When you start to look for classroom management tools to use in your kindergarten classroom, it can feel a bit overwhelming! There are so many different tools and strategies to try, that it can be hard to know where to start! In this post, I wanted to share the classroom management essentials that I would never try to teach kindergarten without.
Essential Classroom Management Tools
I’m focusing on three types of classroom management tools that you should definitely have in your classroom. Yes, there are other very important classroom management tools and strategies that can make your kindergarten classroom run more smoothly. However, the purpose of this post is to help you narrow down the choices and give you a place to start when planning your classroom management.
1. Visual Supports for Routines and Directions
When you’re trying to manage a classroom full of five- and six-year-olds, visual supports are an absolute must! Visuals can help your students navigate daily routines and independently complete their learning tasks, which will help your classroom run more smoothly.
A visual schedule is a great way to ease some of the anxiety around what comes next and can significantly minimize interruptions. Students are able to look at the schedule to see when lunch will be. When the inevitable questions still come, you can easily point to the visual schedule without missing a beat!
Routine visuals can also help your classroom run more smoothly! For example, you can outline the steps of the morning routine using pictures, so students can come in and get right to work. This is a huge help when your attention is likely being pulled in five different directions as students walk in the door.
Visuals also come in handy when it’s time for students to get to work. You can’t make 20 (or 30!) copies of yourself to sit with students as they complete their learning tasks. However, your young students still need a bit of support to remember the multiple steps of an independent work assignment. This is when picture direction cards come to the rescue! Just line up the directions using picture cards to help students remember what they should be doing and when.
2. Behavior Communication Forms
When you first hear the term “behavior communication forms” you might visualize sending a note home to parents about misbehavior. Instead, I’m talking about having a simple and easy-to-use behavior checklist that will help you build relationships, celebrate positive behaviors, and address negative behaviors. (Yes, one tool can do all of this!)
My glow and grow notes are a motivation for students as well as a communication tool for parents. Each day, you will just quickly fill out the glow form checklist and send it home with a student. You’ll be amazed by how excited students are when they have something positive to take home to parents!
Grow notes are sent home when a student has exhibited behavior that has impacted their learning or the learning of others. It’s important to communicate these incidents to parents so that they are aware of the areas of growth. Just be sure to send home a glow note for every child before sending home a grow note. You don’t want parents to think that you’re only on the lookout for things their kid is doing wrong!
3. Behavior Incentives and Trackers
As hard as you try to keep students engaged and on track using glow and grow notes, you will likely have students who need a little bit of extra support with their behavior choices. This is when it’s helpful to have individual incentives and behavior trackers on hand.
The tool that I suggest trying first is a simple coloring chart. You list the goal and reward at the top of the chart and students can color in the chart as they demonstrate the target behavior during that time period. Once all of the squares have been colored in, the student earns the reward.
If needed, you might also need to transition to token boards. This is another method of individual behavior support that is more tangible for the student. They earn small tokens for their board and can choose a visual reward card from a choice menu. This added level of visual support can be a helpful option for some students.
Not all of your students will enter kindergarten with the established support services that they might need. This is why behavior documentation is so important! You can document what you’ve been trying in the classroom as well as the frequency of the behaviors you’re trying to address. This will be vital information to bring to multidisciplinary team meetings or parent conferences.
I know how challenging data collection can be in a kindergarten classroom, which is why behavior tracking forms are so helpful to have on hand! You can have a clipboard ready to go instead of losing random sticky notes on your desk.
Printable Classroom Management Tools
To make it easier for you to build your classroom management toolbox, I have created a bundle with all of the must-haves for a kindergarten classroom! Having a variety of tools ready and available is a huge help! Even if you don’t use something one year, it might come in handy the following school year. Every group of students is completely different, and you never know what level of support your students will need!
This classroom management tool bundle has all of the “must-haves” you need for dealing with behavior, keeping your day on track, and communicating with families. Just head over to the Teaching Exceptional Kinders shop or TPT to take a closer look at everything included in this resource.
Take a Closer Look at These Must-Haves
If you would like to take a closer look at some of these classroom management essentials, be sure to check out this video!
Save These Classroom Management Essentials
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