The Negative "Stop" and the Positive "Thank You"
One simple trick to keep students behaving as expected is a simple "thank you." Many students tune out negatives - they hear it so often. "Johnny, stop playing with that!" To correct a student, often saying "thank you" and following that with the behavior you expect will immediately correct the action. For example, students are misbehaving in line. A simple "thank you for standing in line patiently" to the student in front of the misbehaved students will usually correct the situation. Another example is when a student is running down the hallway. If you say, "Johnny, thank you for walking," they will halt themselves and walk. No negatives were needed to correct the behavior. This simple trick helps schools stay a positive place. Surprising the "thank you" tactic works at all levels. Try it out!
Red, Yellow, and Green Cards for K-8 Classroom Management
Need a positive way to manage your classroom? Want less distractions in class and more good behavior? Try my green, yellow, and red card system.
Each student can draw their name on the first day of school and then decorate a pocket for their cards. Then, each morning, the cards are populated with green, yellow and red cards. If students don't follow directions or rules, one card gets flipped. Attach rewards and consequences to keep this a fun system for students.
- Every green card is signed and sent home for parents to sign. Students save up their green cards. At the quarter, bring in items or create passes (bathroom pass, one day late homework pass, etc...) to auction off at the end of the quarter with the green cards a currency.
- Red cards require a missed recess and reflection form to fill out during that recess. On another post, I will discuss a quality reflection form.
- If cards get pulled from green, to yellow, to red, and they make another mistake and the card gets turned back to green from red, then I say green means go. The student is having a bad day and needs to discuss classroom behavior with a principal.
Your rewards and consequences may be different but this system works great to keep students on task, learning, and following the rules online.
How Much Class Time Do You Waste Waiting on Unorganized Students?
My students keep a binder organized with all of their work inside from the quarter in order. This creates a quarter portfolio at the end of the quarter. Also, it eliminates all time wasted on students finding papers.
Many teachers don't show students how to organize themselves. This is not an innate characteristic. Students need modeling. They need a system.
My system is to number every assignment starting with the first assignment of the quarter. Each assignment has a number and these assignment numbers are logged on my schedule (which I discuss in a different post). Students look on the schedule and write the assignment number and subject along with their name and date at the top of the page. These numbers correlate to their grade because each number is worth X amount of points.
So each assignment has a number and each subject has a divider. After each assignment is corrected or complete then it is filed in the proper place. No more wasted time - No more stacks of papers in backpacks - No MORE!
Finding Your Inner Alpha Wolf
Having trouble with students calling out? Are there disruptions or distractions in your classroom that continue after trying everything? Sounds like you need to study wolf packs.
While at a superintendents meeting, I spoke with another colleague about teaching. Our conversation lead to her discussing how teachers need to have an "inner alpha wolf." She went on to describe a wolf pack and how without a clear leader, or alpha wolf, each member of the pack tries to stand up and take control. While others are continuing to do the same. Without a clear leader, each wolf struggles for control. A new wolf can enter the pack, lay down the law, and become the alpha wolf and all fighting for leadership stops.
Relate analogy to your classroom. Are students trying to fight for control and leadership of the class? Are you being the absolute leader of the class as the "alpha wolf" or are you allowing the pack to struggle for power?
Streaming Music in the Classroom
Do you want need a way to keep students calm? Try some streamed music playing low in class during guided practice, independent practice, reading times, or review activities. However, be careful who you stream from - lyrics, words, and commercials may distract from the calmness.
I usually stream from the sky.fm piano station. The commercials are not that bad and the kids feel the music but do not notice. Also, if you pick one station, students don't argue over the music - they just accept that it is the one station that you are listening to. Lastly, this station sometimes plays some recognizable piano songs which adds to the mix.
After a break or recess, while students walk in the door, place the music on low tell students "I want to hear to the music." This helps to end the battle for a quiet and calm classroom.
I use this link to pick a piano station for my classroom mood.
Printed Schedule for Students Saves Time in Classrooms
As adults, when you go to a meeting, conference, or class - you are given a schedule of your day. You can anticipate your day and know how information is going to be organized and presented. Please see the format of my schedule at the link below.
Daily Schedule for Mr. Peete's Class
This schedule is provided to students every morning. It has all announcements provided to students in-case they forget them when provided orally. Parents know to check the schedule for important information. All assignments are placed on the schedule according to the time they will occur during the day. Then, a running list of assignments, in number order, is provided for students to keep their binder organized. We have binder checks where all assignments need to be placed in the correct place in the binder. These assignments are developed into a portfolio at the end of the quarter and is worth a percentage of their grade. Lastly, all students know what is required of them at that they are at school to do a job.
Printed schedules for students ends the questions:
- What are we going to do today?
- What are we going to do next?
- Where do I put this assignment in our binder?
- What did I miss when I was absent?
- What problems are for independent practice?
- MANY MORE!
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