Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Managing Behavior: The Basics - Positive Reinforcement

With my once a week schedule, it is essential that I spend very little time on behavior management. I think positive reinforcement works well, so I try to utilize that in my behavior management systems. In fact, it works so well in the weekly music class, I wrote a whole post on it here!

My students earn everything in my class. Every day they have a chance to earn a game (or learn about it by watching others play) and earn towards a class goal.

In Kinder-3rd grade, I write a goal on the board, and students can earn "stars" throughout our class.

At the beginning of the year, the goal is set low (five stars) and I make sure they reach the goal the first 4 or 5 weeks. Every grading period, the goal goes up by one (until I reach ten).

They can earn stars for:
- coming in quietly
- helping others
- answering a hard question
- the entire class singing correctly (with hand-signs!)
- remembering to do something without being reminded (sitting in correct position, lining up correctly, raising their hand, using their head voice, patting the beat)
- letting someone else have a turn without complaining

The possibilities are endless!

I have a music staff on the other side of the board:

It has 24 magnets, each with the initial of a teacher. When they reach their goal for the week, I move their magnet up to the next line or space. As you can see, some groups get to move every time, some groups are behind the others. 

When they reach the top they get something fun, like:
- Kinder - gets a sticker and a silly song
- 1st - gets a sticker and a silly (and 2nd semester - 2 silly songs)
- 2nd - gets a silly song and an extra game
- 3rd - gets a silly song and an extra game (and 2nd semester - double games)

For 4th & 5th grade, stars are a little too young, so they earn points. I choose a student "point-keeper" at the beginning of class and they hold the clipboard and write down points as I call them out. I try to keep it in multiples of 5 so that it's easy to count up at the end, but sometimes if it's a minor infraction, saying "minus 1" really drives home the point without taking them too far from their goal.

The "point-keeper" is essential on days that we play recorders because in my room, "If you play before I say, you will put your instrument away.... and we lose 10 points." Every. Single. Time. This keeps the extra noises to a minimum. Usually all it takes is losing points once and they stop making extra noises.

When they reach the top of the music staff, rewards include:
- 4th - gets a game day + choices (2-3 games, vote for which games)
- 5th - gets a game day + choices or "Choose Your Own Adventure"

I also include instruments as a reward if I have a cool song or activity that's coming up in their current concept. 

What do you do in your classroom to keep everyone on track?

Want more? Check out my post on Digging Deeper here - we discuss building relationships with students, the role of planning on behavior, and I share a hack for storing all of those student contracts! 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for joining my party! Great ideas. I will have to check out your other blog posts! :)