Effective management is one of the most vital components of your classroom. Mastering, or consistently working towards mastery, of this is an absolute must in order to ensure an optimal learning environment. As you learned in my previous post, I am an anti-clip chart teacher (no eye rolls please). Instead, my approach is much more student-centered and POSITIVE! Here are three tips, tricks, and/or tools that I use or have used in my classroom to encourage good behavior on the individual level:
1.) Punch Cards:
My students are so into these right now and their quest to earn “punches” for their cards is insane! Here’s how I got started …
I downloaded these FREE behavior punch cards from TPT and printed them onto colored paper. I then let my students choose one card and explained how a “punch” could be earned. You helped a friend without being asked? PUNCH! You were respectful to a teacher or an adult? PUNCH! You used good self-control on the carpet? PUNCH! My two biggest rules when doing this is that students cannot ask for punches for their card and once a punch was given, it could not be taken away – positive remember? Once a punch card is full, the possibilities are endless! You could reward your children with… a trip to the treat box, free time on the iPads, or my students’ personal favorite, lunch with me in the classroom!
I keep a jar full of Skittles on my desk at all times and when I see a student making a responsible choice, I give them a Skittle! These little tokens of encouragement have helped me at even my most desperate moments as a teacher. A good example of this in use would be in the afternoons when my Kinders are exhausted from a busy day. During this time, I need them to hang on a little longer and get through our intervention block. Often times I’ll say, “Mrs. Pierce is looking for friends that are focused, so they can earn a participation Skittle.” I make sure not to abuse this though. Most of the time, my students will receive only 1 or 2 Skittles throughout the school day. I’m all about intrinsic motivation, but, sometimes, a little sugar goes a long way!
3.) Smiles, Hugs, and Words of Affirmation:
This one is super easy and doesn’t require any real work on your part! Students often spend more of their time with you than they do with their own families! Why not make this time special and happy? A little wink, a gentle smile, some kinds words or even a hug just to let them know you care and are proud of them. These acts can go a long way with a child and, many times, they will work harder for you because it’s in them to want to please you!
I hope these suggestions have given you something to think about or maybe a little inspiration for your own classroom.
Until next time, keep influencing the world and stay positive!