Classroom Management is an essential part of every K-12 classroom. Not only does it help to build the foundation of an efficiently run physical space, but it also ensures that every student is receiving what they need in order to maximize learning and development.
It goes without saying that teachers are the queens and kings of multi-tasking, but we are not alone when it comes to guaranteeing that our classrooms are run as smoothly and effectively as we need them to.
Every teacher needs specific management tools that they can rely on to support them as they dive into their difficult day-to-day tasks in the classroom.
Classroom management tools:
So what are you waiting for? Let’s explore these management options and hopefully add a few to your teacher tool belt that you can start using today!
We’ll cover tools for:
Together, these create active and hands-on learning experiences that students and teachers love.
What it is: One easy way to replace all the “1, 2, 3, eyes on me” and “bring it back” is with a chime or other sound effect.
The most cost-effective chimes are found on amazon and they take minimal effort to incorporate into your day-to-day.
If a physical chime is not something you are interested in using, try another sound effect like a noise button or clip from a specific song.
Pros: quick, consistent, easy to teach expectations around and implement, least invasive way to gain student attention
Cons: younger students may grow tired of the same sound effect, costs some money initially
What it is: A great tool to help you have better pacing is a timer. This timer can either be physical or virtual and you can use it at literally any point in your day, regardless of activity.
If you choose a physical option check out the Kadams Time Tracker on Amazon.
I would opt for displaying a virtual timer on the board for students to view because this will help them to practice time management and self-regulation.
A website that has various themed timers to choose from is Online Stopwatch – pictured below – but you could also find preset timers through a quick search on youtube.
Pros: supports both teacher and student pacing and time-management, easy to implement, versatile, promotes self-regulation
Cons: requires the teacher to manage, timer themes can be distracting to some learners (yoda, rockets, etc.)
What it is: A fabulous tool to help you monitor the noise levels but also shift that responsibility from you to the students is called Bouncy Balls.
Essentially it is a free, virtual noise tracker. You choose from several different themes, are able to manually set the desired nose level, and it even gives an audible sound effect if students pass the noise limit.
Displaying Bouncy Balls on the board will help students monitor themselves and self-regulate their voices during partner or group work time.
Pros: free to use, versatile, shifts responsibility from teacher to students, promotes self-regulation and management, creates a calmer learning environment
Cons: difficult for students who struggle with self-control, can be more distracting than helpful, requires a lot of practice and conversations with students around correct usage
What it is: LiveSchool is a fantastic tool that helps you track behaviors, communicate them with other key stakeholders in real-time, and provide ways to reward and reinforce positive student behavior.
When displayed, you are able to see every student in a class on one screen. From there, you award them points as you observe pre-determined behaviors (like Being kind, showing integrity, staying on task, etc.) LiveSchool is user-friendly and has so many wonderful features for teachers, students, and families. It supports PBIS, token economy, and SEL initiatives.
Pros: works for any classroom K-12, tracks and rewards behaviors all in one system, facilitates parent/teacher communication, easy to navigate
Cons: requires a subscription (even though it is well worth it), accompanying teacher phone app is only built out for the iPhone
What it is: Movement, or brain breaks, should be incorporated periodically to give students a chance to refocus, digest information, and relax.
A tool you could use for these brain breaks is the site GoNoodle. On the site, there are hundreds of different categorized videos that run from two to five minutes long and incorporate singing, dancing, workout routines, and breathing exercises.
These brain breaks are assured to get your students moving and re-energized!
Pros: free account, no prep, offers a variety of options, videos are a perfect length of time, provides students with a break to refocus themselves
Cons: only suitable for Elementary and Middle school students, requires a steady internet connection
What it is: Stick Pick is a tool you can use to put the fun back into answering questions.
Within the app, students’ names are uploaded as virtual “popsicle sticks in a can” and as you pose questions, you would use the app to choose a student to answer. Stick Pick offers other features as well that support higher-order thinking and track responses.
If you are looking for a simpler version and use LiveSchool, the randomizer feature might be a better fit.
Pros: works K-12, virtual, offers varying levels of questions and question starters, monitors and tracks progress and participation
Cons: costs money to use, app is only for iPhone and iPad users, can be tricky to use with fidelity.
What it is: Nearpod is an engaging, interactive platform that is used to create synchronous and asynchronous lessons that include videos, games, and quizzes in different formats.
There are various features within the software to differentiate material and give feedback in real-time. The interactive tools, resources, and content are easy to navigate and manage!
Pros: user friendly for any content area K-12, engaging for teachers and students, highly interactive, perfect for differentiation
Cons: requires a subscription after a certain amount of data used, training on the platform and all of its features is recommended
What it is: This tool is most commonly used to help create small groups and facilitate written or verbal discussions.
Parlay’s functions can be used both in-person and online and will transform the way you approach and implement habits of discussion in your classroom.
This tool will be most useful for middle or high school teachers but offers support to all teachers across every content area.
Pros: free to start using, student-driven, promotes deep and meaningful discussion, assessment and feedback tool
Cons: not the best fit for elementary students, requires a subscription after a certain point
In conclusion, there are a variety of options when it comes to tools you can use to support classroom management and student success. Exploring these options will be of benefit to both you and your students this school year!
Problem: Grabbing Student Attention
Problem: Managing Pacing
Problem: Noise Monitoring
Problem: Behavior Tracking
Problem: Incorporating Movement
Problem: Boosting Engagement
Problem: Differentiating Instruction
Problem: Fostering Collaboration
Happy teaching :)