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:
- Developing Students’ Trust: The Key to a Learning Partnership by Ben Johnson (2014)
- How to Trust Your Students by Todd Finley (2013)
- Fostering Relationships in the Classroom by Larry Ferlazzo (2012)
- Building a Positive, Trusting Classroom Environment by José Vilson (2012)
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:
- Teachers Need to Follow Their Own Rules by Richard Curwin (2014)
- The Great “Respect” Deception by Richard Curwin (2013)
- Creating Classroom Rules With a Bill of Student Rights by Nicholas Provenzano (2011)
Facilitating Student Focus and Attention
- The Engagement-Based Classroom Management Model by Lori Desautels (2015)
Invite your students to participate in a behavioral model that helps them level up with their engagement and attitude -- much like a video game. Also check out this blog post from Desautels, Energy and Calm: Brain Breaks and Focused-Attention Practices, which provides practical tips for incorporating fun "brain breaks" into the classroom.
- Tools for Teaching: Managing a Large Class Size by Rebecca Alber (Updated 2015)
Do you have more than 30 students? Directing student focus in a large classroom can be daunting. In this blog post, Alber provides strategies for keeping a large group of kids engaged and managed.
- Training the Brain to Listen by Donna Wilson and Marcus Conyers (2014)
Wilson and Conyers, brain-based teaching program developers and authors, explain how the brain processes auditory information and introduce the HEAR strategy as a way to help students develop their listening skills. Rebecca Alber describes even more strategies for helping students to become better listeners in Say What? 5 Ways to Get Students to Listen.
- 25 Attention-Grabbing Tips for the Classroom via Edutopia Community (2014)
Whether you're a new or experienced teacher, strategies for getting student attention are an important part of your classroom-management toolkit. In this guide you’ll find 25 tips for quieting a noisy class.
- From Management to Engagement by Andrew Miller (2012)
Miller looks at how student engagement can help deal with classroom management issues. For more information, visit Edutopia’s page on student engagement. The big list of resources on student engagement is another good place to start.
- Big Thinkers: Judy Willis on the Science of Learning by Edutopia Staff (2011)
The noted neurologist-turned-educator talks about the science of boredom, how to get students' attention, and the most important lessons for 21st-century learning.
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:
- Perspective: A Game Changer in the Classroom and in Our Lives by Lori Desautels (2014)
- Reframing: Seeing Students in a New Way by Richard Curwin (2012)
- 5 Tips for Teaching the Tough Kids by Josh Work (2014)
- Connecting With Students on the Fringes by Joshua Block (2014)
- How to Develop a Welcoming Culture by Richard Curwin (2012)
Other Edutopia Resources
- New Teachers: Classroom-Management Fundamentals by Edutopia Staff (2015)
Discover resources for new teachers about developing routines, fostering classroom community, managing disruptions, and building student relationships.
- 5 Quick Classroom-Management Tips for Novice Teachers by Rebecca Alber (Updated 2015)
Alber presents five management strategies that new teachers can begin using immediately in their classrooms. For more classroom-management basics and resources for new teachers, be sure to check out Lisa Dabbs’ New Teacher Academy: Classroom Management.
- Using Dialogue Circles to Support Classroom Management by Edutopia Staff (2014)
At Glenview Elementary School, dialogue circles are part of a program aimed at building collaboration, respect, and positive behavior among students.
- The Dos and Don'ts of Classroom Management: Your 25 Best Tips via Edutopia Community (2014)
In this presentation, you’ll find the 25 best tips for classroom management contributed by the educators of Edutopia’s community. Join the conversation to share your own tips!
- Classroom Management Strategies for Elementary Teachers by Gaetan Pappalardo (Updated 2014)
Pappalardo offers some advice to elementary educators on managing student behavior and needs, including how to decide whether or not a student needs medical attention, what to do when students finish work early, and how to manage all that pencil sharpening.
- 7 Tips for Better Classroom Management by Tyler Hester (2013)
Hester, a teacher and professional development coach, offers seven compelling tips -- and one amazing video -- about the roots of better classroom management.
- Positive, Not Punitive, Classroom Management Tips by Larry Ferlazzo (2013)
In the first of two excerpts from his latest book, Ferlazzo offers some positive classroom-management tips. Also see part 2: More Positive, Not Punitive Classroom Management Tips.
Additional Resources on the Web
- Classroom Management Tips, Edutopia’s pinboard on Pinterest
- Classroom Management: Is It Okay to Let It Go? by Lily Jones, from Teaching Channel (2015)
- Classroom Management Tips for Using Proximity Control by Jordan Catapano, from TeachHUB (2015)
- 3 Classroom Management Tips That Changed My Life by Meghan Everette, from Scholastic Teachers (2014)
- Digital Distraction in the Modern Classroom by Paul Barnwell, from SmartBlog on Education (2014)
- The Journey of a Chair by Jim Dillon, from SmartBlog on Education (2014)
- Two Minutes to Better Student Behavior by Sarah McKibben, from ASCD's Inservice (2014)
- Make a Mark By Establishing Classroom Procedures by Vicki Davis, CoolCatTeacher (2014)
- Talking Circles: For Restorative Justice and Beyond by Amy Vatne Bintliff, from Teaching Tolerance (2014)
- Connect With Each Student’s Humanity by Jim Hiller, from Teaching Tolerance (2013)
- Distract the Distractor: Stop Off-Task Behavior Without Drama by Jennifer Gonzalez, from Cult of Pedagogy (2014)
- Notebooks for Classroom Management by Jennifer Gonzalez, from Cult of Pedagogy (2013)
- Put Your Name on the Board -- A Tale of Why I Gave Up Classroom Discipline Systems by Pernille Ripp, from Blogging Through the Fourth Dimension (2014)
- Video Playlist: 9 Strategies for Effective Classroom Management by Elizabeth Weiland, from Teaching Channel (2014)
- The Best Posts on Classroom Management by Larry Ferlazzo, from Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day (2010)
- Classroom Management from ASCD
- Preventing and Addressing Behavior Problems - Tips from the What Works Clearinghouse from the Institute of Education Sciences
What are your favorite classroom-management tips and strategies? Share tools, experiences, or advice in the comments.