Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Classroom Management- The "Good', The "Bad", and the "Whole Class Reward"

Over the years it seems I am always searching for a better behavior management plan. I’m always looking for one that is more manageable and more motivating for the students.  Alas, I think I have finally landed on one that is both!
“The Good”
This is where the polite, rule following, helpful little second graders get their chance to shine.  Who doesn’t want a little recognition throughout their day of all the great things they do?  Whenever I see one of my ever so well behaved students doing a kind deed, following directions, being helpful, and acting in a polite manner, I give them a “treasure ticket.”  I downloaded a clipart of a treasure box and printed about 500 of them each about the size of a 1 inch square.  I laminated them for sturdiness and shine and they became the “currency” of my classroom.   I keep them in little red tin box on my desk as well as load up my pockets with them at the start of each day.  I can not tell you how many I have emptied onto my dresser at night or sent through the washing machine…
When the students collect 10 “Treasure Tickets” they are able to trade them in for a trip to the Treasure Chest…
Here is the outside …. 
 Second Grade Blogs
Here is the inside…   

Second Grade Blogs

A little side story of where this “Treasure Chest” came from.  During my second year of teaching, I came home one night from work and was telling my husband (then boyfriend) how I needed to find a “Treasure Chest” for my classroom prizes.  I was thinking of a large tupperware bin with a fancy sign glued to it, marked “Treasure Chest.”  ”Nah, he said I’ll make you one.”  A few cardboard boxes and several hours later, this is what was sitting in my living room. My jaw dropped because this faaaarrrr exceeded my tupperware bin idea.  I am blessed to have the craftiest husband. One of the many reasons I married him.
Filling this “Treasure Chest” seemed like a daunting task.  It is big enough to fit a small person inside so how will a bunch of bouncy balls, pencils, and stickers look exciting.  I had a lot of luck raiding the Target $1 bins and collecting Happy Meal Toys from my nephews.  The best way of keeping it full without dipping too far into my own “Treasure Chest” is asking for donations from the parents at the start of each year.  I can’t believe how wonderfully generous parents are at sending in treats to fill it up.
“The Bad”
I really don’t like saying “the bad” because well my students really aren’t “bad.” Sometimes they need a little reminder about the direction their behavior is going but nothing that a little behavior plan can’t help direct them to correct.  This year I started with something new. I was inspired by several of my colleagues as well as other blogs I read.  I definitely can’t take any credit for this one but I am happy to share my adaptation of it.
 Second Grade Blogs

It takes up very little bulletin board space and what I love about it are several things.
1.  It is very easy to manage. I don’t have to keep track of anything because the board does it itself.
2.  The kids take ownership of their actions by physically moving their clothespin from one kite to another kite.
3.  It’s anonymous to anyone who walks in the room. Each student in the class is assigned a number which is what is written on the clothespin. Of course by the second week of school all the kids have memorized each other’s number assignment but I reassure them that if a parent, another teacher, or an administrator walks in, no one will know it is them.
4. Some versions I have come across online of this system of managing behavior have an overwhelming number of options.  Personally, my motto is to keep things simple.
When a student reaches the “Think Sheet Kite.” He or she is required to fill out a think sheet which must be signed by a parent/guardian and returned the next day.
Click for a free download of the Think Sheet.

The “Whole Class Reward”
 Second Grade Blogs

Nothing motivates the kids to behave positively more than a little friendly competition.  This is why I feel the “Whole Class Reward” is so important.  This poster board does it all.  The students in the class are divided into 4 groups (which change at the beginning of every month).  The groups compete to earn points on the scoreboard. They earn them by doing kindnesses, following directions, and working cooperatively.  Then there are the little teacher driven competitions. Such as, “which group can line up for lunch the most quietly? Which group is ready to begin Math first?” At the end of each month we tally up the points and the winning group gets an immediate trip to the “Treasure Chest.” Another great feature of the scoreboard is that it reinforces math skills daily.  Each team is required to communicate a number sentence before adding points to the scoreboard. For example if the Blue Team has just earned 5 points, they must tell me a number sentence first 42 + 5 = 47.

I have to say that with this behavior management system in place I have little disruptions in the class and most importantly it is an easy system to keep up with all year. In the past I’ve used behavior management plans that both the students and I begin to lose motivation to follow.  I finally found one I can stick with. Until next year that is when I can’t resist trying something new. 

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