Having effective behavior management will make a BIG impact on your classroom. You can plan and prep a fabulous lesson but without behavior management, your students will not get to fully participate.
Finding a behavior management style that works for you is a process. Use these tips to help you get started and create a management plan that empowers you and your students.
At the start of the school year decide on a class name. The name can be based on your theme for the year, like Superheros, a suggestion from your students, or a combination of a few names. In the past I have polled my class for suggestions allowing everyone to have input; then we vote until we have decided on a class name. Remember to keep it fun, your kids will come up with great ideas.
Here are a few names my class has come up with over the years:
After you have a class name you can come up with a class chant or a class affirmation that talks about all the things that make your class special. Creating a class identity is a great way to build community and investment.
Building genuine relationships with students shows that you care about them and are invested in their well being. At the start of the year, surveys and get-to-know-you activities are a great way to begin to build a relationship with students. As the school year continues, community circles can help maintain your community and create a space for open dialogue and familiarity. Once students realize you are invested in them as individuals you can build respect, which will make a difference when holding students accountable for their behavior.
Some other ways to build relationship include:
When teachers and students collaborate to make rules, a great classroom environment is cultivated. Create rules that address how students are expected to interact with each other, how students are expected to interact with the teacher, and how students are expected to interact with the physical space. When students are given the opportunity to contribute to the rules that will govern their class, they develop a sense of ownership for their classroom.
Set clear routines for everything you would like students to do in your classroom. Although it can be tedious, be explicit about everything. Do not assume that students know the expectations for your classroom and be sure to show them how you would like things to be done. Give students multiple opportunities to practice the classroom routines; provide ongoing support for routines and behaviors; reinforce expected behaviors and explain the consequences if the expectations are not met.
Teach your routines and expectations in a way that allows you to differentiate ignorance versus defiance. Students often get in trouble because they genuinely did not know what they were expected to do. Once you are sure that students are aware of your expectations in all areas of your classroom, administering consequences becomes much easier because you know students are aware of all routines.
Here are some routines to consider establishing:
Pro Tip: Positively narrate students who meet expectations right away. Doing so not only rewards positive behavior, but repeats the expectation for students who may not have heard the first time.
Rewards can be individual, group or class-based. In the same way students contributed to the class rules, allow them to contribute to the rewards. This will create buy-in and motivate students to work toward rewards they really want. Students are very creative, last year my class suggested watching a movie on the ceiling as a class reward! Choose a reward system that is easy to manage. Consider rewards that do not require additional preparation or a burdensome financial investment on your end.
When a student is off task they are often seeking attention, so it is important for teachers to remove the stage when addressing them. Use a silent signal, or proximity, to address a behavior. If that still does not work, quietly and quickly bend down and whisper to the student what you would like them to do and the consequence they will receive if the expectation is not met, then move away. If the student still does not comply, administer an appropriate consequence. Avoid using shame and intimidation to correct a student. Quiet corrections allow you to remain in control of the situation and keeps the public stage out of the student interaction.
While corrections should be quiet, praise should happen often and publicly. I often use “Shout-outs” to call attention to a positive behavior that a student is doing or the way they are working. Praise focuses on the specific behavior the student is doing correctly. Praise students to other students, teachers, and administrators. Highlight positive behaviors enthusiastically— students love to be acknowledged for a job well done.
When administering corrections be sure to stay calm. Giving a behavioral consequence should not be emotional, rather it should be a response to the clearly outlined rules and routines of your classroom. Avoid threats like, “If you don’t...then I will…”, but instead deliver consequences firmly, as they have been outlined to your class. Consistently give consequences to all students 100% of the time they are not meeting expectations. Students will quickly notice if you do not always give a consequence or if you give consequences to some students more than others.
Set high behavioral and academic expectations for all your students. Have a clear vision of how you want your classroom to look behaviorally and how you want your students to perform academically, and then backwards plan from your vision. Be prepared to scaffold students behaviorally and academically, if needed. Students will work to meet your expectations, so keep them high. Creating an academically engaging, rigorous class is a great way to manage behaviors. If you make your class engaging students will be invested in the learning experience and less likely to be off task or misbehave.
Model the behaviors you would like your students to display. Be open to the fact that you make mistakes and be humble enough to admit your mistakes to your students. I have had to apologize to students in the past for assuming they have done something that they did not do. Remember that respect is reciprocal so be sure to show respect to students if you expect to be respected in return.
Here at Kickboard we have seen school culture transform because of effective implementations of PBIS. We also have the tools and resources to support your school team as they begin to implement PBIS as a way to promote positive school culture. Click here to learn more about how Kickboard can support PBIS in your school.