Five Classroom Management Games Kids LOVE!

Classroom Management Games
 

The end of the year is upon us, and most teachers are pulling every trick they have out of their hats to help them maintain class control (and their sanity!) as the school year comes to a close. In honor of this unique time of year, here is a collection of my favorite classroom management games that kids LOVE! Enjoy!

 

“The Don’t Say a WORD Game” (A Game for Transitions)

This is a game that I made up one year when I had a particularly “chatty” and social class. Every time we came into the classroom, (or lined up to go out,) they were very noisy, and the only thing that stopped them was negative consequences, which I hated!

What you need:
1.  Nothing!

How to play:
1. Everyone must walk into or out of the classroom without saying a single word.  If they do, the whole class earns a reward, such as an extra five minutes of playtime.
2. To make this work, I sometimes gave the extra playtime minutes to those that were quiet, rather than take the reward away from the whole class. Unfortunately, some kids actually seemed to enjoy the “power” of being able to derail this activity, although I can’t really figure out why.

The end of the game:
When everyone is settled and seated for the next activity, you’re done!  Praise the kids if they got it right.  My class would break into WILD CHEERS if they made it!

Tips:
*  Wait until everyone is quiet in line before bringing them in (or sending them to line up) and remind them again of the reward when the game starts.
* Children usually have better luck waiting in line when the ones that are the “most social” don’t wind up right next to each other.  I have had a few classes (or students) that did best when they had actual places in line that they were assigned to stand or walk in every time. This works well with SitSpots or even just by taping names or sight words, etc. to the floor, assigning each child a certain word to stand on.  (FYI, I do get commissions for the SitSpot links mentioned in this post!)

Sit Spots Sight Word Line Upsmlogo
 

*  It turned out to be much easier for them to be COMPLETELY SILENT than to ask them to “keep the noise down!”

Sight Word Line Up
 

The Quiet Game (A Game For Keeping a Class Busy While the Teacher Answers the Phone, etc.)

If you have been following my blog for several years, you may remember this one!  This game has to be the silliest, “stupidest” game ever.  But I use it nearly every day; no teacher should be without it!  When I first started teaching Kindergarten, I taught the afternoon class, and I had moved into a room with a very experienced, expert teacher that new teachers tend to find somewhat intimidating!  Luckily, she took me under her wing, and taught me all of the things I should have learned in my student teaching experience, but didn’t. Anyway, when the AM teacher, Mrs. Kinne, taught me this game, I thought she was crazy.  What child would ever find this entertaining?  Who in the world would think of such a thing?

Click here to find out how to play the Quiet Game- a game no early childhood teacher should ever be without! LOL!
 

Click here to find out how to play the Quiet Game- a game no early childhood teacher should ever be without! LOL!
 

What you need:
1.  Your teacher chair.
2.  A DISTRACTION that pulls you away from teaching your class for a minute or two- like a child wetting his pants, or a parent that MUST talk to you right away, in private!

How to play:
1. Choose one child to be the “starter.”  This child gets to sit in your teacher chair and chooses the quietest person in the room.
2. The person that gets chosen by the starter gets to be the next leader.  He gets to sit in the teacher chair and picks the next quietest person to sit in the teacher chair.
-Boys must pick girls, and girls must pick boys.  No “pick backs” allowed!
-No “stalling” allowed; (you can’t just sit there and pick no one, or the teacher will choose for you.  If I notice kids stalling, I call out, “Okay, I’m going to count to three, and then I will pick for you!”  That always does it.  They pick someone immediately!

The end of the game:
When you are done managing your DISTRACTION: have the person in the chair choose someone to start the game next time.  Don’t let the person in the chair be the starter next time, or kids may sit and “stall,” refusing to choose someone- usually because they hope to be the starter next time!

Tip:
* Keep track of who gets to be the next “starter” on a small white board and pin it to a wall or bulletin board nearby your teacher chair.  If you can find a small one that has a place to attach a little dry erase marker with an eraser on the end of it, then it will be really quick and easy to write it down each time.

Quiet Game White Board
 

* If my “starter” is absent or busy with something, then I usually have my helper of the day start the game.

The children in my class last year loved playing this game so much that they would whine about it if we didn’t get a chance to play during the day!  And, sometimes while a few of them were waiting for their parents to pick them up at the end of the day, they would play it while they waited!  They would even play it when there were only TWO children in the room!  You wouldn’t believe how dramatically they would think and think before they would choose that other person!  I even had a child play it once by herself!  She got a couple of dolls and bears from the playhouse, put them on the carpet squares, and proceeded to pick the “quietest” one!  (Don’t ask me how she made THAT decision!  Ah, the wonders of the Kindergarten imagination!)

