Classroom Behavior Plans & Management Tips: Part III
Teachers describe the behavior management systems they use in their classrooms.
Submitted by Amanda from North Carolina
In my classroom, I use the puzzle piece system. We have puzzle pieces that students decorate at the beginning of the year and put together a big class puzzle made of magnets. I talk about how we are a team and we need each person to be a part of that team to work together as a whole.
When someone is not a part of that team their piece is taken out and removed until they are on task again or until they have proven they can be part of the team again. When that happens, their piece is replaced in the puzzle. If a student does not move his or her puzzle piece that day I stamp a card they keep. After 10 stamps they get to go to the treasure box.
For positive reinforcement my school gives tickets to students who go above and beyond. If any adult in the building catches a student being good or following the rules, they receive a ticket. The student then banks his or her ticket in the classroom and cashes them in for dog tags and beads that are worn on Fridays. Students can recognize those with many beads and dog tags. They are very popular and students strive to be good to get beads and tags.
Submitted by Jackie from Pennsylvania
We have a tree that hangs on the wall in the front of the room. On the top of the tree each student (as well as myself) have a monkey with their name on it. If a student needs a reminder about a school or classroom rule or isn't working to the expectations of the room, they are told to move their monkey to the middle of the tree. If they need another reminder (or at my discretion do something to skip the initial warning) their monkey is moved to the bottom of the tree.
On the homework log that my students use, I added a box called "Behavior". At the end of the day if the student's monkey is in the middle of the tree or the top, they get a stamp in their behavior box. If it is at the bottom, they receive a number (the numbers coordinate with the rule they broke 1:calling out 2:disrespectful 3:no homework, etc) so each night when they get their log signed, their parents know if they had a good day or not. This system has worked great because it shows good behaviors as well as not.
At the end of the month if the students have gotten most of their stamps, we have a grade level behavior reward of some type.
Submitted by Juliet from California
I use several behavior management systems concurrently. I greet each student in the morning with a hand shake and say "Good Morning, it's nice to see you (student's name)." This sets a positive tone for the day.
When we go to lunch, the class lines up and waits for the administration to tell them they can go get their lunches. To motivate them to behave in line, they can earn points. Points are totaled at the end of two weeks and the table with the most points gets to choose their class monitor position for the next two weeks. Before I leave the area, I say "Have a good lunch." This helps remind them of the expectations.
At the end of the day, I shake hands goodbye and say "See you tomorrow" (and on the weekend "Have a good weekend. See you on Monday.") This encourages positive behavior as well as teach social skills.
At the beginning of the year I have the class decide on the five most important expectations that they feel will get the work done throughout the year. We order them by priority. Next we take a pledge to follow the expectations every day. Then, each student and myself sign the pledge. It hangs in a prominent spot every day. Students that are honoring the pledge earn their name on the board on the Thank you list.They earn a check for repeated good behavior. Every two checks earns a sticker. At the end of the week, checks are totaled and stickers are passed out.
I often acknowledge the student next to the one off task. Then suddenly the off task student becomes on task to get their name on the board. However there are times when consequences are needed . I have a four color system:
- Green is excellent behavior(value=4)
- Yellow is good behavior(with one warning-value=3)
- Red is poor behavior(with two warnings-value=2)
- Blue is really unacceptable behavior(with three warnings-value=1)
Students have a clothespin with their name on it. It gets moved according to the warnings. A student may move down the color scale but also can earn back up the color scale. So a student may be having difficulties in the morning and had to move the clothespin down a color or two but then has an excellent afternoon and can earn the colors back. Thus making the students accountable for their own learning and actions.
Should a student end their day on a red or blue, s/he will have to explain in writing what behavior occurred during the day. They write a note home explaining what happened. "I earned a yellow because....(they have to tell which expectation they broke),"I earned a red because....(again they explain which expectation they broke), and "I earned a blue because....(once again they explain which expectation they broke). They further explain in the letter what they should have done(using the expectations) and what they will do next time instead. The teacher signs it, the student signs it, and the parent signs it. It is returned to the teacher the next day (so the teacher has a running record of what has occurred) or a phone call is made at recess so the student can explain themselves to the parent what happened and why they didn't give them the note.
Every day is a fresh new beginning and no matter what had happened previously, everyone starts on green the next day. If a student had difficult behavior the day before but shows improvement (at least a yellow or green) the day after, then I send a positive note home acknowledging the change in behavior.
Students record their color on a daily basis on their homework chart. When the homework chart is returned on Mondays, students tally their behavior charts according to the color value. They turn the homework sheet in and based on the points earn a prize from the prize box. Most of the prizes are school supplies: pencils, pens, crayons, erasers, etc.
When problems occur on the yard, we hold a class meeting to discuss behaviors and emotions. We discuss how to resolve problems in a positive manner and positive actions we can use next time something happens. The expectations need to be taught and the teacher needs to be consistent and follow through. Parents need to hear about positive behavior as well as misbehaviors.
Submitted by Verna from Ontario
I have a "Penalty Box" system. The penalty box is drawn on the chalkboard using Expo Brightsticks (washable, florescent wet erase markers). If a student is misbehaving, their name is placed in the Penalty Box, which means they lose 5 min. of free time on Friday. Each time they cause a disruption, a checkmark is added to their name, giving them an additional 5 min. every time they get into trouble.
