Creative classroom management strategies from fellow teachers and our experts.
I write equations on the board, and students solve them on whiteboards. On the count of three, they show their partner their board. If the answers don’t match, they yell, “Math battle!” and run to the board. The rest of the class gets to decide who’s correct. They beg to do this every day! —Stephanie W.
I like to use scavenger hunts so I can help the ones who really need it. My students are more comfortable asking for help when others are moving around the room and distracted. —Jennifer E.
We play the class against the teacher, so they all work together to beat me. I review math facts in lightning-round style—if they don’t answer within five seconds, I get a point. I also get a point if someone shouts out the answer.
Glass Half Full
Cup stacking! Write facts on the cups, and kids have to answer the question before they can stack it. The cups can also be used with high-frequency words. —Ashley C.
I have my kids play addition war. They flip two cards and add them—the highest sum gets all of the cards. Other variations: Flip three cards and add, two cards and subtract, two and multiply, etc. It’s a favorite for the kids to play when they finish early. —Kay B.
Use flashcards, but begin by cutting the answers off of the bottom. Give groups three minutes to make as many matches as possible. Kids may have only one fact in their hands at a time, and every team member is responsible for every match being correct. This gets them up and moving and thinking quickly! —Terri M.
I lay out our anchor charts and have kids do a museum walk. They discuss what they’ve learned and we share out the big ideas. —Mary C.
Flip the Script
Students create their own questions and word problems, and then any type of review game can be played using the student-made questions. —Christine M.
Bust a Move
After solving five problems, they have to complete a silly activity before they can continue. Some favorite activities are singing the ABC song with their tongues sticking out or doing jumping jacks with skip counting. —Kristine F.
Across the Grid
Considering there is a lot of vocabulary to learn even in math, I create crossword puzzles. There are a ton of sites to do this on. —Beth L.
Photo: HuronPhoto/Getty Images; Photo illustration: Radames Espinoza
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