Teach like a Champion

These are key classroom management techniques that will serve you well during your teaching journey.

1. No Opt Out

No Opt Out is a useful tool to get all students to the right answer, as often as possible, even if only to repeat the correct answer.

2. Right is right

Right is Right is a technique teachers can use to set and defend a high standard of correctness by only naming "right" those answers which are truly and completely right. This one requires rigor and vigor!

3. Stretch it

Stretch It is a technique that helps teachers follow up correct answers with questions that extend knowledge and check fro full understanding.

4. Format matters

Format Matters is a technique to remind teachers that students should respond in complete answers, answer in a loud enough voice, and use correct grammar.

5. Without apology

Without Apology is the 5th technique and it reminds us that in the hands of a great teacher, no content is boring. We should never lower our students expectations with comments such as, "I know this is kind of dull", "I hate this kind of work, too" or "Let's just get through this quickly".

6. Begin with the end

When I started teaching, I was in survival mode. After finishing a day full of classes and having lunch, I would sit down to plan the next day's lessons and ask, "What am I going to possibly do tomorrow?".

7. 4Ms

Building off of Technique 6; Technique 7: 4Ms, tells us that a great lesson objective should be manageable, measurable, made first, and most important on the path to mastery.

8. Post It

Post It is a simple reminder to display your lesson's learning objective in your classroom. It used to be something I saw as silly and a waste of time.

9. Shortest path

Take the Shortest Path to your objectives in designing activities. A common flaw I regularly made in the past was to try execute a really intricate activity or to try and do too much during a class; I had just too much packed into the allocated time.

10. The double plan

Technique 10 is the Double Plan. Most lesson plans have a Teacher section and a Student section. We outline a basic idea of what we will do and what students will do.

11. Draw the map

Technique 11 focuses on the "how" you study, an aspect of lesson planning that can often be overlooked. When you plan, make sure that the physical environment you will be using is able to support the learning objectives of your activities.

12. The hook

The "hook" is also referred to as the "anticipatory set" in educational circles, but "hook" is a good vernacular way of expressing "anticipatory set." It's the thing that grabs, or "hooks" your attention and helps to focus you on the topic at hand.

13. Name the steps

Name the steps

14. Board equals paper

We don't change our minds much in life. The skills we learn in school (good or bad) are often carried with us into adulthood. Start your students on the right path to note taking, it is a skill they will use forever.

15. Circulate

Technique 15: Circulate, teaches us that like an oven, a teacher works best when circulating. Just as an oven that circulates air cooks food quickly and evenly, a teacher who circulates will be able to keep students focused on the lesson and move quickly through content at the same time as interacting evenly with students.

16. Break it down

Technique 16 Break it Down is one of the hardest things I've had to master as a teacher, but by far the most useful. This technique shows how to break down a question, when a student struggles to answer, to a more base level and build the knowledge back up to a level that makes the question understandable.

17. Ratio

The desire for what is simple and easy infects all of us, often in ways we are mostly unaware of. The only solution is the following: We must learn how to quiet the anxiety we feel whenever we are confronted with anything that seems complex or chaotic. We must patiently learn the various parts and skills that are required, never looking too far ahead.

18. Check for understanding Pt 1

Technique 18 is about effectively checking for understanding. This technique teaches us how to gather data constantly and act on the data quickly. We should be seeking constant opportunities to assess what our students can do while we’re teaching and using that knowledge to inform what you do and how you do it.

19. At the bats

Take a Stand, asks students to actively make judgement about their peers' answers. This technique allows the teacher to assess the students' understanding (through questioning how and why they have come to their conclusion) and thereby pinpoint the strengths and weaknesses of their instruction.

20. Exit Tickets

Technique 20, Exit Ticket, is both a fantastic classroom procedure & life skill. This technique describes the procedure for dismissal at the end of the period or day.

21. Take a stand

Take a Stand, asks students to actively make judgement about their peers' answers. This technique allows the teacher to assess the students' understanding (through questioning how and why they have come to their conclusion) and thereby pinpoint the strengths and weaknesses of their instruction.

22. Cold call

Cold Call helps teachers become successful in student engagement. Teacher must be cognizant to the true needs of those entrusted to their care. Do not think that engaging students is for the sake of engagement (i.e. entertainment), think of it as a way to keep them focused on the work, the learning.

23. Call & response

The key idea of Technique 23, Call & Response, is to use group choral response - you ask; they answer in unison--to build a culture of energetic, positive engagement.

24. Pepper

Pepper is a back-and-forth Q&A between the teacher and students. Just as in the baseball activity, you never know who is getting the "ball" in classroom Pepper. Pepper is a fast-paced, unpredictable review with lots of chances for participation in rapid succession.

