Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Classroom Management

As the summer is coming to a close for me, and I'm beginning to think about setting up my classroom for the coming year, my thoughts are drawn to the topic of classroom management. For the first ten years of my teaching career, I didn't really have to have much of a classroom management plan because I was only teaching small groups of students for short periods of time. When I moved into the classroom four years ago, I knew that having a behavioral plan in place, and explicitly expressed to the students, would be a key element in the foundation of my classroom. Each year, as a classroom community, we create the rules of the classroom together. So, the students have a say in the rules and consequences that will help us work and learn smoothly.

I had seen different methods for behavior/classroom management in play at various grade levels in my old school. When I saw the system that is school-wide at my sons' school, I decided to adopt/adapt that one for my classroom. Here is the "Good on Green" wheel.

All students begin their day with their clip on green. As they break one of our classroom rules, they would move to yellow, then with the next infraction to orange, and then red. If they are showing exceptional behavior, they move to blue. At the end of the day, they color a calendar with the color they are on at the end of the day. Additionally, if they have had to move their clip, they have to fill out a reflection sheet stating why their clip was moved and what they could have done differently. They then take these to their parents, who sign them, and they are returned the next day. This is the individual behavior plan that I have used for the last three years.

I also have a whole-class classroom plan that allows the class as a whole to be rewarded for positive behaviors. This is the Reese's Pieces Jar.

When the class, as a whole, has shown positive behaviors (walking through the hallway appropriately, having a good day in Specials, behaving for the substitute, receiving compliments from other teachers, etc.) I will add a handful of Reese's Pieces to the jar. When the jar is full, they get to vote on a whole class prize (pajama day, popsicles, movie, etc.) When it's full and we have our prize, the jar is emptied and we start all over again.

This system has worked well for me. However, I recently got to thinking about the way I use classroom management and behavior plans. I have heard several people talking about how they don't like the clip (or cards) system such as the one I use, while a teacher in my building began using my exact system for her class. I have had students in the past who respond really well to this system. For the most part, though, it has been the same students over and over who get their clip moved, while the rest of the class spends the whole year on green.

My colleague, Deb (Primary Perspective) even mentioned why she doesn't use clips in one of her recent posts. (That Deb, always getting me thinking!) As I've been looking through Pinterest lately, and have seen pin after pin on back-to-school ideas, several have involved classroom management. I know there is no right or wrong answer, but I'm always learning and hoping to grow when it comes to what would be best for me and my students.

So, my question to you is this: What are your thoughts on classroom management and behavior plans? Do you use some kind of visual reminder of where they stand (like clips or cards) or do you rely on individual verbal discussions? Do you have a reward system? I would love to read your thoughts on this topic.

1 comment:

  1. Carolyn,
    You have made several important points here. Whatever or however you design your management system you must have class buy in and discussions with the kids about their choices and the consequences of their choices. After this you have to use what works for you. You also need to think about what you want the kids to take away.
    Happy pondering!