Teacher’s Brain

5 Tangible Tips For Highly Effective Classroom Management

Dreaming of a classroom management plan or classroom management strategies that actually work? You’re not alone! There’s nothing that interrupts the flow of a good day like disruptive behaviors from your students. 

The key to smoother, easier, more productive days in elementary, in my opinion, is effective behavior management in the classroom. 

If you’re looking for classroom management ideas to help you get started on the path to a classroom that runs like a well oiled machine, you’re in the right place! 

classroom management tips

Here are 5 tangible tips for a highly effective classroom management: 

Create a Visual Schedule

Develop a clear and visual daily schedule that is prominently displayed in the classroom. Use pictures, icons, or color-coding to help younger students understand the routine. A visual schedule helps students anticipate transitions and activities, reducing anxiety and minimizing disruptions.

Utilize Behavior Charts

Implement a behavior chart system (like the one linked below!) to track and reinforce positive behavior. Create a chart with different levels or categories, and move students’ names or markers based on their behavior throughout the day. Recognize and reward students who consistently demonstrate positive behavior. This visual representation provides students with a concrete understanding of their progress.

Implement a Signal System

Establish a set of signals or cues to communicate expectations and transitions. For example, you might use a bell, a hand signal, or a specific phrase to indicate when it’s time to begin an activity, wrap up, or refocus. Consistent signals help create a sense of order and make transitions smoother.

Designate Clear Learning Spaces

Organize your classroom into distinct learning spaces for different activities. Clearly define areas for group work, independent study, and whole-class instruction. This not only helps manage noise levels but also signals to students the type of behavior expected in each area. Consistent use of these spaces establishes a structured environment.

Establish a Classroom Jobs System

Assign specific responsibilities to students by implementing a classroom jobs system. This fosters a sense of ownership and shared responsibility. Rotate jobs regularly to give students the opportunity to take on different roles. Jobs can include line leader, classroom helper, or materials manager. This not only contributes to classroom management but also instills a sense of community and cooperation.

Remember, building a positive and well-managed classroom takes time and ongoing effort. Be patient, be consistent, and be open to adjusting your strategies based on the needs of your students.

Looking for a classroom management resource that you can use to get your classroom on track? Check out my Daily Behavior Charts resource! 

classroom management

This pre-made editable behavior chart for your little ones will help easily manage their behavior goals. Included are editable behavior contracts, data-collecting graphs to chart progress, a poster about Big Problems & Little Problems, and more! 

classroom management resource

Here’s what’s included: 

Chart for one Goal (All editable with text boxes)

Graph for one goal

Graph for second goal (You will use graphs 1 and 2)

Chart for Three Goals

Graph for Third Goal (You will use graphs 1, 2, and 3)

Two Types of Behavior Contracts to Use with the Charts.

Half Page Color the Smilie Face with Contract and “LIFT” Chart to Graph Data for Five Weeks

Big Problem Poster

Big Problem Half Page Chart (You can have them color each square or give stamps or stickers when they react appropriately to a problem.)

Sticker Chart and Graph

Stamp Chart and Graph

Daily Smiley Behavior Chart (pre-made and one editable)

Green, Yellow, and Red Lights (Student colors the type of day they had.)

Various Certificates for Good Work

For more classroom management tips, check out my post here! 

What are your favorite classroom management tips? Share with me in the comments!

The Top 3 Benefits of STEM Activities in Elementary

Wondering about the benefits of STEM activities in elementary? You’re in the right place! If you know me, you know I love STEM activities and it’s so fun to see our young students light up when they are wrapped up and fully engaged in STEM learning. 

stem activities

What is STEM and why is it important? 

STEM is essentially an integrated approach to learning that incorporates four key disciplines: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. These subjects are at the heart of many of the world’s most pressing challenges and exciting opportunities, so it’s important that we get our kiddos comfortable with it from an early age. 

Here are some of the top benefits of STEM activities: 

STEM Activities Foster Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving

STEM challenges are like brain-boosting exercises for our young learners. They help our students flex their thinking muscles by encouraging them to ask questions, explore solutions, and adapt their strategies when faced with hurdles. It’s all about honing those essential problem-solving skills that will serve them well in school and beyond.

Tip: To make this even more exciting, encourage your students to team up and work together. When they brainstorm and chat about their ideas, it can take their critical thinking skills to a whole new level!

