Teacher Survival Kit for Classroom Management: 10+ Tips & Resources

 “We all need someone who inspires us to do better than we know how.” ~ Anonymous

The first day with a new class often dictates what the rest of the year will be like. If we start the learning journey well with our learners then we can look forward to what the year ahead will bring. However, we must show our learners how to act in order to have a successful journey. How our learners approach that journey- their attitudes and behaviors- will determine if they end the journey better individuals than they were before they entered our classrooms. Even though classroom management isn’t adequately taught in most teacher development programs, I think it is one of the most important skills for a teacher. As an educator I hope to inspire my learners to be better individuals so that they have a positive impact on the world. I didn’t always adequately plan my classroom management. Sometimes, I struggled with classes at the start of the year and left the day in tears and feeling as if I wanted to quit being a teacher. I’ve learn from those days and want to share some of the lessons I learned with you as you begin your new classes. I hope you will find the following tips and resources valuable in the forthcoming school year!  Watch the recording of my recent webinar on this topic here!

Tips and Resources

The following are a few ideas and resources from the Slideshare presentation to help you better manage your classroom:

Go in with a positive attitude!

Your mood impacts your students. If you meet a situation with anger you will only intensify your student’s reaction to the situation. However, if you stay calm then you can prevent a potential situation from escalating. A few ways to relax before you meet your students include exercising, eating breakfast, meditating, giving ourselves pep talks, and listening to soothing music. Do something relaxing to get you in a better mood.

Change your environment!

Prepare your classroom to meet the learning needs of your students. I have had a lot of success in setting up learning stations with places for students to relax and calm themselves, be by themselves to work on individual tasks, areas for group work and more. If a student can’t concentrate or is having a bad day then this set-up allows that student to go to the reading area or Leggo area and take the time needed to calm down and get away from the situation without disrupting the entire lesson. This is different than a time-out where the student is stuck sulking and getting more upset by the situation. In life outside school we tend to do something to get our minds off what is bothering us so I think we should allow our students to do this.

Keep students on task and accountable!

  • Create leaders for each station who make sure to keep the area clean. Rotate leadership each week and for each statement so all kids get a chance to be a leader.
  • Create a class calendar where you list due dates, special events, and leadership roles.
  • Have logs at each station where students sign-in the date, time, and tasks they did at the station. You can have them fill in a form on a Google Doc so that it is always time stamped and dated.
  • Walk around each day and ask students where they are in their work and help them create to do lists and personal daily calendars so they learn how to manage their time well.

Cup Group Management

  • Give each group a stack of yellow, blue, and red cups.
  • The top cup is the group’s status.
  • Yellow= sunny and bright, everything is all right
  • Blue= we are through, what should we do?
  • Red= we have a problem we cannot solve alone
  • Read more about this idea here!

Know your students and prepare ahead for their various learning needs and attention spans!

  • Research their attention spans and plan tasks to meet these needs.
  • Also have plans made for those who struggle with different learning needs like dyslexia, ADHD, migraines, etc.
  • When one student disrupts the class, don’t yell or punish the student. Instead, try talking with the student and having that student suggest away to correct that behavior.
  • Have conversations with your students to figure out why they behaved the way they did. Have them come up with ways to deal with any stress they are suffering from home or at school. You might find your students are dealing with a bully or a disruptive home situation. You can help your students positively react to life’s challenges and this will make them better individuals. Also, you can often stop patterns of behavior by taking a proactive approach. We do not always need to send students to the office or give them reprimands when these will not help them manage their behavior.

Differentiate tasks!

We learn in different ways. Make sure to daily include active tasks where students move around or participate in hands-on learning. Also, include in between these tasks rest periods where students read for a few minutes or gather in pairs to discuss a topic. Students need to move around and use up their energy or they will act up.

Make your students accountable for their behavior!

  • Have students come up with the class rules and phrase them as “I will” statements. Also, have them come up with a few suitable consequences.
  • These statements will go in their behavior contracts that they will sign, along with their parents, and you! Find many examples of student behavior contracts in the PearlTree.
  • Allow each student to have a buddy who will help them be successful. I used this method with high school students and they were very good about notifying each other when they were acting up.

Manage behavior nonverbally!

