I have a new, well maybe not new for you, classroom management thought process to share with you.  In all of my 7 years in education, I’ve had the opportunity and privilege to spend many of my days inside the classrooms of phenomenal teachers!  I used to say I had the best job ever because I could sit and watch great teachers, steal their ideas, and then share them with others.  It’s also given me the opportunity to reflect and analyze what makes one teacher more effective than others.

Classroom management is a crucial part of that puzzle.  Throughout the years I’ve developed a mindset that’s different from many people.  I don’t love large, posted individual behavior charts.  I’m talking the green/yellow/red cards or the clip charts that so many teachers use.  I know a lot of people love and believe in them.  And hear me out before you start throwing lemons and shoes at me.

Do you think your chart changes a student’s behavior?  The thing is, I don’t really feel like it does.  You either have a student who just had a rough few minutes and needs a reminder of some kind (but does that reminder need to be publicly posted for the world to see).  Or you have a friend who is going to spend the entire school year trying your ever last loving nerve.  In my experience there isn’t a whole ton of kids in the middle. They’re either fantastic, slip up sparingly, or are habitual offenders.  I don’t think those habitual offenders are fazed by a color change.  Sure, they may certainly be scared of their mama and don’t want to get to that point, but it’s their mama that’s scaring them and not the color itself.  I have utilized ClassDojo with success, but I don’t display the points all day long.  Instead, students check in once before lunch and at the end of the day when they pack up and record their points.

So, in my classroom, I do things a little differently.  I have the group work together towards one goal (and then set up small group goals and individual plans as needed).  This is similar to a marble jar that a lot of people use, or brownie points that others use.  Basically, any way to reward the class as a whole.  This helps keep students accountable for themselves and help nudge them towards encouraging their friends to do the right thing.

So here’s the way it works:
Every time the class earns a compliment, I choose a student who helped the class earn the reward to choose a letter from the basket. The white letters are permanently mounted on the board so that students see what they’re working for and how far they have to go.  If the student draws a letter there’s only one of, easy peasy, we put it up.  If they choose something there’s a duplicate of (like the “c”) then they have some strategy to work out- with encouragement from others.  Do they put the c in dance so that they get the reward sooner?  Do the put the C in choice because they’d rather earn free choice time instead?  It helps build critical thinking because they have to analyze the outcome to determine which way they’re going to go (we talk about this as a group in the building).  They have to listen to peer pressure and decide if they’re following their own thoughts or going with the group.  There’s so much more, so many lifeskills, than just many other systems.  Plus, everyone needs a brain break off and on and see that carrot dangling in front of them.
If you’d like to download the set I have (I have a blank circle in the zebra and in the white), click on the picture below.