Classroom Management Techniques

by Thomas I. Petersen, Ph.D.

The following ideas for classroom management may be of assistance for students needing extra structure in their learning environment.

Color Cards:
Use large tag board and make one with a green circle, one with a red circle and one with a yellow circle. Red meaning a time with "absolutely no talking." Yellow means that some talking and/or movement is allowed. Green means "free time" when more interaction with peers is allowed. "Post" the cards at the beginning of each session or activity.

Daily Schedule Preparation:
Use the white board to post your daily schedule. Print big. Alternate colors for interest and maximum visual attention. Review the schedule each morning.

Give Me Five:
Use a variety of ways to get the students' attention. One way is "Give Me Five." Extend five fingers out on your outstretched arm. This mean "two eyes watching, two ears listening and one mouth closed." The students will usually give the "high five" gesture back and begin paying attention.

Classroom Rules:
Have the students make up the rules for their classroom. On a white board, write down all their ideas. Then have the students vote on the top five or six. Empowering the students makes them more likely to comply.

U-Shaped Seating
This seems optimal for best student to student and student to teacher interaction.

Varied Seating:
On the first day of each month, have the students draw names to determine the seating arrangement for that month. This gives the students the opportunity to learn to live with two new "neighbors" every month.

Students should be allowed to ask for a "Walk Pass" when they feel they are becoming increasingly agitated.

Study Carrels:
Every classroom should have at least one study carrel in which a student could work when they feel they need that personal "space."

Each classroom should have a small partition that is large enough to be placed between two students' desks. This is especially helpful for minor "flare-ups" between students that don't seem to be diminishing without constant teacher intervention.

Point Charts on Desks:
When a pint system is being used for on-task behavior, this is a good visual reminder of their personal success throughout the day.

Squish Balls"
Give each student a squish ball to use to help keep their hands busy.

Play calming music throughout the day in the classroom. Studies have suggested that calming music without vocals helps relieve stress. Mood, classical or instrumental m
usic may be tried to wee which is most effective for your students.

Each student should have a school folder in which all-important papers are placed to go home. This folder can be used for homework and will help keep the student organized.

Water Bottles:
Give each student his or her own small water bottle. They may be allowed to refill it throughout the day as needed. This helps keep the students hydrated, which results in increased mental alertness.

When all else fails, gain the students' attention by turning the lights off. Students will quickly learns that this signifies that the teacher mans business.

Allow the students to draw during classroom instruction, as appropriate.

Country Store:
Classrooms that operate on a point system, in which students can make purchases, should have the "merchandise" displayed. This works as a visual reminder and an incentive.

Student of the Week:
Find a special place in your classroom for recognition of student effort and/or achievement.

It is very important for adults working in the classroom to establish a close proximic when working with each student. Sitting next to the student, speaking calmly to the student or just standing close by may decrease disruptive behaviors.

Problem Solving Forms:
Use one of the various problem solving forms created by the school psychologist when conflicts arise. There are written as well as pictorial forms that can be utilized. There is also a stock "Letter of Apology" form than can be used when a student offends someone.

Behavior Support Plans:
A school psychologist may assist you in creating a BSR for those students that have a pervasive behavior that needs to be replaced by a more appropriate one.

Classroom Jobs: Assignments of responsibilities in the classroom bolster self-esteem while providing prevocational experiences.

Return to Classroom Environment
Controlling Aggressive Students
Return to Site Map