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Yesterday was very productive.
Today, not so much as evidenced by the fact that it's approaching 2:30 and I am once again still in my pjs.
I wish someone could observe me and take notes indicating how I spend all of the minutes in my day. I bet I would be
I did sit down to write my daily page, so I am 2 for 2 on that little self bargain and that is good.
I also booked our tickets for the Sound of Music Tour in Austria on Friday. Apparently the 4 hour tour is filled with all kinds of singing. I don't think anyone wants to hear me sing, but I can't wait! Maybe hubs should wear his lederhosen.
Seriously, how cute is Mr. Sneaker in his traditional German attire?
So I guess the day hasn't been entirely unproductive, but the whole pj thing makes me feel like Miss Lazypants. Must. Get. Dressed. Maybe I should put on the lederhosen.
Rather than boring you with more details of my already confessed laziness, let's talk behavior management. Do you use a behavior management system in your classroom? I started a system mid year and I really liked it, so I think starting it on the very first day this year will be great and will produce even better results.
Here's the deal:
I have two calendar pocket charts hanging on the wall (one for each class). Each pocket has a label with a child's name on it. Inside the pocket are three small popsicle sticks. The teacher who I got this idea from used a calculator pocket chart but I couldn't find those so I used a smaller version and just got the mini sticks to use. Each of the child's sticks has his or her name written on it in black Sharpie.
I explain the system to my class in terms of making good choices. If they make good choices all week and keep all three sticks, on Friday they get 15-20 minutes of choice time which is like telling them they get unlimited access to a candy store because they just love choice time since they otherwise don't have any play time or recess time.
If on the other hand, a child chooses something that is not okay, I ask them to remove a stick from the pocket and bring it to me. I store all the "lost" sticks on a cup that I stapled high up on the wall.
On Fridays, I do a little "ceremony" with certificates. Any child that kept all three sticks gets a little yellow certificate with their name on it that says "Yay I made good choices all week." Any child that lost all three sticks, gets a refocus note. I don't give those out during the ceremony, but I do pull the child aside during the choice time (which they didn't earn) and we talk about what happened. I made the form really simple to fill out because I wouldn't keep up with it if it was complicated. The form lists our three school rules
- Be kind
- Be safe
- Be responsible
Overall I found that this system really worked. Each Monday the kids start with all three sticks and if they lose any they get them back the following Monday. Having choice time was definitely a great motivation and the certificates were an extra incentive for kids to keep all of their sticks. They also got to add a sticker to a little chart next to their name each time they kept all three sticks. Most kids hated losing sticks and really refocused themselves when they lost one without me having so say much more than bring me a stick. Yes, there were several kiddos who needed additional behavior support, but for the greens and the yellows (can you picture the triangle right now?) this system really worked.
I first discovered it when I visited a friend's Kinder classroom and I was FLOORED by how well behaved her kiddos were. Absolutely. Shocked. She said she was really strict with this system at the beginning of the year and she felt mean all the time, but it really worked and the kids learned that some stuff just doesn't fly in the classroom. I am excited to try it out from the getgo, yet I feel like I don't have it in me to be a "strict" teacher.
I'm just not. Yet, I don't think that is what I aspire to be either. I want to have clear expectations and I expect good behavior, but I don't want kids to be overly worried about making a mistake or being called out for every little thing. I have seen kids lose their mojo in classrooms as a result of having a teacher that was too strict. Last year I knew that kids were happy to be in my class and loved coming to school. Those things are very important to me.
Do you consider yourself a strict teacher? How so?
I am not at all saying it's negative to be strict--in fact I admire teachers who have classroom management down pat, but I need to do it the way I am comfortable with and I am working on focusing more on the positive and making the good choices so much more desirable than the poor ones that kids don't want to misbehave.
So the stick system in addition to all the awesome new social skills books I ordered from amazon (yes, you read that right..all the new books as in I didn't pick out my favorites I ordered all $150 dollars worth of my awesome list which I will get reimbursed for ) will hopefully make for a great year of successful Kindie managing.
I wish I had pictures of the sticks, but I hope you can use your imagination. I am planning to start out and allow them three sticks per day for the first month or so of school so they can get used to what kinds of things result in lost sticks. I will probably do a daily sticker for kids who have kept all three. At the beginning of Kinder I think a week is too long and I want them to have more frequent reinforcement for making good choices.
::PS have any of you read Punished By Rewards by Alfie Kohn? My friend who I worked with at the international school said that a parent of one of her students insisted she read it because this parent did not like her token economy system in the classroom because said parent did not believe in rewards. I would like to read the book to see what it says, but I am pretty comfortable with my belief that it is okay to use extrinsic motivation for young kids, especially little Kindies. Thoughts? ::
So now tell me about how you do you get all of your little angels to make good choices and follow classroom rules and directions?