Despite the power we all know is held by "the look", it's obviously not enough to effectively manage a group of first graders. Students need to be held accountable for their actions while being taught what appropriate behavior does/does not look like and how to make good choices. To achieve this, I provide positive reinforcement and consequences through both an individual and a group management plan. I found it to be very effective last year and am excited to try it again this year with my class. To see what it entails, read on!
Group: Nothing gets my firsties excited like the s'mores board. Nothing gets me more excited than a management system that also fits in nicely with my camping/woodland themed classroom. It's a win-win. I've always believed that students will be more motivated by experience-based rewards rather than a little treasure box toy that they're bound to lose/forget about in a week's time. Here's how the board works: When students are praised, either by myself or by others throughout the building, I velcro one s'more to the board. Students work to receive 12 s'mores and then get to vote on a class reward, such as a pajama party, extra recess, s'mores party, computer game time, etc. By the end of the year, kiddos are still reminiscing about these fun experiences they had - it is fantastic! Obviously, my criteria for what earns a s'more changes as the year goes on - students are less likely to receive one when complimented for behavior that is expected of them and more likely to receive one when they truly go above and beyond.
Individual: I use a clip chart. I know some people don't believe in the clip chart because it has a negative impact on students' self-concept. However, my personal belief is that students are less likely to feel bad about themselves (as a result of their status on the clip chart) when there is a strong sense of classroom community. I try my hardest to ensure that my students know that I love and care about each of them so that they understand that even when they make a poor choice, this does not mean I think any less of them as an individual. (This statement was not meant in any way to negate the opinions of others - I do see both sides of the clip chart argument!)
With my clip chart you can move up or down. I try to give students many opportunities to move up throughout the day and try to end all students on "ready to learn" or higher. When this does not happen, I am sure to discuss the poor choice with the student and the reasoning behind the given consequence. Behavioral expectations do increase as the year goes on. The goal is for students to have an outstanding day! When a student reaches the top level of the chart, three things happen.
- They select a class cheer out of the bucket and we cheer for them (courtesy of Foxwell Forest).
- They get to select a reward coupon from the coupon book.
- They add a jewel to their clip. Once students receive five jewels, their clip is moved to the wall of fame!
My reward coupons are free to implement in the classroom and are also free for you over at my TPT store.