I sat down to dinner with a fellow bilingual teacher last night and we started to share some of the successes that we have had with classroom management over the past year. As we talked I realized that I was nervous about being a part of a school that doesn't have a school wide behavior managment program (though they are starting something this year and I'm excited to be a part of that.) It is one of the things that I think worked wonders in my former school (coupled with No Excuses University which I personally think everyone should get on board with.) As we talked I began to try to rework my personal classroom system because I am always trying to get better/more efficient. Born from my coworker whose room I have shared for the past two years, my system involves individual sticker charts (grids of about 25 squares) that students must fill before they can visit the prize box. Stickers are given every morning at the beginning of the day for homework and then sporatically throughout the day for awesome deeds and participation. While students are getting ready for lunch I open the prize box for less than five minutes for students whose charts are full. This system works way better than anything I've done before and so, with everything else that is changing this year i've decided that it is the one thing that will remain constant. Just let me tell you why...
1. It is interactive. There is something to be said for interactive teaching and I'm a fan of anything that gets you moving around the room and connecting face to face with students even during whole group instruction.
2. It is not obtrusive. Students leave their charts on the desk and you can come over and reward them without even stopping your lecture.
3. It teaches responsibility. Students are required to keep track if their own charts and must start over again at zero if they lose theirs.
4. It minimizes classroom crime. Students have names at the top of their chart and stickers take some effort to peel off so students are forced into an honest situation.
5. Students recieve immediate reinforcement. Instead of waiting until the end of the day or the end of a lesson, students are reinforced for positive behavior as it occurs.
6. It is a good motivator. If I am having a rough class with students who are slow to volunteer I have only to pick up a sheet of stickers and their eyes and ears and hands perk right up.
7. It is low maintenance. Sometimes I even allow other students to be in charge of stickers if it is going to be cumbersome for me. The prizes are quick to distribute and it is not something that needs time slotted for it even daily (charts take a while to fill).
This year I noticed that the system turned a little but stale toward the end if the year. One week we put away charts, took out some ziploc bags, wrote their names on them and did the exact same system using flat marbles. The marbles had a monetary value and at the end of the week I pulled some of the prizes from the box and we had an auction. It was really fun and even reinforced the value of money. So what I'm saying is...
8. It is versatile: easy to adapt and make new again.