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Every teacher needs a few fun, fast, easy, tricks up his/her sleeve.  Here are a few easy classroom management tricks I’ve picked up over the years.

Need a Second to Get Ready for the Next Lesson?

The Silent Transition Game that will Save Your Sanity - try this when you need a minute to get ready for your next lesson, a great trick for elementary teachers
I got this first one from an art teacher I used to work with.  She would have a few students passing out supplies and all the other students play “the mirror game” so that everything stayed under control and quiet during that down time.  It’s really easy!

  • Stand in front of your class and tell them to pretend that they are your mirror.
  • Put your arm out to the side, they do the same. Stretch your arm over your head, spin in a circle, do a couple of jumping jacks, touch your toes, make funny faces, etc.
  • If anybody starts talking you simply say, “remember boys and girls, mirrors don’t have voices so I shouldn’t hear any sound.”

    Here’s the best part: kids catch on to this game very quickly.  Once they get it, choose a student to come to the front and lead the movements.  This could be a special privilege for someone that’s been a good listener.  Now that a student is leading the class, you can get the materials out for your next lesson, give instructions to a parent volunteer, deal with some malfunctioning classroom technology, or (gasp!) sit down for a second!

    It’s quiet, students get a chance to move, and a beautiful transition becomes a reality…it’s like a teaching jackpot!

Eliminate No-Name Papers

I’m pretty sure that teachers could easily transfer to jobs with police departments doing handwriting analysis.  We’re constantly trying to figure out whose work we’re looking at because they forgot to write their name on their paper.  Here’s an easy song that I like to sing as I’m passing out papers.  You sing it to the tune of “If you’re happy and you know it.”

Put your name on your paper, put your name.

Put your name on your paper, put your name.

If you don’t put your name then they’ll all look the same.

Put your name on your paper put your name.

Try this fun song to help student remember to put their name on their paper, perfect for the elementary classroom
Sometimes I change it up and say “If you don’t put your name, it’ll be super lame, put your name on your paper, put your name.”
Another benefit is that if all the kids are singing a song with you then they’re focused and ready to start the lesson when the song is over, bonus!

Turn Floor Clean Up into a Game

When I was a newer teacher I got really frustrated at the end of the day because it was nearly impossible to get all the kids to help clean up.  A few kids would diligently pick up trash while others were making after school plans or starting a game of tag (ahhhh!).  When the kids walked out of the room I was left with a mess and a major feeling of frustration.
Then one of my coworkers let me in on a great technique:
Make end-of-the-day clean up easy with this game, perfect for the elementary classroom
Here’s how it goes:
  • First, you look around the floor of your classroom and you tell your kids, “Boys and girls, there’s a magic scrap on the floor.  Whoever finds it gets a prize box ticket” (or whatever prize you choose).
  • Kids frantically start picking things up off the floor.  Strategically place yourself by the trash can.
  • The kids come up to you with handfuls of trash and ask, “is it one of these?”  You say, “nope, it’s not one of those but throw them away.”
  • The secret is there is actually no magic scrap at all!  When you see that the floor is clean enough you choose someone (maybe someone that needs a little boost that day) and say, “oh, there it is! Damon found the magic scrap!”  And Damon gets the prize.

 

Kids would actually ask me if they could clean up the class so we could play this game…asking to clean the classroom, I love it! Someday these kids will get older and realize there never actually was a magic scrap, it was just a way to get them to pick up, and then their lives will no longer make sense… haha!

I hope these will become valuable tricks in your toolbox : )

 

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Hannah Braun
Hannah Braun
Hannah Braun is a former teacher with 8 years of experience in the classroom and a master's degree in early childhood education. She designs engaging, organized classroom resources for 1st-3rd grade teachers.