Classroom management can be challenging when dealing with student personalities, juggling teacher responsibilities, and keeping things running smoothly. Having a solid classroom management plan can ease these challenges.

Ross from Friends pushing his way through the crowd of students saying,

Classroom management plans are like any other plans — they provide rules, procedures, and guidelines for being proactive and organized. In the classroom, they address specific issues like student behavior and how to achieve classroom goals and expectations.

Classroom management plans will serve to keep the classroom in order and running routinely. Students will know what is expected of them and how they should behave.

Establish Routines & Expectations

Think about eating at your favorite restaurant. You walk in, wait to be seated, order from a menu, then enjoy your meal.

A classroom should be the same way. Students walk in, take their seats, get started on assignments, and then enjoy learning something new. Routines and expectations help to achieve this!

A woman saying,

Routines are the procedures or tasks you'll perform daily that will become commonplace. Consider your own morning or afternoon routine — those sets of things that you do to begin and end your day. These routines help you get things done.

Expectations are the non-negotiable set of rules that govern student behaviors. Your routines and expectations should be specific to the age group and grade level you teach.

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Examples of Routines

  • Begin with listing the things you want students to do

  • List must-have classroom routines:

    • Entering/exiting your room

    • Beginning/Ending class/period

    • Seating arrangements

    • Taking attendance

    • Being excused from class

    • Transitioning between activities

    • Getting/turning in assignments

    • Movement of papers

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Examples of Expectations

  • Begin with your school's rules and expectations

  • List must-have classroom expectations:

    • Being prepared for class

    • Classroom behaviors

    • Entertaining visitors

    • Cell phones and devices

    • Consequences for behaviors


Which of the following are considered expectations? Select all that apply.

Create Actionable Consequences

Consequences are the results of someone's choices. Every action will result in some consequence, which can be positive or negative depending on the action. Consequences shouldn't be thought of as punishments, but rather as the outcome of a choice and they should be actionable.

A hand tipping over a set of dominoes. Photo by Bradyn Trollip on Unsplash

Actionable consequences are a system of negative outcomes that prevent unacceptable behaviors. A better term might be reinforcements. Your goal is to reinforce the positive behaviors while diminishing the negative behaviors.  

Consider your routines and expectations when creating actionable consequences. You need a plan in place when your routines and expectations aren't met.

Consequences come in 3 types:

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  1. Natural — occurs as an obvious result

    • Leaning back in a chair leads to falling over.

    • The cap is left off of a marker, then the marker dries out.

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  1. Logical — occurs as a structured choice

  • Misuse of technology results in loss of tech privileges.

  • Homework is turned in incomplete and a failing grade results.

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  1. Problem-solving — occurs as the motivation to be part of a solution

  • A student breaks a rule and has to choose how to fix it.

  • A student hurts the feelings of another and has to make restitution.

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Some appropriate consequences or reinforcements might include:

Restorative Justice

  • Student breaks it, student fixes it

  • Practicing the correct way to do something

  • Giving time back that was misused in class

  • Completing an action plan questionnaire

Negative Consequences

  • Loss of a reward

  • Moving seats

  • Parental involvement

  • Immediate re-do

Classroom management plans should fit with the age group and grade level of the students you will manage.

For example, an elementary student may not be able to complete an action plan questionnaire due to not being able to write yet. They may, however, be able to draw pictures!

Practice Procedures

Procedures are no good unless they are practiced and consistent! Remember that procedures are concerned with how things get done.

Practice spelled with a Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

When we open a combination lock, we follow a procedure — begin at zero, turn left with so many clicks, turn right with so many clicks, and the lock opens. Classroom procedures should be similar — enter class, go to assigned seat, begin bell work, etc.

Flaticon Icon Practicing Procedures:

  1. Revisit your set of routines.

  2. Create a step-by-step list of how you want each thing done.

  3. Teach these steps to your students from day one of school.

  4. Rehearse and practice these steps correcting and adjusting behaviors as needed.

  5. Reinforce these steps until they become a habit.

"Effective teachers manage with procedures."

— Harry & Rosemary Wong, The First Days of School

How true this is! Procedures tell students what you want done. They'll make your school year smoother and more effective.


Which of these things needs to be practiced to be become a procedure? Select all that apply:

Take Action

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Classroom management plans help prevent misbehaviors before they start. Establish your plans for differing grade levels:


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