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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Classroom Management: Resource Roundup

Looking for information on guiding classroom communities, minimizing disruptions, and developing class routines to help students stay engaged and focused on learning? This resource collection is packed with useful tips, tools, and advice.

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Building Positive Learning Communities

  • 20 Tips for Creating a Safe Learning Environment by Rebecca Alber (Updated 2015)

    Alber provides strategies for creating a safe, open, and community-centered classroom environment. You may also want to read her post How Student-Centered Is Your Classroom? which provides more wonderful advice for creating safe classroom spaces.

  • 7 Learning Zones Every Classroom Must Have by Veronica Lopez (Updated 2015)

    As you plan curriculum and activities, it's important to consider how you'll use your classroom space, writes Lopez. Plus, she highlights seven learning zones that you can add to your classroom to help focus your students.

  • The Science Behind Classroom Norming by Todd Finley (2014)

    Finley explores the value of norming for building classroom communities.

  • Creating an Emotionally Healthy Classroom Environment by Mark Phillips (2014)

    Making students feel safe and earning their trust are critical elements for turning your classroom into an emotionally healthy environment. For more resources related to designing and optimizing learning environments, visit Edutopia’s learning environments page.

  • Creating More Compassionate Classrooms by Joshua Block (2013)

    High school humanities teacher Block shares the six structural and pedagogical reminders that he uses to steadily improve the ethic of compassion in his classroom.

  • The Power of the Morning Meeting by Lisa Dabbs (2013)

    Dabbs shares her own transformative experience with the Morning Meeting model and suggests five steps for integrating this practice into the classroom.

  • Relationship Building Through Culturally Responsive Classroom Management by Todd Finley (2014)

    Hone skills like curiosity, listening, cultural sensitivity, and humor to build rapport and provide all students with equitable opportunities for learning. Explore more ways to support the development of positive, trusting relationships in your classroom by reading the blog posts listed below:

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Teaching Class Rules and Routines

  • How to Manage Cell Phones in the Classroom by Ben Johnson (2015)

    What is your school and classroom cell phone policy? Read these tips when devising an effective plan for student use of mobile phones of campus. Another great blog post on the subject by Mary Beth Hertz, Striking a Balance: Digital Tools and Distraction in School, provides tips and strategies for addressing cell phones in class.

  • 4 Early-Year Keys for Effective Classroom Discipline by Allen Mendler (2015)

    Effective classroom management starts at the beginning of the year when a teacher clearly and respectfully lays out behavior standards and methods for handling misbehavior.

  • Strategies for Helping Students Motivate Themselves by Larry Ferlazzo (2015)

    Motivating students is a critical part of establishing classroom routines. Ferlazzo explains how using autonomy, competence, relatedness, and relevance as practical classroom strategies can help reinforce the intrinsic motivation that students need for making the most of their learning.

  • The 5 Critical Categories of Rules by Dr. Richard Curwin (2014)

    Curwin believes that rules and limits, while necessary in a classroom, are subtly shaded in meaning and use. He defines five critical categories of rules: academic, social, procedural, cultural, and personal.

  • Bell Ringer Exercises by Todd Finley (2014)

    Finley presents an overview of bell work -- short, focused exercises to keep students engaged while teachers are occupied with administrative tasks.

  • Back to School: Rules and Routines in the Classroom by Rebecca Alber (2010)

    As the school year begins, it's important for teachers to remember the difference between rules and routines in the classroom. For more about how to develop and teach meaningful classroom rules, check out these blog posts:

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Facilitating Student Focus and Attention

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Addressing Disruptive Behaviors

  • 12 Ways to Avoid Student Humiliation by Richard Curwin (2015)

    Embarrassing or belittling students may interfere with learning and lead to long-term resentment. Teachers should treat students respectfully and be mindful of their feelings. Plus, in Classroom Management: The Intervention Two-Step, Curwin examines what happens when a student acts up in class, and illustrates how dealing with it is a two-step process.

  • Fresh Starts for Hard-to-Like Students by Allen Mendler (2015)

    Improve trust and communication with difficult students by expressing gratitude, using encouraging statements, and treating them in the same way that you treat your best students. Also from Mendler, Defusing Power Struggles: It's Not About Getting the Last Word provides a constructive way for teachers to avoid a power struggle with that attention-seeking student.

  • Sometimes Misbehavior Is Not What It Seems by Richard Curwin (2015)

    Misbehaving students might like you too much or be physically attracted. Maybe they want attention or want you to prove yourself. Be sensitive to underlying reasons. And when addressing misbehavior, Curwin discusses the classroom management strategy of correcting student misbehavior by offering choices in When Choices Are Disguised Threats.

  • 30 Techniques to Quiet a Noisy Class by Todd Finley (2014)

    Whether you use musical instruments, game pieces, call-and-response, or electronic devices, there are many successful ways of getting students to focus front and stop talking.

  • How to Make Consequences Work by Richard Curwin (2012)

    Curwin looks at the use of consequences as a disciplinary method and suggests a few ways to make them more effective. You may also want to read Fair Isn’t Equal: Seven Classroom Tips, where Curwin explains the subtle yet important differences between treating students equally and treating them fairly, and how this relates to rules and consequences.

  • Three Levels of Effective Classroom Management by Nicholas Provenzano (2011)

    Provenzano describes his strategies for dealing with classroom discipline -- effective communication is the key. For more advice on how to see students through new lenses and build connections with disengaged students, explore tips in these related blog posts:

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Other Edutopia Resources

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What are your favorite classroom-management tips and strategies? Share tools, experiences, or advice in the comments.

Classroom Management
What can we do to create a positive dynamic in the classroom?

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