Do you ever feel like being a teacher is like being a magician? Managing my class this year takes some real magic. Here are a few tricks I am pulling out of my sleeve to help my students concentrate on good behavior.
1. We use a star chart in my room, where students start on 3 stars and can move up or down, depending on their behavior choices. The number of stars is then recorded in their agendas, and hopefully noted by their parents. (You can tell whose parents are checking based on who gets upset when their number is less than 3!)
2. In addition to the star chart, there is a reward program. If you have 4, 5, or 6 stars at the end of the day, you put in a “raffle” for the reward of taking blue fish home. One of my kids’ favorite books is One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss. I have a stuffed animal of Blue Fish, and this is their favorite reward. They are also starting to realize that some of the same people get to take him home each day, so now some students who don’t often get to take him are pushing for better behavior, so that they can also bring home Blue Fish.
3. In the beginning of the year, we read How Full is Your Bucket? by Tom Rath and Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud. Both books talk about being kind and respectful to others as a way to make both yourself and others feel good. After we read them, we created buckets and I hung them on the wall. Whenever someone is caught filling a bucket, we add a sticker to their bucket. Every 3-4 weeks, we re-read these books and talk about filling buckets, and we use the words all the time. I have even talked to them about how when I raise my voice at them, it empties my bucket and their bucket at the same time. It’s taken awhile, but now they regularly tell me when someone fills or empties their bucket, using just those words.
4. The last trick I pull on my kids is the oldest trick in the book. I look for that one kid who’s doing exactly what I want and I give them whatever the other kids want. Sometimes it’s just praise (“I like how xxx’s listening.”), but I’ve also been known to give out stickers, pencils, and extra privileges to students caught “being good”. Generally, it only takes one or two kids getting something different for the other kids to whip themselves into shape (for the next few minutes at least.)
So, those are my magic tricks – what are yours? Post a comment telling us how you keep your students on their best behavior.
P.S. Be on the look out for some EXTRA special blog posts coming that will include a way to win a $15 TPT Gift Certificate!
Am I the only one sick of hearing, “He stuck his tongue out at me!”? My kids have been driving each other crazy, and then telling me all about it. I know it’s just that time of the year where they have gotten comfortable with each other and know how to to annoy each other, but goodness gracious!!! Here is a list of the top 10 tattletales I have heard in the last week:
10. He stuck his tongue out at me.
9. He took my eraser.
8. He took her paper. (For some reason they like to tattle for their friends too, even if they weren’t involved.)
7. He touched something in my desk. (When we do centers, we sit at each other’s desks, so I get this one a lot!)
6. He sat where I wanted to sit.
5. He laughed at me.
4. He told me to shut up. (I don’t know about your classrooms, but shut up is like a curse word in mine, so this one’s a big deal to the kids.)
3. He cut me. (In line, of course.)
2. He threw a pencil.
1. He called me a bad name in Arabic. (This is a big one in my room, because most of my students speak Arabic and know that I don’t, so they think they can get away with it. I have convinced my kids that I know enough Arabic to know if they are cursing in Arabic. And, yes I teach 1st grade, but they seem to know quite a few Arabic curse words, as I write down what they say and check them at home with my husband.)
My solution to the tattle tale problem? I tell my kids I don’t need to know about it unless it hurts them, and if they tattle tale on something that doesn’t hurt them they will get in trouble right along with the person they are getting in trouble. I don’t know that this is the best solution, but it is helping. Of course, the other end of the story is that we talk a lot about being kind and filling each other’s buckets etc. etc. I’d love to hear if you have a good solution to tattling. Please comment here if you have a great solution to tattling!
P.S. If you’re wondering, the boys in the pictures are my sons, not my students. (Don’t worry, they tattle plenty too!)