Effective Classroom Management Idea for YLs and Teens

After experimenting with all kinds of bribery, this 1-hour procedure sets up a CM system that:

  • is motivating
  • forces young learners to think about their own and their teacher’s behaviour expectations
  • is based around an cummulative goal that the students decide upon
  • involves and implicates all students in the overall goal
  • appeals to gamers
  • can be used effectively to positively micro-manage behaviour during classroom activities
  • has potential to be elaborated even further* (coming soon!)

It’s worked an absolute treat for me with a very rowdy, high-level class of 9-10 year old boys (and 1 poor girl) and equally well with a shy and quiet group of low-level 12-14 year olds.

Here’s the procedure:

Stage 1: establishing behaviour

Draw 4 circles on the floor like this:

Teens CM idea- class contract and the pyramid
Put ss into 4 groups, sit down on the floor with a marker pen and write ideas (e.g. ‘things bad teachers do’) in their circle.

Give them some time then rotate the groups around. Repeat until each group has had a chance to write ideas in each circle.

Add your own ideas too – make sure any problem areas are written down.

Draw a rectangle in the middle of the circles. This is your class contract. Write a little message in there – “I promise to be a good student if my teacher promises to be a good teacher.” Get all ss to sign it with a marker and take a photo of it with the ss.

Stage 2: establishing rewards

Put ss into 3s or 4s. Give each group an A4 sheet. Ask them to write the title: ‘Rewards for good students.’

Groups brainstorm ideas.

When done, ask them to choose their 4 best rewards and write them on the floor.

Make a note of the most common ones.

Stage 3: the triangle

Write all ss names down the side of the whiteboard.

Tell ss that when they are good they will get a red point, but when they are bad students they will get a black point. You demo by ticking next to a couple of ss names.

You award ticks at any moment in the lesson – be very liberal and consistent. Use them to micro-manage behaviour during the lesson. A quick black tick that the student notices should get them back on task. By the end of class there should be loads of black and red ticks.

What’s the point in the ticks?

Draw a triangle next to the names.

You can either:

  1. Write a points total at the top of the triangle (250 is a good starter).
  2. Tell ss that this is their target. When they reach it they will get one of the rewards they thought of earlier (TIP: to start off, chose one of the least amazing rewards – ice cream, i pads, movie lesson).
  3. The points in the triangle accumulate from lesson-to-lesson until the ss reach their target and win the reward.


  1. Treat the triangle like a game.
  2. Divide the triangle into 6 levels. Each lesson is a level in the game. Each level has a points target that needs to be reached before going up to the next level. Points can’t be accumulated from lesson to lesson – if ss don’t hit the points target IN ONE LESSON they have to repeat that level from 0 in the next lesson.
  3. The amount of points required to “win” each level should go up from level to level. 30 points is a good starting point for level 1.
  4. Tell the ss that this game (this triangle) is 6 lessons long. Whatever level they are at after 6 lessons – that is the reward they will get.  

TIP1: Use terminology from video games when you describe the above (game, rules, level up, win, lose, bonus points, try again. A lesson is a level).


Teens CM idea- class contract and the pyramid (1)TIP2: Triangles can be related to food or technology (video lessons, ipads, songs, youtube).

Please adjust the procedure however you see fit and let me know how it goes!


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