My Top 3 Behavior Management Strategies For The Classroom

Developing a system for behavior management in the primary classroom can be a little tricky. While you will likely have to adjust and fine-tune your system each year to meet the needs of your current students, I have found that there are a few things that consistently improve student behaviors in my classroom. Today, I will be discussing the behavior management strategies I find valuable year after year. 

Use these 3 helpful behavior management strategies to help foster a sense of citizenship and community in your classroom.

The primary classroom is a place of great growth and discovery. Young children are still in the beginning stages of their educational journey as well as their social-emotional journey. This means there can be a lot for young children to learn regarding self-regulation and behavior management. 

Don't fret though!  There is hope for a calm and orderly classroom with the use of great behavior management strategies. By working diligently in a few key areas each year, I have found a method that works wonders in our classroom to provide excellent classroom behavior among my students. 

1. Teach Your Students To Be Good Citizens

In our classroom, I work hard to instill the belief that every child is a valued member of our classroom community. Part of being a member of a strong community is practicing good citizenship. We spend a good deal of our year learning about the characteristics of good citizenship and how to apply them. 

Teaching your class about good citizenship is one of the great behavior management strategies you can use in your classroom.
This is one of my favorite social studies units since it provides so much value to our days in the classroom.  I always start out our year diving into the topic of good citizenship and what it means to be a valuable member of a community. 

To help students understand this topic, we do a variety of activities!  I especially like to devote some time working on brainstorming and building anchor charts with my students.  Making concrete lists and charts help their minds grasp the abstract idea of what it means to practice good citizenship. 

We also use mini-readers, sorting games, and center activities to help define good citizenship and separate those behaviors from "needs work" citizenship.  You can find this jam-packed Good Citizen unit in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

Keep The Lesson Going All Year

Since this is such a broad topic, it really is more of a general theme in our classroom, rather than a one-time lesson. 

We explore and revisit this topic often with worksheets and other activities. I also like to read lots of books on this topic, especially during times of behavior struggles in the classroom. Some of my favorite books for this topic include: 

By teaching and reinforcing these topics all year long, students really have multiple opportunities to put what they are learning into action. Spending some time on this topic at various points in the year has made a big impact on behavior management in my classroom! 

2. Create Solid Classroom Procedures

Next up, you will want to make sure your classroom procedures are in order. A classroom with routines, a daily schedule, set procedures, and clear expectations can help tremendously with behavior management. 

Creating a clear set of expectations and procedures for your classroom is one of the most helpful behavior management strategies you can use this year.
Setting up your morning meeting, classroom jobs, center time expectations, and classroom rules are all a great way to ensure your students understand the procedures of the classroom. I also highly recommend setting up a specific and effective morning routine in your room for the first 30 minutes of the day. 

Typically, young students like my firsties need very clear expectations about what to do from the moment they enter the classroom in the morning.  I like to take time during the summer to really think through EVERYTHING my students will do.  Then for each thing, I decide how I would like it to be done.  Having a plan before the students arrive makes it so much easier to teach those procedures. It may take a little time and effort, but it is SO worth it. Working with students on classroom procedures is such an excellent way to create an effortless behavior management system. 

Getting Ready To Teach Procedures

I should also mention that when you are just beginning to add a focus on procedures, it's a good idea to start small and build a little day by day.  I start from the very first day of school by teaching my students how to unpack and start the morning.  This helps with a calm and organized start to the day.  Every day for the first couple of weeks, plan to be available to remind and reinforce the procedure.  Before you know it, they will be doing it on their own.

I do the same with all the procedures in our classroom.  When I introduce a new procedure, I explain the process and why it will be helpful to our classroom.  I model it, ask students to model it and then we practice, practice, practice!  During those first weeks of the year, learning and practicing procedures is one of my biggest goals.

3. Foster Relationships

Above all, I value forming meaningful relationships with my students. I truly believe that when students feel heard, understood, and cared for behavior management becomes infinitely easier. Even our youngest students can pick up on when someone really cares for them.

Fostering relationships between you and your students and your students and each other is one of the most helpful behavior management strategies you can try in your classroom.
As a first-grade teacher, I make it my mission to get to know my students and form these bonds in our classroom from day one.  A morning smile, welcoming them, and calling them by name are all great places to start.  But . . . did you know that you can learn a lot about your students by listening?  Listen to what they say and what they talk about.  Before you know it you will know their favorite animals, toys, and shows.  You will know if they play sports or dance.  You will also know all the family secrets.  😉

Once you know more about them, talk to them about it.  Connect with them on the things that matter to them.

Another great way to form classroom community and relationships with your students is with a morning meeting.  Our early morning routine in my classroom is always followed up with a whole group morning meeting. The morning meeting topic varies from day to day, but I always try to make this time about forming bonds in the classroom between the students and myself. 

Morning Meeting Structure

Use this time to interact with students, ask questions, and allow for conversation and inclusion of all the kiddos. This is a great time to sneak in a review game, work on classroom anchor charts, brainstorm a new topic or allow students to take the floor. 

In my classroom, I like to have a structure for morning meetings to maximize our time. Our morning meeting structure goes a little something like this:
    Use this Good Citizenship Activities Pack as a way to introduce positive behavior management strategies in your classroom.
  • Calendar Math (5-10 mins): During this time we go over the date, explore some calendar-related math concepts, and touch on the month, season and weather. 
  • Review Game/Student Spotlight (10 mins): Mondays through Thursdays we do a quick scoot game, BINGO, or other fun review game of something we have recently learned. Friday is reserved for our "student spotlight". Each week one student is pre-selected to share something with the class. This could be a journal page they have written, an "all about me" project, or simply something special to them from home. 
  • Group Lesson (10-15 mins) The end of our morning meeting transitions into a new lesson before we split up into groups or centers. This one might run a tad longer depending on the topic, but I like to work on an anchor chart or sorting game as a class and include the kiddos in this one as much as possible. At the beginning of the year, I love to use this block to work on sorting "good" citizenship traits from "needs work" citizenship traits to further build our behavior management skills into our day. 

Tailor a morning meeting that meets your needs, but be sure to put some emphasis on student involvement. This is a great time for your students to speak up, develop confidence and build those relationships!

Start Building Your Own Behavior Management Plan 

Hopefully, you're feeling calmer and more confident about building a behavior management plan for your classroom. Over the years, I have found that these 3 tips, while super simple, make a huge impact! I hope you found something you're excited to try out in your classroom. 

There are so many wonderful techniques and tips for teaching good citizenship and modeling positive behaviors, but if you're interested in any of the resources mentioned in this post, you can find them all in my Good Citizenship Activities Pack

This resource will help you teach the qualities of good citizenship, the importance of rules, and about leaders in our lives. This is a great unit to use during your morning meeting lesson while you work to create great student behaviors in your classroom!

Use this Good Citizenship Activities Pack as a way to introduce positive behavior management strategies in your classroom.

Save These Behavior Management Ideas For Later 

Don't forget to pin this post to your favorite classroom Pinterest board so that you will be all set when it comes time to implement behavior management strategies for your classroom! 

Behavior management strategies in the classroom are important. But, what do you do if you don't know what strategies to try and worry about their success in your classroom? Check out these 3 tried and true behavior management strategies you can implement in your classroom this year. From morning meetings, to a fun and exciting citizenship unit, you will be able to easily set the classroom expectations for your students. #behaviormanagementstrategies #behaviormanagement #classroombehavior #morningmeetings #socialstudiescitizenship #citizenshipactivities

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