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Start Commands

Start Commands

Why should I do it:

  • Helps direct students to start and stop activities
  • Is a crucial tool for classroom management
  • Serves as an instructional signal an indicator that helps students to conform to behavioral, academic, and etiquette expectations
  • Gets students attention and focus
  • Serves as a verbal cue to transition, follow through, follow directives, comply with rules and expectations, etc
  • Students respond better to start commands then being told what to do, lectured at, or pestered
  • Establishes a classroom management methodology and pattern that student recognize and adhere to
  • Provides increased classroom structure

When should I do it:

  • When beginning a new subject
  • During transitions
  • When initiating students to begin working
  • When starting reading or quiet time
  • When initiating a new task
  • When lining up for lunch
  • Quieting a noisy and hyper class or group of students down to begin class or work
  • Getting students attention
  • Before delivering directions, directives, or explanations
  • Near the end of a work period, test, or timed activity
  • At the start and end of the day, tasks, activities, etc
  • At the end of recess to gather the class
  • When reminding students of rules, expectations, and PBIS concepts

How do I do it:

  • Here are some effective start commands to use in the classroom:
    • I’ll begin as soon as you are seated
    • I’ll be glad to start as soon as you show me that you are ready
    • I’ll be working from page 54
    • I’ll be lining people up as soon as it is quiet
    • I allow people to sharpen pencils when I am not giving directions
    • Feel free to go to the restroom when I’m not giving directions
    • You are welcome to stay with us as long as you and others are not being bothered
    • Feel free to stay with us when you can keep your hands to yourself
    • I give full credit for papers turned in on time
    • I’ll listen as soon as your voice is as calm as mine
    • I’ll be glad to discuss this when respect is shown
    • All of those who arrive on time go home on time
    • I’ll be glad to accept all papers that meet the neatness standard for this room
    • All owners of neat desks are welcome to join us at recess
    • I loan paper to those who have not borrowed before
    • Feel free to borrow from anyone but me
    • You may go out as soon as you have your coat
    • You may stay with us if you can give up on that behavior
    • Feel free to come back to the room as soon as you are calm
    • Those who can follow the rules are welcome to play the game
    • I’ll be glad to discuss this with you as soon as the arguing stops
    • All of those who can handle the paintbrushes right are welcome to join us in the project
    • All of those who remember permission slips are welcome to go on the field trip

Resources & Support for technique:
(Items with footnotes link to external websites)


  1. Intervention Central. Effective Teacher Commands. [].