But, here's the catch, I give them a chance to earn back each five min. penalty, by having a full day with no disruptions (5 min for each day). Usually, by the end of the week, most students have earned back their free time. If they get a penalty on Friday, they are stuck with it.
The penalty is served while the other children are doing free time activities. The student has to either read a book or just sit quietly to serve their penalty.As an added incentive for good behaviour, we have "Survivor" teams.
Each group has a name and they receive points for homework completion, being on time, not getting their name in the Penalty Box, helping others in the classroom, etc. Each member of the team will constantly pressure the other team members to adhere to teacher expectations. A tally chart is kept on the board and the winning team gets to pick a treat from the treat bag on Friday.
Submitted by Jodi from Michigan
I teach Kindergarten. All children have an index card with their names on it (first on front, last on back). These cards are in pocket envelope stapled to a BB. As the kids enter the classroom each morning, they have to locate their card and turn it around so that no name is showing. This gives me a quick "who's here, who's not" idea.
Also located in the pocket is a popsickle stick with their name on it. The kids remove these sticks and place them in a holder. As the kids progress through the day, if they generally behave and follow our rules, the stick stays in the holder. However, if we have to talk about making better choices more than once, a final warning is given. If the child continues to have to have "better choice conversations", they "lose" their stick (it is removed from the holder). Sticks are automatically lost for more serious offenses such as hitting or kicking. At the end of the day, a drawing is held from the sticks that are left, and the winner of the drawing receives a brand new book from my library.
Friday's are known as "Candy Bar Fridays" as the winner of the drawing receives a candy bar of their choice instead of a book. On those days that we have perfect attendance and everyone keeps their stick, we have a double drawing and have 2 winners! This really helps to put the pressure on those might receive their final warning.
Submitted by Jennifer from New Jersey
I am trained in Responsive Classroom, and sort of molded their system to match my beliefs and what works for me. I have two types of discipline.
First, I give warnings. I tell the kids that everyone makes a mistake once in a while, and a warning is meant just to bring you back to reality. After that, if the actions of the student continue, they'll go to "Take a Break". It's basically like a Time Out, but it's a place where they go in the room to think about their actions and remove themselves from the environment which was causing the disruption. When they feel ready to come back, they do. The responsibility lies on them.
If the actions continue after that, they go to "Think Time". Think Time is a place set up in a classroom across the hall. In this place, they are now removing themselves from the ENTIRE classroom environment. They must again think about their actions, but this time complete a reflection about what they did, why they did it, and how they could change it for next time. This reflection must be signed by me and by their parents. So you can see, my system is very much on the child, to show responsibility for their actions.
Students have a Behavior Chart where they write down their behavior each day, and at the end of the week, the parents sign it. If students are caught being good, I pay them in "Bonus Bucks" where they can save up their money to buy incentives, such as a free homework pass, lunch with the teacher, extra recess, etc...
I also award the class with "hearts in the jar" if they're ALL doing a great job working together. When they fill the jar, they get a class party of their choice.
Finally, I have "Table Competitions". I have my classroom set up in 4 table groups, and each one competes to see who is the quietest, who is ready first, who is the most organized, etc... The first table to 10 points gets $10 Bonus Bucks! That's it, in a nut-shell! It works really well for me. I have had really well behaved classes in the past few years. I hope this helps!
Submitted by Katie from Georgia
My students place a sticker on their charts when they have followed the class rules for each hour they are with me. I am a resource teacher so most of my students are in my room up to two hours.
When the students get to the end of the row of their point sheet they can cash in for a prize. Their are prizes worth 10, 20, or 50 points. The students can cash in and get a prize at 10 points or may decide to save their points to get to 20 or 50 and get a bigger prize. Once they cash in they have to start over at 0.
The students are in charge of their own behavior and have to tell me if they feel they earned their stickers. If they receive more than two sticks warnings in their name card then they know they did not earn their stickers for the day. They can turn their behavior around and have the sticks removed if they show me they can control their behavior.
My students have referred to this system as their paycheck for work done well. I have a total of 27 students over the course of the day. Since starting this behavior system in 2006 I have had no behavior problems. Students work well for positive reinforcements.
Submitted by Beth from Ohio
The behavior system that I have in place follows the stop light system of green, yellow, and red. I have made the exception of adding blue. Students begin the day on green. I refer to my list of classroom rules as procedures. The first time a student receive s a warning he or she is moved to yellow. Yellow is a verbal warning. Blue is 10 minutes loss of recess. Red is 20 minutes loss of recess. Students record their color daily on a chart that they keep in their BEARS notebook.
BEARS stands for Becoming Efficient and Responsible Students. Students who have 4 greens for the week are allowed to participate in a Friday afternoon activity for the last 30 minutes of the day. As a class we graph the behavior for the month. Students really enjoy seeing the number of greens they have.
I also use money as a positive reinforcement. Students can earn money for raising hands when responding to questions to waiting quietly while at the restroom. At the end of the month students total their money and they are allowed to participate in the classroom auction. Student bid on different items.
I also have a student of the week. Students of the week receive a ice cream sundae. Students are also selected as Students of the month and they receive a $5.00 gift card to McDonalds.
Finally, students can earn Caught Being Good tickets for going beyond the call of duty. Once a month students are entered in a drawing for a Caught Being Good T-Shirt.