Classroom Management: Non-Negotiable

Image of teacher pointing to problems on a chalkboard.


What class environment do you NEED in order to teach with as little stress as possible? (Keep in mind that every subject area has its own needs for order)


Noise Level:

  • Develop and define a noise rubric for your classroom. This allows you to be more explicit on the type of noise level you require for certain activities in your lesson.

    An example of a noise rubric and how to use it would be as follows:
    0 - solo work: during warm-ups, individual work time, test, etc..
    1 - One or me: direct instruction where either the teacher is talking or the student is asking a question.
    2 - Partner talk: During a partner activity where students are able to discuss/share problems with their shoulder partner using a “6 inch” voice.
    3 - Group talk: During a group activity where students are able to discuss/share as a group and not with other groups.
    4 - Whole class activity (loud): When the class is doing an activity which requires students to move around and everyone is involved and talking.

Warm up:

  • What conversation can you have?
  • Can I ask for help and how?
  • What am I expected to do during the activity?
  • What if I need to sharpen my pencil or get a piece of paper?
  • As the teacher, what am I supposed to do during this time?

    What is the purpose of the warm-up? Some use it as a tool to assess (quiz) whether their students did last night’s HW correctly or not. Warm ups are also use to review/spiral on previously taught concepts or even expose students CST questions in their current standard(s).


  • What are your consequences for each time a student decides to violate your expectations/rules? Are these consequences posted so that both the students and the teacher clearly understand what is expected? There will be no wiggle room for students to get away from your consequences because it is clearly posted. Try to keep them simple.

    An example would be:
    Step 1: Verbal Warning
    Step 2: Time after class
    Step 3: Call home and after school detention, and
    Step 4: Home visit

    Make sure you are prepared to follow through with the consequences consistently…don’t set a consequence you are not fully committed to implement. On the other hand, what are the benefits of compliance by the students? Pick your battles when it comes to non-negotiable: What are you NOT willing to put up with? Gum, food, cell phones, dress codes, tardies, lack of class materials, etc... Remember that it is impossible to enforce all of this so pick a few and really focus on it. Be prepared to model the behavior you set as an expectation of the students. If the students can’t eat or use their phones, neither should you.