I am linking up with Leigh from The Applicious Teacher to talk about classroom management. This is a subject we all want to know more about. Wondering what is really working for others in their classroom because your system isn't working anymore? Or maybe you are just looking for some new ideas? Well, this is the linky party for you!
I have tried many different management ideas in my 7 years of teaching because we all know what works with one class may not work with another. During my last two years of first grade, I have used 2 different ideas and loved them both. So, if I loved one why try something new? Well, I like to change it up because sometimes I get bored but also because my second system involved technology and I thought that would make it even more awesome.
My first year in First grade (2011-2012), I used the clip chart. This was all the rave on the Proteacher Message boards. I used to spend my whole summer on that website before I found all you wonderful bloggers!
I found the clipchart idea at this website and it even gives you a free e-book to explain more about it. You can order a clipchart from them and it is made from a nice vinyl that is awesome once you get it to unroll and lay flat. Or you can simply make it from different colors of construction paper and laminate it. This is what I chose to do when I first gave it a try. Then our PBIS team bought the vinyl ones for anyone who wanted them because they were working so well in our school.
Here is the basic idea of the set up and you use the clothespins with it.
So, to use it each student has their own clothespin that starts on green every day. If they make smart choices they can clip up to good day, great day, or outstanding. If they make poor choices they clip down to think about it, teacher' s choice of consequence, or parent contact. For me parent contact would depend on the reason they ended up at the bottom. It might be a note or call home or it could be as bad as a detention or office referral. Throughout the day there is a steady flow of movement. Just because the student moves down to think about it doesn't mean they can't turn their day around and end up at the top of the chart. The only time I told my students they could no longer move was if they made it to the "sticky pink bubble gum". If my students did something to end up there then they were stuck until the next day. Otherwise if they made it to purple I would be encouraging them to make smart choices and get their day turned around. Same thing with the top. Once you make it to the top you have to hold steady with your outstanding day or you can move back down the ladder. The kids really bought into it and it worked well. Here is why...
You have to tie some kind of reward to the chart. Sometimes the simple act of moving to outstanding is enough for a child. But in my school, most of the kids need something tangible. The year I used it they would earn so many reds for extra recess, computer time, or a prize from the prize box. If they had any pinks or purples for the week they missed out. But there was always next week to work harder. If they made it to red each time they would get a good note home. I made them on business cards from Vistaprint and could easily send them home at the end of the day. I also would just jot a quick note on post its but that takes much longer!
Here is one of them that I made at Vistaprint and ordered when you could get 250 free.
This coming year I am going back to the clipchart and see how it goes. The Kindergarten classes used them this year, so I am thinking that keeping the kids on the same system might make for an easier transition. So, we will see...
Now this past year, I tried something different that I also loved. It was Class Dojo. It was free and easy and the kids loved the avatars! I used it with the same idea in mind of rewards based on points. The students who had at least 4 points at the end of the day got the good note home card and also got to put a sticker on a sticker chart. Once they earned 5 stickers they got a piece of candy from the candy jar. Then when they filled up their chart they got a prize like a pencil or bookmark and also a positive referral to the office for a treat. Points could be earned and lost the same as the clip chart moves your clip both up and down.
If you want to know more in depth about this program, visit my previous post about it here.
One thing I really like about this program is that it keeps track of the data for you which I will miss with my clip chart. I could see my whole class' percentage of positive behavior for the day, week, month. Or I could also view an individual student's percentage as well. Also, on Friday it would email parents with a report automatically if you input their email addresses. :) Bad thing with my school was that I only had a minimal amount of parents who had email that actually checked it. Also, we had an issue with our internet towards the end of the year so I couldn't easily access it from my laptop and had to keep track on paper. I really did like that I could access it from my iPhone wherever we went but the app doesn't always sync with the classroom like it should. I'm sure it is a simple bug that they will work out. Overall, I was really happy with the program and the kids like it too.
I am thinking of using the clip chart maybe first semester and then guiding them into class dojo after Christmas break if we need to change it up a bit. I will have to see what this new little group is like to decide.
Well, I hope you will head on over to The Applicious Teacher to link up so we can here more ideas of what classroom management works for you! And be sure to check back for the following week's ideas as well!