Classroom Management

Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Classroom/behavior management either makes or breaks a class. It is crucial for teachers to have a good handle on how they expect to manage their classrooms. Going into teaching and wanting to be a kindergarten teacher, it was important for me to observe multiple different classrooms to see what was working and what was not working. I also drew upon my past experiences to help give me an idea of how I want to manage behavior in my classroom.

Here are tools that I saw being used in K-2 classrooms for behavior:

- Behavior Cards: Each student has a pocket, and then 4 different colored cards; green, yellow, orange, and red. Students would have to change their card based upon behavior - bad behavior/warnings change card from green to yellow, etc. This chart was always very visible in the classroom and almost served as a focal point. Strangers walking into the room would immediately notice the behavior chart.
- Clothespins/Color Ladder: I really liked this idea that I saw in a second grade classroom. I don't know if it would work in a kindergarten class, but I loved it. On a wall, there are different colors of paper, laminated. In the middle is green. Each student has a clothespin with his or her name on it. If the student does something well, then the teacher has the student "clip up." Once the student reaches the top color, then a tally mark is placed on their pin and possibly a prize given. If the student does not behave/listen/etc. the student "clips down." However, instead of being set in one color, the student has the opportunity to clip back up if they can change their behavior. I think this is great because it allows students to take more responsibility for their actions. They aren't set on a certain color once they get there, they have the opportunity to show the teacher that they can improve their behavior.
- Sticks: This was used in my fourth grade classroom. There were two cups, a blue and a red cup at the front of the room. All of the students had a stick in the blue cup with his or her name on it. We got three warnings (the teacher kept track). On the third warning, we had to move our stick to the red cup; sticks were moved back to the blue cup every day. Then, at the end of the week, if you didn't move your stick, you got one "Pettit dollar," (Ms. Pettit was our teacher). Every month, we got to "shop" in the treasure chest and redeem our dollars for goods.
- My Idea: I like aspects of all of the three ideas I presented. My idea is this: Use the cups with sticks, but have a rainbow of cups so students can move up or down. Have the cups at the back of the room, not in the front of the classroom. These are not a focal point of the classroom, but a manner to improve behavior and teach expectations. Have prizes such as reading a part from a favorite class book, coloring, etc. as opposed to material items (stickers, toys, etc.). I feel that in kindergarten, they do need the structure of a behavior tool, but that the good students should also be rewarded and students should have the opportunity to improve their behavior and that the teacher should recognize that. There appears to be much emphasis on calling out the "bad" students but not as much praise for those who behave. I'd like to tackle that and see how it would work in having the best of all of the ideas listed.

Teachers: any suggestions or studies you'd like to share? I love hearing new ideas on classroom management!

Ms. Longo

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