I have read about and seen pictures of quite a few behaviour management ideas and love the 'Behaviour Clip Chart' with clothes pegs etc, but don't really feel my children (this year) require it, but know it will come in very useful some day! I have also noticed that many teachers appear to have teacher aides or parental help. Our younger infant classes have 'classroom assistants', but this stops when they come to P3 - my age group. So the entire day is managed on my own.
I thought I would give you a little idea of how I manage my children and any behaviour issues that may arise.
I have coloured tables in my classroom - blue, red, green, yellow etc. I group all the same coloured tables together and seat, at each table, between 4 and 6 children, depending on class numbers and dynamics! I have the same colours on A4 card stock, laminated and stuck to the bottom of my whiteboard and basically manage the children with table points - these are large card gold stars that are cut from A4 card stock. The table points are earned for many things from being kind, helping someone, tidying up quickly/well to outstanding work. With my young children this system works really well - an element of competition and peer group pressure. All I have to say is - there's a table point for.......and away they go! Occasionally I also remove table points for wrong choices, but try not to do this too often. On Fridays, during 'Golden Time', the table points are counted and the table which has the most gets a trophy (which I bought on ebay!) and had engraved with 'Best Table Award'. The children also get a special certificate and a 'freddo' bar. This is very much a special time of the week and the children really enjoy it. I then take a photograph of the group of children holding the trophy aloft and stick this to my classroom door for other classes and teachers to see, so they also get affirmation from others. Sneakily, I do try to arrange it that the tables 'win' on a rotational basis, so no-one is ever left out.
'Golden Time' on Friday afternoons before home time, is a time for children to have free choice of what they do, relax and spend some time with the teacher. I also make pertinent observations during this time or have 'teacher conferences'. The children must earn this time however. I have a 'Golden Time' chart with 3 spaces for 3 strikes. If any child has been warned about behaviour and it persists, then they earn a strike. By the end of the week, if they have 3 strikes, they must sit at the table and reflect on their behaviour and offer a solution or complete a written task. Most children never lose their 'Golden Time'! During this time, I also award 2 x Pupil of the Week Certificates. Again, the children are given a treat, a special badge to wear and are 'published' on the door. They also earn special privileges for the following week. I also issue a 'Brilliant Manners' Award.
Our children have nightly homeworks - reading preparation, spellings, tables and written numeracy or literacy. Homeworks are usually completed, but this is not always the case! Spellings and tables are particularly important as the children do a short daily test on both, culminating on a Friday test of the full week's work. To ensure motivation and completion of the work, the children receive a sticker for perfect work. They have a 'reward card' and the stickers are placed in there on a daily basis. I have differentiated spellings and tables groups so that weaker children can also earn a sticker. Roughly once per month the children can go 'shopping' with their stickers. Every time I see a bargain, I shop! These items are usually from the local wholesalers or pound stores and include gel pens, felt pens, pencils, bookmarks, finger puppets, flashing yoyos, wooden snakes, toy cars, keyrings, cute notebooks - the list is endless! Each item has a particular 'value' and the children can save up their stickers for the most 'expensive' ones or buy several 'cheaper' ones at the same time. The children absolutely adore this and work very hard for their stickers!
As the year wears on and the children grow used to 'group work', they can get rather noisy! They are engaged in their tasks, but just get louder and louder! I have also found this with my older children in the afternoons, as more formal work tends to be completed in the mornings. Perhaps it is an age thing, but my vocal chords are no longer able to rise above the noise to quieten the children down. I then happened upon my secret weapon on ebay! One tinkle on this and I never need to use my voice! It has a great novelty factor and the children just freeze - it's really quite funny!
My apologies for the length of this post, 'brief' and 'summary' seem to have flown out the window!
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