12 Best Classroom Management Strategies for Elementary Teachers


Getting a classroom of elementary students to cooperate can be like herding cats – but with the right strategies, you can make it a breeze. From setting clear expectations to rewarding good behavior, there are plenty of tried-and-true techniques to help you manage your class. 

Many proven techniques are available to facilitate efficient classroom management, from establishing transparent expectations to incentivizing positive conduct.

We present twelve of the best classroom management strategies for elementary teachers.

Best Classroom Management Tips for Elementary Teachers

Here are some detailed classroom management tips tailored for elementary teachers:

  1. Establish Clear Expectations: Communicate and discuss classroom expectations clearly with your students at the beginning of the school year. It helps set a foundation for a positive and structured learning environment.
  2. Reinforce Basic Commands: Teach and consistently reinforce basic commands to ensure a smooth flow of activities—practice routines for everyday tasks such as transitioning between activities or getting materials.
  3. Promote Collaborative Learning: Incorporate group activities to encourage students to work together. Periodic group discussions foster teamwork and allow you to assess individual understanding collaboratively.
  4. Utilize Instructional Tools: Enhance engagement by incorporating tools like a laser pointer during lessons. It can be a visual aid that captures students’ attention and directs focus to critical points.
  5. Foster Positive Relationships: Build positive and respectful relationships with your students. Understanding their strengths, challenges, and interests helps create a supportive classroom atmosphere.
  6. Implement a Reward System: Introduce a reward system to recognize and celebrate positive behaviour. It can include verbal praise, a reward chart, or small incentives, fostering a positive and motivating environment.
  7. Establish Consistent Routines: Structure your daily schedule with consistent routines. Predictable routines provide a sense of security for elementary students, helping them know what to expect each day.
  8. Utilize Non-Verbal Signals: Use non-verbal signals, such as visual or hand signals, to communicate with your students. It can be particularly effective in maintaining order during activities or transitions.
  9. Encourage Active Participation: Create opportunities for all students to actively participate in class. It can be achieved through interactive lessons, discussions, and hands-on activities, keeping students engaged and focused.
  10. Implement a Consequence System: Establish a fair consequence system for inappropriate behaviour. Consistency is vital, and having a clear set of consequences helps students understand the impact of their actions.
  11. Promote a Positive Classroom Culture: Cultivate a positive classroom culture by fostering respect, empathy, and inclusivity. Encourage students to appreciate and celebrate each other’s differences.
  12. Regularly Assess and Adjust: Continuously assess the effectiveness of your classroom management strategies. Be open to adjusting your approach based on the evolving dynamics of your class and individual student needs.

By incorporating these tips, elementary teachers can create a conducive learning environment that promotes academic success and positive social development.

1. Set the Expectations for the Class

Ensuring a thriving classroom environment hinges on establishing unequivocal expectations for students. A primary component of a successful elementary classroom management plan involves precisely delineating behavioural norms, academic standards, and the importance of mutual respect. It lays the groundwork for a structured and conducive learning atmosphere.

Establishing expectations at the outset is crucial as it sets the precedent for the entire academic year. Present students with tangible instances of desired behaviour, offering clarity and addressing queries. Furthermore, it articulates the repercussions of deviating from the outlined expectations.

Maintaining reasonableness and achievability in your expectations is paramount to fostering student success. Crafting a meticulously designed classroom management strategy is the linchpin for triumph in elementary education.

2. Get the Students to Follow Basic Commands

Once your students clearly understand classroom expectations, the next step is to impart the skill of following basic commands. Effective classroom management techniques are instrumental in ensuring students comprehend your instructions and remain engaged.

A practical approach involves implementing the ‘Stop-Drop-and-Listen’ method. Integrate this technique by consistently employing the phrase whenever students veer off course during discussions. By doing so, students quickly grasp the protocol: stop their current activities, drop any distractions, and attentively listen to your guidance.

Furthermore, the ‘Three Strikes’ rule proves beneficial in instilling the habit of prompt obedience. Offer students three opportunities to comply with instructions before taking more consequential measures. This approach establishes a fair balance, allowing students a reasonable margin to adjust their behaviour while maintaining accountability for their actions.

