Classroom Management

A Fresh Perspective on Classroom Management

I am willing to bet that even the most seasoned among us might be ready for some updated and refreshing management strategies. So what’s the new angle? Student engagement. Kids who are focused on and invested in the tasks you give them don’t have time to mess around. Below are four simple strategies to give your classroom management techniques a boost.
Fresh Management

1. Do a little action research.

Make a log of problematic behaviors for a week or two. Note times and physical spaces where troubles arise. Just as important, take note of successful, well-managed times. What is happening during these times that you can replicate? Don’t be afraid to ask your test subjects, i.e. your students, what is making them tick! Find the good things and expand on them.

2. Give kids a reason to opt in.

Daily classroom tasks must be interesting or challenging enough to make your students do the work. It is hard to hit everyone with one, rigid lesson. Be sure to offer as much choice as you feel comfortable with. Part of eliminating power struggles is making students feel like they have some power. Even a choice between watercolor and tempera might help fend off issues.

3. Make “Door A” more appealing than “Door B”

In my classroom there are always two choices: Door A, you can learn about art by making it and discussing it right along with your classmates. By making strong choices students can continue down this path of learning forever. Door B, you can learn about art through worksheets and textbooks. Not as good, certainly not as fun, but a viable option for those students making weak choices. The key is to make whatever you put behind Door A much more appealing than what is behind Door B and then let them do the choosing.

4. Ask your students what they want to learn.

Stop guessing! Go straight to the source and ask kids what is interesting to them. The beauty of our content area is that we can teach the standards through almost any lens…it might as well be the one that most engages our students. As an added bonus, keying into student interests can help us stretch as teachers and develop deeper relationships with our students.

Finding smart ways to keep kids on task means you have to spend less time figuring out what to do when they get off task.

What are your favorite ways to boost student engagement?

Do you have any effective classroom management strategies for the end of the year?


Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.


Sarah Dougherty

Sarah Dougherty, a visual arts curriculum coordinator, is a former AOEU Writer and elementary school art educator. She loves working with diverse populations to bring art into students’ homes, communities, and everyday lives.

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