Teacher Tricks for Classroom Management!

Here are some special props that might be "life savers" the first few weeks of school.
Adapt them to meet the age and interest of the children in your classroom.


Cover a small Pringle's can or similar can with shiny paper. Put two teaspoons of rice in the can and glue on the lid. When you want children to focus on an activity, sprinkle them with brain sprinkles before you begin!

You will need an old pair of socks, a stick, and a piece of string 18" long for this project. Tie a sock to each end of the string. Tie the middle of the string to the stick. When children do something outstanding, take the stick and wave it in the air as you say, "You knock my socks off!"

Keep a flashlight on your desk. When a child is working hard or you want to encourage a behavior, shine the flashlight on them and say, "Spotlight on child's name for behavior."

Take a small can and cover it with construction paper. Cut eyes out of magazines and glue them all over the can. If a child says, "I can't," hand them the can as you remind them, "I can." (And do you know why we say "I can" in our country? We are AmeriCANS, not AmeriCANT'S.)

A cloth glove, markers, fiberfill, and pipe cleaner are all you need to make a "good for you hand." First, draw a happy face on the back palm of the glove with the markers. Fill the glove tightly with fiberfill or another stuffing. Gather the bottom of the glove and secure with a pipe cleaner. Have children get "Mr. Good for You" and pat themselves on the back when they accomplish a new task. Pass the glove around at the end of the day and have each child say something they learned or enjoyed doing at school as they pat themselves on their back.


Purchase a pump dispenser of hand lotion and remove the label. (Add a spoonful of glitter to the lotion if you wish.) Make a new label for the lotion that says, "Mr./Mrs. (your name)'s Magic Lotion" and tape it to the bottle. When children are upset, frustrated, get a boo boo, or have hurt feelings, offer them a "squirt" of your magic lotion. As they rub it in their hands they will begin to feel better, and the glitter that remains will remind them of their teacher's "magic touch."

Take a cardboard roller from a pants hanger and cover it with aluminum foil. Dip one end in glue and then roll in glitter. When you want children to be quiet say, "I'm going to wave my magic wand over you. When you feel the magic, you'll be quiet and ready for our story."
You can also use your magic wand to help children line up quietly, turn them into super readers, etc.
Hint! If a child keeps talking say, "I guess you didn't feel the magic," as you wave it over their heads again.

Peer teaching or working with a "buddy" is a powerful learning strategy. Children can read, write, draw, play a game or work on other projects with a partner. This prop will insure no one gets left out and you will have random grouping. You will need jumbo craft sticks and stickers for this prop. You will need as many sticks as there are children in your room. Put like stickers on two sticks. Put the sticks in the can with
the stickers facing down. When children need a partner for reading, a game, or another activity, have them each choose a stick. When they find the friend with the sticker that matches their sticker, that person is their partner!

You can use a mouse puppet for this game, or make your own from a garden glove. Cut around the back of one finger, then taper it in front to make a tail. Add whiskers, eyes, and felt circles for ears and you'll have a mouse. When you want to quiet children, insert the mouse on your finger and say:

Mousie, mousie, how quiet can you be?
When I clap my hands, 1-2-3, we shall see!

Clap your hands 3 times, then pass the mouse to a child who is sitting quietly. That child puts the mouse on their finger and then walks around the room and passes it to another quiet friend. The game continues as children pass the mouse.

Hint! You could use another small toy, such as a bear, cartoon figure, etc.

You will need cardboard cut in 4" circles and a gift bag for this project. Make CDs by gluing copies of words to the children's favorite songs, nursery rhymes, or chants on the cardboard circles. Write "Juke Box" on the gift bag and put the CDs inside. When you have a few extra minutes and need a song to sing, pretend to give a child a quarter as you say: "Here's a quarter. Put it in the juke box and pull out a song." Sing the song that is on the CD the child selects.

Hint! You can also take old CDs or those that come in the mail and glue words on these.