  • Use gestures to signal when it is time to listen, line up, and so forth.
  • Post motivational posters and point to them when a student is acting up.
  • One of my favorites quotes is from Dr. Seuss, “Today I will behave as if this is the day I will be remembered.”

Engage parents!

  • Communicate with each parent and create a bond!
  • If the parent likes you then the student will respect you but if the parents disrespect you then the student will have more of a reason not to listen to you.
  • Get parents on board with the rules and consequences in the class.

Bookmarked Resources

Classroom Management in Shelly Sanchez Terrell (shellyterrell)

Every Friday I conduct a Free Webinar thanks to American TESOL. Please check the Livebinder for times, video archives, and more.


Try any of these ideas this year and tell us how it went.

If you enjoyed this post, you may want to subscribe for FREE to receive regular updates!

Bookmark and Share

Read More

Connect To The World Through Twitter (Presentation)

Recently, I gave a Keynote for educators new to developing a learning network through Twitter. Please share the following resources with those new to Twitter in order to encourage them to join our passionate educator community. This PRESTO presentation is an updated version of my previous one, How to Build A PLN Using Twitter.

In order to be cutting edge and stay relevant in any career field, we need a Personal Learning Network (PLN)! A PLN consists of individuals who we choose to take part in our professional development. These individuals share resources, exchange ideas with us, offer support, and collaborate with us. Twitter is one of the quickest ways to establish a PLN. However, many educators new to Twitter may not understand how the process works. In the beginning, I used to only update then I discovered how to engage with others in order to build a strong PLN.

Do you have 3 minutes, 20 seconds?

You probably do not have the time to read all the Twitter materials available, but do you have 3 minutes and 20 seconds? In the PRESTO below, I share with you how to connect with educators worldwide using Twitter. A PRESTO, PRESent your TOpic, is a video presentation style created by Heike Philp. The speaker creates a PowerPoint of 10 slides that auto-advance every 20 seconds.

More Resources

by Oliver Widder, Geek and Poke, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 License
by Oliver Widder, Geek and Poke, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 License

Help other educators new to Twitter by sharing these resources through your presentations or workshops:

Share these tools with educators in your school! I’m sure they have 3 minutes and 20 seconds!

You may want to subscribe to receive regular updates.

Bookmark and Share

Read More

Goal: Be a Guest Blogger

Part of the Goals 2010 Challenge Series, Goal 9

One of my long-term goals is to post more guest pieces on other websites or blogs. I love having my writings published on other websites. Writing a guest post improves your writing in numerous ways, because naturally many of us hold ourselves to higher standards when we are guests. The wonderful part is you do not even have to be a blogger in order to write guest posts. Some of the most prominent members of our Personal Learning Network (PLN) do not have blogs, but guest blog regularly. These include @nmhs_principal and @tomwhitby. Guest posts help you gain a positive web presence, help distinguish you as a subject matter expert (SME), help you gain exposure to a wider audience, and boost your portfolio.


Here are some useful tips, I learned from my experience:

  • Have a short bio prepared- In your bio you may want to include your job position, related experience, a link to your portfolio or website, and a link to your Twitter or LinkedIn accounts.
  • Have a nice profile picture prepared- Most people recommend having a picture of your likeness versus an avatar or logo.
  • Write the best types of posts- Remember this will be your first impression on many new readers.
  • Grammar check your posts!
  • Ask the guest blogger for specific guidelines and keep to these guidelines- format, length, whether images are necessary, and what type of topics they are desired
  • Reply to those who comment- at the end of all the comments you should be able to see a button that gives you the option to subscribe to comments so you are notified each time a person comments. Leaving comments is important for engaging readers in the discussion.
  • Study the audience!

Where to Submit

Here are a few places that welcome posts from guest bloggers. Contact these websites through their contact pages or through Twitter. Introduce yourself, send them a bio, and your ideas for a guest piece.

To see some examples, you can visit the guest posts I have made.

      If you are new to the 30 day Goal challenge then you may want to read this post with more details!


      Choose a profile picture for your upcoming guest post. Write a short bio.

      You may want to subscribe for FREE to receive regular updates!

      This is goal 9 of this series! If you’d like to join the challenge, please read this post!

