Classroom management is hard work. Most of my colleagues would say that classroom management is one of my strengths, but I still feel like I have a lot to learn.
One thing I've learned is that you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. That idiom probably isn't true scientifically! But in the classroom kindness, positive feedback, and appreciation go a long way.
Being positive builds bonds with students. They want to know that their efforts are noticed and appreciated.
Here are a few ideas and resources that I've found effective. I don't use all of them every year. Keeping it simple works best for me. I just like to have a large bank of strategies and resources to pull from, so I keep collecting!
Thank You Cards
Last year I had mystery hummers. And they were humming with the intention of being disruptive. I honestly COULD NOT figure out who they were, and it drove me nuts! Despite my desire to be positive, I do think appropriate consequences can be effective. The problem is you can't use consequences when you can't identify the student who is misbehaving! I finally had an AHA moment, and decided to make thank you cards for the students who were being role models. I also made cards for other things that frustrated me. Do you have students who NEVER remember to sign up for lunch? I always do! I started giving thank you cards to the students who remembered. One of the students kept the thank you card in his pencil box all year. He sometimes would take it out and set it up on his desk so he could look at it while he worked!
Students who received the cards really appreciated them. Students who weren't doing the right thing sat up, took notice, and tried harder. (At least many of them did.)
Many of you use something like this. Perhaps you've seen these variations:
-gold coin jar
-pom poms (sometimes called warm fuzzies)
It's so simple, but SO effective. Putting buttons in the jar and giving quick positive feedback about why you're doing it is so valuable. I find that the more I find a reason to put buttons in the jar, the more students want to earn buttons. I do occasionally take a few buttons out for inappropriate behavior, but I try to put some in for positive behavior as soon afterward as I can.
A couple of years ago, I read a thought-provoking and very entertaining blog post by Katie from Teacher to the Core. Click here
to go directly to her post. The post described how she uses "Shout
outs!" in the classroom.
I decided to buy her product, and I'm so glad I
did. You just fill out some shout outs each day. I like to pass them out
while we wait for dismissal. The students who have earned shout outs
stand. Then, we applaud and do two or three of our favorite cheers!
There are SO many different awards in the pack. I've copied them on
colorful paper and organized them in small plastic pockets. I have a
special drawer for my shout outs so they are easy to grab. Katie has
included a recording sheet in the pack so you can keep track of the
shout outs you give each day. Click here to get the Shout Outs! in her store.
If you've found this post helpful, you might want to read these other posts:
Do missing pencils make you crazy?
Read about the system I use. Kids respond well! There's a link to a freebie, too!
Read all about my SUPER IMRPOVER wall and how it works.
Practicing rules in a fun way...
Praise, Improvement, and a Reflection FREEBIE
I'd love to read about your best classroom management tips in the comments. Please share!