3. Promoting Collaborative Learning through Group Activities

Incorporating occasional group responses to questions in elementary education is a valuable classroom management strategy, fostering student collaboration and creativity.

Group work is a dynamic method to encourage critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Students are prompted to explore diverse perspectives and formulate innovative solutions through collaborative efforts. Beyond its academic benefits, group activities contribute to developing social bonds and cultivating a sense of comfort and camaraderie among students.

This approach hones students’ social skills and provides a platform for them to practice effective communication and active listening. The collective experience of group work contributes to establishing a positive learning environment, infusing an element of enjoyment into the educational process.

For elementary teachers, integrating group work into the instructional toolkit becomes an indispensable component of effective classroom management, promoting academic excellence and social development.

4. Use Laser Pointer

In the elementary classroom, employing a laser pointer is a highly effective classroom management strategy for educators. This tool directs students’ attention to specific elements within a lesson, contributing to a more engaged and focused learning experience.

The laser pointer proves invaluable in highlighting key points on the board, seamlessly transitioning between different aspects of the lesson. Its utility extends to pinpointing errors or areas for improvement in student work, facilitating a clearer understanding of the material being taught.

Beyond expediting comprehension, the laser pointer plays a pivotal role in sustaining the overall focus of the class. As students are prompted to closely follow the details highlighted by the laser, distractions are minimized, fostering a conducive learning environment.

The laser pointer emerges as a versatile tool empowering teachers to captivate student attention, streamline lessons, and enhance the overall learning experience.

5. Build Positive Relationships with Students

In elementary school, fostering positive relationships with students emerges as a cornerstone of successful classroom management. Prioritizing the development of mutual respect and trust lays a solid foundation for a harmonious and productive learning environment.

Critical practices involve:

  • Active listening to students.
  • Attentively addressing their needs and concerns.
  • Demonstrating genuine care for their educational journey.

Creating a safe and supportive learning atmosphere is paramount, emphasizing that each student’s opinions and ideas hold significance and are worthy of consideration.

Aligned with best practices in elementary education, dedicate time to acquaint yourself personally with each student. Daily interactions become an opportunity to connect individually, focusing on their strengths, celebrating their successes, and approaching mistakes with patience and understanding. By nurturing positive relationships, educators contribute to effective classroom management and cultivate an environment where students feel valued, motivated, and empowered to thrive academically and socially.

6. Collaborate with Students to Set the Rules for the Class

Student involvement in establishing classroom rules and expectations must be considered extremely critical to cultivating a successful and positive learning environment in the classroom. Engage students in the process, encouraging them to contribute ideas on fostering respectful collaboration and exemplary behaviour within the classroom.

When students actively participate in shaping the rules, they gain a deeper understanding of their purpose and are more likely to take ownership of adhering to them. Provide comprehensive explanations on the necessity of specific rules and the unacceptability of certain behaviours, fostering a shared understanding among students.

Clarity on consequences for rule violations is crucial. Communicate the repercussions, reinforcing that rules are a foundation for a secure and constructive learning environment. By implementing these collaborative classroom management strategies tailored for elementary teachers, you pave the way for a safe, inclusive, and conducive space for all students’ academic and personal growth.

7. Establish a Positive Daily Schedule for Classroom Success

Creating a consistent routine can be one of the most effective classroom management strategies for elementary teachers. Establishing a routine helps keep the class on track and allows students to develop a sense of order and predictability.

As such, it’s important to have a good routine to help the class understand what comes next, and why. To create a successful routine, it’s helpful to create a plan for the day and post it in the classroom. This allows students to anticipate what’s coming and they can use this as a guide.

Similarly, incorporating a consistent daily routine that includes activities like stretching, writing, reading, and math helps to keep students focused. Providing ample instruction and practice with the routine helps to ensure that students become comfortable with it.

8. Redirect Individual Misbehavior in Private

Effectively managing misbehavior in the classroom involves redirecting students to a private area away from their peers. This strategic approach aims to prevent disruptions to the learning environment and minimize distractions for other students. Simultaneously, it allows the teacher to have a private conversation with the students to discern the underlying causes of their misbehavior.

