Our last week, first I hav to apologize for the long wait but we are mock testing in preparation for state testing which is about a month away.
However this is the perfect timing for this blog post because this is when the behaviors are at their worst right before Spring Break.
So what do you do when you have built relationships, setup a great management system with expectations and there are scholars who just will not follow expectations and your procedures?
Well I use a consequence and reward system. I know in the previous post I said not to use rewards but I was referring more to how you use the reward system. There is a way to effectively use a consequence reward system that can effectively change behaviors.
You have to identify a reward and a reward schedule that will lead to an initial and sustained increase in the wanted behavior. You want the reward to tell your scholars that they have successfully exhibited the desired behavior. You want to steer away from using a reward as a bribe or coercion (“You do that, you get this”). Make sure that you understand the motivation behind the behavior because sometimes the student may act out to get a certain consequence. Like being removed from class to avoid math or reading. Here is an example of rewards that I use with my class.
There are behavior plans and strategies for single children who need a more specific plan but for classroom strategies there needs to be a plan to ensure that everyone is learning.
You want to replace a negative behavior with positive behaviors. Determine whether the consequences that follow a behavior are the right ones. If a student wants to get attention and blurts out you don’t want to give them the attention they desire, but redirect the behavior quietly without giving them the attention they desire.
Here are some things that have worked for me but of course you may have to tweak it to fit your scholars and behaviors.
Always start with the positive narrations (what we call it at my school), make it a point to recognize the scholars who are meet8ng your expectations. I always say “ thank you James for following my directions immediately”, “good job Sarah for being in line correctly”, you would be surprised how many start fixing their behavior to hear their name called. I also let them know that I am looking for 100% and what I have (i.e. 80%, 70%, etc.) to let them know that we as a class have not met the expectation. And the scholars then start helping each other “Tommy get in slant we’re waiting on you”. And the big thing we don’t want to miss is ALWAYS BEEN SEEN LOOKING! If you are not checking to ensure what you asked for is happening it will not happen. Make sure if you are asking for notebooks to be taken out that you are looking to see that everyone has their notebook out and do not continue without your expectations being met.
Side note: administration pushes for instruction to continue no matter what but in my experience if you have a student not doing what you asked (even one) it will be in your observation….helpful hint.
Secondly, is to be proactive have a plan for your classroom of scholars who you know have trouble with certain environments. If you have scholars who you know struggle with learning in whole group you may have a spot for them in class that they can sit away from the group but you definitely want to tell them they are not in trouble. But, you want to help them focus on learning without the distractions. My students love sitting at my table it makes them feel special, however my table is also my desk so I have to move things around or specifically tell them that the things on the table are off limits (which usually works if they know I will move them).
Third, private discussions (I will admit I still struggle with this) it can be difficult to try to not stop teaching and ask a scholar to meet your expectations without leaving whatever your teaching spot is, but that usually ends up with you asking the scholar to correct the behavior in front of the class, and then the scholar reacting in a more attention getting behavior yelling out “what did I do?” or “I didn’t do anything!”. It makes the situation worse. Have a private chat with the scholar by having them tell you what expectation they are not meeting or if they can’t tell you, remind them of your expectations and then ask if that is what they were doing. I always give one chance to meet my expectations. If the behavior continues and you have reminded them once, now they are making the choice to not meet expectations. Then I give three options of how to correct their behavior, 1) they can move away from the group with the option to return once I’ve seen a change, 2) they can get a negative dojo with an instant message to their parents , 3) or I can choose for them. You need to make sure to give options you are okay with. I am lucky to have very active parents that respond quickly to any dojo message so those are good options for me, but you would have to come up with acceptable options for you. I also use time off recess or depending on what we are doing working in another classroom with a teacher of my choice, usually a lower grade who will only let them work, a behavior notice home, sign a behavior book with a message home. These options have worked for me throughout different years. It just depends on the students I have that year.
Lastly, what to do with recurring discipline issues? These are the scholars who have figured out how to push your buttons and seem to set out to do just that. With these scholars I made it a point to not only build relationships with them but also their parents. You will find most of the time that they know their children and aware of how they behave. It’s very rare that what they do at school is not done at home. Make special efforts to say hello, give hugs, acknowledge them because most of the time that is what they want. As well as make special efforts to send positive feedback to the parents because they may be used to only hearing negative things about their child. Tell them you want to work together and you are available. Unfortunately, by upper elementary it may be extremely difficult for a scholar to change their behavior so I have used behavior plans with a rewards system for them. Our team will get together and talk about consistent behaviors that we want the scholar to work on with a tracking system and acceptable rewards. Now because you have the relationships they are more eager to work with you.
I hope you find this series helpful please reach out and let me know if it was helpful, anything I can do to clarify, or what I can add to this.
Some of things I use are in my TPT store if you want to checkout click here are any of the pictures.