Classroom management definitely is not a one size fits all deal. It will vary from teacher to teacher, and from class to class. What works for me this year, might not work next year. One thing that has always worked, through all grade levels, with all the diversity of my classroom, from school to school or district to district is a classroom economy.
You get a lot of bang for your buck with this one. On the surface, it provides consistent positive reinforcement for students. It gives them a sense of pride- their education is something bigger than just drudging through what a teacher tells them to do. It is their "job," and like their parents, they get paid for it.
Depending on your comfort level you can adapt this to fit your needs. I go all out- students apply for classroom jobs, pay rent, and even pay taxes. It absolutely takes a lot of teaching in the beginning, the kids need to learn the routines, the bankers need to learn how to bank, kids need to learn how to write and deposit checks, how to make a with drawl, and and to budget their income.
I eased into the system, the first year I just used the Scholar Dollars, next year I added jobs, next an intricate banking system which I later replaced with MyKidsBank.org and now.... a full on mini economy.
In my economy, the students earn just enough to pay rent if they meet the minimum requirements of the class. This really takes away any sense of using the "Scholar Dollars" as positive reinforcement that borders on bribery. Yes, my students earn money if they do their homework, yes that provides positive reinforcement but- they kids learn quickly that homework is merely a part of their job. If they want to earn any disposable income to spend in the student store- they must go above and beyond the minimum expectations of the classroom. They are, in a sense, forced to strive for more.
Every year I am fascinated by how my class responds to this system. Every class, and every student, responds differently to the system. A few kids take half of a year to learn the system. They spend their money too quickly, maintain a negative balance, and scramble to pay rent. Others save every dollar, do every bit of extra credit, and anything else they can to earn more money, not to spend, but to invest- and earn more.
One student came back to my classroom two years later to show me that she still had over $2,000 Scholar Dollars saved. She didn't care to spend it, there was something exciting to her about saving it.
You can read more about my system here. Worksheets and money templates are up and ready!