Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Behavior Management

There is no magic behavior management system that works for every student or teacher. Behavior Management has to be something the teacher is comfortable with or it will never work. You have to be committed to the system.

Your commitment will mean that you will remember to use the system consistently which in turn demonstrates to the students the importance of following the behavior guidelines for the classroom. 

These guidelines are established on the first day of school. With the students, create a list of appropriate behaviours and classroom conduct that you and they would like to see in the classroom.

I have found that a behavior management system that rewards or acknowledges appropriate behavior works the best. There have been occasions when I have had to nip
inappropriate behavior in the bud, but this was usually a short lived behavior management issue. 

Here are a few of the behaviour management techniques I have used. I will begin with the one that I have found most effective.

Stamping

Relax, no students were harmed in the making of this system. 

Each student is given a card that is about the size of a credit card. Their name is written in the center and there are ten boxes surrounding their name. Visit my TeachersPayTeachers store, Laurie's Classroom, for a free copy of the Behavior Stamping Cards
Behavior Stamping Cards
When a student demonstrates one of the appropriate behaviors from the list, he or she will receive a stamp in one of the boxes. These cards are kept in a wall chart that has a pocket for each student. 

Once ten stamps have been received, the student gets to visit the treasure box to pick a small prize and they get their name written on a paper star sticker which is placed on the Classroom Stars bulletin board.  See my Blog Setting Up Your Classroom for the First Day of School.

I find that rewarding one student has a positive effect on the other students because they want me to notice their appropriate behavior. 

Similarly, when students are misbehaving, instead of calling them out, I call out a student that is behaving appropriately and make a big fuss about that student when I give them their stamp. 

Please note that you should find an ink stamp that is difficult for them to purchase. I once used a star stamp and I had some creative/behaviorally challenged 
students that got their own star stamp and proceeded to give themselves and their friends additional stamps. 

Warning 1-2-3

If I find that the “Stamping” system is not enough to curb the inappropriate behaviour of certain students, I move to the Warning 1-2-3 system in addition to Stamping. 

I cut out a large Bristol board square and divide it into four triangles of different colours.



I have a clothes peg with each student’s number on it. You could put their name on it but I prefer not to have the names of students that are misbehaving on display for anyone who comes into my classroom to see.  

All students’ pegs begin in the green zone (the behavior I want to see).  After one warning for inappropriate behavior they move their peg to light yellow.  After a second warning, the student moves their peg to dark yellow.  

Warning number three moves their peg to red and they must then fill out a Warning Letter. In this letter (which is available free at my TpT store, Laurie's Classroom, at the following link Behavior Warning Letter) the student spells out the three inappropriate behaviors and how they will correct their behavior from now on. 

They are required to take it home to be signed and returned to school for my records. (Make sure you take a copy of the letter they filled in before you send it home in case it gets lost!)

I found that this worked well for difficult students in two ways. First, they did not want their parents to know that they were misbehaving in school.  Second, they did not like having to fill in the letter. I would have them complete the letter immediately after receiving the third warning. This meant they would have more homework because they lost class time writing the letter. If they were not done when the bell went for recess, they needed to complete it before they could go out. 

Special location

Sometimes a quick fix is simply placing the students’ desk in a place in the classroom where they will not be disturbed or be able to disturb other students. The location could be closer to where the teacher is located or at a table on their own. 

At carpet time, they are instructed to sit up front near the teacher or to not sit by certain students. If that does not work, you can take the other students aside and suggest that they do not sit beside a certain student so that they are not influenced to undertake inappropriate actions while they are on the carpet.

First Then

This approach is effective for students who have difficulty focussing and staying on task and benefit from step by step instructions. By placing the words First and Then on their desk,you can point to the word “First” and explain one thing they must accomplish. Then point to the word “Then” and give them a quick activity that gives them a break.

Some examples of “Then” activities include asking them to come to me (which gives them a physical movement break) to show me what they’ve completed and to get their next task.  

Other “Then” activities include getting a drink of water or walking once around the room. They are simple tasks that gives them a short break and becomes a reward or goal to work towards.  Make sure the “First” task is not too long and that it is achievable. 

Only give them enough “First” and “Then” tasks that allows them to complete the work in the allotted time with a final fun task as a reward.  All my student’s seem to love to draw, so at the beginning of the year each student gets their own drawing book. Students in the First Then system can be allowed to draw in their book as a final “Then” task. 

Schedule

For students that have difficulty remembering the daily routines which can cause them anxiety, putting their daily schedule on their desk can help them to remember what they need to be doing.  I tape a clear sheet protector on their desk and slip in that day’s schedule. 

This way you can add any changes to the normal day’s routines that are occurring that day and it is a visual cue for the student and for you to point to if he/she begins to exhibit inappropriate behaviors.   

At the bottom of the schedule you can write an activity like GET A DRINK, or TAKE A WALK which you could point to when the need arises. This reduces the amount of time you are calling that student out in front of the other students and reduces both your stress and the student's anxiety.

Group Points

I have used a system where the table group will receive points or stamps when everyone in the group is on task or is the first group to put away their work, or get their work out ready for the next lesson. 

