Friday, August 26, 2011

Classroom Management

I teach at a Title 1 school (meaning more than 90% of our students are registered under the poverty line.) The kids are the most precious children I have ever seen in a school.  However, every classroom needs to have expectations. I do not have a set of rules, because I don't believe that is a good representation of what needs to go on. In my classrom, I expect the kids to be respectful, be responsible, and be safe. We discuss this in many ways in the first few weeks of school. Once way is to have the kids brainstorm different actions that they need to take in the classroom, dining hall, playground, hall way, field trips, etc. They create a bubble map together at their cluster of tables. They then cut out the pieces and discuss what expectation their action would fall under.
We come together as a whole group and discuss using a homemade anchor chart. The kids glue their pieces in the correct section as a group.
The next day, I have typed up the actions the kids wrote and I have them cut, sort, and paste the actions on their own sheet of paper that they carry in their homework folder (behind their behavior chart.)
As we talk about being respectful, I read the book "Have You Filled a Bucket Today" by Carol McCloud. The thought is that everyone has an invisible bucket that can only be filled by other's respect. No one can fill their own bucket, but many people try. The people who try are usually "spilling" other people's bucket.
At the end of the story, many people have an ACTUAL bucket with items to "fill it" with. I have tried that, but the bucket gets knocked over and items fly everywhere, soooo I decided on a different method. I print a simple bucket icon and cut it out. We then "fill it" with stickers.
Obviously, the teacher can choose HOW the students earn their stickers as a class. My students earn a sticker in the hallway EVERYTIME someone compliments the class as a whole. They can also earn 2stickers from specials teachers, cafeteria workers, custodians, etc. But the BEST part, is that they can earn 5stickers if a substitute has a GREAT day with them and leaves me a note. This helps give the kids a goal with their behavior.

I also have a ticket system that my school has adopted from me. Each student can earn tickets for various actions - finishing work early, getting an A, following directions, working hard, helping others, staying on task, etc. The school does a weekly raffle (each teacher draws a ticket from their classroom and turns it into the office to be called out. The kids get a pencils or something from the front treasure box.)
However, I take the ticket system a bit further. I don't know who told me about this, but it was NOT my idea. I created a store (usually I buy cheap toys in bulk from Oriental Trading, Deals, or the Dollar tree.) The kids collect their tickets throughout the week (or 2weeks in my classroom) so that they can "buy" items from my store. I then take THOSE tickets to the office after they have been "spent."
These have worked WONDERFULLY for me. I've used the ticket system for the last 4 years in 4th and 2nd grade. It really works!

Enjoy!

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