Behavior Management Tips
Today I am linking up with Mel D. at Seusstastic Classroom Inspirations. I really like reading about other teacher’s classroom management strategies because I am constantly on the hunt for ways to improve my classroom. I have already been at work on my brand new management strategy for next year. This will be my third year teaching and I have had a different behavior system every year. I learn so much every year that I feel the need to tweak the system to better fit my classrooms needs. Here’s what I’ve learned over the years:
My First Year: I had a lot of parents who were “surprised” by their child’s misbehavior and just couldn’t believe when they got a referral because their child was so well behaved at home and they didn’t know their kid was having trouble in school and blah, blah, blah… I don’t mean to be rude, but honestly their child is most likely the same at home and they are just trying to get them out of trouble. Not that I can blame them, I’m sure I wouldn’t want my kid to get a referral either. Long story short, the lesson I learned was SEND HOME DOCUMENTATION OF BEHAVIOR EVERYDAY! Even on days when students were well behaved because parents need to be in the habit of looking for it and they can’t say they were unaware of their child’s behavior.
My Second Year: I decided to have a monthly communication card that went home every night. Students started off the day with 5 points and could lose point during the day for poor behavior. At the end of each day I marked their behavior, checked that their parent signed the day before, and wrote a quick note on the back if they lost a point. Now, let me tell you, this took about 15 seconds for each child at the end of the day and that is FOREVER when you are trying to pack up/clean up and your last lesson ran long. The long story short here is that I can be lazy and the lesson I learned was to PICK SOMETHING THAT IS NOT TIME CONSUMING FOR YOU! Don’t get me wrong, there were many benefits to this system. I loved that the parents saw the behavior every night and I had no issues this year with parents being “shocked” due to behavior. Also, I keep each month’s record, so I had great data of each student’s behavior record. This really came in handy when one parent needed a copy of all the past month’s records for their kid’s psychologist and the principal needed a set for another student when another issue arose. Having these daily forms with notes as to why students lost points really covered me.
So basically what I have learned is:
- send documentations home everyday
- pick something that isn’t time consuming
- reward the well-behaved students
- use something tangible that will redirect students
- lay out the specifics from day one
So this year I will be using a new strategy that involves Popsicle sticks. Here it goes:
•Students begin each day with 3 sticks
•If a student’s behavior is not meeting expectations, they will receive one warning before they begin losing sticks
•Student can earn back sticks throughout the day for positive behavior choices
•If students have all 3 of their sticks at the end of the day, they earn a sticker on their behavior calendar. If not, the improvement sheet on the back of the calendar will be filled in and will need parent initials. (I made a grid that has several common misbehaviors and I just write the date and check off what behavior caused their child to lose a point, easy peasy! There is also room for both me and the parent to write notes or comments.)
•At the end of the month, students receive a reward based on the number of stickers they earned that month.
-Students can also earn extra stickers for being the mystery walker, having a clean desk for surprise desk checks, or exhibiting outstanding behavior.
- Positive Consequences (So basically, if a student earned 15 stickers in a month, their reward can be #15 or anything below it.)
23+: Eat lunch with another 3rd grade class
22. Play a Promethean game with a friend
21. Trade seats with a friend for the day
20. Use the swivel chair for the day
19. 10 minutes of free time on the computer
18. Show & Tell
17. Use the bean bag for the day
16. Teacher cleans & organizes your desk
15. Morning work pass
14. Pick one math workshop or Daily Five center
13. Join another days group
12. Read a writing or book to the class
11. Bring a stuffed animal for the day
10. Homework pass
9. 5 minutes of free time on the computer
8. Line Leader for the Day
7. Switch out books in book bin
•Warning: no consequence
•Lose 1 stick: no sticker on behavior calendar (A line is drawn through the box so sneaky students can’t go back an add a sticker later, it is amazing how creative students can be when it comes to rewards.)
•Lose 2 sticks: 3 minutes of recess, no sticker
•Lose 3 sticks: fill out think sheet, 3 minutes of recess, no sticker
•No more sticks to give: sign the Red Discipline Binder, fill out think sheet, 3 minutes of recess, no sticker
Students can lose points for difficulty with the following expectations:
-Working in a group
-Using materials responsibly
-Exhibiting organizational skills
-Returning materials to school
-Respecting the rights, opinion, and property of others
-Following school and classroom rules
****All of this information is going home to parents as part of my classroom procedures at the beginning of the year and they will have to sign and return a form saying they read it. I think I have everything covered here. There is a clear outline for what causes students to lose points so it will be less subjective for me. Students can earn stickers in many ways, so they won’t get discouraged and stop trying at the end of the month if their count is too low to win something. Rewards start at only 7 stickers so even students with behavior trouble can experience a prize and be motivated to earn more next month. The rewards are only monthly, so I’m not driving myself crazy trying to keep up with it. Students will have to physically put a stick on my desk so the movement will redirect their behavior. Students can earn sticks back for better behavior choices so they always feel as though they can “win” at the end of the day. I also plan on having students leave their calendars on top of their desk during Daily 5 (we have this at the very end of the day) so I can easily walk around during each rotation and sticker a couple calendars at a time. This way I won’t have a mad rush at the end of the day.
Whew! I think I have everything covered. Let me know what you think or if you’ve tried something similar. I can’t wait to keep reading how everyone else manages their room!