Maintaining a composed and collected demeanour during redirection is paramount. It ensures that the student feels respected and facilitates a conducive atmosphere for open communication. Including private redirection as part of classroom management strategies for elementary teachers minimizes disruptions, encourages accountability, and creates a safe and supportive learning environment. By addressing misbehaviour calmly and respectfully, teachers can nurture an environment where students feel at ease expressing themselves and actively engaging in learning.

9. Use the Chronicle Cloud Classroom Management App

Expanding on redirecting individual misbehaviour privately, educators can elevate their classroom management strategies by incorporating the Chronicle Cloud Classroom Management App, a tailored solution designed for elementary school classrooms.

This application is a comprehensive platform empowering teachers to efficiently manage students and monitor their progress. It boasts various features, including automated seating charts, activity tracking, behaviour analytics, and lesson observation tools.

Through the Chronicle Cloud, teachers gain the capability to closely monitor student behaviours, devise individualized plans, and promptly identify any potential concerns. The app’s in-depth analysis equips educators to address issues proactively, preventing them from escalating. By leveraging the Chronicle Cloud, teachers enhance their capacity for effective classroom management, fostering a conducive learning environment for elementary students.

Educators can foster positive discipline through the utilization of the Chronicle Cloud application. This tool enables students to gain valuable insights into their behavior, including a nuanced understanding of their mood on a given day. By leveraging this platform, teachers and students can collaboratively address and resolve behavioural challenges coherently and cohesively.

10. Focus on Positive Behavior Reinforcement

One of the most effective tips for effective classroom management in elementary settings is prioritizing positive behaviour reinforcement. Acknowledging and praising students for their accomplishments and implementing rewards for commendable behaviour instils a sense of achievement and cultivates a positive classroom environment.

This approach is a powerful motivator, keeping students actively engaged in learning. Utilizing rewards, such as a coveted gold star or an additional five minutes of recess, becomes an impactful method to reinforce positive conduct. Verbal affirmations, like “Good job!” or “Nice work!” further communicate appreciation for students’ efforts.

Establishing a comprehensive reward system for the entire class creates a supportive learning environment. This system celebrates individual successes and fosters students’ collective sense of responsibility and positive behaviour. By emphasizing positive behaviour reinforcement, elementary teachers enhance the classroom dynamic, promoting motivation, engagement, and a culture of achievement.

11. Practice Mindfulness with Your Students

In addition to positive behaviour reinforcement, integrating mindfulness into the classroom routine is a powerful method to foster a positive and tranquil learning atmosphere.

Teaching mindfulness techniques contributes to cultivating an environment characterized by calmness and heightened awareness. Through mindfulness, students can develop essential skills such as improved listening, concentration, and emotional recognition. Initiate the practice by introducing the concept, emphasizing breath awareness and body focus, and engaging students in a brief collective mindfulness exercise.

Incorporate mindfulness into the daily routine, even for a few minutes, encouraging students to continue practicing independently. As an educator, I serve as a mindful role model, sharing personal experiences with mindfulness to inspire and connect with students.

By seamlessly integrating mindfulness practices, teachers create a positive classroom culture, prioritizing well-being, self-awareness, and a sense of inner calm among students.

yourself and share stories about your own experiences with mindfulness.

12. Give Rewards

A viable approach involves implementing a reinforcement system. Verbal commendations, exemplified by expressions such as “Excellent work!” or “Well done!” represent a fundamental aspect of this strategy. Additionally, tangible rewards, such as stickers or points, can be dispensed, possibly redeeming these incentives for special privileges or engaging activities.

To ensure efficacy, it is imperative to maintain consistency and reasonability in administering rewards. Communicate the criteria for earning rewards to students, emphasizing that such accolades are earned based on demonstrated positive behavior rather than anticipated. This delineation serves to reinforce positive conduct and fosters the establishment of a robust and constructive classroom dynamic.

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Elementary teachers face many unique challenges, but with these 12 classroom management strategies, you can create an environment where students can thrive and learn.

Planning, anticipating potential issues, and setting clear expectations will help ensure you have a successful school year.

Feel free to ask for help if needed – you’ve got this!