Category Archives: Behaviour Management

Classroom Agreements

On the first day of school, I think it is important to come up with classroom agreements as a class. First, I asked my students what kind of classroom environment they would like to have. I then explained that we needed to come up with classroom agreements about the way we should treat each other, how we should answer and ask questions, what we should do when people are talking, how we can help each other and how the students should work. I prefer ‘classroom agreements’ opposed to ‘rules’ because I wanted something the whole class could feel ownership of and understand that the classroom agreements would help us to achieve the type of classroom environment they wanted.

The class came up with: we treat others the way we would like to be treated, we put our hand up to answer and ask questions, we try our best, we celebrate each other’s success, we listen when someone is talking and we are a team. I also took photos of the students demonstrating the classroom agreement. Click here to see the post on Five White’s class blog.

The agreements are placed at the front of the classroom and are referred to when students are following and not following them.

Classroom Agreements

How did you create classroom agreements/class rules with your class?

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Attention Grabbers

It is so important that teachers are not yelling over the top of students or raising their voice all day trying to get the class to be quiet. Attention grabbers need to be quick and simple. There are so many different ways of grabbing our students’ attention, including:

  • Ringing a bell
  • Clapping
  • Teacher: ‘1,2,3’  Students: ‘Eyes on me’
  • Teachers asks students to put their hands on their heads, nose, shoulders, knees, lips …
  • Asking students to raise their hands in the air
  • Teacher: ‘Boom, chicka, boom’ Students: repeat (T repeats, getting quieter every time)
  • Variation of Simon Says – Teacher models actions while saying ‘do this’ and students copy. When teacher says ‘do that’ instead of ‘do this’, the students are not to copy. If they do, they are out.

Click here for more great ideas.

Getting students to the floor can often be a struggle at times as they somehow find the longest way possible to get to the floor! Encourage your students to get to the floor quickly by playing a video for them to watch or dance to. I find that the students love coming to watch a funny video or dance as a brain break between lessons. I always like to praise the students who get to the floor quickly and stop what they are doing and listen. Click here to take a look at the videos I have pinned on Pinterest.

How do you grab the attention of your students?

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Bullying

Bullying is such an important issue in our schools and it is often neglected. Click here for a previous post that I have written about bullying. A moving documentary called ‘Bully’ is about to be released in Australia. It is about peer to peer bullying within schools across America. Take a look at the trailer below.

It frustrates me when I hear about teachers and other school staff members turning a blind eye to bullying in their classrooms and in their schools. What are you doing to stop bullying in your classroom? What are you doing to stop bullying in your school? What are you doing to provide support for the bullies? What are you doing to provide support to those being bullied?

The image below was taken from Teacher’s Pet Facebook Page:

Bullying is definitely not an easy issue to deal with; however it cannot be swept under the rug. We as teachers need to be trying to make a difference. There are so many simple ideas like the one above that you can use to educate your students about bullying. It isn’t a topic that can be checked off after one activity, it needs to be continually revisted in meaningful ways. A safe and positive community with clear expectations needs to be built within the classroom and the entire school. So, what are YOU going to do?

Here are some great websites/links with more information and ideas:

How does your school deal with bullying?

What activities have you used that have been successful?

What are your thoughts?

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Fast Finishers

If you’re a teacher, then I bet you could name the students in your class who take forever to complete work and those that finish really quickly, without even thinking about it!

It is so important that the students who finish their work early have something meaningful to do until it is time to move on to the next lesson. It also teaches them effective management skills as they are being productive with their time and not becoming bored and distracting others.

The expectations should be made very clear to the students. Once their work has been marked and they have been given the go ahead, they are to complete an activity from the fast finisher poster (before this you may give the students an extension activity related to the lesson).

You might like to provide the students with an exercise book which they can specifically use for the fast finisher tasks (as an alternative to the poster, you might like to provide the students with the following list to glue on the inside cover of the book).

The fast finisher poster may list the following:

  • Complete any unfinished work
  • Fast finisher booklet (may include a range of activities from practicing multiplication tables to researching something they are interested in)
  • Read a book
  • Read the class blog and write a comment
  • Use the educational apps on the iPads
  • Play an educational game on the computer
  • List of websites the students can visit
  • Educational board games
  • Practise multiplication tables
  • Practise spelling words
  • Complete story starters

How do you cater for the fast finishers in your class?

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Filed under Behaviour Management, Teaching, Teaching Strategies

Adapting Instruction

There are some students who can just be difficult to teach and seem to not want to complete any task you set. So what can you do?

One strategy is to adapt instruction. You can’t make anyone do anything, but you can change what you do. You can control what happens in the classroom.

As teachers, we can change the antecedent and the consequences in hope of changing a student’s behaviour.