      Don’t forget to leave a comment that you accomplished this goal using the hashtag #30Goals!

      What are you passionate about writing?

      Bookmark and Share

      Read More

      How to Win Friends and Support People on Twitter

      Guest post by Neal Chambers

      Most technologies that are easily adapted and made widely popular are usually improvements of things that already exist. Mail replaced messanger services; the telegraph replaced mail; email replaced mail; Google Wave (might) replace email. It is the same with Twitter. Twitter replaced online chat which (kind of) replaced parties. There are some key differences that Twitter adds to the table though. For example,

      A) You can join anyone’s party, and anyone can join your party. If you have your feed unprotected, and you do have your feed unprotected right?

      B) You can throw anyone out of your party if you need to. You usually don’t but it’s always nice to have the one button option of doing so.

      C) People from around the world can join your party.

      D) The party is going on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

      E) People are asynchronously enjoying your party. One conversation can last a day, weeks, or even months.

      With all these changes in mind, it’s still important to understand that it’s a party and it’s your party. You should keep in mind to be successful you need to be a good host. Let’s go over the basics:

      Send Out Invitations

      from pareeerica
      photo: pareeerica

      Every good party starts with inviting people over for a drink. This can start with listing yourself in the various Twitter directories out there on the Internet. I just recently published an article on the matter – 14 places to find good quality followers. There I have listed all the major directories and follower recommending websites. It should be a great place to jump start your following.

      There are other options though. Something that I regularly do is look at my friend’s ‘following’ list. These are Twitter users that your friend has actually chosen to follow. This usually comes up with better results than the ‘followers’ list because they might be spammers. When looking at this ‘following’ list, be sure to click through to the user’s profile and read their bio, last few tweets and check out their blog if they have one. Then add a few people you like.

      Greet your Guests

      photo: RuTemple
      photo: RuTemple

      Okay, now the party is starting. Guests are arriving at all times of the day and night because after all this party is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It’s important to try to acknowledge any newer followers. It might be good to greet them and ask them where they are from and make sure they don’t need a drink or something.

      There is a current trend right now to do this with an automatic DM or auto-DM. These can be okay if A) it’s not overly generic (e.g. Thanks for the follow! Look forward to your Tweets!) or B) You offer free stuff or more information about yourself through a link.

      Personally, what I TRY to do is look through a user’s profile and ask a semi-personalized question like – How is teaching in Detroit? or I love the layout of your Teaching blog. This way they know I’m not just sending them a generic auto-DM. It shows you are actually taking the time to get to know someone which is one principle behind having a PLN.

      Introduce Everyone

      photo: ItzaFineDay
      photo: ItzaFineDay

      You know those fancy parties where you show up and some guy in a fancy suit announces to the party that you’ve arrived? Don’t worry if you’ve never been invited to one, because now you can live out that experience on Twitter. When someone logs on to Twitter the first time, chances are they don’t know anyone at the party. They’ve come because they heard it’s where all the action is or where all the cool people are (that’s us right?).

      So, it’s good to give them a proper welcome by introducing them to all of your following. Be sure to include a relevant snippet about them in the Tweet and their username. You can do this as soon as they get online or wait for #teachertuesday or #followfriday.

      Help the Confused-Looking Guy/Gal in the Corner

      photo: CarbonNYC
      photo: CarbonNYC

      From time to time, people will need help. After all, that might be one reason why they came to the party in the first place. You can help these guests out by filtering your Twitter stream with a ‘?’. This will give you all the Tweets of people asking questions. Sometimes you will come up with a few rhetorical questions, but more often than not you’ll find a friend in need. This is what having and building a PLN is all about, spreading information and helping others solve problems.

      You can also use a neat little service called twithive.com This web app allows you to filter your stream by questions, conversations, links or retweets. It also packs in a few more features like Tweet clouds, which are clouds of the most popular terms for your stream. I find it offers you a way to look at your Twitter stream from a different angle.

      Pop your Head in When it Counts

      photo: meddygarnet
      photo: meddygarnet

      Since the party is going on all the time, it’s literally impossible to be at the party at all times. Many have tried and all have failed. Don’t be a Twitter addict. You have to pop your head in every once in awhile and make sure every one is still enjoying themselves. The key to this is to know exactly when to do this. There are a couple metrics you can look at to see when your following is online.

