The picture above is of my actual classroom clip system. They start each day on green. If they’re being a model student, they get to move their clip up. Those students are my helpers (aka superstars). Students have to move their clip to the right and down for not-so-model behavior. Each color has a set amount of recess time. I’m not going into too much detail regarding my specific system, because I don’t think that it’s what helps my class run smoothly. Instead it’s the principals behind my behavior management system that make it run smoothly. Having good behavior management skills is just as important as having strong academic knowledge. Without both people will rarely be successful teachers. Following is an attempt to summarize my beliefs.
Build a strong relationship with your students. If your students don’t know you truly care for them, you’re going to struggle all year.
Make their learning experience positive, rigorous, meaningful, relevant, and attainable. Getting students to comply is 100 times easier when they understand the relevance of what you’re teaching to their lives, and believe they can succeed. Be very explicit whenever possible. Sell them on the importance of what you’re teaching. Learning, when optimized, is very gratifying. If they want to be in the activity you’re doing, they’ll be more mindful of their behavior. I know you won’t always be able to have lessons like this, but if you help your students get used to being good learners, it will carry over into the lessons that aren’t as conducive to being positive, rigorous, relevant, and meaningful.
Be consistent and spontaneously inconsistent. In the beginning, show your students that you mean what you say. Let them know that you’re not going to give 10 warnings, and then yell and lecture before you doll out consequences. One you’ve established consistency, then spontaneously be inconsistent. Occasionally, when I don’t feel like checking homework, I’ll tell me kids if they forgot their home work then they just got super lucky because I’m not checking it today. This way they have boundaries, but they also see a fun side of me.
There’s so much more I could say… I really think I could write a book! However, my NUMBER ONE principal with behavior management is to NEVER, I REPEAT, NEVER, take away their hope. In my class they know that they always have the opportunity to earn something back. I forewarn them they earning something back takes more effort than getting it in the first place, but it’s never unattainable. This helps tremendously when getting kids back on track for the day.