Promotes a Love for Learning

Let’s make learning an adventure! STEM challenges turn the classroom into a place where students can have a blast while they learn. Children are naturally curious, and these activities tap into that curiosity. When kids are having fun, they’re more likely to remember what they’ve learned and develop a deep love for STEM subjects.

Tip: Choose challenges that match your students’ interests. Whether it’s building, experimenting, or exploring, let their passions lead the way. And don’t forget to weave in some fun stories and real-world examples to keep them engaged.

Builds Confidence and Resilience

Completing STEM challenges is a wonderful confidence booster! When students conquer obstacles and see their ideas come to life, they walk a little taller and believe in themselves, and what teacher wouldn’t love that?! Plus, they learn that mistakes are just stepping stones to success. That kind of resilience is a life skill that will stay with them long after they leave your classroom.

Tip: Celebrate every little success with your students. Emphasize the value of hard work and not giving up, even when things get tough. Encourage them to look back on their mistakes as opportunities to grow and do even better in the next challenge.

Looking for the perfect STEM challenge? Here are some super fun and engaging STEM challenges to try with your students: 

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie STEM Challenge | Build a Mouse House

STEM activities for kids

Be the teacher they remember with these engaging STEM Activities! Kids will have a blast learning about blueprints, floor plans, area, design, and writing while doing these activities! Use the book, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff as a HOOK with this STEM activity! Check it out! 

Apollo Lunar Module STEM Challenge

lunar lander stem activity

Are you looking for an engaging STEM Challenge to enhance your space unit or to teach how the first man landed on the moon? This is a great challenge for students to use materials to create a Lunar Lander module to test for a soft landing with their “shock absorbers.” 

Building 2D & 3D Shapes Toothpick Cards, Activities and Challenges

toothpick stem activities

Are you looking for some fun STEM ideas to incorporate into building math geometry skills with 2D and 3D Shapes? I have you covered with these Build A Shape Mats! Print and laminate. Students build it with toothpicks and molding dough (you can use marshmallows or gumdrops instead), count the toothpicks, sides, vertices, and trace the words!

I hope you love these activities and that your students have lots of fun with them! Looking for more tips for STEM learning? Check out my post here!

3 Reasons To Use Holiday Escape Rooms

Let’s talk about escape rooms! 

If you know me, you know that I’m a huge fan of this incredibly engaging and exciting way to teach little learners various concepts. It feels like a game and it’s just, well, fun for teachers and students! What’s not to love?! 

If you’re looking for the perfect classroom escape room kit or even a fun digital escape room to use in your classroom, you’re in the right place! But first, let’s discuss some of the many benefits of escape rooms for students. 

escape rooms

What skills do escape rooms build? What does an escape room teach?

It Boosts Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving

Escape rooms are like a real-life puzzle that our young learners get to solve together. As they work their way through the challenges and riddles, they’re not just having a blast; they’re also honing their critical thinking and problem-solving skills. It’s like a sneak-attack on those important cognitive abilities!

It Fosters Teamwork and Collaboration

Escape rooms are all about teamwork. Our students have to communicate, share ideas, and assign tasks to successfully complete their mission. This experience helps them learn the value of working together and teaches them essential skills for life. Plus, it’s a whole lot of fun in the process!

It Makes Learning an Exciting Adventure

The best part is that escape rooms can sneakily incorporate educational content. Think math, science, history, and language—all cleverly disguised in the form of puzzles and challenges. By turning learning into an adventure, we can keep our students engaged, curious, and excited about learning. It’s like a magic potion for knowledge retention!

With the holidays around the corner, it’s the perfect time to bring in some engaging holiday themed escape rooms to your students! Whether it’s Halloween, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, or anything in between, it can be celebrated with a classroom escape room. 

Luckily, I have the perfect resource for you! I created an all inclusive Holiday Escape Room bundle that will have you covered for all holidays! 

escape rooms

Use these holiday themed Escape Rooms to guarantee student engagement while they learn and solve a classroom mystery. With little prep, your students will work as a team to break into a box, which breaks them out of the classroom as they beat the clock!

What’s inside this download?

6 escape rooms all meeting 1st and 2nd Grade Standards to use for the holidays. Several can be used with 3rd or Kindergarten too! 

classroom escape room kit

These escape rooms are focusing on Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Veterans Day, Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day. 

What does an escape room look like for primary students?

You will have to spend about 40 minutes to prep your materials. Students will be separated into two groups. First students watch the YouTube video as a hook. Then, students are handed or find a mystery envelope with a clue. The clue might have them find letters to build sentences, solve puzzles, or solve a riddle. (Each escape room is different.) 

