Classroom management comes together and sets the tone when the teacher is clear and direct. To create and maintain classroom management throughout the year, I feel that the teacher needs to keep these specific ideas in mind:
- Start classroom management strategies from day 1
- Include your students in the process
- Be “with it,” occupy your space, and be proactive (Marzano 2007)
Not one specific classroom management style is better than the next, but it’s important to use strategies that work for you.
Decision Chart Diagram (<–Click Me)
Here is a look at how I have and will make decisions in my class. It provides an overview of rules and procedures, and how they are implemented.
Class Dojo: A Behavior Tracking System (Life Saver)
So, first and foremost, I am a firm believer in students having a strong role in classroom management. For that reason, in the past, I have asked students to describe what their ideal classroom looks like, what behaviors they feel are acceptable in class, and what behaviors they feel should not be accepted in the classroom. I also think that all students need to have a good understanding of what I expect from them, and for this reason, I like to use this activity in the beginning of the school year in conjunction with Class Dojo.
Class Dojo is a program that ties behavior management to a reinforcement and consequence system that is illustrated through attractive avatars and a point system. The program is completely visual and makes it really easy to understand when a teacher is either adding a point for good behavior, or taking away a point for class disruption.
This program is a great asset as it incorporates a lot of different strategies to get students involved in their own behavior management. For one, it is incredibly visual, and students get to create their own avatars to their liking, getting them involved with the program itself online where they can track their own behavior, and giving them ownership over their own behavior. It also allows for the parent contingency, as teachers can send out codes to parents to get them signed up and tracking their student’s behavior online anytime they want.
For parents without internet access, the teacher can print out a clear and colorful behavior progress chart for each individual student to be signed and sent back the next day. This chart details all of the plus points the student has received and for what (i.e. three points for raising hand before speaking, two points for working hard), which might give the parent incentive to praise their child for their good behavior. Alternatively, if a student had a rough day and has lost points, the parent may aid in punishment by asking their child to try to work harder when at school.
Another great element is the ability to use the group contingency. The teacher can use this in one of two ways. First, the teacher can group students if they are working collaboratively with one another and award or take away points from the whole group at one time. This will give group members incentives to do well, as they don’t want to be the weakest link, and disappoint their fellow group members. Second, a teacher could use the group contingency to affect the whole class. For example, if a portion of the students are being noisy, the teacher could provide two options. If the class is quiet, listening, and attentive for the rest of the day, the teacher will award the whole class a point however, if a few students continue not to listen and talk over the teacher or one another, everyone in class will lose two points. Similar to the first example, more often than not, one student will not want to be the reason for the whole class to lose a point, and the rest of the students that are listening, will help the teacher enforce the quiet and listening rule for the rest of the day.
As if I haven’t praised Class Dojo enough yet (yes, it does deserve a sticker), there is one very important element that I have left out. Tracking behavior over the course of the day, a week, a month, alerts the teacher to trends in positive and negative behavior, and helps the teacher be proactive in their praise or consequences. For example, while recording behavior, I might notice that a specific student is getting a lot of minus points for talking out of turn. This now signals me to a potential problem I may have throughout the week, and I can stop the behavior before it happens by making sure I’m “occupying the room” by spending more time around that student’s desk or keeping my eye on the student so he/she knows that I’m on it.
Receiving Points: Acknowledging and Praising Good Behavior
Some examples of positive behaviors that I would praise and award points for throughout the day are as follows:
- Raising hand before speaking
- Working hard
- Helping another student in the class
- Completing homework
- Transitioning from one activity to another quietly and quickly
I will use this program to show students their point values throughout the day by putting it on the screen in front of class. This will keep the students aware of how their behaviors are being monitored, and show them their daily progress. In conjunction with giving points to individual students or groups of students, I will also use verbal and nonverbal cues to praise good behavior. For example, if a student is working hard, I may give them a thumbs up or a smile and a nod to show that I have noticed their great work. Or if the class lined up quickly and quietly, I might say to them, “You have lined up really well, thank you,” to praise them for their good effort. Not all positive behavior will make it into the Dojo system (i.e. respecting one another, good work with class jobs which will be discussed further below, etc.), so it will be important to employ additional strategies (specifically verbal and nonverbal cues) that praise students for good work.
