Today I am going to write about the dreaded behavior management system. Interviewers always ask about it and we are supposed to have a system that is clear and concise to communicate to parents.
The truth of it is, I hate this whole thing. Yep, I just said it aloud, or typed it. Whatever. I really feel that if students are trained well, the instruction is engaging, teachers really have little need for this system. If a particular student is repeatedly (and I mean habitually) having to pull a ticket, move clip or whatever, then a new system for that child is needed because the one in place obviously isn’t working. I am NOT saying that my perfect angels never have a consequence; I am just saying that it is infrequent in our classroom. We *rarely* have 3 students misbehave enough for a consequence on a given day. Often, verbal reminders are enough.
So here is how it all boils down in our classroom…
In the back of the room (I firmly believe a behavior system should NEVER be posted in the front. Why broadcast who is the “bad” kid? The other students know who misbehaves and it only draws MORE negative attention-which they may be happy to have if it is the only attention they feel they get- to the misbehaving students. It is not okay to “shame” students into making good choices) I have a sheet of laminated poster board with library pockets. On each library pocket is a number that corresponds to a student number in the classroom. Each student has their own pocket. If the pocket is empty then they are doing great! Under the chart is a set of color coded library pockets with color coded craft sticks. The pockets are labeled with behaviors: listens and follows directions, shows respect, controls talking, etc. I tried to label these in a positive manner so students would know what they need to specifically work on.
This is the chart I used several years ago in second grade.
If a student is not making a good choice, I give at least one reminder. Since some of our students are special needs their IEP may list that they are given verbal redirections/ directions multiple times. These students may get the warning two times, even three depending on the child and their specific needs. If the behavior continues I ask students to pull “a yellow stick” or whatever the behavior is that matches the stick color.
At the end of the day it is MUCH easier to glance at the chart and write in each student’s agenda. Students that did not pull any sticks get a “Super Day” stamp (self inking to make it easy on the teachers!) from Vista Print during their free shipping sale. Students that did pull sticks get a specific note in their agenda. For example “Bobby had a hard time with talking in the hall. He had several reminders but had great difficulty following the school procedure of being silent in the hall.” This helps parents know EXACTLY what is happening in the classroom and also can track behavior to see if any specific behaviors patterns emerge.
It is not a perfect system, but it works well for me. There is also a corresponding positive behavior system, but more about that later!