Thursday, August 15, 2013

Teacher Week - Taming the Flock

HEY HEY! Day 4 of Teacher Week '13 with Blog Hoppin' is all about classroom management tips! Sit back, relax, and hopefully you'll find my tips useful!!

At my school, we are constantly referring to the "4 B's." They are as following:
*Be Respectful
*Be Responsible
*Be Honest
*Be Safe

I decided to adopt them in my room as well, since the students are encouraged to follow them throughout the building. Essentially, these are my "rules," since I don't use a traditional set of rules in my classroom.

Here's a picture of what they look like in my room... I put some examples with them as references for my kiddos.

Like I said, I don't use "rules." I don't have a set of consequences, either. I don't even use an individual behavior plan for my students. I realize that many of you now think I'm crazy (that is, if you didn't think that already). For all you non-believers, HEAR ME OUT.

In my class, I have adopted a form of the "warm fuzzy" jar. I didn't snag a picture of it because I wasn't in my room today, AND because it's seriously nothing fancy at all. Just a jar that I fill with pom-poms.


During the first few weeks of school, I talk about the 4 B's, and what it means to follow them both inside and outside of the classroom. They catch on pretty quickly. Every morning before lunch, and every afternoon before we leave, I give my students the opportunity to vote on how many warm fuzzies I should add to the jar. Each time we vote, they can earn up to 5 total. We spend tons of time talking about what a 5 looks like in the classroom (they know that a 5 is an "above and beyond" what's expected type of morning.) I give them a minute or two to talk to their neighbors about what they think we should earn. Then I focus attention back to me and ask a few students what they think AND WHY. This is the important part, and where it all comes together like they're eating out of my hand.

Once it's up and running and they're used to it, it is very typical to hear things such as "I think we earned a 3, because it was a GOOD morning, but we weren't really trying our hardest" or "I think we deserve a 2 because there were a few friends that were not being responsible during Word Work."

OMG. I LOVE IT. They are so brutally honest. The students also know that I can add or remove warm-fuzzies as I see fit. If they get compliments in the hall, I'll add a few. If I see someone making poor decisions in the classroom, I'll take the lid off as a "warning." They tend to immediately fix said behavior.

I love this system for many reasons. My students hold themselves accountable for their own actions. My students know that a good day is not based completely on THEIR behavior, but it is also based on the behavior of our class as a whole. I also dislike set consequences such as losing recess. My 30 minute recess block is my precious time to breathe and think, and when I put students in the room during that time, who am I really punishing??

When the jar gets filled, we vote on a class reward. Rewards in my classroom are very simple, require very little teacher involvement, and I make them seem like the COOLEST thing in the world. Lunch in the classroom is like magic. So is 15 extra minutes of recess. When they get to keep playing while the rest of the grade lines up? They think they're on top of the world.

Anybody else out there that uses a system similar to this? I'd love to hear how it works for you!!
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Meredith Walsky said...

I agree about not taking recess away. That is such sacred time for students, when they can just be kids. Sometimes it can be painful to watch other kids against the wall or sitting against a wall when those are the ones who need it the most.

I love your classroom behavior system!!!

1, 2, Eyes On You!

Ryan Graber said...

I would love to know what your schedule looks like. 30 minute! We get 15 minutes...and that's pushing it. Do you also not have to be outside with your kiddos at recess?

Sorry I'm being nosy with all the questions...just my curiosity showing through.


sarah said...

I completely disagree with clip chart systems. I think that all they do is humiliate students in front of their peers. You are right on with your system. Work together as a team!:)