Dirt Road Teacher again for her Dear Future Teacher series. Today's focus is on creating classroom rules and management systems.
We begin by discussing our ideal classroom and expectations that students know from the previous year. We spend the first few days discussing our different roles, and agreeing on classroom rules. I previously wrote more on this topic here. It is important to stick to just a few main rules. At our school we follow the 3 Be's- Be Safe, Be Responsible, Be Respectful. We talk about what that actually means in terms of how it sounds, feels, and looks in our classroom.
One way to recognize good choices is by using a class management system. Some people prefer a color chart, or clip chart. I like to use Class Dojo. If you have not heard of Class Dojo it is an online app/website that is used to track behavior. I simply create an avatar for each of my students and customize the behavior options. I can then give individuals, groups, or the entire class points for different behaviors. For example, I have some that say "Creative, Hard Working, On Task, Showing Respect, Helped a Friend, Completed Work, etc." Not only can I give points but other students are allowed to reward a classmate when they catch them making great choices too. I also bring my phone in the hall with us and my Line Checker can use the app to reward a few students who are showing the best examples of safety and respect at the time. At the end of the week I allow students who have above an 80% (positive points out of total- you can subtract for poor choices as well) to earn some type of treat like a coloring page, piece of candy, prize box, snack, etc. I never focus on how many points a child earns because I want them to know its ok to make mistakes as long as we learn from them. Some kids just naturally earn more points.