Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Red Solo Cup

Plastic Cup

4 Easy Classroom Management Strategies

A set of plastic cups is an amazingly versatile classroom management tool.

You’ll need several colors for each strategy, but buying the cups is a one-time

investment. You only need one of each color per team, so you can buy the

cups in bulk and share the expense with several teachers.


For each team, you’ll need one cup of each color. Green, yellow, and red work well, but

you can substitute other colors if these are not available. For a seasonal twist, buy holiday

cups to use at special times of the year. Stack the cups upside down in the middle of the

team so that only one color is showing. Designate a different Team Captain each day who

is the only team member allowed to touch the cups. It’s best not to mix and match the

strategies below because students may become confused about what the colors represent.

1. Noise Management

Suggested Colors: Green, Yellow, Red

Directions: Use green to show the noise level is acceptable, switch to yellow if the group is

a little noisy, and place the red cup on top if the team is too loud. If you have to place the

red cup is on top, the team must get quiet for one minute before continuing with their

activity. (Or you can substitute another consequence of your choice.)

2. Ready Signal

Suggested Colors: Yellow and Green

Directions: When starting a cooperative learning activity, have the Team Captains place the

yellow cups on top. When the whole team has completed the given task, each Team

Captain places the green cup on top as a signal that their team is ready to move on. A quick

glance around the room will let you know who is ready and who may need help.

3. Team Questions

(submitted by Christine Sardinia)

Suggested Colors: Green, Yellow, Red

Directions: When students are working in teams, have them place the green cup on top to

show that they are working fine without problems or questions. If they have a question but

it’s not urgent, they place the yellow cup on top. If they have a question that must be

answered before they can continue, they place the red cup. This works well because when

you are circulating through the room, you can easily monitor team progress.

4. Teacher Availability

(submitted by Allyson Estes)

Suggested Colors: Red and Green

Directions: When conferring with one student or working with a

small group, place a cup nearby to signal your availability to other

students. A red cup on top means that you are not available to

answer questions unless it’s an absolute emergency. If the top cup is

green, students may approach you and ask questions.

Thanks to Christine and Allyson for sharing their plastic cup management strategies!

© 2010 by Laura Candler ~ Teaching Resources ~

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