The Best Teaching Practices for Great Classroom Management

In teaching at any level, there’s only so much you can prepare for. Student behavior is unpredictable – happenings at home and on the playground coupled with youthful energy can derail the best lesson plans. So here we’ve compiled a list of the websites with the best tips for managing a classroom, with advice on creating a positive learning environment, preventing bad behavior, discipline strategies, and extra resources to help create engaging and exciting lesson plans. Get organized, be prepared for anything, and hear what works and what doesn’t from real teachers at these choice websites and blogs. Whether you’re just starting out or need some extra help to keep the classroom fresh, enjoyable, and respectful, the insight from the education experts, veterans, and newbies here are sure to help enhance your students’ learning experience.

General Classroom Management Resources for Teachers

  • ADPRIMA: ADPRIMA’s motto, “Anything not understood in more than one way is not understood at all,” hits the bull’s eye for what the site is all about. Aimed mostly at new teachers and education students, ADPRIMA proposes various methods of classroom management, including classroom arrangement, establishing effective consequences, and a useful guideline for effective and ineffective praise.
  • All About Classroom Management and Discipline: Compiled by Dr. Sue LeBeau, an author, active member of many teaching organizations, and recipient of the John Hopkins University Teacher Recognition Award, the links here are for recommended books and sites concerning classroom management, discipline, and helping students build good study habits.
  • CA State University, Los Angeles: The resource materials page for Cal State L.A.’s Charter School of Education provides a wide array of articles on Transformative Classroom Management (TCM), a technique pioneered by the university’s Dr. John Shindler. Most of the articles are pretty heady stuff designed for college-level education students, but for something more easily digestible check out the “10 Biggest Classroom Management Mistakes Teachers Make.”
  • Center for Research on Teaching and Learning: The University of Michigan’s Center for Research on Teaching and Learning offers specific links recommended by the CRTL to help educators easily find the best information on the web in one convenient place. Everything is here, including how to create an effective syllabus, evaluate students, adapt to various learning styles, and promote academic integrity in the classroom, a must for any grade level.
  • Classroom Management with Harry and Rosemary Wong: This slick eLearning course is available for free to those who purchase Harry and Rosemary Wong’s book The First Days of School . The classroom management course strives to “teach the user how to structure and organize a classroom for maximum student learning time,” and the interactive online program may be accessed on-demand at any convenient time.
  • Education Oasis: Education Oasis boils down the keys to successful classroom management in easy-to-read bullet points with one concise mission: “Good classroom management allows learning to occur.” To help learning happen, the site also offers a how-to article on lesson plans, a PDF for students on positive ways to participate in class discussion, and a list of routines and procedures for teachers.
  • Education World: Education World bills itself as “The Educator’s Best Friend,” and it would be hard to argue that there’s a better online companion out there. Featuring extensive articles from education gurus on classroom goal-setting, dealing with difficult students, creating successful incentive systems, and much, much more, Education World has something for every aspect of managing a classroom conducive to learning.
  • 4 Faculty: Though intended for college professors, the classroom management advice on 4 Faculty is almost entirely applicable to any age group. The Classroom Management page presents a useful Issue/Solution Suggestions Table for tips on how to promote a positive classroom atmosphere (and how to fix a toxic one) by properly dealing with issues from cell phones to repeated tardiness to sleeping in class. Also includes strategies for enhancing faculty to student as well as student-to-student connection, and how to make students act like college students.
  • InTime: Taking a more critical and theoretical approach to classroom management, the InTime project divides the process of running an effective classroom into three categories (content, conduct, and covenant management) and provides checklists of observable behaviors for each. A site better suited for those open to trying out new ways to create and maintain a positive learning environment.
  • Kim’s Korner for Teacher Talk: Kim’s Korner for Teacher Talk offers tips from a middle school language arts veteran with 16 years of experience. Big emphasis on getting organized, from the classroom seating chart to the school library, and also ideas for classroom décor, how to run parent-teacher conferences, and how to deal with bullies. Take some time with Kim’s Korner, the site has a lot to offer.
  • LD Online: LD Online tackles an area of education with its own unique challenges: teaching students with ADHD or other learning disabilities. Includes links to articles, a Q & A section, a forum, and a list of recommended books.
  • Learn NC: From the University of North Carolina School of Education, Learn NC, unlike other university sites, is aimed towards current educators rather than education students. The site features lesson plans, fieldtrip ideas, and a classroom management page that emphasizes preventing problems, rather than “just cleaning them up after they occur.”
  • National Education Association: The National Education Association, or NEA, was formed in 1857 “to crusade for the rights of all educators and children,” and today boasts 3.2 million members. Their easy-to-navigate website includes lesson plans and a multitude of articles on classroom management, including advice on addressing rude behavior, breaking up fights, showing students you care as their teacher, and promoting positive character building.
  • ProTeacher: The members of the ProTeacher community share advice and offer support for educators of grades K-8. The site features a blog, where members can post on anything education related, and a chat room, but for the easiest way to find answers to your questions on anything from classroom pets to indoor recess games check out the ProTeacher directory to see what responses have been compiled on a wide variety of topics.
  • Resources for Christian Teachers: Designed by an educator with 28 years’ experience (and 21 of those years in Christian schools alone), the site has compiled resources not just geared exclusively to those teaching in religious schools, though the site does offer Bible lesson plans and coloring pages. Resources for Christian Teachers provides links to articles on promoting class participation, good planning, organization tips, and more.
  • Simplified Technology: Simplified Technology provides guidance on how to incorporate technology into the classroom. Particularly useful are ideas on how to work with limited resources, such as how to effectively conduct class with students on one or a limited number of computers and managing students using a computer and projection system.
  • The Teachers Corner: The Teachers Corner includes content submitted by teachers for teachers, with advice on everything from how to deal with children who miss their parents (have them bring a picture to school!) to how to constructively reward good behavior. Make sure to check out the Message Board for forums on every grade level or age group and every topic – there’s even a thread for those who need to vent!
  • The Teacher’s Guide: The Teacher’s Guide offers classroom strategies, discussion groups, books, printouts, discipline techniques, lesson plan ideas, and more. The site also has recommended books, magazines, and education software.
  • TeachNet: Another site featuring content by current (mostly) elementary educators, TeachNet’s contributors share their methods on setting class rules, sample class pledges, how to regulate bathroom breaks and what to do about hats – though in Australia they’re mandatory! Also includes a section on how to build and clean your own whiteboard.
  • TeacherVision: Another monster of a website, TeacherVision boasts that it has 20,000 pages of resources for teachers, including lesson plans, printables, and tips, for pre-K to 12 th grade. New teachers, make sure to check out the section on the “Art of Teaching.”