      1) Click counts – If you use a URL shortener (and you should) then you’ll be able to track your click counts. I really good service for this is j.mp (AKA bit.ly). Take note of when your links are being clicked on the most and what links are more popular.

      2) Tweetstats.com – This site can give you some stats on when a particular user is online. It breaks down tweeting frequency by days of the week and even hours of the day. You might want to check the stats of people with a big following and see when they are online the most. However, the more tweets someone has made the longer it will take for tweetstats to compile the data.

      Enjoy the Party

      photo: Wendy Piersall
      photo: Wendy Piersall

      It’s important to remember that Twitter is just a tool and not a lifestyle. It’s okay to step away from time to time and take a break. It’s also okay to let your personality and opinions shine through and add to the melting pot. Don’t take it too seriously, it’s party after all.

      If you are on Twitter be sure to join me @nealchambers. I’ll see you at the party! Also, if you haven’t already, please take the time to fill out a short survey, I promise it’s painless.


      Neal Chamber's headshot

      Neal Chambers has taught in Japan for just about 5 years despite graduating in video production. He is currently teaching at a private English conversation school in Osaka. He is a regular teacher contributor at EnglishSpark.com where he writes the series Teacher Stumpers about difficult and odd grammar. He enjoys attempting to climb mountains without injuring himself.

      Bookmark and Share

      Read More

      What Did They Tweet?

      Last week of October edition!

      Have you ever come across a tweet that you really wanted to discuss and share with others? Here are the ones that grabbed my attention this week. Check out the rest of this weekly series, What Did They Tweet?

      Picture 8

      Cool Claymation Tips

      The educator in me loves student projects, which is why this is my favorite tweet of a claymation video by four students. The music is amazing, the story plot resembles Romeo and Juliet, and the creativity is off the charts. How could this tweet get any better? Maryna Badenhorst‘s tweet also provides a link to a list of claymation resources and tips to get your students started in creating their own claymation videos! I really enjoyed browsing through the rest of the website which offers very cool educational technology tips! I am sure this will become a favorite part of my daily read!

      Good Tech/ Bad Tech Debate

      In this brilliant post, Jamie Keddie explores the parallels in describing the relationship between technology and the classroom. He uses the medical field as an example and illustrates with images how two pediatricians use technology to save lives in Sierra Leone. Read this thought-provoking post!

      Hip-hop and Shakespeare

      I attend several webinars and in nearly every one of them run into my webinar buddy, Mary Beth Hertz. During one of the webinars I sought some advice in teaching English language learners Shakespeare. Mary Beth later tweeted me a link to this amazing article about the rapper, Akala, hosting workshops for teenagers that relate Shakespeare to hip-hop. These types of projects are incredible for closing the achievement gap. Watch the inspirational video below about the project.

      Creative Use of Pocket Change

      Ashley Allain shared this wonderful post about a very creative lesson using pocket change. Dan Meyer walks the reader through this math lesson in using a jar of change to motivate students to critical think. The post is illustrated with amazing infographics and explains the process in more detail.

      Wiki Full of Tech Tools

      Janet Bianchini tweeted this wiki full of various educational technology tools. In the wiki, you will find extensive tips and resources on:

      • Blogging
      • Podcasting
      • Voicethread
      • Videoconferencing
      • Wikis
      • Social Bookmarking and Annotating
      • Information Management
      • Microloans
      • Research and Reading
      • Hearing Voices
      • Presentations

      Add the people in this post to your PLN by using this mass Twitter tool. Just copy and paste this list!

      marynabadenhors, cheimi10, mbteach, aaallain, janetbianchini, larryferlazzo, kalinagoenglish

      On the mindmap, click on the earth icons to follow the links to the Twitter profiles, blogs or websites! You can also make this mindmap smaller or larger and move it around. If you enjoy this series, you may want to subscribe to receive regular updates!

      If you enjoyed this post, you may also want to check out these posts with a more extensive list of favorite tweets:


      Add a new blog to your reader or bookmark one of these websites!

      Which tweet really inspired you? Leave a comment below!

      Bookmark and Share

      Read More