Be all that you can be. Find your future--as a teacher.

Musings of a second-year teacher.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Choices have consequences; make wise choices.

My middle school motto said it best, "Choices have consequences; make wise choices."

As a student teacher, I came into the classroom midway through the year. I naturally assumed the same behavior management system as my cooperating teacher in order to provide continuity for my students. She had been big on "self-regulation" and helping students to understand that their choices all have consequences, good and bad.

This logic seems to simple. You make good decisions and good things will happen. You make bad choices and bad things will happen. Yet, it seems so difficult for first graders to remember. But should I be surprised? How often to I hear directions and not pay attention. How often do I blatantly disregard a rule or law?

Classroom and behavior management have been my biggest challenges thus far. Before teaching, I saw classroom management as a minor part of teaching. Now I realize that it is ever-present and one of the most challenging parts of teaching to grasp.

Coming up with a behavior management system is challenging. I want something that will motivate the kids, without rewarding them unnecessarily and too frequently. I want something that is achievable for all students, yet still rewards the students who make more frequent "good choices." And eventually, I want students to make ke good choices without the bribe of a reward.

So what's the best choice? So far, I've used a few things. I'm continuing my teacher's "marble system." Anytime the students are exceptionally good, do something exceptionally well, etc, they are rewarded a certain number of marbles. Once the marbles fill up the jar, the students get a party. The marble jar is used sporatically, but students are motivated to behave with the thought of getting marbles.

I also began a new system once I took over full time. I segmented the day into three parts, so that students have three chances to redeem themselves. The first time I call down a students during the day, their names goes on the board for that time period. So, if a student gets their name on the board in the morning, they still have the opportunity to keep their name off the board for two more period of the day. Each period that you keep your name off the board is worth a ticket. When students get five tickets, they recieve a sticker. This has worked ok. It's time consuming to put stickers in all the students bags and then count to see who has five. I think there's probably a better system that I"ll try once I have my own classroom.

Just my thoughts and struggles on behavior management for the time being...any suggestions?


Blogger A.R. Linder said...

Almost 15 years ago I was in my third year majoring in Elementary Education. My child turned two years-old; I made a choice. I changed my major to Mass Communication, afterall,if I could barely manage one two-year old that I loved more than life, how could I manage a class of 30. Perhaps, the biggest choice that educators face is to be or not to be. The best answer is not always the easiest answer. Challenge the minds of your young people at

11:31 AM  
Blogger Tryce said...

I am a little new to blogging. your site is the fifth one I have looked at. I have had an interesting time with behavior management myself. I work in a school that is notorious for disrespectful behavior. It seems that every teacher should have a special ed license. Of course, we don't so it requires a little extra effort and creativity. I tried something this year that seemed to work fairly well. Becuase I teach some employability classes, I went to and found the basic employability skills the department of labor thinks we should teach our students , which include social skills, time management, cooperation, etc. I created a chart with all students names on it as well as all of the emplloyability skills I wanted them to demonstrate in and outside of class. When each class was done, I went through the list and gave them a point for each time they demonstrated a skill. The person with the most points at the end of the week, won a prize. For the students who had severe behavior issues, I talked to them all day about their "points". It seemed to work. The only gliches I had with the system was the need to teach the skills I was expecting directly, which I had limited time for. Also, I am trying to get away from fostering a competetive environment so much and more of a collaborative one. I am hoping to tweek the system as I am sitting on the lawn this summer. Ideas? Thanks.

10:25 AM  

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