Resources Offering Lesson Plan Tips

  • The Educator’s Reference Desk: The Educator’s Reference Desk offers a page devoted to the process of writing a lesson plan. The simple but helpful how-to guide, based on research and advice from top educators, breaks down the creation of a lesson plan into several steps, and includes rules of thumb and sample lessons plans for various subjects.
  • ESL Lesson Plan: The name says it all – lesson plans, ideas, and tips for English as a Second Language classes at all levels. For adult classes, how about staging mock job interviews?
  • The Lesson Plans Page: HotChalk.com’s Lesson Plans Page features over 4,000 lesson plans and a very useful 10 Step Lesson Plan Guide. The 10 Steps are admittedly not the only way to create a lesson plan, but do a good job highlighting the key points of any successful lesson plan. Step one: consider what you want to teach, align it with state or school standards, and estimate how much time you will need to teach this topic.
  • Lesson Tutor: Don’t waste time endlessly wading through search engines and just go to Lesson Tutor, a one-stop spot lesson plans, printable worksheets, and teaching advice. Read through the “support articles” for encouragement, references, and resources for a variety of subjects, including special needs and ASL classes.
  • Reach Every Child: Designed by two nationally recognized educators, Reach Every Child has advice on how to do just that – engage students in any topic and grade level. The classroom support section has a list of sites to motivate teachers, give advice on discipline issues, and even guides on how to create newsletters for parents. The site also offers lesson plans and supplementary materials for the classroom.
  • Read Write Think: Read Write Think, in partnership with the International Reading Association and the National Council of Teachers of English, seeks to help language arts and English teachers better reach their students. The site features lesson plans, online interactive activities for students, and strategy guides to help educators better encourage literacy in their schools.
  • Scholastic for Teachers: The leading publisher’s site, “where teachers come first,” has a multitude of lesson plans, printable worksheets, and teaching strategies at its disposal. The new blog-style Classroom Solutions page is written by Scholastic’s teaching advisors and has ideas for encouraging good reading habits in all grade levels K-12.