Example: A student has ADHD and has difficulty reading. He usually begins to fidget with things on his desk or walks around the classroom, distracting his peers in order to avoid completing the set activities. The teacher often ignores him and does not follow up on the work that he has not completed.

  • Antecedent: Telling the student to complete difficult work independently
  • Behaviour: Student fidgets and walks around the classroom to talk to peers
  • Consequence: Teacher ignores student and does not follow up on work

In this case, the student may need the work to be modified and further explained. It is also important for the student to feel comfortable with the teacher and in the classroom in order to tell the teacher when he doesn’t understand or is stuck. Paired work and class discussion may also be beneficial.

When the student begins to fidget with the materials on his desk, the materials should be removed in order to eliminate the distraction.

The teacher should change the consequence to include positive reinforcement and the implementation of achievable goals for each lesson/day. At the end of the day, the teacher may discuss with the student how he felt that day, what he did well and what he can improve on.

Click here for a blank ABC chart for you to use.

Click here for more information.

The next time a student is exhibiting undesirable behaviour – think about what you can do. Look at what you are doing before and after the student’s behaviour.

imagerymajestic / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Bullying

Bullying disrupts the school environment and learning in classrooms and it should not be tolerated. Teachers need to make it clear to their students that bullying is not acceptable and there needs to be a procedure in place for students to follow if they are bullied or if they see students bullying other students.

Students who bully others often feel insecure. Ensure your classroom is a place where everyone is treated with kindness and respect and you as the teacher are a good example.

Try to get to the bottom of why the student is bullying. Talk to them with kindness, reminding them that you know they are a good student but they are making the wrong choices. Ask them how they think the student they are bullying feels and if they would like to feel that way. Ask them what better choices they can make in the future. You might like to have these kinds of questions written out for the student to think about and write their answer down.

You might like to have a book between you, the student and their parents. You could discuss with the student at the end of the day the good and bad choices he/she made that day and write them down. The student can then discuss their choices with their parents and strive not to make those same bad choices again.

Strategies to eliminate bullying in your classroom:

  • Positive reinforcement (Click here for a previous post I have written on positive reinforcement)
  • Have students work in groups to come up with a poster against bullying
  • Encourage group work in your class (Click here for a previous post I have written on group work)
  • Use ‘get to know you’ exercises to build a rapport between students in the class which helps to eliminate bullying (e.g. ask students to partner with someone and tell them about their weekend or a fact they remember from the unit or what they are excited to learn about in the next unit and keep telling them to swap a few times).
  • Create a positive environment with motivational posters on the wall and tell your students to be the best they can be (Click here for a previous post I have written on happiness in the classroom)

Here are some great websites about bullying:

http://www.stopbullying.gov/educators/index.html

http://www.bullyingnoway.com.au/ideasbox/ideas/classroom/bystander/default.shtml

http://www.nobully.org.nz/guidelines.htm

http://kidshealth.org/parent/emotions/behavior/no_bullying.html

What strategies do you use to eliminate bullying in your classroom?

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Positive Reinforcement

Every good teacher needs a good behaviour management strategy. Through my study and experiences in the classroom, positive reinforcement is the best strategy. However, it is often neglected.

Positive reinforcement is all about reinforcing good behaviour by praising students when they have displayed the desired behaviour. This is in direct contrast to negative consequences which focuses on the bad behaviour and punishes the student for the undesired behaviour.

Through my observations I have seen two different teachers take these two approaches with the same class of students. One teacher distributed raffle tickets to the students who displayed positive behaviour (raising their hand to answer a question, sit quietly, complete their work to the best of their ability…) while the other teacher asked the student to write their name on the board and place strikes next to their name each time they did something wrong (call out, argue with a student etc).

The students were much better behaved for the teacher who praised the good behaviour and ignored the undesired behaviours.

I strongly believe teachers need to focus on positive reinforcement. This is not to say that there is no place for negative consequences, however I believe they should be used as a last resort and second to positive reinforcement.

Positive reinforcement is used in the hope that over time the reinforcers will be used less as the students become intriniscally motivated.

Implementing Positive Reinforcement

-          Raffle Tickets

  • Draw two raffle tickets at the end of each week out of a shoe box
  • The two students chosen can then choose a small prize from the prize box/choose their reward from the class reward list

-          Merit Awards

  • Merit awards are handed out to students for good behaviour
  • When the students receive 5 merit awards they are able to choose a prize from the prize box/choose their reward from the class reward list

-          Sticker Chart

  • Stickers are handed to the students for good behaviour and they place them on the chart next to their name.
  • When the students receive 5 stickers they are able to choose a prize from the prize box/choose their reward from the class reward list

What do you think about positive reinforcement?

