Thursday, July 26, 2012

Classroom Management: Nothing to do with clips

Hola Amigos!
I am already an awful blogger, I haven't been here since Tuesday! Once I get back into my usual ways and usual work schedule, you will hear more from me, whether you like it or not! hehe.
With the bustle of everyone working hard to set up their classrooms, I wanted to share what we do at our school for classroom management/behavior. I especially wanted to share to give something to think about when setting up your classrooms.
At our school, we do Positive Behavior Support (PBS). I found this great site that talks much about what it is and how it is used and puts it in a "fact sheet" format. You can find that site here. Basically what we do is focus everything on the positive. We think carefully about what we say and how we say it to the children to focus attention on the positive. Most of the time, negative behaviors come from frustration, impatience and/or are attention seeking behaviors. Instead of feeding the negative or inappropriate behaviors with attention, we focus on the behaviors that we expect from the student(s). For example, if George is really wiggly or is talking out of turn, we might say, "Wow, I really like how Sammy is waiting his turn to share his answer, thank you Sammy." George may catch on and wait his turn as well. We didn't give George the attention and we stated the behavior expected without pointing out George. We focused on the positive to switch the behavior. I know that there have been many times where I ask one student to stop doing something and I turn around and five other students are doing it too. That used to drive me crazy! By focusing my attention on the behaviors that are expected, I can eliminate this easily. You will often hear me say, "I am looking for a leader who looks like...." Silence fills the room, the students are quickly adjusting their bodies and voices. "Who looks like Jack. He is showing his eyes watching, his ears listening and his body still. Is there anyone else that is showing they can be a leader and show their friends what we should be doing? Oh, I see Sarah is ready and this student is ready and this student is ready. Thank you for being ready friends." By this time, the student who was talking or not paying attention, is looking around to see what everyone else is doing to jump on board. Also, my school is an inclusive school where students have behaviors that you may not see in a typical classroom. By focusing on the positive, we are providing a positive learning experience for all students.
There are no clip charts here. There is something about them that always make my stomach hurt just a little. I know that they are successful for many people but I am not one of them.
To continue with our Positive Behavior Support, we use Marbles, Wands and Treasure Box. PBS is a schoolwide philosophy but is implemented in similar ways but still varies from grade level to grade level.

Marbles are awarded to the whole class for everything and anything. You might hear me say (with my back turned), "I am looking for a leader who, WOW! the whole class is ready? Let's give ourselves some points for our marble jar." When we fill up our marble jar, we decide, as a class, how we want to celebrate our success. I usually sway their votes to a pajama party, gotta love kindergarten! I keep a tally on the board of all of the points earned and a marble counter comes up at the end of each day to count all of the points and count the marbles into our jar. Everyone is counting! Math standard? Check!
Marble Jar. I have a marble counter that counts all of our earned marbles into the jar on the right. When we hit the pink line, we earn a MARBLE PARTY!

Wands are given to the students for each part of the day. After each activity, we earn a wand for following the classroom rules (more on those later). If there was a student who was having a hard time with the rules, they may not earn a wand for that part of the day. Still, there is opportunity to earn another wand in order to make up for it: the "Good Citizen" wand. The most important part of the marbles and wands is that we never, EVER take them away after they have earned them. After all that hard work? No way. The way I like to explain this to parents is by thinking about it as our paychecks. We earn our money each day but if we have a bad hour or so, our boss doesn't take away the money we have already earned! Why should we take away what they have already earned? We don't. Say the student is just having an awful day then their consequence is not earning any wands for the day which means no key. The wands are nothing more than a colored popsicle stick.
Here you can see the day broken up and the color wand (popsicle stick) for each part of the day. Class meeting is orange, centers is yellow and so on. The GOOD CITIZEN is the pink wand. This wand is earned by those who go above and beyond. I have a label for each part of the day that matches my daily schedule.  I attach these with magnets.
Wands chart for PBS

I keep my popsicle sticks "wands" right under my chart for easy access.

Wands chart. Library pockets laminated. I place students' names and pictures on each pocket to keep all year long.
Keys. Oh the beloved keys. Think of these as the paychecks and the wands as your days clocked in. The keys are given at the end of the day to the students who have earned all of their wands. 5 wands = 1 key. 3 keys = treasure box! I know that some people cringe at the thought of a treasure box but it is what works for now. I consider switching it up every now and then but I haven't found anything that I like yet. Sooo, the Keys are given out each day and whomever has earned 3 keys get to open up the treasure box. I keep their keys in a library pocket chart like the wands. I just laminate and slit the pockets open. Each student has their own. Most students walk into the classroom and say, "Wow, I have 2 keys today, I hope I can go to the treasure box." My response is usually, "I hope so, too!" Keys aren't anything special either. They are tongue depressors with glitter on them. Man, do they get the kiddos excited though! You can see them in the blue bucket in the picture above. After the students open up the treasure box, I take out all 3 keys and start again.
Keys for PBS. 5 wands=1key, 3keys=Treasure box. Each student has their own pocket to keep track of what they have earned.
Phew! That's a long post.
I hope this gives someone something to think about. Let me know what you think. I am so proud of what we do for our students but I also know that this isn't for everyone and their group of students. 

What do YOU see as the pros and/or cons?


  1. Well, You got me thinking! I have only done kindergarten 1 year and used a similar posicle stick motivation and a compliment chain that earned class parties. Then I used a traffic light system and gotta say, it wasn't that amazing. The most frustrating part was that I had two girls (weird right?) change their color like everyday! I would love to try just the PBS thing but I have always lost consistancy to rewarding. And it was SOOO hard to keep my treasure box full! I need to find a cheaper way of staying stocked. (you know teacher salaries don't leave a lot of room for spending;) Check out my blog! I'm kinda new to it, but super proud!

    1. I'm glad I got you thinking! I absolutely think everyone should try the PBS way. My treasure box is filled with dollar tree items, party favors and other low cost items. I also ask parents to donate things like that or McDonald's toys, old toys and whatever else they think will help. It did take some time for me to stay consistent but it is totally worth it in the end.
      Good Luck! I'm happy to help.
      Kindergarten Schmindergarten

  2. I previously used positive behavior support to my PreK class and it worked wonders! It's so much better than "don't do that!" Last year I had a tally chart for each table to receive rewards. This helped students work as a team and they really were competitive with one another..Thanks for this :)

    1. YES! "Don't do that" is like telling them "do it more!" At least in my experience. Thanks for dropping by!

      Kindergarten Schmindergarten

  3. Love these ideas. I work with Pre-Kindergarteners but think these will easily work with them too.