Classroom Management Interventions for Students Who Know It All Already


teacher classroom management blog


Classroom Management Interventions
for Students
Who Know It All Already



It's no fun to work with kids who know it all already. Some of these youngsters can be quite arrogant and disdainful. Others will convey a sense of superiority that serves to effectively isolate them from their peers. Many adolescents routinely believe they know more than adults, so if you work with teens, you may need every one of the approaches listed below.

classroom management courseI'm Classroom Management Trainer and Speaker Ruth Herman Wells, M.S. and I've had my share of students who are certain they know it all and I know absolutely nothing. These unexpected classroom management interventions are some of the methods that my Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Youth Workshop participants love the most. I hope you'll love these creative interventions too.

These novel classroom management intervention methods can moderate the amount of time you have to spend each day convincing students that they don't know it all already. These lively interventions may actually help some of your know-it-all students realize that they might still have something to learn from you and your site.

Classroom Management Interventions
For Know-It-All Students

The Email Hoax That Isn't

Some students believe that they know all there is to know about…everything. Here is a fun way to show them that none of us know it all. You get an email from a friend saying that they found lost money for you, and all you have to do is go on-line to get it. What do you do? Some of your "slicker" students may say that this is a con, and often it would be, but this time it isn't. There are legitimate sites on the web where people can search to see if they have unclaimed money. The friend went to one of these sites and input the student's name, and actually discovered a bank account that the student had opened and forgotten. Without any fees, the student will be able to claim the money by visiting that web site. (Based on the answer you get from your students, you can play this one either way as a hoax or valid, as most times this type of email would be a hoax.)

The Dictionary Game

Some youngsters act like they are way above their peers, and the adults too. They may speak in esoteric terms and appear snobbish. Here's a fun way to put everyone on the same level. It's called The Dictionary Game.

Ask one student to find a big word in the dictionary and write it on the board. Next, ask everyone to make up definitions for the term, and to write them on slips of paper. The student who knows the real definition should write the correct answer on a slip. The slips are collected and read, then the group guesses at what the word really means, then the true meaning is revealed.

At the end of the game, all class members will know lots of big words and definitions, putting them more on par with the elitist student. This game may also help some of these youth who believe they know it all, to recognize that they don't when they fail to correctly identify the actual definition for many of the terms.

Let's Get Ready to Humble

Are your taxes done? April 15 is just a couple months away. For all those students who believe they know it all, bring them your tax forms (or simulated ones), and let them complete your taxes. It can be a humbling experience. Your students may be wishing they had focused more in math class, or absorbed more about reading comprehension as they untangle and interpret IRS code.

Messages on the Door

Some youngsters act like they are ready now to just be on their own, that they don't need your site. Offer these students an apartment, then ask them to manage the messages on the door to the apartment. Use messages like this note from the apartment manager: "We have found another tenant for your apartment. You must move out by the end of the week."

Unless your students know tenant law, they may not know how to handle this situation, or the other problems that show up as messages on their door. When they fail to successfully manage all the situations, you can note that even when the youngster is given an apartment, she may still need the education and help that your site offers.


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motivational classroom posterDo You Know What's in the Mail?

Ask your students who already know "everything," to manage your mail. Include mail that says you've won a trip to The Bahamas (if you pay a $800 fee); official-looking, but bogus hospital bills; and enticing record club offers for free items that require you to buy only 22 more items in the next month. You can substitute email spam for junk mail if you prefer.

For a follow-up intervention, use the phrase shown on our Poster #168 to highlight a key monetary benefit of staying in school and getting an education and a diploma.

Your Net Knowledge

The internet has provided creative, new ways for all of us to learn that perhaps we don't know it all. Ask your students to solve this: You receive an email saying that you have a virus that will wipe out your computer unless you delete one file right away. What do you do? Well, the wrong answer is to say you will delete the file. This time it is a hoax, and you can have some serious repair work to do if you delete that file. That file was something that you actually need to run your computer. (This is another intervention that you can play either way– as a hoax or not, depending on which you prefer.)

Are You Web Wise?

You receive a notice from your bank saying that they are going to now charge you a lot for mailing you the statements for your checking account. They will be free on-line in PDF format. Every job you try to apply for, will only give out applications on-line via PDF. Describe what you need to do to read or print PDF documents. Computer class could have helped, but the answer is that you download a plug-in that is free, and then view the document via the free software. Most sites that use PDF, have a link to the download available. If necessary, substitute other file formats for more web-savvy students.

For very savvy students, make a compelling challenge by testing their knowledge about backward compatibility. Pose challenges involving outmoded technology (like DOS, floppy disks or dot matrix printers, typewriters, for example) that can still be in use in some companies, industries and businesses.

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About Ruth Herman Wells

Author/Trainer Ruth Herman Wells, M.S. is the director of Youth Change Professional Development Workshops. In 2011, Ruth was rated as a Top 10 U.S. K-12 educational and motivational speaker by Speakerwiki and Speakermix. She is the author of several book series, a columnist, adjunct professor for two universities, and a popular keynote speaker and workshop presenter. Ruth's dozens of books includes Temper and Tantrum Tamers and Turn On the Turned-Off Student.