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February 20, 2014 5 Ideas for Classroom Management on a Budget By Allie Magnuson
Grades PreK–K

    Classroom management can be a challenge, especially for those on a budget. Here are five tried-and-true ideas that have seen me through many years of teaching kindergarten. Follow these guidelines to make managing your classroom an inexpensive and painless experience.


    1. Give privileges, not prizes or presents.

    This goes for individual and group rewards, as well as for birthdays and holidays.

    Ideas for individual privileges:

    • Choose where to sit

    • Play a game instead of working on an assignment

    • Play on the computer

    Ideas for group privileges:

    • Special activity

    • Outdoor fun

    • Show and Tell

    I make punch cards so students can pick a reward and then earn it. Once a reward is cashed in, they can pick a new reward. Punches are free for birthdays and holidays.


    2. Keep a music player and a well-stocked music library.


    Music can be used for many different things. Examples include:

    • Play slow instrumental music to create a peaceful environment

    • Play upbeat tunes for a mood or energy boost

    • Celebrate an accomplishment by singing and dancing

    • Designate a song that is used for transitions


    3. Make a variety of solutions and sprays to motivate and encourage students, or to prevent certain behaviors.


    Pictured here:

    • Quiet as a Mouse Bubbles (bubble solution, bubble wand)

    • Smarty Spray (spray bottle, water)

    • Speedy Clean-Up Spritzer (spray bottle, Alka-Seltzer tablet

    • Helping Hands Soap (pump dispenser, foaming hand soap)

    • Magic "Pay Attention" Mist (mister, water, peppermint extract)

    • Tattletale Repellent (can of air freshener)

    • Fear Extinguisher (spray bottle, water, vanilla extract)


    4. Buy snacks with small pieces for longer use.


    Some snacks that work well are:

    • Cereal

    • Goldfish-type crackers

    • Pretzel sticks

    • Cheez-It crackers

    • Popcorn

    • Chex Mix

    • Raisins

    • Graham crackers


    5. Use cheap toys and tools for fidgety kids.

    Good items for kids who can't sit still (something that appeals to each of the five senses):

    • Silly Putty

    • Headphones

    • Sand timer or sensory bottle

    • Leftover candy canes

    • Chewing gum

    • Stuffed animal or pillow (musical ones are a bonus!)


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Susan Cheyney