Classroom Management Examples that Work: Top Tips from Elementary Teachers (2023)

One of the best things you can do for your classroom is looking at classroom management examples that work. Here is a huge list of ideas – from real teachers!

Classroom Management Examples that Work: Top Tips from Elementary Teachers (1)

As a teacher, you have your “own” way of doing things, from how you use visuals to how you set up your small groups. You and another teacher can teach the exact same skill, but your lesson will be unique and will reflect who you are as an educator. Your classroom management is the same. Even if you are inspired by classroom management examples that work for another teacher, you will take that idea and make it yours.

This year, while you’re evaluating your existing classroom management plan, you should take a look at what other teachers are doing. Use their successes as inspiration as you collect ideas and turn it into a classroom management plan that works for YOU.

Classroom Management Examples that Work: Tips from Actual Teachers

Classroom management is all about coming up with a plan and sticking to it. With a little bit of trial and error, you’ll eventually have a classroom management plan that will work for you and your students. Here are some tips from actual teachers about what works in their classrooms – they are classroom management examples that WORK!

Classroom Management Examples that Work: Connect with Your Students

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One of the most important classroom management examples that work is to connect with your students. In order to have a good classroom management strategy, you need to reach them on a one-on-one level. Once you make that connection, your students will be eager to please and will respect what you have to say. Here’s what teachers have to say about connecting with their students.

“I have a connection with my students. Once they see that you care, they are more anxious to please you.” – anonymous

My “best tip is creating rapport with students, without it, the other things won’t work as efficiently.”– anonymous 1st grade teacher

“Working hard to build relationships with students has by far been the most meaningful classroom management technique. Once I better understand my students, I have a glimpse into why they are behaving in a certain way and then can respond in a more personal and appropriate manner.”-2nd Grade Teacher

“Create a sense of community in the classroom. I love doing restorative circles, especially in the beginning of the year. This helps the kids get to know each other and find things they have in common. And of course, expectations must be clear and consistent.”– anonymous

“My management tip would be to be consistent and build a strong relationship with the students and their parents. I use Class Dojo to communicate with parents all the time. I believe one of the best ways to help your students is to let them know you are all working together to help them become the best ‘them’ they can be. It takes all of us working together. I work throughout the year to build a respectful relationship with my kids. They know I love them and will support them. They also know if they break a rule, then I must follow through with a consequence. I praise them a lot but they also need to know there is a line. To me classroom management isn’t about your system, it is about your relationships.”-Davita Fortier, 1st Grade Teacher

Classroom Management Examples that Work: Adjust For Each Class

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You might have a strong classroom management plan you’ve used in the past, but unfortunately, sometimes the best-laid plans fall apart. That’s why there are classroom management examples that work such as this and help you adjust for each class. Each class is unique, which means that your classroom management plan might change. Talk to the teachers a grade below you and see what worked for them. Make adjustments to your plan accordingly. As long as you have a strong foundation, you can always make a change based on the information you learn. These teachers have advice on adjusting your classroom management technique for each class.

“Every class is unique in their needs. Find your baseline needs as a teacher then work with the needs in front of you to develop classroom strategies that best suit THEIR needs.”– anonymous

“Not every strategy is going to work for every kid, meet their needs, and find strategies that work for your kids. Be flexible!Preparation is your best friend.”– anonymous

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“My best tip (as I’m still pretty new and learning!) is to remember that each year your class will have different needs and what worked like a charm one year might need to be tweaked to fit your new group. Don’t get discouraged and stay consistent with whatever you use!”– anonymous

“You have to be flexible and it completely depends on your class/students. I have a number of standard rules/techniques I use but am willing to research/implement a specific chart/strategy per student if necessary. What works one year may not another etc.”– anonymous

“Adjust your management to the group of students you have.”– anonymous

“You have to be flexible and it completely depends on your class/students. I have a number of standard rules/techniques I use but am willing to research/implement a specific chart/strategy per student if necessary. What works one year may not another etc.”– anonymous

Classroom Management Examples that Work: Start with Expectations

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On that first day of school, start your year off strong by going over your expectations. Your students need to know what you expect from them in order for them to meet those expectations. Check out what these actual teachers have learned about classroom expectations.

