Before I dive into my 7 sanity saving classroom management strategies, I’d like to share 2 behavioral gold nuggets a veteran teacher told me before he retired:
~ Teach your slowest kid how to be line leader and where the stopping points are along your path. At these points, they should stop and turn to you for the “go” signal. Always walk at the end of your line. You can see everything.
~ Don’t call out names to correct behavior. Just say, “Put that away.” or the like. Anyone not on task will think you are talking to them and pull it together ~ including the kid you’re actually thinking about!
#1 Posted Classroom Rules
This one seems obvious, but doesn’t always happen. My school suggests these three because almost every situation falls under one of these core ideas.
#2 Sitting Guidelines!
It’s a simple idea that is a primary “Must Have,” and I know my 5th & 6th graders would have benefited from these too. (They’re just big kids.) Having 2 posters is key, since we have different expectations for students on the floor vs at their desks.
**The real benefit: I just grab the one I need, and hold it up. The kids start correcting themselves. I don’t have to say a word! (That’s why they are right there on the side of my desk.) I sometimes clip one to the chart paper before we start, as a reminder to be ready.
Walking over and standing next to the kid who is off task is one of the best techniques! You don’t miss a beat, 9 times out of 10, they correct themselves.
#4 The tried and true behavior clip chart
I’ve used a behavior clip chart in grades k – 6th, and it has worked beautifully across grade levels. I write student names (or numbers) on clothes pins. All the pins start on “Good Day” (green). When students behave well, they get to move their pin up. When they misbehave, their pin moves down. A single pin can go up and/or down all day. I try to look for good behavior from the students on yellow/orange/red, so I can ask them to move their clips back up the chart. This encourages them to turn their day around. In K-3, I give students a small sticker or stamp when they end on ” All Star”. When they earn 15 stickers, I let them choose a prize out of a treasure chest. They love this! In 4th -6th , snacks or HW passes work great as rewards. (Always keep it in the back, so it’s not distracting when kids go to move pins.)
This gives them a break from the situation, and lets them cool down while they evaluate their behavior. When they make it down to Teacher’s Choice on the behavior chart, I ask them to go to the back table to fill out a reflection sheet. It’s helpful to send these home for parent signatures.
#6 Team Points
Behavior charts alone work well… until midyear. I’ve found about half way through they’re ready for a change. I keep the chart, but add group or team points to the white board. This ups the ante, and they love competing for the WIN. (Each Friday, the group with the most points earns a treat, HW pass, or reward of some kind.)
#7 Tattle Posters
These tattling posters get students back on task by encouraging students to TRY to solve their own problems. Over time, kids are better able to determine what is and isn’t tattling.
Do you have some great ideas to add? Leave them in the comments below…