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I have a very hard time being firm. I give WAY too many warnings. I think my students can tell just by looking at me that I'm really a softy pushover without an intimidating bone in my body, and I really don't want to call their parent. That means that I have to compensate! A lot! Each year I get a little better, and hopefully by the time I'm ready to retire I will have become a master.
Our school started PBIS last year to help us approach behavior management as a community consistently across the building. I love it and it has drastically cut down on behavior problems (at least in my room). The best part... due to my technology skills I was nominated to make the documents for our school, so I love using them! Of course as I made them I pieced together ideas from many other wonderful schools in our county and across the internet, but imitation is the best form of flattery right? (I wish I could give credit to the sources of my inspiration.)
We have a 4 color system which in my room is really a 5 step system.
Each day each student starts out on red. If I notice model behavior they are able to move their clip up to the star. Every time everyone in the class has ended the day on red or the star (more commonly known as "all red days") we get a "popcorn point". When we get to 10 points we have a popcorn party! Why popcorn? Because I like to eat it.
On the other hand, each time I need to redirect a student throughout the day the student must move his/her clip down. The first step is yellow, or a warning. After that is green which means the student must fill out a reflection log and call his/her parent for an intervention.
*Bare with me, this is my first attempt at sharing one of my google docs.*
If the behavior continues the child takes a break in a buddy classroom while he/she fills out another reflection log. Usually by now the problem has been resolved and the student may return to class, but if the behavior continues the buddy teacher will determine that an administrative referral is necessary.
Students also have the opportunity to earn punches on a punch card. In my room, after 5 punches the child gets to pick a treat from our treat box. When the student gets to 10 punches I buy him/her an ice cream at lunch. After 15 punches he/she gets to go to read with a buddy 3rd grader. If the student fills the whole card they are invited to a school wide party at the end of each quarter.
(The acronym S.O.A.R comes from our behavior expectation matrix.)
Now does this system work for all of my students? NOPE! I have tried various sticker charts, point systems, etc but the fact of the matter is I am simply NOT good at keeping up with them and therefore they become ineffective. So here are the 3 most valuable tips I have learned over the past few years.
1) Spending my personal time with a child is one of the BEST ways to build a positive relationship with and show them that I honestly and truly care about them as a person. I have visited homes and brought board games. I have taken students out for a day at the movies. I have gone to softball games and girl-scout meetings. The value of this is PRICELESS. It can be intimidating and scary at first but the benefits far far far far far outweigh the cons. They never forget it. Even the most difficult student will work towards one of these visits. (I usually have one or two students a year that need this extra attention, so it does not end up taking up too much of my free time.)
2) Keep redirection from becoming personal by focusing on inanimate objects. For example, if a student is distracted and not working or working very slowly say, "You know what, I don't think this pencil is working very well. Why don't you try this fast one." and zoom the pencil in the air in loops as you pass it to the child. Or "Oh my goodness, I think something is wrong with your chair! It keeps tipping! Try this one." Sounds silly, and it is, but it works! It makes redirection a positive experience instead of negative.
3) Take pictures of positive behavior. Show them to the class. It is one of the best compliments you can give. Praising a child individually is like one compliment. Praising them in front of an audience is equivalent to getting a compliment from everyone hearing it!
This student had kept his work area clean while the rest of the room was a wreck! Can you tell by the overturned chair that is just outside of the picture?????
Hope the links work for you! If they don't, let me know and I'll go watch a tutorial so I can to fix them.