The group that had the most points at the end of the day or week depending on which you choose (sometimes a whole week is too long to get a reward) will get extra computer time, free time or a special treat. 

The problems I found with this system is that it sometimes causes the inappropriately behaving students to become ostracized from the group because they are always the ones causing the group not to get points.  This can then spill over into playground incidents and shunning of the student.  It also meant that I had to remember to give the group their points which I would sometimes forget when I was busy in the classroom!

Popcorn

I once tried a whole class reward system but found it difficult. I would start the week with a few scoops of popcorn kernels in a jar. When the whole class was on task they would get another scoop of popcorn kernels. When they were off task, kernels were removed. At the end of the week I would pop the kernels and the class would get to eat the popcorn at the end of the day.

I found that this caused the same effect as the group rewards in that certain students were constantly the cause of kernels being removed. It also took up my lunch hour popping kernels and it was a little messy because I am always finding kernels on the floor in the classroom.

These are the behavior systems I have tried. I hope they help you out with behavior issues you are experiencing in your classroom or at least give you a place to jump off from (figuratively, not literally).

Please visit my TpT store, Laurie's Classroom, to check out all of my teaching products and free materials.   

Please check out my other Blogs at Laurie's Classroom Blogs and stay tuned for my next Blog. 

Happy teaching.


Laurie






Setting Up Your Classroom for the First Day of School


The first day of class is fast approaching which always brings with it that feeling of panic that you need to have your classroom perfectly ready to welcome your students. I have found that while you need certain things ready for the first day, a calm yet enthusiastic welcome is what the students enjoy the most!  
Desks

Before school starts, I arrange the desks into groups of four, five or six tables, depending on classroom size or the optimal size for specific activities such as reading groups.

On the first day I ask the students to choose where they want to sit so they feel comfortable. They get to remain in these seats for the first week while I observe the class dynamics and then I make adjustments where needed.  

I change the seating arrangements at least monthly throughout the year to coincide with changing reading groups and to ensure a cooperative and calming atmosphere.

Student Materials

I have one central location in the classroom for all student materials.

There is one bin each of rulers, glue sticks and scissors and enough bins for each group of colored pencils and markers. These get distributed when needed.  

HANDY TIP!!

Have one bin for sharpened pencils and one bin for pencils that need sharpening, which is labelled “pencil exchange”. This eliminates lineups at the pencil sharpener and broken electric sharpeners.  The task of sharpening pencils becomes one of the student jobs.

I have one larger bin for each main subject area such as math, science/social studies, music etc. that are large enough to hold all my students duo tangs.  

For students language materials, I supply a separate file folder, which I refer to as literature box, for each student that is labelled with name and student number.  These file folders are used only for language materials such as reading and writing.  See my Blog 7 Tips for the First Day Back to School for an explanation of student numbers and literature boxes.

Bulletin Boards

For the first day, I limit classroom displays to only those charts that will be discussed that day.  These charts or displays include the following:

Washroom Pass Cards
A Washroom Chart with a pocket for each student with their name displayed.  I use this for keeping track of who is in the washroom and controlling excessive washroom use. See my Blog 7 Tips for the First Day Back to School for a detailed explanation.  You can get my free washroom pass cards at the following link  Washroom Pass Cards at my TeachersPayTeachers store, Laurie's Classroom.

A Behavior Chart which I use to track each student’s appropriate behavior.   This chart has a pocket for every student with their number. See my Blog on Behavior Management for an explanation.

A Classroom Jobs Pocket Chart that displays the jobs for the classroom with a space large enough for two students names for each job. I have enough jobs so that everyone has a job for the week.

The jobs that I assign to students are: attendance; coat rack (make sure all belongings are off the floor); library (organize our class library ); clean up (check that there are no pencils, erasers or papers on the floor at the end of the day); chairs (stack chairs); washroom sticks (remove sticks at the end of the day); calendar (change date); agenda (distribute agenda to students); Daily 5 (change the groups for the next day); pencil sharpening; jobs (change the names weekly); collector (gather papers and duo tangs); and deliverer (pass out paper and duo tangs to students).

The names get rotated weekly. If you have an odd number of students, make one job a single person job.

A Daily Five Pocket Chart that has the centers listed and space for the names of the groups. See my Blog Guide to Daily 5 for details on my approach.  

A Homework Chart.  On a white board or black board, I square off a section using electrical tape that is labelled HOMEWORK. This is where I write the day’s work and any notes or reminders for parents.

All of my other bulletin boards for individual subjects such as math, reading, writing etc. are left blank.  I feel that information for these boards needs to be displayed as the lessons are being taught. This way, students understand what is being displayed and will remember that it is there. 
Otherwise the wall material that is displayed without the student’s involvement becomes wallpaper. 

I also find that too many displays become distracting and over stimulating. Students need to be able to easily find information to reduce frustration and build confidence.

It may sound like a lot of preparation but the bins and pocket charts can be used from year to year which reduces the amount of yearly preparation.

Good luck with setting up your classroom!

Please visit my TpT store, Laurie's Classroom, to check out all of my teaching products and free materials.   

Please check out my other Blogs at Laurie's Classroom Blogs and stay tuned for my next Blog. 


Happy teaching.


Laurie