CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT

8 Creative Classroom Management Ideas to Try

Are you looking for some fun classroom management ideas? With a mix of educational technology tools and some simple tweaks to your curriculum, you’ll encourage your students to model positive behaviors in no time.

Here are some classroom management strategies your students will love.

Classroom Behavior Management Ideas That the Whole Class Will Enjoy

1. Mix it up with project-based and inquiry learning

Project-based and inquiry learning can improve your classroom management, save some valuable prep time, and keep students engaged. Brainstorm student projects as a class based on what they’re learning in class. Or, pose a discussion question, and have them respond in groups. The more they’re engaged, the better they’ll behave, at least most of the time.

2. Start class with an icebreaker

Learning is a lot like running. Just as we need to stretch before hitting the track, our brains could use a warm-up before learning a new concept or skill. Try beginning class with a review game of Jeopardy or a short partner review chat. Strategies like these can decrease test anxiety and improve student’s overall performance.

3. Take a break

There’s a reason for half-times in sports—people need breaks. Sure, students may not be moving around the classroom as much as a soccer player on the field, but thinking takes muscle work.

Remember the days when you studied for midterms? Eventually, you probably felt like your brain was mush after extended periods. You experienced the “forgetting curve,” which represents how we forget information after long stretches of formal learning. In an article about the concept, “Short Bursts, Not Shortcuts: The Value of Learning Over Time,” Harvard Business noted that students retain more when they learn in short bursts.

When their noggins overflow, some students start to act up and become restless. Before that happens, why not stop teaching for a few minutes and give everyone a breather?

A five-minute brain break may sound like you’re wasting time, but in reality, it’s giving time back. Because after a rest, your students are ready to focus and learn again—and, more importantly, they’re able to better consolidate the things they learned prior to the break.

Try using a stopwatch that you can display to keep students focused.

4. Offer students more choices in their learning

Let’s say you’re teaching Romeo and Juliet, and you want your students to complete a recap assignment in class. Give them options: write a three-sentence summary; illustrate the summary in three pictures; write a song or poem that sums up the play.

5. Have students make expectation posters

It’s no mystery that your students love to take control, so why not hand over the reins a bit? Students are much more invested if they take part in their learning. And there’s no better way to get kids involved than to have them create expectation posters.

At the beginning of each school year, simply let your students brainstorm the classroom rules. Yes, this sounds a little scary, but you might be surprised how positively students react—and how reasonable they can be. You could use a backup list to guide them, but students usually cover the basic rules on their own.

After listing the expectations, have your kids make posters and hang them around the classroom. Reminders are essential, and when students help create the rules, they might take pride in following them.

6. Have students sign contracts

After your students brainstorm expectations, compile them into a contract that everyone signs.

7. Create reflection spaces for students and teachers

You’ve probably heard of setting up separate spaces for students who need a time out. But what about the teacher? No matter your patience level, there are times when you’ll need a mental break.

I used to have a corner in my learning environment called Clark’s Corner, and whenever the kids were getting out of hand, I would silently walk to that corner. My students knew this was my cool-off space.

For teachers or students, reflection spaces are helpful in learning how to de-escalate and self-regulate feelings and reactions.

8. Don’t be afraid to follow through

Classroom management is one of the toughest parts of teaching. Honestly, it took me a long time to get my class in order, and I had a lot of trial and error before I found strategies that worked for me.

One of the most powerful classroom management projects I received came from my teaching mentor. Quite simply, he told me to be consistent.

Deep down, your students will appreciate that they know what to expect from you. It will get easier to manage your classroom environment the more consistent you are because it will leave little wiggle room. And as much as we love our students, we know that they are practically experts at finding loopholes.

Classroom Management Activities Can Be Fun

Behavior management may sound daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. It can even be fun! I hope this list of creative classroom management projects work for you. And keep that head up — you’re changing lives out there!

This article was adapted from a blog post initially developed by the education technology company Classcraft, which was acquired by HMH in 2023. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of HMH.

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