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Classroom Management Phrases for Teachers February Roundup

Seasoned elementary teachers really do have the BEST expressions that they use in the classroom to manage their students. I shared some of my favorite quotes from teachers on the blog last month and Kinder Craze fans begged me to keep sharing the quotes on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr. Today, I am thrilled to share my February roundup of #kindercatchphrase expressions from classroom teachers!

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Take notes on your favorite expressions or pin them to you Classroom Management Pinterest board. This month’s quotes are a nice mix of straightforward, direct expressions and lighthearted jokes to get your point across.


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Getting Your Students’ Attention in 3 Seconds

I use the 1,2,3… eyes on my expression in my classroom on a regular basis. I have also heard a really great follow-up quote for students to say: “1,2… eyes on you!”. If you discover that your students need a way to respond before you have their complete attention, this could easily become a very fun echo chant. Whatever gets their attention!

teacher-tested quotes for classroom management #kindercatchphrase



You Don’t Have to Be the Only Source of Knowledge

Students LOVE asking questions to their teachers. The more trivial questions you give attention to and answer, the more questions students will continue to ask. Even when their peers can help to answer the question. Even when the same student that asked the question knows the answer! Instead of enabling the cycle, it’s ok to stop and tell students to find out some information for themselves. Encourage them to ask their friends or find a resource that can help. The “what’s for lunch?” will never go away if you continue to answer it daily. Post a copy of the lunch calendar at a height that your students can read so they can try and figure it out for themselves. Most likely, someone in the class knows enough about the first letter of words to figure out what’s for lunch and I’m guessing that trying to read the menu will become a highly engaging and entertaining activity for the children in your class.

If all else fails, simply remind the class why you don’t know what’s for lunch – because you didn’t cook that day!

teacher-tested quotes for classroom management #kindercatchphrase


Toys are for Play, Tools are for Work

Hands-on experiences are a critical facet of how children learn and it is SO important to provide young students with as many concrete materials as possible when introducing new skills or concepts. Unfortunately, children will treat any new materials as toys unless you properly demonstrate and teach how to use the materials. It’s important to clearly convey the difference between tools and toys so that students use all materials responsibly. It’s also equally important to provide your students with at least a few minutes to “explore” the tools in their own way. Basically, this means to let the children play with the tools, but I never use the word “play”. I give a quick minute for the children to use the tools however they want on the first day they are introduced, before I demonstrate how to use the tools properly. After the first day, I give exploration time to students after they complete the assigned task. If a child opts to play with the tools when he/she should be working, that child loses the opportunity to “explore” with his/her tool at the end of the activity.

teacher-tested quotes for classroom management #kindercatchphrase


Speak in Terms the Students Understand

Young children can be quite egocentric and may not understand how their behaviors affect others. Most, however, have a firm grasp on the concept of taking turns. Next time a student interrupts you during instruction, try speaking to him or her in simple, direct language that the child can understand: “It’s my turn to talk.” Many teachers follow this up by saying, “and it’s your turn to listen.” The second statement isn’t necessary but it might help drive the point home.

teacher-tested quotes for classroom management #kindercatchphrase


Remind Children to Act with Love

Many educators build classroom community by encouraging students to fill each other’s buckets by acting in a caring and loving way. I adore the classroom expression “do your part to fill a heart” as a simple reminder for children to act with love. No need to mention the bucket, your students will still get the message.

teacher-tested quotes for classroom management #kindercatchphrase


Encourage Children to Become Problem Solvers

The ability to solve problems is one of the greatest tasks we are charged with developing in our students. Opportunities arise every single day in all classrooms for educators to encourage critical thinking skills. Often, lessons can be learned from behavioral choices that our students make. Taking a few moments to speak with children that make poor choices about alternative solutions to the problems they faced offers a meaningful way to encourage critical thinking and help the students learn from their actions.

