Do you have a BIG class? Experts share their classroom management tips.

The Question:
Lindsey Mitchum needs some tips on effective classroom management for a large kinder classroom. Any ideas?
The Answers:
Debbie Wood
 Read Harry Wong. His book on The First Days of School is excellent for management routines/procedures. If we forget our procedures, we all practice whatever it is, even walking down the hall, lining up, etc. We are a team and it takes teamwork, so we practice as a team to be the best!
Cheryl Davis
Becky Bailey’s Conscious Discipline is a wonderful way to build community. The children want to have a smooth running environment. Check it out – I love it!
Donna Moore Teaff
I taught Kinder for 25 of my 31 yrs. I just retired last Dec. I had a calendar stapled in the kid’s take-home folder. The calender was for a 6 weeks. There were boxes for each day just like a calendar you would hang on your wall. Anything that was happening like a field trip or program would be entered on the day. At the bottom I had a list of the class rules.
Each rule was color coded. I had a pocket chart on the wall. Each student had a pocket. There was a basket next to it with colored cards that went with the rules. If a child broke the red rule, he/she put a red card in his/her pocket. Then at the end of the day I took markers and put a colored dot on the correct day as to which rule was broken. That way the parents knew exactly what their child got in trouble for. If there were no cards in the childs pocket he/she got a sticker or stamp.
My rules were: red–raise your hand to get the teacher’s attention; blue–follow directions right away; green–keep your hands, feet & objects to yourself; follow directions in PE, Music & Art; etc.
Marilyn Little Huff 
I love Harry Wong too! I try and use positive discipline by rewarding the behavior I want. Each child has a hand cutout (ellison). The banner reads “Give Me Five!”.
When a student is caught being good he/she get a sticker to go on a finger of the hand. When they get a handful they take a trip to the treasure box.
I also have a piggy bank for whole class rewards. When someone/anyone brags on the class as a whole the class earns a penny. The class can go shopping for extra recess, extra centers, ice cream etc. when they reach their shopping goal. I set the amount low at the beginning of school then inflation hits all the way to 30 cents. It is a wonderful way to teach coins, values, trading coins, etc.
When a child has a repeated negative behavior they write a “pink” slip. Parents have to sign and return.
Missy Weygandt
I love my carpet from Lakeshore. It just has a grid with colored rows. No graphics. They have their assigned seat. I can call one row at a time for various things. When we are up singing and dancing I remind them to stay in their square. Great management tool!!
Melissa Mullin Beykirch 
Choose a classroom management technique or program with rewards and consequences and stick to it. Consistency is crucial! Most importantly be patient! A larger class may need more time and it is not worth you getting upset. I have a system that has always worked for me …. Visit my class web site.
Kelly McCool
Like Missy’s comment, instead of a carpet I have a mat, where each person has his own square. (You put the mat together like a puzzle. They sell them at Sam’s). It works great
I also use a band system. The Dollar Tree has these hair elastics 100 for $1. The kids start out with 3 bands at the beginning of the day. They earn or lose bands throughout the day based on their behavior.
At the end of the day they count their bands. My class a weekly behavior chart. At the end of the day if they have
3-5 bands, a green smiley is drawn on their chart.
6 bands or more -a purple smiley is drawn and they get to take a trip to the treasure box to get a small treat.
2 bands- yellow smiley
1 band- an orange face with a straight mouth accompanied by a note to parent regarding the day’s behavior.
0 bands- red frowny face and a note home.
It works really well. They try really hard to to do the right thing and earn bands. It seems to work better than having them flip a card, since the bands are always with them on their wrist. So you can give or take away at anytime. It also gives them a visual in helping to monitor their own behavior.
Erin Herward Thurston
 Do as much as possible in smaller groups, especially if you have an IA or other support staff. Also, we use PBS (positive behavior support) at my school and positive reinforcement of respectful behavior is key!
Cathy Padgett Graham
I teach first grade. I like the classroom management idea with the bands. My problem is consistency and this seems to be one that I can stick too….thanks!!
Beth Greene
  Procedures….procedures….procedures. (I’m still a work in progress!) Break everything down. I also like Becky Baily
