Monday, May 26, 2014

Managing Behavior: Positive Reinforcement - Blue Note

My favorite thing that I did this year was an idea I borrowed from a music teacher in Austin. One of my friends put a picture on Facebook that caught my eye. It was a positive note home from her daughter's music teacher!

It was a short checklist that the teacher could quickly check off things that he had noticed about that student during class. It also helped communicate to the parents what was expected in music class - things like singing out, working with others and using their creativity in class.

I got really excited because I had been looking for ideas to motivate my extremely young 1st graders as well as Kindergarteners!

I re-created it as a word document that I print on blue paper and cut in half.

The kids love the "Blue Notes" and even remind each other during class to use "blue note behavior." As I'm passing out blue notes, I encourage the kids to cheer each other on, saying things like, "Great job, Jose!" This helps keep their little hearts from getting sad about not getting a blue note that week. 

We also practice saying, "That's ok," and "Maybe next time," ALL the time in Kindergarten, so it's super cute when they use those phrases unprompted at blue note time!

Some of the classroom teachers use it as an extra incentive and students that get a blue note get to "move their clip up" when they bring a blue note from music. 

As I started to use "Blue Notes" I realized that I needed to keep track of how many blue notes each kid got. I have a terrible memory, so I have to write everything down! So I got a class roster for each class, which I keep on a clipboard next to the "Blue Note" clipboard. I just add a check beside the name/s of the kid/s that got a note that day. (And it helps the kids that haven't gotten one in a while to know that I am keeping track and I notice that they haven't gotten one recently.)

It literally takes 2 minutes as they are walking out the door. And if I am running late or their teacher is in a hurry, I "deliver" the notes later during my conference or at the end of the day.

Hope you try out this idea and let me know how it goes!

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