This prop will encourage language skills and help children learn to "take turns." Cover the cardboard roller from toilet paper with black paper. Take a sheet of aluminum foil and lay it on the table. Wad up two paper towels and place them in the middle of the foil. Bring the ends of the foil together and twist to make a ball. Insert the ball in the cardboard roller and glue in place. When you are having sharing time or a class discussion, explain that the person with the microphone can talk. Pass the microphone to a child. When that child is finished talking, they pass it on to a friend, and so on.

Hint! If a child speaks too softly, tell them to "turn up the mike a little."
Note! Use this at the beginning of the day to say good morning, or use it at the end of the day for recall.

To make a pointer finger, you will need a cloth glove, fiber fill, pipe cleaner, wooden dowel or paint stick, and a glue gun or craft glue.

Let children use this to track a line of print, point to the numbers on the calendar, point to alphabet letters, read words on the word wall, etc.

Hint! You can also let children play "teacher" and point to friends to line up, go to centers, get their backpacks, etc.

Cut the top and bottom off a cereal box, cracker box, or box of cookies. Put a puppet on your hand and stick it in the box from the bottom. Keep the puppet hidden as you say, "I have a special friend in the box, but he has very sensitive ears. He won't come out until you're very, very quiet." Sit patiently until the children are quiet, then slowly bring the puppet up from the top of the box. Let the puppet pretend to whisper things in your ear,
then you tell the children what the puppet says. If the children get too loud, lower your hand and put the puppet back in the box.

Hint! It's fun to use a dog bone box and a dog puppet. Simple glue large felt ears to an old sock. Add a pompom nose and wiggly eyes and you'll have a puppy puppet!

Each child will need a plastic lid (from margarine or a deli container) and red and green paper for this project. Have the children trace around the circle shape of their lid on the paper. Glue the green circle to one side and the red circle to the other side. When children are doing independent work, have them put their circle on their desk. If they
don't need any help, they should put the green side up. If they want the teacher to stop and help them, then they should put up the red side. This will enable the teacher to quickly see who needs some assistance.
Hint! You can also stack a red and green cup and use in a similar manner.

This is a great idea to eliminate tattle tales and complainers. Get a spiral notebook and write "Classroom Concerns" on it. Have a class discussion about what is an "emergency" (i.e. blood, sickness, etc.). Explain to the children that if you are busy teaching and they want to tell you something that is not an "emergency," then you will ask them to write it down in the "Classroom Concerns" book. As soon as a child begins to complain or tattle, say, "Here! Write it all down and don't leave out a thing. I'll check it out later." (They can draw a picture if they can't write.)

Hint! Put a picture of the President or Governor on your classroom wall. Send children to "tell the President" when they have a concern or complaint.

Cover a can or plastic cup with paper and write "Pick Me" on it. Next, let each child decorate a jumbo craft stick with their name. Place the sticks with the name down in the can. Explain that when you have an errand or special job, you will pick a stick from the can. That child will get to be your helper. After they've been picked, put their stick in an envelope in your desk. When all the sticks have been picked, then place the sticks from the envelope back in the can and start all over again.

Hint! You can use a similar technique for asking children questions. Keep sticks with children's names on them in a can. Shake them up, then pick a random name when you ask a question.

Keep an old camera on your desk. (There shouldn't be any film in it, but don't tell the children!) If children are doing something that's inappropriate, don't say a word. Just take the camera and pretend to take a picture of them. Put the camera back on your desk. If children ask, "What are you going to do with that?" then respond, "What do you think I should do with it?"

Hint! When children are lined up quietly, working hard, or doing something you want to encourage say, "This is a picture perfect moment I want to save," as you take a snapshot with the camera.

Keep a play cell phone on a shell if your classroom. If the room gets too noisy, pretend to take the phone down from the shelf and call the principal. Pretend the principal says, "I want you to take a 'smile break.' Look at the clock for 15 seconds without talking."

Hint! You can also have a cartoon character, seasonal character, or other imaginary figure call the classroom and give the students instructions.

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