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Classroom Management

5 Best Fidgets for the Classroom

Classroom Management
Blog header for 5 Best Fidgets for the Classroom

Teachers – do some of your students have difficulty sitting still especially during lessons and read aloud? Today I’m sharing five fidgets for the classroom.  

I have noticed as the years have gone by, more and more students are struggling with inattentiveness.  I’ve also noticed that the use of a quiet fidget can sometimes help keep students focused on the lesson while also not distracting anyone around them.  And, I’ll be completely honest – I was never a huge fan of fidgets. I was worried they would be a distraction and cause more issues. However, for some of my students – fidgets have been very helpful!

See my top 5 fidgets for the classroom below. This may contain affiliate links for your convenience.

Fidgets for the Classroom – Idea #1 – Wiki Stixs

Words Wiki Stix with photo of different colored Wiki Stix - fidgets for the classroom.

Wiki Stixs are great for many reasons, but they also make a very quiet and small fidget.  Students have enjoyed using these because they can twist them, turn them into shapes, and re-use them again and again. I, as a teacher, like Wiki Stixs because they are quiet and small so they aren’t super disruptive to everyone else. 

Fidgets for the Classroom – Idea #2 – Sensipod Desk Fidget from Bouncy Bands

Photo of blue Sensi Pod desk fidget.

This tool from Bouncy Bands is great for tables and desks, but can also be brought down the carpet or to a small group table. For students who like sensory input with different textures – this fidget has them all. Again it’s super quiet, but I also like that it offers 4 different textures to meet different student’s needs.

Fidgets for the Classroom – Idea #3 – Playdoh

Words playdough with photo of child's hands by multiple balls of playdough.

Playdoh is another quiet and easy item to use as a fidget in the classroom (as long as you go over ground rules of not smushing it into the carpet – learn from me). Students can squish it, roll it, turn it into things, etc. It’s not too expensive and can be used in a variety of spots in the classroom.

Fidgets for the Classroom – Idea #4 – Wacky Tracks Snap and Click Fidget Toys

Photo of colorful snap and click fidgets. Fidgets for the classroom.

My students absolutely love the snap and click fidgets! They typically are the first fidgets gone from the container each day. They have fun colors, can be changed into different shapes, and can be taken apart and snapped back together. They are also quiet, which again makes it a great tool and option for the classroom.

Fidgets for the Classroom – Idea #5 – Boxgear Fidgets

Picture of colorful fidgets

This fidget from Boxgear is another favorite in my classroom! This fidget can be twisted, pulled apart, put back together, etc! It’s quiet and it has many different ways you can pull it apart – so the novelty does not wear off. It comes in a 6 pack so you have a variety of color choicess for this awesome classroom fidget option.

If you’re interested in some more management ideas, be sure to check out…

Maximizing Learning Time – 4 Classroom Management Tips

3 Quick and Easy Whole Class Behavior Management Tools

Maximizing Learning Time: How These 4 Classroom Management Ideas Can Help

Classroom Management
Blog header for Maximizing Learning Time: How These 4 Classroom Management Ideas Can Help - photo of students in line

Every teacher’s goal is to maximize learning time as much as possible! Classroom management plays a huge role in being able to do that. Today I’m going to share with you 4 easy ideas to make classroom management a breeze!

Quiet Game

Photo of students in line

This first management tool is a game-changer for hallway behavior and waiting for a special’s class!  To play the quiet game, the students need to be quiet, facing forward, and have their hands to themselves. I then walk up and down the line and find the student who is being the best example of a student standing in line. I tap them on the shoulder and then they get to pick the next student who is standing perfectly in line.  This continues on and on until the special’s teacher is ready for them.

Wireless Doorbell

Photo of wireless doorbell

This may contain affiliate links for your convenience.

I know I’m not the only person to discuss and recommend the wireless doorbell, but this thing is amazing!

In the past I’ve always used the clapping patterns or 1-2-3 eyes on me as a way to get student’s attention. And, while yes that will work it sometimes has to be repeated many times. The wireless doorbell has changed all of that!  My doorbell has multiple songs and chimes and I chose a simple chime that sounded like the end of intermission at a play. This thing works like a charm! My students hadn’t seen it before so it was a novelty item at first, but it gets their attention! The nice thing is that I can change the sound or song so that it’s always fresh and always a bit of a novelty. 

I use the doorbell as a way to get them to freeze and give me their attention. I sound the doorbell when they need to rotate during math rotations. I use the doorbell as a sign to clean up. This thing works and it’s saved my voice and frustration level. Now there are times when they are a little crazy and I have to ring it a second time, but I do not have to raise my voice! The doorbell does it for me! Click HERE to grab your own doorbell from Amazon.

Reward System

Photo of tally chart reward system

I love using brag tags as an individual reward system, but also like to implement a whole class system too.  One of my favorites and easiest to implements is the Tally Chart.

Tally charts or place value (with tens and ones) is a great way to manage whole class behavior. For the tally chart, I pick a number and students have to work to earn that many tallies.  I typically start with 25 and then once they earn that we go for 50, 75, 100, etc.  

