Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A Positive Approach to Classroom Management

I'm so excited for the new school year that is quickly approaching. Boy was it a fast summer. My favorite part of the beginning of the year is building and nurturing a positive classroom community. I can't wait to share with you some of my bag of tricks when dealing with classroom management. They say if your kids are truly engaged in appropriate leveled activities and you are well planned and organized then you don't need much classroom management. I agree to an extent but there are just some classes that need some positive reinforcements.

Over the past ten years, I've had a chance to add tools and tricks to my teaching bag. I use many different tricks and some years I change it up depending on my students.  Class dojo  or the super improver wall is usually what I use as my individualized work habits/behavior motivator.  Today I'm going to share with you a list of some individual, whole group, and team incentives that I've used in the past. I also try to use many KAGAN structures and provide many instances for team and class building activities. 

This is just some ideas... keep in mind I do not use these every day!

Brownie Points- This is a sweet way to get kids motivated to walking quietly on campus, being polite in the lunchroom and being on their best behavior at specials. This system is used whole group for positive behaviors. The kids love trying to earn brownie points. Each time the class earns a compliment from another teacher or faculty member, they receive a brownie on the cookie sheet. When the cookie sheet is full, the students receive a brownie party to celebrate their great behavior. Click here for a free brownie point header.

Secret Star- Usually when we exit the classroom, I tell my students that I am looking for a secret star to make it to our destination without talking. I pick a card out of my secret star container. I tell the students that I am watching to see if my “secret star” is walking nicely and quietly. My kids love this little task and my line is always silent. When we get back to the classroom, the secret start gets a starburst and/or a secret star behavior bead. If you can’t do candy you could do a sticker, stamp, etc. Since it's a secret  who the "Secret Star" is, everybody is usually quiet in case it's them.  If the "Secret Star" is not quiet then I simply state that "My Secret Star did not make it this time." I don't tell who it was. This works wonders for getting the students to walk quietly in the hallways and it's also fun.

Mystery Trash- To keep my floors clean and room tidy, I get my students motivated by playing a game of Mystery Trash. To play, I pick a mystery piece of trash or mystery object out of place. It could even be a chair that needs pushed in or book that needs put in its proper place. As soon as I announce that there is mystery trash, the students race to pick up as much trash as they can find. If they find the mystery object, they get to go to the treasure box, pick from the lollipop tree or receive a mystery trash behavior bead.

Smarties/Lollipop Tree- When my students make a 100 on an AR test or 100 on a computer program, I allow them to ring a bell and wave around the Smartypants flag. After they parade around the room, they can choose some smarties or a lollipop.  The best part about the lollipop tree is there are some lollipops with a mark at the end. If they are extra lucky and draw with a mark, they visit the treasure box. Some years I don't use the treasure box and I have a "bee"havior catalog instead.

Handwriting Hero/ Printing Princess- I don’t get to spend as much time on handwriting practice as I wish. To motivate my students, I use this little incentive. Before writing, I tell my students I am looking for a Printing Princess and Handwriting Hero. I then pick one girl and one boy who had fabulous handwriting for the day. You will be amazed at my student’s handwriting just because they are trying to earn this award. Their work is then displayed for the week on a special wall.

Lucky Ducks- I use lucky ducks for running errands or calling on students to answer questions. I have Popsicle sticks with a picture of a duck and their class number. If their number is drawn then they are the lucky duck. You can download them for free here.

Magic Necklace-
During stations my student know that I’m looking for a friend to earn the magic necklace. My magic necklace happens to be a solar bead necklace. When they wear it in the sun, it changes colors. I choose one person a day.

Care Bears- This is great if you don’t like giving out candy. Sometimes I pass out teddy grahams to students who are “caring” for others or “caring” about their work. It’s also great for my student who is allergic to eggs, nuts, milk, etc.

Knocking my Socks off Board
"You're Knocking my socks off" board that I found from The First Grade Parade works wonders. Thanks to Cara for the fabulous idea. Click on her name to find the FREE stuff. Whichever table ends up with the sock at the very end of the day gets a special prize. It's something simple like ... eat lunch with a buddy... use teacher supplies... etc. 

Behavior Beads- So what is a behavior bead?   On the first day of school I give my students their "behavior bead" on a ball chain necklace.  I have made many sets for all kinds of things. You can check them out here. There are many FREE ones too!  The kids get so excited about earning and collecting these badges/charms. They are perfect rewards and incentives in the classroom. 

Here are a few ideas:
*Honor Roll
*Perfect Attendance
*Star Student
*Caught Being Good
*Good Manners
* Sight Word Master
* Lost a Tooth

 One area of classroom management that I find extremely important is listening and following directions. I find that listening is an area where my students have struggled in the past. I now know that some of my students have never had the chance to practice or learn good listening skills. Before I started practicing whole body listening in my classroom, you would find kids rolling around on the carpet. Most of my students thought that you could only listen with your ears. I also enjoy using the Whole Brain Teaching techniques. My students are trained to use Hands and Eyes which creates instant silence. My class also responds well with the Class, Yes technique. I highly recommend you checking out Whole Brain Teaching. They have a wealth of strategies and techniques that truly work. I have made this poster of attention grabbers, feel free to download.

Would you like to win a starter pack of behavior beads? Please enter below!

 FREE 7 Habits behavior beads

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  1. Last year I had a homework club, and I offered brag tags for each genre of book the students read.

  2. I use the sucker tree and brownie points! Last year I had a hard class and they didn't really get into Brownie points but I am going to try again this year!

  3. I use tickets/ coupon/prize box for individual incentives and warm fuzzies for group incentives. I'm excited to try out the behaviour beads and have a question....do the students take the necklace home or is it kept at school. Thanks so much.