Karen Barry
 Kelly, I like your band idea, but how do you keep the bands out of their mouths, seems like my children want something in their mouths all the time..thanks.
Debbie Crocker Baker
I teach first grade. I have a clipboard and if kids need a consequence they have to put their name on the clipboard. That’s a warning. If they have another incident they have to put a checkmark, that’s 5 min walking/thinking time at recess. If more checkmarks increase walking time by 5 min each checkmark. If they refuse to write name I write it and add a checkmark. After recess clear board and start again. Then at end of day if no name on clipboard they get a star sticker to put on a chart. When chart is full they get something from treasure box. My first graders have to have 20 stars, but for kindergarten might do 10. I’ve used this for several years and it works great.
Jana G. Arneel 
I have taught Special Education and General Education both, as well as inclusion. I find that building in a positive, pro-active reward system into the routine helps to curb many problems no matter how large or difficult the class of students may be to manage.
I collect a list of what they would like to earn. These items would be free time on computer, free time with a book, with another teacher, trip to Library, extra recess, “Stinky Pinky” (shoes off), and class pet at your desk for the day/minutes. I learned that one from a friend recently-she has a hermit crab habitat that sits nicely on one desk at a time. You could just have a stuffed animal be the class pet.
I write the list with the class and draw simple pictures to represent each item to be won/earned. I make little tickets out of scrap paper or old carnival tickets. I give these out randomly for things that they should be doing like lining up straight and quiet and sitting and listening well.
I know that seems odd but keep reading! I say, “Oh, I like the way “Sally” is showing me how we sit in Kindergarten. She has her feet on the floor and her hands on her table and is looking right at me with her mouth quiet.” I describe exactly what I expect to see, reward that and magically…everyone starts doing just that.
A lot of times, we teachers and parents focus on what we DON’T want to see. They are immune to negative words like, “Don’t” or “You should not be…” and their brains only hear the words that come after the negative word. If you say, “Don’t run!” Students hear, “Run!”
I know it sounds silly but it has been studied and found accurate. I want to say that there are always special circumstances and special students with which none of this would work as well because they may need a smaller student to teacher ratio. I hope this helps. I would add this to whatever else you find that works. No one system will work all of the time.
Latisia Craig 
I use a positive, proactive reward system as well. I have the word “AWESOME” across the front wall of our room. When I (or any other adult that comes into my room) sees a students doing something, ANYTHING, good, they earn a letter. When they spell the whole word, they earn a prize. My prizes are usually not bought prizes, they can choose to have lunch in the room with me, extra end of the day computer time, or something out of our prize bucket. All of my prize buckets prizes were donated by our local Fun Services, the kind of prizes you will at a school carnival.
Joyce Huddleston Johnson Raney

One thought on “Do you have a BIG class? Experts share their classroom management tips.

  1. I have two things that are working for me with most of my students. The first is a good listening poster displayed on the wall. It describes 5 traits for being a good listener such as eyes on the teacher, ears listening, etc. There is a picture of a boy demonstrating these traits which has been named Fred. Any time the class is off task, I just say “Show me Fred” and the class immediately snaps to attention.

    My newest system involves a traffic light which I made out of construction paper. Each child has a clothes pin attached to the green light. Children stay on the green if they exhibit acceptable behavior throughout the day. A child will be moved to yellow if minor infractions are exhibited and red if the infractions continue or if it is a major infraction. I inform parents of their children’s behavior on a daily basis using a calendar and bingo dabbers. I print the calendar found on Mailbox Magazine’s website then copy it at 64% to reduce it. The calendar is attached inside the kids’ home/school connection folder. At the end of the day, I stamp each calendar with the appropriate color. I write a brief description of the offending behavior when necessary. This is working wonderfully for most of the class. Some of the kids are very proud of themselves for always being green!

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