Top 3 Classroom Behavior Tips!

You know the honeymoon stage at school, right?  That's the time when your new students are on their best behavior while they figure out who's who and how they fit in or can attempt to take control.  This stage usually lasts about a month until one day for no particular reason, things seem to go awry.  

This is how it happened to me one year:

I had a very quiet young man who rarely said anything to anyone.  He sat toward the back by his own choice and was completing assignments.  Then one day,  he snarled at me for asking him a question.  I think I literally took a step back because I was so shocked.  Another student said something to him like "Hey man, all she did was ask you a question" and before I could say or do anything else, he jumped up, threw a desk over and left.   

Now that's an extreme story of the honeymoon being over but since I teach both Middle School ELA and SPED, I am often asked about behavior management when it is over and things get a bit rough (but hopefully not as rough as I described).

So today, I offer you my Top 3 Classroom Behavior Tips!
They are in order of least intervention necessary to most intervention necessary.

This is my favorite and has served me well for nearly 22 years.  I pass out raffle tickets for answering questions, for being kind, for scoring a 100% (2 tickets) or in the 90-99% range (1 ticket), for paying attention and for winning an academic game.  

Then on Fridays, I do a drawing.  I have 3 boxes - 2 have something the students like and one is a "zonker" - usually a school supply.  If the student's name is drawn, he/she can choose one of the boxes or the "sure thing" - candy from my jar.

How many drawings do I do?  That's the beauty part.  As the week goes on, I keep a tally of how many times the class is cooperative.  When they are not so cooperative, a tally mark is erased.  On Friday, I draw as many tickets as there are tally marks.  

Now throughout the year I offer tickets for all sorts of other things too - like on time homework or the best essay.  These types of rewards also equal more tickets - I generally go with 5 or 10 tickets depending on how much of a "big deal" I think the behavior is to me or to the class experience.

I also love passing them out when I catch someone doing something good as a model to other students.  When I have students who do not get the reward and say "Where's my ticket?", I respond with "If you had met the expectation, you would get a ticket too.  I am sure you will next time."  

This is another one that has brought me some great results.  I borrow the student that is causing disruption from his class on my planning period and have him walk with me while I run an errand.  On this walk, we talk about the disruption, its source and discuss solutions.  We might even put the solutions in writing.  

This is powerful because you are walking and so it's not "just another lecture".  In fact, it's more like a brainstorming session and you can always refer back to it with the student.  

This is a new strategy that I have just started this year.  Why this year?  Well I am teaching an ALL Special Needs Learning Strategies class with 18 students that each have their very own special need.  It is challenging to say the least.   So I needed something new that could meet the needs of each student.

Enter behavior cards!

As I greet each student at the door, I hand him/her a card with one specific behavior goal for the period.  If the student meets that goal, he/she gets a reward at the end of the period.  Since I use the ticket system from above, I give them 5 tickets.

This has been a complete game-changer for me!  I have had far less redirections and disruptions overall and it has made all the difference.  

If you have special needs students in your general classroom, you might need even more ideas for working with your students' challenges.  If so, then you might want to take a look at my

Ready to Use Special Needs Strategies for Middle School Teachers.  Comes in a handy flipbook for easy reference!  #classroom #education

This handy little resource provides research on inclusion and accommodations and then has "Grab and Go" that give you ideas for helping students with these specific challenges:
-identifying main idea
-mathematical concepts
-completing assignments
-staying on task

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