Any time is a good time to review my classroom management plan and add new classroom management techniques to my bag of tricks. I would advise against trying all 4 of these at once though. Try one of these quick wins for a couple weeks and see what results you get. If it isn’t what you were hoping, try another one instead.
Classroom Management Techniques Quick Win #1 - Blurt Beans
This is an oldie but a goodie that is starting to have new life in Facebook groups. The concept of blurt beans is quite simple which makes it a class (and teacher) favorite. Students that blurt out lose a bean each time. The remaining beans go into a class incentive jar.
Depending on the chattiness level in your classroom you start each student with 5 beans or less. The idea is to gradually have less beans per student as the weeks progress. Keep your new beans in a jar and have a separate container that is labeled at different levels with the incentives students will earn.
Students place a bean in the new bean jar if they lose it for blurting. The beans kept with students all day end up in the incentive jar. Once the jar is filled and all incentives are earned, dump out the jar and start again.
I’ve also seen this done with buttons although you would have to have a lot of buttons to pass new ones to the class each day. Beans could also be displayed digitally for classes to fill up but I like the idea of students having something tangible.
Monique from It’s Monique's World explains how she uses blurt beans in the video below.
Classroom Management Techniques Quick Win #2 - Secret Student
I’ve used this strategy several years ago when I taught first grade and it’s about time I bring it back to my classroom. Now in the past I used this strategy as “Secret Walker” and it was only pulled out when the class walked in line. Lately though my class has been incredibly chatty in class and out so it is now transitioning into Secret Student.
This one requires very little effort and can have a big impact which is why it’s one of my favorites. Simply choose a student at the beginning of the day (or right before the activity you will be using Secret Student for). I like to draw a name from my cup of popsicle sticks. I’ve also chosen the random student on Class Dojo to pick for me. Don’t forget to hide your screen - the chosen student should not be revealed!As your day progresses you will give out 10-15 tally marks per hour. Each tally mark receives a quick celebration (class chants “Oh, yeah”) or a mighty groan. The point of the Scoreboard is winning for the sake of winning. Students are not given tangible rewards. If you use the , students have the chance to earn extra stars for their cards.
Now throughout the day, especially during transitions, you will make a note of praise for the secret student. “I love how our secret student is walking in line with a zero voice level.” At the end of the day, if the student you chose did a great job you will announce their name to the class and offer a small reward. This could be a piece of candy, a certificate, a small toy from your class store, or 10 minutes of free time. The next day starts with a new student until everyone has had a chance.
If the student you picked did not do a good job throughout the day following your expectations, simply announce to the class “Today’s secret student forgot our classroom expectations.” The next day starts fresh with a new choice or even the same student since you didn’t tell the class who it was the previous day.
Classroom Management Techniques Quick Win #3 - The Scoreboard
The Scoreboard comes from Whole Brain Teaching. When I first learned about it, students played Class against the Teacher. Now, Whole Brain Teaching recommends students actually play it as Wolves and Turtles. Wolves receive positive tally marks and turtles receive the negative tally marks.As your day progresses you will give out 10-15 tally marks per hour. Each tally mark receives a quick celebration (class chants “Oh, yeah”) or a mighty groan. The point of the Scoreboard is winning for the sake of winning. Students are not given tangible rewards. If you use the Super Improver Wall, students have the chance to earn extra stars for their cards.
Classroom Management Techniques Quick Win #4 - Good Things
The last classroom management quick win comes from a morning routine called Good Things. I’ve also seen it used at the end of the day. I like to start the day on a positive note so I do it with my students after the tardy bell rings and before we get our breakfast. The best thing about Good Things is that it only takes 5 minutes!
Before beginning good things I do a few whole class lessons on correct ways to share and what a good thing can be. I like to emphasize it can be big or small. All good things are celebrated no matter the size!
Simply choose a student from the class to start. When first beginning, I choose volunteers. As the year progresses, I will choose using popsicle students. Students will only share what we call the headline (the most important part). The object here is not to hear a story of their good thing.
For my class this might be “My mom walked me to school today” or “I played with my brother last night.” Then, I ask a follow up question. “What game did you and your brother play?” After they respond I ask the class to give three claps to so-and-so for sharing. We clap in unison three times and the next person is chosen to share. I usually get to 3-5 students in a five minute period.
A great benefit of Good Things is that it helps build classroom relationships as it provides time for students to learn about each other on a personal level. Many times students will exclaim “I do that too!” or “I’ve been there before!” The power of these connections are priceless.
As you may have noticed, all of these classroom management techniques are aimed to look for and reinforce the positive and decrease undesirable behaviors. This is the key for a solid classroom management plan. If you are still struggling and need help developing a plan that is made for you, try my course the CLASSroom Management Adventure which helps you create this plan and put it into practice.