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6 Proven Classroom Management Techniques For Elementary Counselors 

As an elementary school counselor, you know first-hand the challenges of maintaining control and focus in a room full of energetic, curious children. Their excitement for learning new things is contagious, but their limited attention spans and impulse control can also try your patience.  

You’ve had your share of chaotic sessions derailed by disruptions, where you struggled to deliver practical lessons and interventions amidst distractions. It was frustrating knowing your counseling services could have more impact if you could get the students to settle down and engage. 

While classroom management will always take effort and consistency, you now have the tools to prevent chaos before it starts.  

Here are the most effective techniques you use to maintain student focus and deliver impactful counseling services. 

Set Clear Rules and Routines

Creating 3-5 simple rules using positive language and posting them visibly in the classroom allows you to review them frequently with students.  

Developing routines for activities like entering and exiting the room, requesting bathroom breaks, and turning in work enables you to practice these classroom management elementary techniques with students. Using consistent signals like ringing a bell or clapping a rhythm to prompt transitions keeps students focused during transitions.  

Implementing consequences for breaking the rules and rewards for following them reinforces the rules when you apply them consistently. Setting clear classroom rules and procedures provides structure and predictability. Students will grasp them quickly when repeatedly reinforced. 

Arrange Your Classroom Thoughtfully

How you arrange the physical classroom directly impacts student behavior and engagement. An intentional classroom layout is critical for minimizing disruptions. Facing student desks toward the front keeps focus on you and avoids grouping desks, which can encourage off-task chatting. Designating areas of the room for different activities, like reading, art projects, and small group work, defines each space’s purpose.  

Allowing space at the front for gathering as a class and using floor markers promotes personal freedom. Displaying student work on the walls creates a welcoming, achievement-oriented environment. Conveniently organizing materials avoids clutter, while labeling bins and baskets provides designated storage spots.  

Periodically adjusting seating assignments can break up problematic peer interactions if needed. Taking time to strategically organize the physical classroom space significantly affects student engagement and reduces disruptions. 

Use Proximity to Your Advantage

 As an elementary counselor, one of your most significant resources is proximity. Moving strategically around the room allows you to redirect off-task behavior silently. Frequently circulating as students work monitors behavior and will enable you to give individual help while your presence keeps them focused. Scanning the room continuously as you teach and standing near students who tend to get distracted gets wandering attention back on track.  

Using non-verbal cues like eye contact, hand gestures, or a tap on the shoulder also redirects attention. Avoiding staying anchored to one spot by moving around even while delivering a lesson allows you to oversee the whole room.  

Positioning yourself near potential problem areas like the pencil sharpener can prevent issues from developing. Leveraging proximity establishes your strong classroom presence. Subtly overseeing the room prevents major disruptions from developing. 

Plan Engaging Lessons

 Incorporating hands-on, interactive activities frequently through games, role plays, crafts, and simulations engages students. Tapping into different learning styles through auditory, visual, and tactile experiences caters to all students. Including opportunities for movement, like forming small groups or acting out scenarios, avoids monotony.  

Changing lesson formats by alternating direct instruction, discussions, group work, and technology maintains interest. Incorporating “brain breaks” every 20 minutes, where students sing, dance, or do quick exercises, provides mental rest. 

Setting an enthusiastic, upbeat tone and pace to your instruction energizes students. Well-planned, captivating lesson content is a crucial classroom management strategy. Students engaged in learning have less opportunity to get off-task. 

Develop Positive Relationships

Elementary students often act out when they lack a connection with their teacher. Prioritizing positive student-teacher relationships improves classroom conduct. Greeting each student individually as they enter your room and inquiring about their interests and life outside school makes them feel recognized. Expressing warmth and care through high fives, smiles, and verbal praise fosters connections.  

Having brief one-on-one conversations shows you recognize each student as an individual. Prominently displaying student work and recognizing effort and improvement promotes motivation. Remaining calm when correcting behavior and using gentle tones and private conversations avoids embarrassment.  

Being fair and consistent with discipline and avoiding lecturing the entire class for one student’s actions prevents resentment. Putting in the effort to develop personal connections with students inspires their desire to meet your expectations. 

Be Proactive with Parents

Classroom management also extends into the home. Collaborating closely with parents often improves their child’s school conduct through consistency. Introducing yourself early and sharing your classroom plans and expectations allows you to exchange contact information with parents. Providing routine updates on student progress while framing positives before discussing struggles keeps parents informed. 

Being transparent about behavioral issues and enlisting parents’ help frames it as a partnership. Developing a communication system allowing parents to reinforce classroom rules and procedures at home regularly keeps messaging aligned. Suggesting parents implement structures at home resembling classroom routines, like designated homework spaces, creates consistency.  

Hosting occasional open houses or coffees builds family connections and provides a forum to address concerns informally. Proactively partnering with parents leads to an aligned home-school approach. This partnership amplifies your classroom management efforts.   


Effective classroom management is essential for elementary counselors to deliver impactful lessons and counseling. Disruptive behaviors left unchecked can derail student progress. Counselors can create an optimal learning environment by purposefully implementing proven techniques.  

These include setting clear standards, constructing an intentional classroom arrangement, using proximity, engaging education, fostering connections, and cooperating with parents.  

With structure and captivating content, students will stay focused, and the counselor will minimize misconduct. Consistency with these strategies leads to classroom conduct that enables student success. 



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