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Pin title "11 Essential Classroom Management Tools for Upper Elementary" over photo flat lay of confetti and school supplies like a sharpener, erasers, staplers

11 Essential Classroom Management Tools for Navigating Upper Elementary

Let’s discuss classroom management tools that will help you achieve that smooth-running classroom. From daily class slides to posting a class schedule and even a house system, you’ll be set! These tools aren’t just about running a classroom with efficiency, but also a space where students feel comfortable and valued. Read on to learn about these eleven classroom management tools.

Pin title "11 Essential Classroom Management Tools for Upper Elementary" over photo flat lay of confetti  and school supplies like a sharpener, erasers, staplers

#1 Class Mission Statement

Co-writing a class mission statement can be a powerful exercise in your classroom. It’s not always viewed as one of many classroom management tools. But, class mission statements include the class’ norms, values, and goals for the year. Unlike traditional classroom rules, norms are brainstormed and set together by the class. Every student signs the class mission statement, showing their commitment.

This statement fosters a positive, inclusive environment where everyone feels valued. It’s a collective promise to respect and support one another which makes it a cornerstone for a successful school year.

#2 House System

A house system is one of my top two classroom management tools. Here’s the gist: students are divided into houses and they earn points collectively as a house. The house members with the most points at the end of the week earn a reward (coupons or low-cost physical items.)

Flatlay photo of house system with hand drawn crests, house system launch lesson plans, student house application, bulletin board elements, and more

This system is not only engaging and motivating for students but it also builds a sense of belonging and camaraderie within each house. Ready to experience the positive impact of a house system? Check out this ready-to-go house system and, trust me, you’ll see the difference it makes in your classroom!

#3 Behaviour Tracking

Behaviour tracking is another important part of a strong classroom management plan because it encourages student reflection. At the end of each day, students track how they feel their day went, based on the choices they made. This helps them step up and be in charge of their behaviour, and plan to make tweaks the next day if they need to.

Dare I say that behaviour tracking is one of two of the most important classroom management tools that I use? I believe in it so wholeheartedly that I created a free behaviour tracking template for you to try.

#4 Rewards

Incorporating desired student rewards is a great classroom management strategy. Whether it’s a class prize box, a class sticker shop, or student reward coupons, they bring some extra fun and motivation for your upper elementary students. It’s a way to say, “Hey, you’re doing great!” and give kids a little something to look forward to. Plus, it encourages them to keep up the good work. For the best success with rewards, I recommend coupling with a class points system (see house system above.)

#5 Brain Breaks

Alright, let’s talk about brain breaks. These short breaks are significant classroom management tools because they give students a chance to recharge and refocus. They help maintain a positive and productive learning environment by either bringing energy levels down or ramping them back up. Plus, they add a great change of pace between activities and keep everyone engaged. Whether it’s a quick stretch, a fun game, or a deep breath, brain breaks are sometimes an underestimated tool in a smooth-running classroom.

Grab this free list of brain break videos so you have a bunch of ideas on hand to start using them more consistently.

Pin title "11 Essential Classroom Management Tools for Upper Elementary" with a flat lay photo of hot pink clipboard, pencils, and paper clips"

#6 Class Schedule

A class schedule is one of the classroom management tools that is sometimes overlooked. For some students, the class schedule is truly the backbone of their day. It provides a clear outline of the day and keeps everyone on track. Sticking to it the best that you can keeps students calm and maintains a smooth flow. 

#7 Classroom Screen

If you haven’t checked out the Classroom Screen website, it’s a game-changer for us teachers. It includes features like timers, instructions, and a daily check-in, it’s a one-stop solution for keeping our class on track. Better yet, they are adding new features all of the time and you can now use their templates! It’s like having a class virtual assistant, for real.

#8 Class Slides

Using daily slides supports classroom management in a few key ways. They promote student independence and organization skills by providing clear instructions and visual aids. No more answering the same question over and over!

Plus, they keep the day flowing smoothly. No need to constantly refer back to your plans. Everything you need is right there in the slides. And when it comes to classroom management tools, slide timers keep everyone on track and clear expectations are right in front of students, reducing the need for constant reminders. Bonus, if you ever need a substitute, sharing the slides ensures a seamless day for your students. 

#9 Timer

Timers in the classroom keep everyone on track and in sync. Using timers is a no-brainer. Whether it’s setting work blocks, establishing cleanup goals, or giving a heads-up before recess, timers add structure and predictability to the day.

This simple visual cue helps students grasp the concept of time, fostering essential time management skills that they’ll carry with them long after they leave your classroom. Whether it’s a physical timer ticking away or a digital display up on the screen, the impact is the same. Looking for the best classroom timer? This magnetic timer (aff. link) is my favourite. Stick it on your whiteboard and you’re good to go!

#10 Must Do, May Do Lists 

Must do may do lists are the perfect solution for your early finishers. You can have a well-managed class while students are working but if you don’t have a plan for early finishers, things can slowly get chaotic as students finish up. Displaying a must do may do list allows early finishers to see their options when they are finished a class assignment. This approach not only supports assignment completion but also contributes to a well-managed and productive classroom environment. 

#11 Daily Check In

Implementing a daily check-in gives students an opportunity to share how they’re feeling, offering some insight into how they are showing up in the classroom that day. This simple practice fosters stronger relationships and shows students that their well-being matters.

When a student indicates a need for a check-in with the teacher, it draws attention to the fact that they might benefit from extra care that day. Something that may otherwise go unnoticed in the busy pace of the day.

This proactive approach allows teachers to be more in tune with individual needs, making sure that every student feels heard and supported. It’s a small time investment that has a significant return in building a caring and nurturing classroom environment. Check out this digital student check-in freebie.

Pinterest pin with title "11 Fresh Ideas for Upper Elementary Classroom Management Tools" with photo of house system bulletin board display

Incorporating these classroom management tools into your day-to-day can truly make a world of difference. By incorporating these strategies, you’re not just managing a classroom, you’re creating a strong class community and a calm environment where students can learn. So, go ahead and try implementing these tools. I just bet you’ll see a big difference.

Amber Evancio

Amber Evancio

I'm Amber Evancio and I currently teach grade four in Northern Canada. I'm passionate about helping teachers lead their classes with efficiency and love.


I’m Amber Evancio and I currently teach grade four in Northern Canada. I’m passionate about helping teachers lead their classes with efficiency and love.

Daily and monthly behaviour tracking resource


Behaviour tracking tools are my favourite classroom management strategy. Try one out today, for free. I promise, it’ll be a game changer in your elementary classroom!

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