teacher-tested quotes for classroom management #kindercatchphrase


It’s Not Safe to Tip in Chairs

Tipping backward in chairs may not be a safe choice, but many students do it every day. It doesn’t matter how many times the teacher explains why tipping backwards is not a safe choice (you know, because of the whole “you could fall backward and hit your head on the floor and then we would have to take you to the hospital to get stitches” thing), some students continue the behavior every single day. Sometimes the teacher just needs the behavior to stop and doesn’t need to waste her breath explaining why for the 300th time. Instead, just keep it simple with a very direct reminder to keep all four chair legs on the floor.

teacher-tested quotes for classroom management #kindercatchphrase


Sometimes Teachers Drop Things

When a student drops something on the floor, it could sit there for DAYS before someone takes note and picks it up. When a teacher drops something, the entire class scrambles to pick it up. Sometimes children even argue about who gets to pick up the dropped item. At other times, there is no discussion, just a barrage of arms and heads getting bumped. Unless you are 9 months pregnant, it’s much easier to pick the dropped item up yourself. No arguments, no bumped heads. Consider making a new classroom rule and using this expression each time you accidentally let an item fall to the floor.

teacher-tested quotes for classroom management #kindercatchphrase


Remind Children to Walk in School

As adults, we don’t have much interest in running around. We walk from point A to point B and we are perfectly content to do so. Young children are just the opposite. Traveling from one location to another is so much more enjoyable when you run to get there. The first time I heard the expression “walking is the speed limit” from the physical education teacher at my school, I was hooked! I love this statement because it has a playful, easygoing way of reminding students of a very basic rule that they have already heard a million times before.

teacher-tested quotes for classroom management #kindercatchphrase


When Working and Talking Don’t Mix

Collaborative learning is a vital part of any child’s educational experience and collaboration requires student discussion while they work. Some classroom tasks, however, are independent and require students to stay focused on the task at hand so that vital time is not wasted. During those moments, it’s ok to remind students to save their conversations for later and devote more of their attention to their assignments. “More working, less talking” serves as a great reminder for students during those moments.

teacher-tested quotes for classroom management #kindercatchphrase


Follow Kinder Craze on Social Media

My #kindercatchphrase expressions have been reader favorites on all of my social media channels. Stay in-the-know and see the latest phrases to help you with classroom management as they are released. Just follow Kinder Craze on InstagramFacebookTwitter and Tumblr. I share a few of my favorites each week. All previous posts are easy to find: just search for the hashtag #kindercatchphrase

You can also check back at the end of March for the latest round up on the blog. Become a subscriber to have the latest blog posts delivered right to your inbox!

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Maria Gavin

Maria is a former kindergarten and first grade teacher, with 13 years of teaching experience. Her love and passion for all things early childhood is now fulfilled as a mom to two amazing kids. She loves sharing practical and creative tips and ideas that are perfect for young learners – in the classroom or at home!

Leave a Comment

8 Responses

  1. any ideas for rocking on 5-gallon paint bucket stools, anyone? I LOVE “4 on the floor,” but my kids are literally going to break their necks rocking back while sitting on the stools at my small group reading table! And there aren’t four legs…”stool on the floor” sounds like someone had a messy accident! Bahahaha!

    1. I added more weight to the bucket – heavier books (reference books.) Also, one warning and the priviledge of sitting on a bucket chair was removed. This is a safety factor – falling off a bucket chair and hitting the edge of a table could lead to stitches.

  2. These are amazing. I just found your blog and subscribed immediately. I teach at a university but my middle and high school students always told me that I should have taught kindergarten.

  3. I love these!! Thanks for sharing.

    To get my students’ attention, I also use
    “Hands on tops… that means stop”
    I give them something to do with their hands besides writing or playing and reminds them to focus on what I need to say.

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Hi, I'm Maria.

I’m a former kindergarten teacher turned work-from-home mom. I still love sharing ideas and resources to make teaching easier, so you can focus on what really matters in the classroom. When I’m not working on the blog, you’ll find me chasing kids around the house with a cold cup of coffee in my hand (some things never change even once you’re out of the classroom!)


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