these classroom management strategies in place, it is only then that you can enjoy your classroom environment.

Here are a five teacher-tested classroom management strategies that work. Implement them the way that they are, or feel free to adjust them and make them your own.

Classroom Management: Implement an Attention Signal

One of the biggest challenges teachers face is getting and keeping their students’ attention. The ability to be able to do this takes a lot of time and practice, as well as patience. But effective teachers know that this is a priority if they want to maintain a productive class environment. You will need a signal (verbal or non-verbal) that will get your students’ attention within a matter of seconds. Whether it is a bell or a chime, or a call and response signal like:

Teacher: Hey
Students: Ho

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Teacher: Macaroni
Students: Cheese

You must find something that works well for your classroom. Just make sure that you repeatedly go over this signal until you can get the students’ attention without them even having to think about it twice.

Use the Spotlight System

The spotlight classroom management system has been widely used in elementary classrooms all over the country. Teachers like it so much that they started to implement different colors and steps into the mix instead of just having the red, yellow, and green colors. But the majority of teachers usually stick to the basic system.

The way that this system works is the teacher has a stoplight in the classroom and surrounding that spotlight is a library pocket for each student. Each pocket has three colors in it: Red, yellow, and green. Every day, students start the day with a green card. As the day goes on and students engage in off-task behavior, the teacher may have them change the card to yellow (a warning) or red (a note or phone call home). Many teachers have found this classroom management to be quite effective because students respond well to it.

Create a Reward System

Just like us as adults like to get rewarded for our efforts, our students do as well. Sometimes, they need to receive something tangible as a reminder to follow the directions or stay on task. Golden tickets have been found to be quite effective for young children in grades K-5. Anytime the teacher sees the student doing a good deed, staying on task, or really trying hard, they give him a golden ticket. The student then writes their name on it and places it into a jar. The more tickets that they get, the bigger the chance they will get their ticket pulled at the end of the week. On Friday, the teacher randomly pulls a name from the jar and that student either gets to pick what they will do for Fun Friday and/or they will a prize from the prize jar.

Use the Erase-a Letter Strategy

The erase-a-letter strategy is a simple strategy to use when you want to keep students on task during a lesson. This strategy is great for whole-class management because it forces students to work together as a team. If students see one of their classmates off-task, they will quickly instruct them to get back on task so that they will be able to keep all of their letters.

The way this strategy works is: When students are in small groups or working together and you know it may get noisy, you write the word “Stop” (or any other word of your choosing) on the front board. You instruct students that if you have to talk to a group for being too loud or off-task, then you will erase one letter from the word. When all of the letters have been erased, students must go back to their desks and work alone. Usually when you get down to three or two letters, you will hear the students urging their peers to keep quiet and stay on task. If the students get to keep all of the letters, their reward can be no homework for the night!

Try the Fun Friday Discipline Plan

The Fun Friday discipline plan is an effective plan that teachers use to keep their students on task all week long. The way it works is that as long as a student stays on task, behaves, and hands in the homework each day they will be able to participate in fun Friday. Fun Friday can be used in conjunction with any other classroom management technique that you use or any of the ones listed above. Students can either have free time on that day or teachers can work together and create organized fun for all students in the same grade. It’s a great motivator for students young and old.

What is your favorite whole classroom management strategy to use? Do you use any of the ones listed above? Please share your responses in the comment section below, we would love to hear your opinion.

Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds a Master's of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the Elementary Education Expert for, as well as a contributing writer to and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, or on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators.

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