I also have a few other behavior option that you can find in my blog post >>> HERE.

Class Contract

Photo of class contract

Instead of the teacher created rules, in my class we create a class contract. I saw this idea at a training a few years ago and loved it!  

Our class contract is an agreement of how we want to treat each other and how we want to act in our classroom.  It is completely student driven and helps with buy in! After creating it together, everyone in the class signs it agreeing to follow the expectations. I then hang it on the wall and refer back to it often throughout the year.  

For more classroom management tips, click HERE.

Pin image for Maximizing Learning Time: How These 4 Classroom Management Ideas Can Help - photo of students in line

Building Student Independence Tip

Classroom Management
Blog header for Building Student Independence. Picture of To Do list with 3 items.

Real-Life….

One thing that drives me crazy is when a student comes up to me after they turn an assignment in and they say “I’m done – what do I do now?” We want kids to know what do and be independent enough to do it without needing to check in with the teacher.

Teacher Goal – Building Students Independence

One of our goals no matter which grade you teach is to help students become more independent throughout the school year. Obviously this will look differently in each grade level, but our goal is for students to be more independent leaving the grade than they were when they started.  

One tip I have for this is To Do Lists.  Part of students being more independent is being able to complete multiple tasks/multi-step directions.  The way I do this is through checklists/to do lists.  On the board or using the projector, I will put a to do list up of what the kids are supposed to do. Here are a few examples:

Example #1

  1. Turn in telling time page.
  2. Reflex math on Chrome Books. 

Example #2

  1. Turn in cause and effect page.
  2. Read at your seat

Example #3

  1. Finish your small moments story.
  2. Re-read it to check for capitals and end marks.
  3. Sketch your pictures for your story.
  4. Get a new booklet to start a new story.

These lists help keep kids on track and gain independence. I go over this to do list prior to sending kids to their seats so they know what the tasks are. By having it up and visible students can refer back to it as needed. For younger students who are learning to read you could still put the words, but also add picture clues to help them with the tasks.

Have you used to do lists with your class before? Let me know below…

Long Pin for Building Student Independence. Picture of To Do list with 3 items.

Classroom Management Tips

Back to School

As we all know, classroom management is such an important part of teaching. Today I’m sharing 5 classroom management tips with you to help start your school year off on the right foot!

  • High Expectations – It’s important for you to set high expectations for your students.  You need a classroom where students are able to learn and for that to happen expectations need to be set in place.
  • Be Consistent – This is huge!  If you say something, you need to follow through with it.  And, more importantly you need to be consistent with each student.
  • Model and Practice – When setting these high expectations it’s important that you model and show the kids what they look like. Kids also need time to practice expectations.  For example, if you want students walking with their hands by their sides and facing forward in the hall – you need to model it and practice it and practice it some more.
  • Build Relationships – Relationships are another important key to classroom management.  Get to know your students and let them get to know you.  When you have strong relationships with your students, you will see less behavior problems.
  • Plan Ahead – This is probably weird to put last, but you want to plan your procedures and expectations before the school year starts.  Think about how you want to handle getting a drink, sharpening pencils, turning work in, walking in the hall, etc.  If you have clear procedures in place, it will be easier to communicate that to your students.

What are you favorite classroom management tips??? Leave a comment…



Books for the First Week of School

Back to School, Books

Please note Amazon affiliate links are included in this post for your convenience.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

So, I love picture books and I especially love picture books that serve multiple purposes. Today I’m going to share with you some of my favorite books to use during the first few weeks of school.  These books can also be found on my Amazon List – Back to School Books.

First Day of School Books:

I always start the first day of school every year with the book First Day Jitters.  It’s a cute book that gets some of those nerves and jitters out of the way.  I also like that it shows that teachers are nervous too.

PIctures of Back to School Books - FIrst Day Jitters, The Night Before First Grade, First Grade Jitters, Wemberly Worried, Chrysanthemum

Be Kind Books:

Teaching social skills and life lessons are extremely important during the first week. These books are great for talking about being kind and respectful to one another.

Picture of books - Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun, Peanut Butter & Cupcake, Have You Filled a Bucket Today, Thelma the Unicorn, Hooway for Wodney Wat

Classroom Management:

The first few weeks of school are full of learning about classroom expectations and procedures. I love using the books below to discuss some of those topics.  These books are also good to bring up throughout the school year if an issue arises.

Picture of books - I've Won, Ruthie and the Not So Teeny Tiny Lie, Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns to Listen, The Boy Who Wouldn't Share, Tattle Tongue

Growth Mindset:

Growth Mindset is such a valuable skill for kids to learn. I love using these books to talk about it in kid friendly ways.  It’s important for kids to know that it’s ok to make mistakes and that they won’t be perfect at everything on the first go – and these books do a great job of explaining that.

Picture books - The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes, The Most Magnificent Thing, ish

Those are some of my favorites. What are your favorite back to school books? Comment below…