Creative classroom management strategies from fellow teachers and our experts.
We’ve all heard the urban legend about the kindergartner who smuggled a penguin home from the aquarium in his backpack. Hey, it could happen.
- The Lost Ones
We took our third and fourth graders to a fall harvest corn maze. The kids took off with the maps, and all the teachers and chaperones got lost in the maze! —Joanna L.
- Den Mother
I took my kindergarten class to the Los Angeles Zoo, and one of my students climbed over a fence into a wolf’s den. The wolf was watching from a distance as we got the student out. It only took a few seconds, but it was a lot longer than that before I could breathe again. —Catherine Y.
- Phone Manners
I took my middle school students, who have emotional and/or behavioral disorders, to the Minnesota state capitol. While on our tour, one of them answered the governor’s ringing phone before his secretary had the chance. Security followed us for the rest of the day! —Jennifer C.
- Down by One
I once left a very short fourth grader at a museum gift shop. I regret to say I couldn’t see her over the shelves. I counted and recounted the kids, and didn’t realize she was missing until we were almost home. The parents never let her go on another trip. —Bee P.
- Haute Lunch
We headed off to the science center with our lunches in a giant cooler. I thought it was packed in the back of the bus, but it turned out we’d left it at the curb. I put $300 on my credit card at Wendy’s that day. —Jennifer P.
- Disney Snafu
One year, we took the science club to Disney World. We loaded the kids and the gear onto the bus and headed off…into the side of another bus. So we waited for another bus. The driver of the second bus got lost on the way over, then the air conditioner conked out and dumped gallons of cold, dirty water all over a group of students. When we finally got to Disney, one of the parents picked a fight with the park’s host, and we nearly got thrown out. —Michele H.
- Bison Hung
I was about seven months pregnant when I took my first graders to a bison ranch. It was unusually hot for June. When we arrived, the owner told us the bison were out in the far fields under shade trees. He advised the bus driver to take an overgrown path through the fields. Thirty seconds later, the bus broke down. We couldn’t get off and spent four hours in the hot sun waiting for another bus before heading back to school. —Michelle E.
- Lion’s Share
On a middle school field trip, two boys who had been a pain in the neck all day started teasing the lions. We warned them to stop, and one smarted off, saying something like, “What’s the lion going to do?” At that moment, the male lion lifted his leg and shot a huge stream of urine 25 feet, soaking both boys. —Beverly S.
- Happy Hour
I had a parent volunteer try to bring a case of beer on the bus for the three-hour ride home from the National Zoo. The driver made him leave it right there on the side of M Street. —Bridget L.
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Classroom Management: A Collection of Resources for Teachers