Each time they complete a challenge, they get another mystery envelope. There are 3 to 4 clues in each activity. Eventually, they will discover keys that will open a box. (The keys are paper. The box can be an old paper box filled with a treat or homework pass that you will open together once each group has their key.) 

Once the box is open, the student can escape the room to recess or the library. 

escape room kit for kids

Certificates are provided for students who are Master Mystery Problem Solvers. The activity takes about 45-60 minutes to complete! 

escape room bundle

Check it out here! 

Have you tried escape rooms in your classroom? How did it go? Let me know in the comments! For more escape room fun, check out my post here!

3 Benefits of Kindergarten Morning Work

Are your mornings chaos? As elementary teachers, there’s usually so much to do in the mornings! You have to take attendance, handle parent communication, make sure that lunch boxes and book bags get into the correct cubbies, and about a million other things. 

My favorite way to make the mornings smoother when I was in the classroom was morning work! Setting the expectation that students are to come in in the morning, put their things away and get started on their independent work helped me focus on the various tasks that need my attention first thing in the morning. 

kindergarten morning work

Should you use morning work in kindergarten? Here are a few benefits! 

Promotes a Smooth Transition

Kindergarten mornings can often be filled with a whirlwind of emotions and energy as young learners arrive at school. Morning work provides a structured transition that eases children into the learning environment. It allows them to settle into a routine, helping to reduce separation anxiety and set a positive tone for the day.

Kindergarten Morning Work Boosts Independence

One of the top benefits of morning work is that it encourages independence in kindergarten kiddos! As they tackle tasks on their own, like simple puzzles, worksheets, or coloring activities, they develop essential skills like fine motor coordination, focus, and problem-solving. This newfound confidence spills over into other classroom activities, fostering a sense of self-reliance.

Reinforces Learning Concepts

Morning work is an ideal opportunity to reinforce and review key concepts learned in previous lessons. With age-appropriate activities that align with the curriculum, morning work can be a valuable tool for consolidating knowledge. It helps your little learners retain what they’ve learned, ensuring that lessons from previous days and weeks continue to resonate in their developing minds.

Need morning work ideas? If you are looking for the perfect morning work resource or kindergarten morning work printables, I have you covered! 

This kindergarten morning work bundle has you covered for the entire year! 

kindergarten morning work preview

This engaging Morning Work for kindergarten resource covers reading and math skills and is super easy to implement! These morning work activities will help keep your class calm while reviewing skills at their own pace for the entire school year. 

This is 5 2-Month Journal Sets, 40 weeks worth of morning work! 

morning work activities

It covers:

❀ Handwriting Uppercase and Lowercase Letters

❀ Sight Word Practice 

❀ Beginning Letter Sounds

❀ Months of the Year

❀ Days of the Week

❀ Handwriting Sentences

❀ Word Families

❀ Silent /e/

❀ Digraphs

❀ Number Sense

❀ Ten Frames

❀ Counting

❀ Number Lines 

❀ Writing Numbers 

❀ Counting On

❀ Shapes

❀ More and Less Than

❀ 3D Shapes

❀ Graphs

❀ Place Value

What’s included?

Pg 1-42 – Aug. and Sept. (Handwriting, Letters, Numbers, Colors, Sight Words, Counting)

Pg. 43-84 – Oct. and Nov. (Handwriting, Letters, Numbers, Ten Frame, Counting, What Comes Next)

Pg. 85-126 Dec. Jan. (Word Families, Vowels, Counting, Greater than, Less Than, Handwriting)

Pg. 127-168 – Feb. and March (capital letters, lowercase letters, word families, shapes, counting on, less than)

Pg. 169-210 April and May (digraphs, tens and ones, 3D shapes, graphs, and silent /e/)

morning work printables

Each page has an extended activity for students to do on the back of the page for early finishers. It is designed to model once to the whole group, and then students should be working independently for each set. 

There are only mild changes in this packet each month to make it easy for students to follow the pattern each morning. I provide different fonts, so students get used to seeing letters that look different. 

The number and the number word is used so students get familiar with number word recognition. I tell students to look at their crayons to find the color word to help them figure out the color on their own to create independence. 

I print my pages out to create a journal to easily store papers, leaving the back blank for the extended activity. My students could move on to the next page if they finished. You can just give one individual sheet, if you like to ensure students don’t move on to the next page.

Ready to get started? Check it out here! 
Looking for more kindergarten resources? Check out these kindergarten science activities!