Classroom Management Series Week 3: Behavior

Hi there!

Thanks for stopping by for Week 3 of my Classroom Management Summer Series, where I am going to be talking all about behavior management! This will be many of your student's first time in a school setting. They will not know how to sit properly, walk in line, or how to act in the lunch room. In addition to teaching them routines and procedures, you need to teach them how they behave at school.

Setting the tone at the beginning of the year
I remember my first week of my first year teaching, I was chatting with a few other teachers on my team. I had this one student who was causing problems and not being respectful. They asked if I had sent him home on yellow or talked to his parents. In my mind, it was only the first week and I didn't want to send home anyone on yellow yet! However, that was my first mistake. You have to make sure to set firm expectations at beginning of the year. If a student is misbehaving, and does not fix their behavior, they need to understand that what they did is not acceptable classroom behavior. My first year teaching was definitely my hardest with classroom management, specifically behavior.
The first day of school we always complete this "Good vs Bad" behavior sort. I hold up a picture of the behavior and we talk about whether it is making a good choice or a bad choice. Then, we sort it in a pocket chart. I also use this time to show off my acting skills. My students DIE laughing when I get on the floor and roll around! I ask them "Should you roll around on the carpet during carpet time?" They all say a loud "NO!" I think seeing their teacher make the bad choices and how silly that looks, really helps them understand. The book No, David! by David Shannon is a great read aloud that goes along with this lesson.

This next little trick was given to me by a veteran teacher. Kindergarteners LOVE skittles, or any small form of candy. I carry a sandwich size bag of Skittles around with me at all times. I randomly give out 1 or 2 to a student showing model behavior, like walking nicely in line, or going to the carpet quickly and quietly. I just hand them a skittle and they eat it right away. I don't even need to say anything, but all the other students see and automatically copy whatever that student is doing. I only use this for a week or so, but that instant gratification really works when you are trying to establish model behavior.

Behavior Management
These are the three main behavior systems I have used in the past, Clip Charts, Class Dojo, and Behavior Goals. Every year, my behavior management strategies have slightly changed based on my class. I have used just one or even a combination of the three. Don't worry about what other teachers think, or say to do, because you need to do what works best for you and your students.

•Clip Charts
This past year I had a class with almost ALL boys. I knew I needed to step up my behavior system in my class. After two years of not having a clip chart, I decided I would give it a shot again. And, boy am I glad I did! My students needed that visual of when they misbehave, there is an instant consequence, but when they make a good choice, they may be rewarded. When my students moved down to yellow, they realized they had to work hard to move back up to green. Always give your students the opportunity to move their way back up! At the beginning of the year, my students had quite a few yellow days. But by mid October, the yellow days had gone down significantly and the purple days went up!
Here is the clip chart I use. I also have a behavior calendar that I send home in their take home folder each night. They color in whatever color their clip ends up on at the end of the day. Their parents can see their color for the day when they check their folder at home. If my students move up to blue or purple, they get a special note home from me. My students really strive to earn blue or purple! If my students move down to yellow, then I write a quick note home using these forms.

Class Dojo
I have really enjoyed using Class Dojo! I usually use it as my main behavior management strategy; I have used it along with a clip chart and also on it's own. When using it with a clip chart, I clip students down if they do not listen after two warnings. I usually take away a point as the warning, so the next step is a clip down. Like I said before, the clip chart is mainly for setting expectations in the beginning of the year. Class Dojo is what I focus on throughout the year.

I give way more points than I take away using Class Dojo. I like it because I can carry around my phone or an iPad and give/take away points right away. The students hear the "ding" and immediately they fix their behavior. To keep track of their points, I use this Class Dojo hundreds chart in the back of their homework folder. Every Friday, during pack up time, I walk around and show my students how many Dojo points they have. They color in the boxes until they reach that number. I have reward coupons that they can earn based on how many points they have. For example, when they reach 25 points, they get to choose something small, like a fun pencil or to chew bubble gum. When they reach 100 points, they can have lunch with the teacher, or sit at the teacher's desk.

Behavior Goals
I also tried something new in my classroom this year! I had my students set their own personal "behavior goals" every day. At the end of the day, we would have an afternoon meeting and talk about our goals. I have a whole blog post on how I used this in my class. You can read about it here: Behavior Goals.

Desk Groups Management Ideas
My students are grouped into desk groups for our morning work, writing,  and whole group math time. Here are two ideas I use to help manage table groups and utilize our time at our desks.

•Table Points- This is a super simple way to motivate your students to listen and do their work at their table group! All you need is a little space on your whiteboard. I number each of my table groups and tell them that they are a team. Anytime a table group gets ready quickly, is listening, participating, working hard, cleans up quietly, I give them a tally mark. At the end of the week, whichever table group has the most table points, they get a small treat, like a special pencil or 5 minutes of computer time.

•Quiet Critters- I use these little guys during writing! I tell my students, "Writing needs to be quiet time, because we can't write while we are talking." I put one Quiet Critter on each student's desk. Quiet Critters like to watch them work quietly. However, if they talk, the Quiet Critters get scared and go back into their home. Students are not allowed to touch their critter or they lose their magic and have to go back home. If a Quiet Critter lasts through the lesson, they get a point, skittle, ticket, something small! Once one student talks and loses their critter, the rest of the class is silent! You can buy them pre-made here or make your own!

I hope you got a few new ideas on how to handle behavior in your classroom! Stop by next week to learn all about having an organized classroom!

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