32 Must-Try Classroom Management Tips

Classroom management is a critical piece of any successful school year. Students must know how to wait their turn, work out conflicts, stay on task – the list goes on.  There are so many components teachers need to orchestrate well in order for learning to happen.

Get organized then hop over and request your invite to our VIP teachers’ club, The Plato Pack, so you can get 24/7 access to THOUSANDS of playful, ready-to-use centers your students will beg to repeat.

Our roundup of 32 must-try classroom management hacks includes our favorite tips for reinforcing positive behavior, placing kids in groups, taking mini brain breaks when they need to burn off some extra energy and so much more.

Have a recommendation to add to the list?! We’d love to hear it. Just share your idea in the comments below. 

Tons of must-try classroom management ideas!

Positive Reinforcement

Add a marble to a jar each time kids do something positive. When the jar is full, give them a reward. // Minds in Bloom

Have each table color in a square on their bravo chart every time they do something positive. 3 boxes in a row and they earn a reward. // Blog Lovin’

When students are caught doing something kind, add a warm and fuzzy pom pom to the class jar. // A Love 4 Teaching

Keep track of class brownie points by adding (you guessed it!) brownies to a cookie sheet. // First Grader at Last

Compliment one student each day on a framed “You rock because…” poster. // Fashionista Teacher

Make a classroom brag board where students can post compliments for one another. // Teaching 4 Real

Awesome classroom management tips!!

Taking Brain Breaks

Brain breaks are key to good classroom management!

When kids need a little break from learning, roll a couple brain breaks. // Your Therapy Source

Play a fun round of Too Big, Too Small, Just Right.

Pick a DIY activity stick from a jar and get moving. // Keep Calm and Teach On

Wiggle along to a brain break song. // Learning Station Music

Roll a physical activity cube and get some exercise. // Little Family Fun

Class Jobs

Class Job Charts

Use library pockets to make an easy to switch job chart. // Stickers and Staples

Assign kids to jobs with clothespins. // Stickers and Staples

Put student numbers on a magnet so that you can easily reuse the chart year after year. // 3rd Grade Thoughts

Great ways to calm kids down.

Helping Kids Calm Down

These calm-down strategies are the perfect way to ensure successful classroom management throughout the day.

Grab some playdough and balloons and make some wacky sacks kids can squeeze when they’re feeling anxious. // Somewhat Simple

Give kids a DIY calm down jar. // Preschool Inspirations

Have kids color in a coloring book or practice handwriting.

If you have a student who likes to wiggle, have him try sitting on a stability cushion. (Amazon affiliate link.)

Have the class take a break and read a book out loud to them. Dimming the lights and letting kids lay down can help take their energy down another notch too.

Make a squishy marble maze. // Therapy Fun Zone

When kids feel angry, have them count to ten out loud.  Awesome classroom management tips!!

Grouping Kids

Place a colored dot sticker in the corner of each student’s desk. Use the colors to call kids over. For instance, “Students with orange stickers may line up!” // Owlways Be Inspired

Make a simple partner spinner to pair up kids. // Fabulous Fourth

Stick colored dots on the bottom of Hershey kisses. Pass them out and have kids pair up with classmates who have matching dots. // Studio DIY

Write each child’s name on a popsicle stick. Place them in a bucket and randomly pull out two names at a time to assign partners.

Put colored bracelets in a paper bag and have each kid pick one. Place students with the same color in a group.

Super helpful classroom management tips.

Small Group Time

Use our FREE editable lesson planner and organization pack to group, plan and keep track of small group instruction (plus tons more!).

At the start of the year, make a What If? Chart with the class so that kids can learn how to be self managers when you’re working with small groups.

Have kids ask two students their question before they can ask the teacher.

When you’re already working with other students, have kids with questions clip their name to an “I have a question” sign. // Mrs. Beattie’s Classroom

Assign one student as the “Ask Me” person other kids can go to during small group work. // Frogs and Cupcakes

Teach kids about personal space by sticking sheets of construction paper on to your small group table with contact paper. // K Fundamentals

Free Lesson Planner

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Snag your set and then hop over and request your invite to our VIP teachers’ club, The Plato Pack, so you can get 24/7 access to THOUSANDS of playful, ready-to-use centers your students will beg to repeat.

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  1. Palma

    I LOVE these ideas and “thank you” for the shout out with my small group personal space mats. I used lined dry-erase contact paper on the laminated construction paper so kids can write & quickly erase. Loved your post :).
    from KFUNdamentals

  2. Justme

    Three kids….. 4. 5, 3 and 1? 🙂

  3. Miranda

    Why have I never seen the “Brag Board” idea?! I LOVE it! Thank you for such a great compilation of all things wonderful.

  4. Jackie

    Thank you for so many wonderful ideas. I love to try new things each year. I had never heard of calming jars. I’m excited to try them.

  5. Melissa

    I come to your site often and I’m never disappointed. You create beautiful materials and have wonderful ideas! Thank you so much for sharing – this first grade teacher appreciates all you do!

  6. Vera

    Awesome ideas!! Thanks!

  7. Isabel

    Thank you for your hard work and for sharing (free) your wonderful ideas!

  8. Amy

    This is incredible!! Is there any chance you can make the lesson planner for 2017-2018? Orrrr make it editable so we can keep updating? I LOVE your format and the way it is organized. Thank you for being so brilliant.

  9. Nathalie

    Hello Malia,

    I am interested in downloading your free teaching planner but the dowload button/feature is not working for me … I’m not sure why. Is it possible to email me the pdf? I just discovered your website and you do beautiful work, thank you.

    • Kimberleigh

      Hello Nathalie,
      I have emailed you.
      Have a wonderful day.

    • Kimberleigh

      Hello Nathalie,
      I have emailed you.
      Have a wonderful day.


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Hi, I’m Malia.

I LOVE helping Pre-K, Kindergarten and First Grade teachers save time, stay inspired and give EVERY student bigger results. I’m so glad you’re here!