Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Behavior Management

Every teacher's favorite subject. I have to admit it was not something that came easily to me. My style swung the pendulum from too strict to too lenient. I think some of that came from teaching at a school that has different beliefs from my own. I am more inclined towards positive reinforcement whereas they were looking for "tough love" teachers (although frankly I didn't see a lot of love demonstrated).

Anyway, this year I finally feel comfortable with my style. It is much closer to my values and my students are clearly benefiting.

My system has three main components:

The Color Cards

Students start on green, change their colors according to their behavior. Students on blue get a raffle ticket for the treasure box drawing on Friday. Students on yellow owe me 5 minutes at recess, red owe me 10. I focus on awarding students for good behavior by having them change their color up, but obviously when students are misbehaving I am quick to have them change after their first warning.

The Marble Jar

For good class behavior, students earn marbles. I am CONSTANTLY at the marble jar, awarding the class for working quietly, staying focused, etc. If students are goofing off, talking out of turn, or off task they lose a marble. I try to award more often than I take, but obviously there are days that they are testing the limits and marbles are mostly lost.

The Character Tree

This was designed for students to appreciate each other. I have a snap box at the front of the classroom where students can take leaves and write thank yous and acknowledge their peers for acts of kindness and perseverance. I read the "snaps" aloud to the class at the end of every day and I put them on our tree. (I introduced the tree with a read aloud of The Giving Tree). The students love to write their "snaps" and every student beams when they are being publicly appreciated.

I've found that the combination of these three elements has brought a lot of order, accountability, and positivity in the classroom. Anyone else have strategies they've found successful in the classroom?

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