Classroom management is something that all my student teachers struggle with. They know that they need to be in control, but it is difficult for them to find the happy path between being kind and being commanding. Learning classroom management from a book is not the same as actually being in control of a room full of squiggly and excited children! I still remember the day when I was a student teacher and my coop left me alone for the first time! I didn't think I had that much sweat in me! BUT, I was forced to take control and something inside me rallied and I got through that first day. And each day after that, I became more and more aware of the tools I needed to keep my students aware and on task.
My classroom management tools have changed throughout the years, but one thing that has not changed is the fact that any kind of management system must be fair to all students. Here is one of my favorite quotes. It is from Ms. Fultz's Corner.
I have gone back and forth with whether to reward good behavior with tokens or just EXPECT good behavior from my students and reward them with kind words and shoulder pats. I have read many, many documents from educators about the value (or NO value) of rewarding kids with trinkets. Here is my take on it........ When an adult takes a job, he/she expects some type of payment for their work. Most adults would not stay at a job very long if the only reward they received was a pat on the back from the Boss or a Star Worker sticker! Our student's job is to be a student. Their job is to listen and follow directions, complete tasks to the best of their ability, and be kind and respectful to others. This is hard work and I feel it needs to be rewarded. So, I DO reward my students with a tangible reward.
I use a red, yellow, green color system. I base my behavior system on Puppies and it is a HUGE hit! I built the system around the "BEST IN SHOW" awards from the Westminster Dog Show . I have both an individual and a classroom system. In the individual system, my students work to stay in the green area of our behavior chart. I assign each student a number rather than post their name. They quickly learn each others' numbers BUT it does support the anonymity of kids when parents and other adults are in the classroom. At the end of the day, students color their dog red, yellow, or green on a recording sheet that they keep in their daily Take Home folder. My student's parents LOVE this system! It is an easy way for them to stay informed as to the type of day their kids had and promotes some interesting conversation at dinner!
Each of my students have a cloth pencil pouch that they keep in their cubbies. If they have a green day, they are paid ONE token which they keep in their pencil pouch. If they end on yellow, they are paid nothing and if they end on red, they pay ME one token. If they pay me more than 3 tokens a week, they miss recess or free play. After they have 5 tokens, they can use them to purchase something from THE FIVE STORE. They can save their tokens until they get 10 and then purchase something from THE TEN STORE. They can save 20 tokens and purchase something from THE TWENTY STORE. I do not allow them to save more than 20 tokens. I tell them that once they hit 20, they MUST buy something. I say this because I have a limited amount of tokens and I need for them to turn them in so that I can keep my supply up; just like the nation's economy!
My classroom system works like this:
I have 3 puppies OUT of the doghouse on a poster. The kids want those puppies to stay there! If the class as a whole is misbehaving, one of those dogs goes into the doghouse and stays there all day. As long as classroom behavior is positive, the dogs stay out of the doghouse. At the end of the day, we count how many dogs are OUT of the doghouse and that is how many "bones"we feed our classroom puppy! (We collect the paper bones in a plastic dog bowl.) You decide how many bones must be collected in the dog bowl before the class is rewarded with a special treat such as movie and popcorn or an extra recess.
Make sure you hop over to Blog Hoppin to read more classroom management ideas!
I have two Puppy Behavior Management packets available. They follow the same system, they just have different styles of puppies.
Until next time!