Effective Classroom Management Ideas for the 1st Grade

how to discipline first graders

For elementary school students to be able to learn and socialize in the classroom, it is crucial to have a realistic classroom management strategy for the first grade. Nobody wants to be the teacher who shouts orders at a class of six- and seven-year-olds. This is what happens in the first-grade classroom without a plan for classroom management.


This grade level, even though most children are not able to pay attention, is crucial in helping them develop the foundational skills needed for all levels of schooling. Teachers can avoid this problem by having a solid selection of classroom management ideas for the first grade, which will help them enjoy their time with their students.

Here’s a brief history of classroom management strategies

This article was once unnecessary in American education history. The majority of learning was done by rote memorization, with extra work to be completed at the home. Usually, instruction in classroom deportment and group work skills, as well as expected behavior, was given during the first day. Infractions that occurred after the first day of class were quickly dealt with using punishments to embarrass the offender. Principal’s offices dealt with more serious and persistent breaches of the teacher’s code. Often corporal punishment was used to eliminate the offender.

How to 5 first-grade classroom management strategies

Modern first-grade management strategies focus on four main areas: teaching classroom behavior and maintaining attention spans; introducing task-focused group work, and enforcing discipline for behavior infractions. These areas can be addressed with a variety of strategies.

1. Attention spans are limited

This age group naturally has a limited attention span. Children at this age are used to a steady diet of TV and video games, which provides them with constant stimulation. This has also allowed them to anticipate how classroom lessons will change. The educational computer software that simulates “gaming”, has allowed students to study certain subjects, but it does not help to maintain group attention spans in a situation where boredom can spread quickly. There are many ways to manage classrooms with a master’s degree.

  • Keep your attitude and interest in the lesson.
  • Promoting excitement about future lessons with posters and other visuals such as “Coming Soon!” posters can help to keep it going.
  • Visual props are a great way to grab and keep attention, especially for young children. A cowboy hat can be used to tell a story about Wild West.
  • Varietate the content of the lessons to keep students interested and cater to children who have different learning styles.
  • Write words for students using different colors of chalk and markers.
  • Do not ask the question and then wait for the answer from the other children. Instead, ask the question and choose a random student to answer it. This helps children to be more focused and attentive.
  • Ensure that all eyes remain on you throughout the lesson. Stop your lesson if one or more children look away and wait silently for their attention to return.
  • Ask your class to recall the sequence of steps or directions that you might have given for a lesson. When they correctly identify the order, write each task.
  • Research has shown that writing longer assignments can cause discipline problems. Therefore, keep these types of lessons short and to the point.

2. Use attention-getting signals

First-graders sometimes get out of control and don’t realize it. Attention-getting signals could be verbal cues or body cues. Sometimes, children even hear a bell to grab their attention.

These signals cause children to stop doing what they’re doing and to think about what they should do or change. A teacher might sing a song to signal that it is time for the children to gather their materials and line up at the school’s door. This simple gesture is more effective than shouting an order. Teachers can make the most of attention-getting signals by constantly changing them so that students don’t get bored.

3. Expected behavior is taught

The most difficult lesson in the first grade is teaching children from different backgrounds about the expectations for classroom behavior. Classroom courtesies are often not taught in the classroom, so they must be covered during lessons on other academic subjects. This lesson is not only for one student. Instead, you will have to deal with the consequences for his or her behavior throughout the school year. This includes interrupting lessons, frustrated students, and a decrease in the quality and quantity of your teaching.


4. Visually displaying the positive and negative behavior of students

First graders need to be able to see and feel their behavior. A color-coded classroom management tool that works well is the use of clothespins and clothespins. Each child is given a clothespin to clip to the chart. Every child starts the day with a green clothespin, which is a positive sign. If a teacher notices that a student does something exceptionally well, the student can move the clip to blue which is excellent.

The clip will be moved down to yellow if the student is found violating a classroom rule. This is a warning. The clip is moved down to orange for further violations, which carries a small penalty, and then red for a warning. If the student continues to violate classroom rules, they will be moved to black. This means that a conference is required with the principal. Students are motivated to behave well because they know they can always move up on the chart.

This is only one example of a visual and tactile behavior monitoring system that can be used in the classroom. These systems must be linked to clearly defined and posted classroom rules to make them work. This allows the teacher to not have to give consequences at random and it ensures that students are aware of what is expected.

5. Maximizing proximity control

In the classroom, the teacher’s body can be a powerful tool, especially in the first grade where many students still want to please their teacher. When used with care, proximity control can prove to be very effective. This should be part of a comprehensive classroom management strategy.

If a teacher notices that a student or group of students is acting out or becoming agitated, he or she can simply walk to the spot where the behavior is occurring to stop it. If the teacher is unable to stop the behavior, a hand on the desk or back of the child can help get their attention and stop them from continuing. Proper use of proximity control does not entail any negative consequences.

For more resources, look on the Internet

Tch The Teaching Channel or Tch is a website that provides quick and effective lessons for teachers about how to improve their teaching. While there are some longer videos on subjects that take more time, most videos are only two minutes long. They had 26 videos about “classroom culture” available at the time this article was written. This resource will help you to deal with the two main tasks of first grade, task-focused group work as well as how discipline is enforced. Several experienced and successful teachers have created Pinterest boards focusing on first-grade classroom management.

Classroom management is key to a first-grade classroom running smoothly. These classroom management tips for first graders will help teachers create a positive and supportive learning environment. This will help all students reach their potential in the crucial year of school.