Monday, August 6, 2012

Classroom Management.

If you head on over to Clutter-Free Classroom, she's done a whole showcase of different clip-charts, a standard in behavior management.  I like clip charts for the ease, the small amount of space they take up, and the fact that you can customize the sayings to your classroom. I've seen "Rock Star" themed clip charts that had sayings like, "Tour Canceled", "Platinum Record", etc...Mine would probably say stuff like, "Cherry on Top!"  "Mixing Dough," or "Broken Eggs."  It could also be shaped like a cupcake, with levels being the cherry, sprinkles, frosting, cake, and wrapper. 

Another system I really like for younger grades, is the daily calender.  This, combined with the color charts, are de rigeur for K and 1st at my school.  Students get a color (blue is the highest, then green, yellow, sometimes orange and then red) based on how their day was.  A Cupcake for the Teacher has SUPER CUTE calendars for this year, with a system I really like for that age group:  Behavior corresponds to a number, so if the student had a not-so-great day because they were constantly talking out of turn, the teacher would write a '1' on that day.  This method helps the teacher, the student, and the parent keep track of what skills their child needs to work on. 

Here's where it gets tricky - you have 20-something five and six year old students students.  At the beginning of the year, when you're still learning their names and their personalities and they're bouncing off the walls because this might be their first time in big school.  At the end of the day, when pack-up time is it's standard chaos, are you going to remember every child's infractions?  That is where the card system comes in.

I saw this in a first grade classroom and immediately liked it.  Maybe you have 4 key behaviors that students need to be careful of:  Talking, Not completing work, Hurting someone else,  Being disrespectful.  These behaviors correlate to numbers on your calendar but also to colored cards/strips of paper.  You have a poster with library pockets labeled with the students names or numbers, and when one of these behaviors occurs, they pull a card and put it in their pocket.  Maybe you're doing a read-aloud and Jessica keeps whispering to her friend.  She gets a warning ("Jessica, please stop talking and let your friend hear the story,") and then must pull a card ("Jessica, you did not stop talking.  Please go pull a talking card.")  At the end of the day, you check the pocket, you put the numbers on the calendar, and you're good to go!

Now, it's not a huge secret that I would love to teach older grades - specifically 4th, because that is the grade my babies (the kids I've had in the after school program, and kids I student taught with) will be in this year.  I think the pocket charts, the calendars, and the clip charts are great for communicating the kind of day that students had to students and parents, but for older grades I'd prefer something that makes them take responsibility for their actions.  I have exactly figured out what that is yet, but I'm working on it.  I do have a positive reinforcement system that translates to a classroom economy, called "Cupcake Cash", and I plan to use it in every grade level, but nothing for consequences at this juncture. 

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