As the first few days of school are behind us, our class is beginning to use the behavior modification program I set up. Routine and structure are my middle name and I am quite regimented in the way I run my classroom. With that said, I also FIRMLY believe in positive reinforcement and spend much of my day praising students and supported their positive behaviors.
I run a simple behavior modification program, that many of you are probably familiar with.
I believe in keeping it short, easy, quick, and visual.
We have FOUR rules.
RAISE YOUR HAND AND WAIT FOR PERMISSION TO SPEAK.
STAY SEATED UNLESS TOLD OTHERWISE.
RESPECT YOURSELF, OTHERS, AND THE CLASSROOM.
DO YOUR BEST AND SMILE.
These rules encompass a lot and I feel that 4 is a good number. Students do not have to worry about remembering dozens of rules and the rules that are important are simple, clear, and to the point.
They are displayed in our classroom and we go over them regularly.
I use the program as follows...
Students begin the day with a green card in their pocket, if they have trouble following class rules, they change their card. They receive TWO warnings (2 yellow cards). After two warnings, they lose their recess (orange card). If they are still having a difficult time, they must change their card to red (note home) and finally blue (visit to the principal). This almost never happens, but when it does, I ALWAYS follow through. It is important to keep your word, whether it be for something positive or for a consequence. Students must understand that you are in charge and what you say matters.
No empty threats from this teacher! They DO NOT work!
It can sometimes be difficult, however you must always follow through. In the long run, it really works out! Last year I had a difficult group. Tantrums, running out of class, foul language, were a regular occurrence at the beginning of the year. With constant structure and follow through, the behavior improved and after some time all I needed to do was look at my students and they turned their negative behavior right around! It was hard work and sometimes I just wanted to give in, but I didn't and in the end it paid off!
Take your time at the beginning of the year. You do not need to rush into activities and worry about getting things done. Setting structure, routine, and behavior expectations is crucial at this time of year and the time you spend now will be returned mid-year when your class is running smoothly. Practice, practice, practice! Demonstrate the expected behaviors and PRAISE them when they display it.
I use these fun, clear containers from the dollar store to display all the wonderful prizes students can receive when they do behave appropriately. They LOVE to go to the prize box and I LOVE to send them there! Each time a student demonstrates exceptional behavior, I ask them to put a stick in their pocket (6 sticks = 1 prize). What I like about this system is that even if they have had a difficult day and have changed their cards, they can still get a positive by putting a stick. This is great for those students who have trouble letting go and/or "turning it around." I give students sticks for remembering class routines (I always have a few who need to be constantly reminded), following directions, working hard, helping out, being kind, etc... I love to make a big deal about everything good that they do and they feel so good about themselves when I do. It's a win/win situation!
You can grab a free copy of my Prize Jar labels right over HERE.
Be sure to display them somewhere visible. This will remind students about what they are working towards.
Until next time...