How are you implementing positive reinforcement in your classroom?

Image: Paul Gooddy / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Happiness in the Classroom

Happiness should be promoted in every classroom. It is contagious and your students should feel happy to come to class every single day. You can teach your students to think optimistically in many ways.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

Try having a compliment box in your class. Encourage the students to write something nice about someone on a piece of paper and put it in the box. The teacher can then read some out at the end of each day or the week. 

It may be useful to survey the students at the beginning of the year or term to find out what makes them happy and what motivates them. Ask them what activities they would like to do and provide them with options, for example; computer time, class quiz at the end of the day and so on. 

Encourage an ‘I Can’ attitude. Students often say things such as “I can’t do that”; when you hear an ‘I can’t’ attitude, turn it around. For example, “I don’t know fractions” can be changed into “I am learning about fractions.” This change of mindset transforms the impossible to possible and worth attempting which builds students’ confidence and self esteem. 

Encourage gratitude by asking the students to write down three things they are grateful for at the end of the day. The students are then given a chance to reflect and be thankful to those that have brought something good to their lives or have acted kindly towards them. Students may write down family members, friends, teachers or a pet. They may also be thankful for their home, freedom, food, shelter and games.

Encouraging the students to be grateful, promotes the relieving of stress, fear and frustration. It is also a highly regarded quality that can be beneficial to any individuals’ life. 

Put down behaviour needs to be eliminated from the classroom. Teachers need to ensure students are not putting down other students and that the teacher, intentionally or unintentionally, is also not putting down students. Put downs negatively affect self esteem and have no place in the classroom. 

Relaxation techniques may help students who are feeling anxious, frustrated, angry or simply need time to settle. Asking students to close their eyes and slowly breathe in and out through their nose while listening to meditation music creates a sense of stillness and inner calm which can then lead to a positive environment, happiness and a great learning environment and mind set. Relaxation techniques should be incorporated into the daily routine in order to encourage motivation and positive attitudes

A positive attitude is highly beneficial to students and adults alike. Negative thoughts affect students and may lead to low self esteem or even depression. Positive thinking has been linked to success in students and encourages them to perform to the best of their ability.

Students should always be encouraged to try their best and to have a go. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard teachers talk about a lesson or a test and (unintentionally) terrify the students. I believe that before giving students a test, teachers need to remind students about all the work they have completed and remind them that it is okay if they don’t know an answer, as long as they try their best.

Teachers also need to remember their attitude has an enormous impact on the atmosphere of a classroom. While everyone has their bad days, it is important that the teacher brings a positive attitude into the classroom all day, every day in order to get the best out of their students.

These simple techniques not only foster a positive learning environment, happy students and teacher, but help the students in becoming successful and happy adults.

How do you promote happiness in your classroom?

 

References

Long, J. (2000). Lecture 9: Preventing Misbehaviour [PowerPoint]. Retrieved from http://blackboard.acu.edu.au/webct/cobaltMainFrame.dowebct

Thobhani, S. (2011). Boosting Emotional Intelligence in your Classroom. Retrieved from http://www.creativeeducation.co.uk/blog/index.php/2011/05/boosting-emotional-intelligence-in-your-classroom/?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=Twitter&utm_campaign=Jobs

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Classroom Rules

Classroom rules are essential to any great classroom. Rules clearly state the expectations for behaviour in the classroom and help to develop respect. They are more meaningful if students take part in their formation, with teacher guidance, and it is important to clarify the need for rules with the students.

While many teachers develop rules at the beginning of the school year, they are often displayed at the back of the classroom, hidden and forgotten. Classroom rules can be a great classroom management tool and a teacher’s best friend when used effectively.

Here are some tips for creating your classroom rules and how to use them.

Classroom rules need to be;

-          collectively arrived at

-          few in number

-          positively stated

-          clearly displayed

-          taught

-          referred to when redirecting

-          used and reinforced

-          harmonious with school rules

Classroom rules need to address;

-          movement in the room

-          care of the equipment

-          how to speak to and treat others

-          listening

-          how to work

Once the rules are created, it is important to;

-          role play and demonstrate what the rules are and discuss using examples

-          display them in a prominent part of the classroom

-          discuss logical consequences of breaking the rules

-          refer to to the rules when necessary

-          praise those who follow the rules in order to reinforce them

-          reteach them at the beginning of each term

When role playing and demonstrating the rules, teachers can take photos of the students and use them to make posters of the rules like the one below.

What are your classroom rules?

References

Long, J. (2000). Lecture 9: Preventing Misbehaviour[PowerPoint]. Retrieved from http://blackboard.acu.edu.au/webct/cobaltMainFrame.dowebct

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