18 Goal-Driven Classroom Phrases

Do you ever find yourself getting bogged down in the weeds of classroom management? Or even worse, do you find yourself responding to behaviors in the same way every time? At this point in the school year, both you and your students are likely tired of hearing the same old phrases coming from your mouth—and your kids may even tune you out.

Teach For America’s Joanna Lein originally created this handy list of 18 classroom phrases that are also expert multitaskers: They help positively manage classroom behavior, while simultaneously steering your class back to the big picture, your learning goals. Read through the phrases below and add your own in the comments.

Phrases to Promote Positive Behavior

1. This is the type of behavior that will help us reach our goal because…

2. Wow! _____ (this student or group) is demonstrating urgency to reach our goal by…

3. Look at this passion and urgency in this room! We are definitely on the path to accomplishing our big goal.

4. 100% of the class is doing this right now; we know that there is no student left behind on our team. 100% must reach our goal.

5. What would it look like if we were demonstrating goal-driven behavior?

6. I see _____ sitting up in his/her chair right now. They know that sitting up and listening to their classmates will allow them to process better. All students should be doing this right now.

Phrases to Respond to Minor Misbehavior

7. That type of behavior will not help our class reach our goal. I should see you…

8. We need to be purposeful with every moment of our class time if we are ever going to reach our goals. Right now, we are not being purposeful.

9. Is that type of behavior going to get us to our goal?

10. We have a lot to accomplish today if we are going to master our goal by the end of class tomorrow. You will know you have mastered this objective if…

11. Remember our goal means that we are going to be above average. Is this above average behavior right now?

12. It is important that you meet this expectation right now so you can master the exit ticket in…minutes. That’s not a lot of time for you to get the practice you need.

Phrases to Set the Stage for a Lesson

13. Today, our objective is…This is connected to our big goal because…

14. During the entire class period today, it is important that you are working hard because at the end of the week, you are going to show me where you are in reaching our class goal of…

15. It is important that you work independently right now. If you can do it by yourself, this indicates to me that you are on your way to mastering this objective and reaching our goal.

16. I expect that right now you are exhibiting behaviors that show me that you are working towards your goal. What does this look like?

Phrases for End of Class Reflection

17. What was our objective today and how is it connected to our big goal?

18. Did you master today’s objective? Why or why not? What could you do differently tomorrow to get you closer to our big goal?

Tell us: What other goal-driven phrases do you employ in the classroom? For more tips on classroom behavior, check out 7 Tips for Managing a Classroom Like a Boss.