Supplementary Resources and Materials for Lesson Plans

  • Access Excellence : The National Health Museum’s Access Excellence Resource Center is perfect for anyone looking for material to supplement health, science, and mathematics classes of any level. For students there is also an “Ask an Expert” page for homework help.
  • Discovery Education : The Discovery Channel’s website offers resources for the classroom and homework help. The site includes a large lesson plan library and a parent’s corner to help plan out summer activities. Make sure to check out the puzzle maker to create crossword, word-search, math, and other puzzles that would complement any lesson plan.
  • Internet 4 Classrooms : Internet 4 Classrooms provides a long list of resources to help integrate a technology component into your lesson plan. Includes ideas to get started and material for every grade level K-12.
  • Microsoft Lesson Plans : Microsoft Education’s lesson plans are designed with an eye toward developing technological skills in the classroom. The lesson plans are very thorough and include links to other websites to bolster any topic being taught, such as geography, jazz in American history, and even physical education.
  • National Geographic Xpeditions: Perfect for geography or science classes, National Geographic’s Xpeditions page contains activities, lesson plans, mapmaking guides for students, and hundreds of free, printable atlas maps. The lesson plans are teacher-tested and sorted by grade level, with material for all grade levels.
  • TeacherTube : TeacherTube is a hub for educators to share videos, Power Points, lesson plans and other documents, everything a teacher could need. Search around to find footage of class bridge-building competitions, solar system worksheets, and a hip-hop music video for multiplication tables complete with an original song.

Resources Offering Discipline Ideas

  • Classroom Discipline: This page on classroom discipline, from incredibleart.org’s Art Teacher Toolbox, gives an excellent, detailed, but not overwhelming guide to dealing with the challenges any teacher in any subject will face at some point. With links for further reading, ideas from educators, and a “golden rules” of classroom management, this classroom discipline page should be a required stop for any new teacher.
  • Developing a Discipline Plan for You: Humboldt University’s Thomas H. Allen has created a guide to help teachers develop a discipline plan, diagnose problems, and change their plans to fit different situations. Complete with summaries of seven different models of discipline and lists of rules, consequences, etc. culled from brainstorming sessions at educator workshops, Allen’s page has what every teacher needs to prepare a disciplinary approach for the classroom.
  • Discipline by Design: The Honor Level System, a proactive discipline approach that aims to show respect to the student, is used in schools across the country and their website provides many helpful hints, information, and assistance regarding classroom discipline. The site claims its “11 Discipline Techniques” receives over 10,000 visits a month, and also worth checking out is “Techniques that Backfire.”
  • Discipline Help: Billing itself as “a reference for handling over 117 misbehaviors at school and home,” Discipline Help reveals the causes of misbehavior, the needs being revealed by such actions, remedies for successfully combating bad behavior, and common mistakes teachers and parents make.
  • How to Maintain Classroom Discipline (video): This black-and-white educational video from 1947 demonstrates that, even though a lot has changed (spitballs probably aren’t the most dire classroom issue anymore), there are still some golden rules that will always remain true. A positive attitude, a sense of humor, and a sense of respect that goes both ways were, are, and always will be key to creating an atmosphere of learning.
  • Positive Classroom Discipline: From education expert Fred Jones’ website. The book Positive Classroom Discipline is currently out of print, but selected chapters are available on the site.

Books Offering Discipline Ideas

Classroom Management Personal Blogs

  • A Passion for Teaching and Opinions : Mr. Silva-Brown, a social science teacher at Ukiah High School in California chronicles his classroom experiences and comments on the happenings in the world of education. Silva-Brown is constantly trying to improve and evaluate his education methods, and a recent post included complete, uncensored feedback from teacher evaluations given to students (something one student wanted less of: “loose [sic] the totalitarianism”).
  • Classroom as Microcosm : A college English teacher writes about his classroom experiences. The author credits the blog with saving his teaching career and bringing the joy back to teaching.
  • Elementary, My Dear, or Far From It : An elementary school teacher at a suburban public school reflects on the joys and challenges of the job. A recent post delves into table orientation and seating assignments, and a past post gives lesson plan advice for sentence diagramming.
  • The Exponential Curve : Dan Greene, a 9-year veteran math teacher at a charter high school, shares worksheets and classroom strategies on his blog The Exponential Curve. The blog’s goal is to share strategies for reaching math students with below grade-level skills, and with significant numbers of comments on each post, it’s safe to say that Greene has created such a community.
  • Miss Brave Teaches NYC : A new second-grade teacher at a New York public school writes about her struggles, triumphs, and everything in between, with anecdotes about what has and has not worked in her inner-city classroom.
  • The Thoughtful Teacher : On The Thoughtful Teacher, a career teacher provides classroom strategies, “ed tech” help, and stories. Of special interest are his musings on student assessment, especially what the author calls “grading for learning.”

Leave a Reply