Building a Strong Classroom Culture

Why is building a strong classroom classroom culture important?

Taking the time at the beginning of the year to build strong classroom culture including clear expectations for classroom routinesmutual respect and student engagement, will ultimately save instructional time and save you from frustration. We use Doug Lemov's Teach Like A Champion 2.0 as our anchor text for this section. The following techniques will help to establish consistent norms across the school and make year-to-year transitions seamless. 


Numbered Lines & Threshold (Teach Like a Champion)

Teachers greet students at the threshold during each transition. 

Tight Transitions

Four-step timed transitions ensure a timely and orderly passage. 

Engineer Efficiency (Teach Like a Champion)

When all of your routines are well engineered, that clarity saves instructional time.

Strong Start (Teach Like a Champion)

Avoid idle time be ensuring students know exactly what to do when they sit down. 

Materials Management


Having materials at the ready allows for more teaching and learning time. 

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Do It Again (Teach Like a Champion)

If you don't get 100% participation, do it again so the expectation is clear and enforced. 

Work the Clock (Teach Like a Champion)

Make urgency fun by using a timer. Add competition to up the engagement.  

Seat Signals

Seat signals help students communicate their needs without slowing down the lesson. 

Mutual Respect

Classroom Rules

Keeping a set of basic and consistent rules throughout the school helps unify culture. 

SLANT​  (Teach Like a Champion)

Respectful listening and discussion participation is essential now in in their future. 

Strong Voice​  (Teach Like a Champion)

Wait for 100% instead of talking over student chatter or disengagement. 

Strong Voice Workshop

Manage Callouts

When asking students a question avoid blurt outs by specifying how you'd like it answered. 

Precise Praise (Teach Like a Champion)

Generously praise students for anything they are doing that exemplifies your expectations. 

Least Invasive Intervention  (Teach Like a Champion)

Hold students accountable as discreetly as possible, avoiding embarrassment.

Positive Framing (Teach Like a Champion)

Assume positive intent, even when a norm is being broken, and frame it as such. 

Culture of Error (Teach Like a Champion)

Create a classroom culture where mistakes are opportunities to learn. 

Art of the Consequence  (Teach Like a Champion)

Hold students accountable to your classroom norms using natural consequences.



Radar/ Be Seen Looking (Teach Like a Champion)

Constantly and overtly scan the room for disengagement so you can intervene. 

Circulate (Teach Like a Champion)

Ensure students are engaged. Use proximity to address disengagement as needed. 

Mirror Words  (Whole Brain Teaching)

Promote engagement using gestures and call & response during directions and key ideas. 

Turn & Talk (Teach Like a Champion)

Break disengagement, promote oral language and check for understanding using turn & talk. 

Cold Call (Teach Like a Champion)

Keep students engaged by randomizing or using data to choose who to call on. 

Change the Pace  (Teach Like a Champion)

Engage students by changing things up frequently. Even reading!

Call & Response (Teach Like a Champion)

Let all students fill in the "blank" chorally to change the pace. 

Attention Grabbers 

Bring the class back from an activity or turn and talk with a variety of techniques. 

Joy Factor/ Gamify  (Teach Like a Champion)

A joyful staff results in joyful students who want to come to school.

Guide from the Side (Teach Like a Champion)

Promote autonomy and leadership by allowing students to lead their learning. 

Economy of Language

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