Lastly, I will try to message one student’s parent per day, to praise one of their good behaviors. This will give me a chance to get to know the parents and let the students know that their good behavior isn’t going unnoticed.
Losing Points: A Series of Graduated Actions Addressing Negative Behavior with Direct Consequences
Some examples of negative behaviors that would lose points are the following:
- Talking out of turn
- Didn’t complete homework
- Fooling around in class
- Fighting (which would be weighted for minus two or three points)
- Bullying (which would also be weighted for minus two or three points)
While simply receiving a negative point works well for some students, others will need additional consequences to fully understand that they’re current attitude isn’t acceptable in the classroom. In addition to subtracting points, I will use the following series of graduated actions addressing negative behavior in the classroom:
- One minus point on Class Dojo: Looking at the student (Disapproving teacher look)
- Two minus points: Moving Toward the student
- Three minus points: Verbal warning
- Four minus points: Private discussion with teacher
- Five minus points: Move seat away from buddies and next to teacher
Any loss of points beyond here will have to be dealt with depending on the student’s behavior issue. For one, I would send home the student’s individualized Class Dojo behavior pie chart to the parents, and ask for it to be signed and returned the next day, ensuring that the parents knew that today was rough, and in hopes that they would have a chat with their child. If the behavior was very severe, I would contact the parents either via phone or directly on the Class Dojo private messaging service to discuss the next steps for fixing the issue.
For any ongoing behavior issues, I would work with the parents and student to create a behavior contract, agreed to by all parties, and use an individualized checklist appropriate for the students behavior issue, to work on changing that behavior over the course of the year.
Procedures: Additional Strategies to Help Keep Students Engaged and Promote Positive Behavior
While losing points are an easy way for students to visualize specifically when their behavior is inappropriate, and needs to be changed into positive behavior, there are other strategies that I would specifically employ to get students involved and amped about positive behavior.
One way to promote responsibility in class is to create class jobs. It allows for students that feel the need to get out of the chair more often, the opportunity do so in a constructive and helpful way. Additionally, they feel responsibility over their job and making sure that they complete their it well. For example, some great classroom jobs as noted in Classroom Jobs for All Your Student Helpers (Wolfe), I would like to incorporate the following jobs that help to provide “positive interventions to limit negative behavior in difficult students” (Possible Classroom Consequences):
- Paper Handler: passes out and/or collects class work, homework, blank paper, and so forth.
- Alphabetizer: puts stacks of notebooks or papers in alphabetical order so record-keeping is easier and faster for the teacher
- Messenger: delivers notes to other teachers or to the office
- Nurse Buddy: accompanies students to the nurse’s office if they are sick or hurt
- Librarian: keeps library neat and recommends a favorite book during a morning meeting
- Ambassador: helps visitors or new students learn their way around and keeps them company at lunch and recess; explains classroom projects or displays to parents or visitors with questions
- Recycling Chief: ensures bins are emptied regularly and reminds students to recycle whenever possible
- Pencil Patrol: sharpens all pencils that need to be sharpened at specific times during the day
It All Comes Together
Using all of these procedures for promoting positive behavior, praising the good and giving out consequences for the bad, work together to create a happy classroom with consistent class management rules. They provide clear direction to the students on good behavior and give the teacher the ability to track behaviors over the course of the year in case any need to be corrected.
Class Dojo. (n.d.) Retrieved from https://www.classdojo.com/
Consequences Hierarchies for Elementary – 3 Samples. (n.d.) Retrieved March 7, 2016 from http://www.consciousteaching.com/web/wp-content/uploads/Hierarchy.ELEMENTARY.pdf
Lucidchart. (n.d.). Retrieved March 07, 2016, from https://www.lucidchart.com/
Marzano, R. J. (2007). The art and science of teaching: A comprehensive framework for effective instruction. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
Possible Classroom Consequences. (n.d.). Retrieved March 7, 2016 from http://flpbs.fmhi.usf.edu/Modelschools_08_09/Artifacts/Collier/Veterns%20Memorial%20Elementary/Classroom%20Consequences.pdf
Wolfe, S. (n.d.). Classroom Jobs for All Your Student Helpers | Scholastic.com. Retrieved March 07, 2016, from http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/classroom-jobs-all-your-student-helpers