25. Wait time

Wait Time, is a way of delaying a few strategic seconds after you finish asking a question and before you ask a student to begin answering it.

26. Everybody writes

To answer in a classroom or otherwise, I have to consider what it would take for me to answer the teacher’s question. The answer is that I would need a minute, even half a minute, to think and, more important, to write: to jot down my thoughts and wrestle them into words.

27. Vegas

The “Vegas” strategy is a technique that adds a little bit of “umph” to a day’s lesson. However, its soul purpose is not just for sparkle or laughs, it is used to reinforce a learning objective of that day.

28. Entry Routine

This technique addresses a small job, but it is the first job a teacher must complete at the beginning of each day or class, and it sets students off in the right directions from the moment they enter your classroom.

29. Do now

A teacher's job is to build people. When we can create an environment where people get results, develop new skills, and become successful, we are fulfilling our highest calling as a teacher and leader of young people. Communicating with strength and sensitivity, being a coach, and building people are a teacher's highest priority.

30. Tight transitions

Students spend a tremendous amount of time on transitions – moving from place to place or activity to activity -- and this is time that they are not learning. Teachers should make sure that students learn, practice, and master procedures – like how to line up, walk from class-to-class, or pass out papers.

31. Control binders

If it was worth doing, it is worth keeping. Students work hard at completing assignments and projects in school; however, often, these are seen only by the teacher, graded and returned to the student. Sometimes, the work was posted on a classroom wall or in a school hallway.

33. On you mark

Being prepared helps create the proper environment for enhancing student growth. Just as a coach would never allow a player to practice without their helmet or shoes, so too should a teacher never allow students to begin class without all the materials they need. This means teachers need to be clear about what students need, how long they have to get it, and regularly use consequences for not having the materials.

34. Seat signals

Seat Signals, helps teachers avoid disrupting their lessons by having students use nonverbal seat signals for certain requests. When teachers allow the use of seat signals, students can non-verbally ask to use the bathroom, request a pencil during a lesson, or receive a tissue without interrupting the teacher’s train of thought.

35. Props

Learn just how important public praise can be to creating a positive classroom culture.

36. 100% part 1 of 4

Some might see this technique as a practice in futility or pure madness; I think 100% is essential to maintaining an authoritative (in the sense you have control) voice in your classroom without having to resort to draconian discipline.

36. 100% part 2 of 4

How to intervene effectively.

36. 100% part 3 of 4

Rely on firm, calm finesse – Remember that gaining 100 PERCENT compliance is not about power, but about achieving an important purpose – that students will succeed. Take yourself out of the equation and focus on the goal. Rather than saying, “I asked for your eyes on me because when I ask you for something I expect you to do it,” try “I need your eyes on me so you can learn.”

36. 100% part 4 of 4

Technique 36, 100 Percent Part 4, states teachers should emphasize compliance they can see. You need to make your directions unambiguous. If students cannot easily understand the direction, you are asking for problems with compliance.

37. What to do (Part 1)

In the past, I was often as equally at fault as my students for classroom disruptions. I gave unclear directions and failed to differentiate between a misunderstand and an outright challenge to my authority.

37. What to do (part 2)

Part 2 - What to do.

38. Stong voice

Technique 36, 100 Percent Part 4, states teachers should emphasize compliance they can see. You need to make your directions unambiguous. If students cannot easily understand the direction, you are asking for problems with compliance.

39. Do it again

Do it again states, when students fail to successfully complete a task, often the best consequence is asking them to DO IT AGAIN, this time correctly.

40. Sweat the details 

SWEAT THE DETAILS – In the famous “broken windows” theory, if we erase the graffiti, fix broken windows, etc. then people will perceive their environment as orderly and safe and will work to preserve that. Even the smallest of details can signal the expectations for behavior. In the classroom, if we create order, students will receive the message that disruptions are not permitted here.

41. Threshold


42. No warnings

NO WARNINGS – Too often, teachers give a warning when addressing a student’s behavior. However, giving a warning is not taking action. Warnings tell students that misbehavior is tolerated a few times first.

43. Positive framing

Positive framing

44. Precise praise

Let’s cease thinking of our accomplishments, our wants. Let’s try to figure out the other person’s good points. Then forget flattery. Give honest, sincere appreciation. Be “hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise,” and people will cherish your words and treasure them and repeat them over a lifetime–repeat them years after you have forgotten them.

45. Warm/ strict

Warm / strict

46. The J-factor

The J-factor

47. Emotional consistency

Students will get upset at times, but the teacher must remain calm and under control.

48. Explain everything

Explain everything.

49. Normalize error

Normalize Error – By not making a big deal out of wrong (or right!) answers, champion teachers show that it is a normal part of school to get it wrong, then get it right. Avoid chastising students or spending much time on wrong answers.