“Be specific in your expectations and be firm. ‘Say what you mean and mean what you say’ when it comes to consequences.”– anonymous

“Set expectations and stick to them: know actually what you expect to see from your students and require them to meet those expectations. If it is not met, pause and reset (teach models or restates what the expectation is and the students practice it). We also have discussions about what we did well and what went wrong at the end of day in the first 30 days of school. This is a great way to reteach those procedures or rules the students didn’t execute well throughout the day.”– anonymous

“Clear expectations, procedures and rules. Modeling what is expected is key as well.”– anonymous

“Clear expectations is the best way for students to know what to expect and what the consequences are. Communication with students and with parents is essential too.”-Carrie, K-12 Special Ed

“My best classroom management tip is to ensure the students know what you expect, especially in the early grades. I teach Kindergarten and I have found out (usually the hard way) that if I do not teach my students exactly what I expect such as routines, procedures, voice level, etc. then they will make up their own. Also, I know it may sound silly to teach children HOW to stand in a line, but if we don’t teach them, how will they know? I firmly believe that routines and procedures that are taught explicitly and with fidelity are some of the best classroom management techniques.”– anonymous

“Set up the routine and expectations the first week of school and model, practice, model, practice and practice some more. Be consistent and review expectations whenever necessary, especially Monday mornings, after breaks, etc.”-Trish Decker, 3rd grade

“Knowing your expectations. Have a specific routine and decision about everything from lining up to sharpening pencils. Know what you expect and teach every little detail.”– anonymous

“Teach all procedures and expectations immediately at the beginning of the year (I start on the first day!), and continue to add to and reteach and monitor those procedures and expectations throughout the school year.”– anonymous

“I teach K. My best management tip is to be consistent and train your students about your expectations. Teach them how to use your materials, how to put them away, and how it should look when they sit at the carpet, line up, sit at the tables, etc. You must teach them your expectations if you want to see that behavior in class. They are not mind-readers and they won’t just “know it”. Practice, practice, practice. Practice again after any long break.”– anonymous Kindergarten teacher

“Discuss with students what expectations are and why we have rules with demonstrations (I always act out the negative, because I don’t want them to practice a way that is not what I want- that way I can also go overboard and they really get the point). Positively reinforce a ton at beginning and don’t be afraid to review any time the class seems to need it.”– anonymous

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Classroom Management Examples that Work: Teach & Reteach

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You can expect to teach and reteach your expectations to your students. This is one of the more well-known classroom management examples that work. It is not a one-and-done process. Your students will need to practice and be reminded of your classroom rules. These teachers remind you not to feel discouraged if you have to reteach your class your expectations.

“Don’t be afraid to reteach anything. Think of it as muscle memory.”– anonymous

“Be proactive – Lots of step by step reminders for each procedure, and allow children to start over to correct their mistakes.” -1st Grade Teacher

“Modeling appropriate and inappropriate behavior, and practice, practice, practice!!!!!” -Kindergarten Teacher

“Take the time to teach what you expect initially and aim for exactly what you expect. Practice, retract, practice, reteach!”– anonymous

Classroom Management Examples that Work: Keep Them Engaged

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Student engagement is key to your classroom management plan. Engagement is so important in the list of classroom management examples that work. When students are engaged and learning, they’re less likely to be disruptive or to act out. If you notice students are getting antsy, then use a brain break to keep them engaged! Here are some ideas on student engagement from actual teachers.

“Use cooperative learning strategies that get all of your students talking. Kids who don’t raise their hands to answer questions still have something to say. Give them the chance to tell their neighbor/partner! My favorites are the Kagan strategies of Think/Pair/Share and Inside-Outside Circle. Keep at it and vary the strategies. Your students will be involved in the lesson, they will be more likely to stay on task, and they will be happier! (So will you!)” -Sarah Shobe, 1st Grade

“The best classroom management tools is engagement. When students are busy learning and playing, they have less time to misbehave. This obviously does not stop all behavior problems, but it does make classroom management much easier.”-Jen, Kindergarten

“Stay positive, and keep them engaged with the management program you use! When they buy into it, their behavior is better, which is good for your sanity ;).”-Stephanie E, 1st grade

“Using lots of brain breaks when the kids are getting restless or losing their focus.”– anonymous

“Get kids moving! My kids love GoNoodle for a quick brain break & activity.”– anonymous

Classroom Management Examples that Work: Reward Positive Behavior

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If you notice individual students, small groups, or your whole class following your expectations and completing work, you need to recognize it! Rewarding positive behavior promotes the behavior you want your class to display, rather than constantly pointing out negative behavior. Not only will this have a positive effect on class morale, it will also make your life so much easier. Plus ask any teacher their top choices for classroom management examples that work, and you’ll hear this as their response. Here are some teacher tips on rewarding positive behavior.

