I posted this last school year but am re-posting to join up with What the Teacher Wants’ Behavior Management Linky Party!
Classroom management is something I struggled with during my first student teaching placement in a 3rd grade classroom. I simply did not yet have the confidence needed to discipline the kids, especially with my co-op always in the room (I’m one of those people who works better without other adults watching me…). It was a struggle, but I eventually found my groove. There is simply nothing a college class can do to prepare you for an actual classroom in terms of management!
When I entered my next placement in a 6th grade classroom, I was even more concerned because I wasn’t sure how 6th graders would react to being disciplined, and I didn’t want to be that teacher! But surprisingly, dealing with the older kids was even easier for me. I showed them right away that I would respect them as long as they respected me. This seemed like such a small thing at the time, but it made a world of a difference. I had very few problems with these kiddos and I knew that I was starting to find my stride as a teacher.
Enter my own classroom. I knew I needed some sort of procedure that would be implemented from the start that was fair, easy to handle, and fun for the kids. Pulling together a few ideas from classrooms I had observed over the years, I came up with KICKBACK Time!
Every student has the above sticker on the corner of his/her desk. I simply used easy peel post-it stickers and printed the KICKBACK letters on labels. Each letter in the word KICKBACK stands for two minutes of free time on Friday afternoons, meaning that every Friday afternoon the students receive 16 minutes of free time. However, if a student misbehaves, disobeys, or is other disrespectful, they will be asked to cross off a letter, resulting in the loss of two minutes of free time. For every letter crossed off, they continue to lose two minutes of free time. They are also required to fill out a form that explains why they lost a letter and how they will fix that behavior. This form gets sent home and signed by a parent so that the parents are aware of what happened in school that day:
Students not only lose letters for misbehaving but also for not being prepared in class. For example, I have had several students forget to bring their homework planners in from their backpack every day. This was unacceptable in 5th grade, so I started to take away KICKBACK letters every time they forgot. And has it happened since?? Not once!
The kids love the free time at the end of a busy week. They are allowed to do anything they’d like to in the classroom – draw on the board, play games (I have a good selection of board games), go on the computer (I draw names every week for this), sit and talk, read a book, etc. Sometimes we take a vote and go to the gym, or the roof if it is a nice day out (the roof is a huge area on top of the building where the kids can run around = don’t worry, it is completely fenced in and 100% safe!), but usually we end up hanging out in the classroom.
If a student has lost a letter (or 2, or 3…), they are asked to sit at their desk quietly until their time is up. I keep meaning to pick up a timer so that they can visually see how much time they have left. After they get up, we quickly talk about their wrong behavior and how it can be fixed.
Now that I am in my 4th year of the system, I feel like I finally have it down to a T. I am not afraid to take away letters like I sometimes was in my 1st year, and I know the students benefit from the consequence because I have seen a decrease in the negative behaviors when letters are taken away. They love KICKBACK time and don’t want to miss out on the fun!
So that’s how I deal with management issues. What is your management procedure??