 

Graveyard! (A Shorter Game For Keeping a Class Busy While the Teacher Takes Care of Something Quick)

Here is another silly game that is perfect for when you are in the middle of carpet time and something comes up that you need to take care of for just a moment.  This one is good around Halloween, especially.

Graveyard Game
 

What you need:
1.  Nothing!  Just a distraction that needs to be taken care of.

How to play:
1. Yell out, “Graveyard!”  All of the children fall down and play dead.
2. They must remain on the floor, “dead as a doornail,” saying nothing at all until you are done with your distraction.

The end of the game:
When you are done managing your distraction, that’s the end of the game.  I usually said something like, “Okay, everybody!  Rise from the dead!”  Around Halloween, we might say, “All my little ghosties can get up!” or something like that.

Tip:
* Make sure the children realize where their feet are, and that moving their feet/kicking someone in the head might actually HURT!

 

Mr. Potato Head Compliment Game (A General Behavior Motivational Game)

I saw this game in use when I presented at Hedgesville School in West Virginia last week! The teacher told me all about it, and I loved it!  Here it is!

Mr Potato Head Compliment Game
 

What you need:
1.  A Mr. Potato Head Set.

How to play:
1. Tell the children that each time an adult compliments the class on their behavior, they will get to add a piece to Mr. Potato Head.  For example, if someone says, “Gosh, your class is SO QUIET IN LINE TODAY!” then they would earn a piece.
2. I do not know which child got to choose the piece out of the box, but in my class I would have probably had my helper of the day get to choose.

The end of the game:
When Mr. Potato Head is full, then the class earns a reward of some time.  You’ll probably want to let them know in advance what the reward is.

Mr Potato Head Star Wars
 

Tip:
* I’m not sure what constitutes a “full” Mr. Potato Head, but you may want to establish this ahead of time!  LOL!

 

Too Noisy App

Too Noisy App
 

This is actually an app, called Too Noisy Pro!  It is $2.99 and works on both iOS devices and on Android! (There is also a free Lite Version.)  I saw this used in my friend Julie’s classroom one day when I went in to volunteer and try out a lesson, and I LOVED it!  You simply set it to the sensitivity that you want, and turn it on.  If the children get too noisy, an alarm goes off, and it “crashes!”  It looks like the screen is broken, but of course it is not.

Too Noisy App
 

You can set it to award the class Star Awards after a certain amount of time working quietly, as well- a feature that I LOVE!  You can work on building up their stamina that way!  You can also choose the background that you like.  You also have the ability to pause the app so that you can talk to the class without setting off the alarm, which is nice.

Too Noisy App
 

One way my friend Julie used it was by putting it underneath her document camera, so that the whole class could see the meter.  That worked great!  But then one group of students started getting a little louder than the rest, so she moved the meter over and just placed it right on their table group… which motivated them a little bit more to be really quiet.  It worked!

Music Notes
 

Also, you know I have to mention our The Classroom Management DVD!  🙂 It’s perfect for teachers that are looking for a musical way to help children learn and review classroom rules and procedures! Even at the end of the year, these songs and concepts are great for review!

Click here to go directly to the Classroom Management Product page! 🙂
 


“I Can Follow The Rules” Song – Classroom Management


“The Tattling Song” – Classroom Management

 

If you liked this post, you might also like:

Getting Control of Dismissal FB
 

 

Getting Control of a Very Difficult Class
 

 

Getting Control of a Talkative Class - HeidiSongs
 

 

Making it Through the Final Stretch FB
 

 

Helping Kids Learn to Solve Problems without Fighting
 

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Heidi Butkus

About Heidi Butkus

Heidi Butkus has been teaching in California public schools since 1985. She has somehow managed to stay in Kindergarten all of those years, with the exception of five years in first grade, and also taught a parent participation preschool for a short while! Combining a strong knowledge of brain research with practical experience, Heidi has created a wealth of fun and engaging teaching techniques that work well with diverse populations. She has presented at conferences nationwide, and is the owner and founder of HeidiSongs.com. Heidi has also created fourteen original CD's and DVD's for teaching beginning reading and math skills, three musical plays designed especially for young performers, and has written some picture books and many other teaching resources. Heidi's multimedia workshops are filled with fun and motivational educational activities that have been classroom tested and revised for effectiveness with all types of learners.
  1. Thank you for the wonderful ideas! I see them being used in my class next year, if not next week, our last.

  2. Pingback: Maximizing Teaching Time in a Very Difficult Class | Heidi Songs

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