“Remember not to forget about the kids who are always making good choices and working hard. Sometimes the kids with the bad behavior get all the attention and this is exactly what they want but we can forget the hard-working, quiet achievers who just keep going smiling happily and soldiering on regardless.”– anonymous

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“Blurt cubes – 5 cubes with the letters b,l,u,r,t on them and when a student blurts out in class, they get a signal from the teacher and have to turn one letter. If the student has letters left over they get a reward. This is easy to back off when the blurting reduces. Start with a reward with if they have ANY letters left, then eventually if they lose even 1 letter, they do not get a reward.”– anonymous

“I have found that random recognition with something as simple as a sticker has helped with behavior in the classroom when there are challenges. Recognizing the expected behavior helps keep a positive atmosphere not only for my students but myself as well.” –Cindy, a Kindergarten teacher

“Brag tags are amazing. I love focusing on the positive and having my kids verbalize why they are earning them.”-Lauren

“Behavior Clip Chart- Every month students earn a “Gem” to place on their clip if they have got 13 or more “purples” for the month. Purple is the TOP of the behavior chart. Kindergarten students respond well to this visual representation of their behavior and parents appreciate the color chart coming home at the end of each day.”– anonymous

“I post super large googly eyes with the words Eyes on You. I then have a baby food jar full on eyeballs and at random times of the day, I place the jar on the table that is following directions the best. At the end of the day, the table with them is the winner and gets a leader slip and takes it to the office. I have a first-grade classroom.”– anonymous

“I have been teaching for 15 years…grades 2,3 and 4. By far, positive reinforcement has gotten more results than anything else! Also, rewards do not always have to cost you money!”– anonymous

Classroom Management Examples that Work: Be Consistent

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Once you’ve come up with a classroom management plan, it’s important to be consistent. This is one of the top classroom management examples that work. Your students need to know what to expect from you, and consistency will give them that security. These teachers agree that consistency is in the list of classroom management examples that work.

“My best tip is to be consistent with your system of classroom management.”– anonymous

“Consistency is the key. Go over the rules at the beginning of the year – review frequently. Start out stern/strict! You can always loosen up as the year progresses, but you cannot go backward! Follow through – students realize meaningless “threats” very quickly!”-Deborah O’Shea, 4th Grade

“Consistency with rules, clear expectations, put something that kids can look forward to (school-wide / classroom based).”– anonymous

“Consistency, especially in the beginning of the year. I teach kindergarten and expectations are practiced, practiced and practiced again. Each time I make sure it is exactly how it should be and if it’s not, we practice again. I try to always leave time so we are not rushing especially for clean up and transitions. If the expectations are all materials need to be cleaned up and put away, voice level at zero and hands on head to get called to line up, I make sure that it is that way every time. Consistency is key.”– anonymous

“Be consistent and never make emotion-based decisions.”-Spec Ed teacher, K-6 combo class

“CONSISTENCY IS KEY!!! Keeping up with consistency really helps the kids stay on track.”– Alicia B., Kindergarten

“Be consistent! Do things the same every time–don’t let something go once if you’re trying to make sure the kids do it. Once you let it get by once, you’ve lost your credibility with the kids.”-Melinda Goodwin, K/1

“Remain consistent – students thrive when they know what the expectations are. Provide models for expected behavior – when students know what it “looks like” to display a specific characteristic, they will be more successful in doing so.”– anonymous

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Your classroom management technique has the power to make your year easier or harder. When you have a strong classroom management plan that works for both you and your students, you’ll notice that it’s easier to teach kids what they need to learn.

Which of these real-teacher classroom management examples work for you? Which ones are you already using and which ones would you like to implement?

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