How to Adjust Your Classroom Management Plan


How to figure out kindergarten classroom management comes easier to some than others. But even if it feels tricky at first, it doesn’t mean you are bad at classroom management, have to give up on kindergarten or feel like a flop.

How to Improve Your Classroom Management Plan

Let me share a little analogy of how important classroom management is in kindergarten, what to do if you’re struggling and share how I’m updating my own classroom management plan this year.

Classroom management is like being a pilot

Have you heard the analogy that depicts you being the pilot of a plane?

You take off to head a half-hour in a specified direction. Short trip. What happens if you’re off by a degree?

You most likely can make a slight adjustment and have lost little to no time.

Now what if you were flying a red eye over 13 hours, crossing major oceans and are off by the simple degree?

You’ve majorly missed your mark and have lost time too because you now have to completely redirect and realign a new flight!

Okay – so I’m not a pilot – nor am I am a classroom management guru, but I love how this analogy illustrates the importance of starting off a school year with a flight plan {aka a classroom management plan} in place. A solid one.

What to do if you’re struggling

Okay, to be honest – if you’re struggling – ask for help.

1. Ask for time

Ask for observation time (or use a planning period) to go observe teachers who rock this classroom management thing and pick their brains afterward on why they do what they do (and why they say what they say).

2. Rethink your plan

Consider how you can re-think through your current classroom management plan. And if you don’t have one – put everything else aside and think through one! Think long and hard and plan well. You won’t regret it.

3. Break down your day

Break down your day.

Literally, sit down and think through all the little steps and things your students to in a given day (the list will be huge) and then highlight where you are having the most difficulty and frustration.

Give yourself a little credit for the non-highlighted parts of the day.

Then figure out what things the highlighted parts have in common and start coming up with solutions (more defined teacher-led transitions, covering expectations beforehand, consistency in expectations and following through) to try to improve those times.

Classroom management is learned

I told you earlier that you don’t have to feel like a flop, throw in the towel or feel like you’re bad at classroom management. The reality is that you can learn it – it takes time, effort and consistency.

You can’t just wish that it will happen or wait for that magical class with no behavior issues to come along next year.

How to adjust a classroom management plan

Even teachers who’ve been in the classroom for years like to improve and work on themselves and their classroom management.

Over the years, I’ve always used color cards because that is what our schools have used.

My plan always had some type of tangible rewards built in for students who are motivated extrinsically.

However, what I think makes me different from many other teachers is that my plan always focuses on making choices. My verbage always focuses on choices.

Add in choices

One day when I was thinking about my own classroom management plan I realized that while my plan and verbage focused on choices – my rewards did not.

classroom management {flight} plan - KindergartenWorks

So this year, I will be adding to my own classroom management plan and I think it will help me make the slight degree of adjustment to make for a smooth landing and great school year!

I’m excited to have created a binder of choices that feature rewards to offer student choice. I printed reward coupons and made matching binder pages to place into binder pockets so students can easily help manage the reward side of our system.

classroom management {flight} plan - KindergartenWorks

Students will be able to select their reward and ticket and write their name on the back of them (they are laminated) with a vis-a-vis marker.

When they turn them in, we can easily rinse off their name and return their ticket to the binder pocket.

This is an upgrade from the simple treasure box prizes {ah hem, trinkets} that I offered. I’ll still have these as an option since there will be someone who will want something to hold on their way out the door.

That’s one degree of change I am making.

Reward some behaviors instantly

I use smelly spots in my classroom to help establish new behaviors and reward individual students in the moment. They are a big hit.

But I wanted students to have something to take home when their great (way above and beyond) behavior was noticed. I wanted to make it instant like a sticker in order to not let it take any of my time or classroom time, but more unique.

So, these paper behavior bracelets are what I came up with!

I have four bracelets now that students can put on, relatively quickly, and use to proudly show off their great choices. These coincide with our classroom rules and classroom behavior plan.

I figure they’ll eventually rip, but they can still be taken home as proof or shared from a pocket later in the day.

Let’s wrap it up

There you have it – the flight path you pick for your classroom management plan in kindergarten is so important. I hope that if you’re struggling or just looking for new ideas that these tips on how to make slight adjustments can help you improve your classroom management plan.

If you like what I do here on KindergartenWorks, then be sure to subscribe today. I look forward to sharing ideas with you weekly.

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  1. I was really interested in your think cards. I looked all over the place and followed your links, but was unsuccessful. Would you mind sharing?

  2. Earlier I think I had seen an update to your behavior plan with color coded rules? I can’t seem to find that information any longer. We are updating our behavior plan and would love to share your successes with my team!

      1. Are the think cards the newest addition to your behavior plan? I thought I had seen a post of an update to your behavior plan – a picture with color coded rules, student pockets, and matching colored sticks? Maybe not. I was just trying to figure out the procedure. What happens when a child has to get a colored stick? Consequences, follow-up with parents, etc.? I love your ideas. I’ve been teaching K for a long time, but it’s always great to tweak things a bit!!

        1. Hi Mrs. White, They are. I think you’re thinking about the behavior bracelets that have pockets, or perhaps another teacher had the idea? When a student doesn’t follow through with xyz, then they carry the think card across the room to place it in a pocket in their cubbie. While walking they think of the positive, “I will xyz.” Then we use colors green (0), yellow (1), orange (2) and red (3) to report the number of think cards as needed.

  3. Labeling students as “wild” is extremely offensive. Look at history and how people of color have been degraded. Students are not animals and no human should be described as so.

  4. My question may be answered on your site, but I am wondering how you use these coupons with your color cards.

  5. Hey Leslie,

    I saw your comment about the bracelets! Your email wasn’t attached to your account so I’ll just comment back! :O)

    You are more than welcome to feature anything you’d like! We just appreciate you idea that sparked mine! I can’t wait to see what you came up with for field trip bracelets!

    Collaboration Cuties

  6. This is so cool! I too have the traditional trinket box and my whole school uses the color card system so I am looking forward to making these degree changes as well! Thanks for sharing!
    ~ Kate from

  7. I just found these on pinterest through a teaching friend of mine! Thanks so much for sharing them and I cannot wait to use them this year. My kindergarteners will LOVE these. 🙂

  8. Leslie, you are always so creative. I wish I worked with someone like you! I soak up your knowledge that you share like a sponge! Thank you. I’ve gotten away from the card system. In one of my Special Ed/Early Childhood classes last year, it was discussed about the liability those cards represent. Not only that but do they really help little learners on what behavior needs to be changed. I’ve always hated them and wanted something more….well positive. This year, I used a ruler on the board with a cookie. When something wonderful happens we move the cookie (cooperation, a compliment to a friend, using words when someone has saddened you, etc). When the cookie gets to the end, we have a popcorn and juice party. The kids loved it!

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