"Lessons from the Rubber Chicken" – A Classroom Management Perspective, Welcome Kristy!

Hello Readers of the Resourceful Room,

I am so excited to be guest blogging on Amy’s blog as part of a blog post swap arranged by the bloggers from Primary Possibilities, don't forget to check out all the other posts after you read this one!
My name is Kristy from the blog 2 Peas and a Dog I currently teach Grade 8 in Ontario, Canada. 

Classroom management starts from the first minute of meeting your new class, and continues to the last minute of the school year.  How do you greet your students on the first day? My school meets all students on the black top before they enter the school. Teachers hold up signs with their name and class code. Students find their teacher either from the posted list of student numbers on the front doors or by asking each teacher “Are you my teacher?”

I greet all new students with a smile, an enthusiastic I AM YOUR TEACHER, and with instructions on where to stand and our entrance time. I start modeling the behaviour I want to see with my students from the first minute. I want them to greet me when they see me during the school day, and I want them to remember classroom and school wide expectations.

In the upper elementary grades, classroom management is about building a good rapport and classroom relationship with your students, it is not about the latest reward system. All classrooms are different, just as all students are different. Some might respond well to rewards based classroom management, the others might not. You as the education expert in your room have to decide what works best for you.

Now what about this rubber chicken you ask? Last year I wanted a new classroom management approach. I had done the reward based systems, and they were a lot of work, with minimal results. The chicken was born! My new classroom management system is about mutual respect, trust and getting to know my students.

What do I do to build relationships?

I talk to all my students every day (whole class, small groups or individually) about something relevant in their lives (hockey, dance, books, music, even Justin Bieber!)

I stand at the door and greet each student as they walk into the classroom and remind them what they need to bring to class.

We mutually create classroom expectations – we brainstorm my responsibilities and theirs.

Students give input into their seating plan. Some months they may get to choose their groups or seat partners other times they help with the desk arrangements and I choose their seats.

What do I do to keep the students organized?
Our daily schedule is posted on the white board when they walk into the room.

Students create a Table of Contents in the first page of their notebook, binder or duo-tang.  I photocopy a template that they can fill in with the page number, lesson/handout title and date.

Each subject has a classroom table of contents anchor chart on chart paper. This is posted in the room. Ask a pair of students who finish early or need some leadership experience to create this. Have them create as many columns as rotary classes you teach. As you teach each lesson or pass out photocopied sheets write the date in class column.  

Need to sort students into pairs quickly? Cut a deck of cards in half and hand out each student one half of a card.Then students must walk around to find their surprise partner. Explain to your students ahead of time that you can change any grouping if needed. This stops the card trading immediately, as they know my goal is to have them work with as many different people as possible, not just their immediate friendship group.

Assign each student a number according to their position on the class list. Tell them this number the first day of school. Have them write this number down on anything that is handed in. Now you can sort the pile very quickly to see who handed assignments in and what is missing. This number system also makes lining up for fire drill very easy.

What do I do to keep things fun and interesting?
To get their attention from day one the only two signals I use are: squawking the rubber chicken or I count down and use my hands to demonstrate 3,2,1. My students love the rubber chicken noise. Sometimes I add something funny like "The chicken has spoken". 

When I create an assignment or task that needs names I use either my dog’s name to make it fun (my dog had a serious shopping problem during our Rates, Ratios and Percents Math Unit) or with student permission I use their name. Students love seeing their name in print. Other students enjoy reading about the “adventures” of their classmates.
Now that I write this post, I remember that I do use one rewards based item in my classroom: Homework Passes. Every student gets a homework pass the first day of school. After the first day they have to earn their homework passes. I do not have a set system on how they are earned. Usually once or twice a month I provide an opportunity for all students to earn a homework pass. Last month anyone who handed in their monthly book report on time earned a homework pass. See an example of my monthly book reports here:  
I also allow students to use homework passes as an Assignment Extension. If they hand in a homework pass the day something is due, the students has one addition day to complete that assignment.

Now it’s your turn! I want to hear from readers about their best classroom management tips. Please share your ideas in the comments section below.

Thank you for reading my post. 


You can find more of my classroom ideas on:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/2peasandadog

Thanks Kristy for blogging here today! Great ideas!! 

Now don't forget to come visit me at Jamie's blog where I am the guest today!
 Then follow the links through blogland to visit all the wonderful blogs participating in Primary Possibilities swap!


  1. Thanks for sharing! I agree that building a rapport with your students is extremely important in classroom management. I like your rubber chicken idea.

  2. Rubber chicken, I love it! What a great way to bring something humorous into an every day routine.

    Darling Little Learners

  3. Ha! I HAVE to go get a rubber chicken!!! Thank you for all the wonderful ideas you shared! It is so hard to have the time, but so important we remember to connect to each child every day!!

  4. Great ideas! I love assigning numbers:) We do a quick roll call all the time. I call out their number and then each kid calls their name back. That way I can make eye contact with them. It's great for fire drills and field trips when i need to take count multiple times. Thanks for following me:) Get ready to be blog-stalked;)

    My Teacher Friend

  5. I know I need to be better with the visible schedule. I think I take for granted that I am the teacher and I am the only person who needs to know what is happening that day. Kids need to know what the schedule is! Thanks for the reminder!
    Thanks for linking up!


Back to Top