Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Behavior Management Link Up

Every so often, I get an email or Facebook message via my blog's Facebook page on classroom management. Often these emails come from sweet teacher friends who are new to fourth grade and are wondering what works and what doesn't work with the upper elementary population.  

I don't claim to be an expert in classroom management but I AM willing to share what has worked in my third and fourth grade classrooms in the past.  Every group is different, so next year it could be possible none of these management strategies work. 

When I taught second and third grade, and even my first year in fourth, I used a clip chart.  

I actually like using a pocket chart with cut outs instead because I always found they were breaking the clips.  I always found the behavior chart to be super motivating with my students.  They loved clipping up, especially if they had a rough start to the day. I love that it really instilled the mind set that they really COULD change their behavior.  If they got to the top of the chart, they put a sticker on their star.  They loved it.  

What I didn't like was how some of my fourth graders got so moody about clipping down.  Fourth grade is when some of your students start experiencing some of those hormonal changes and it was drama city when I asked someone to clip down. It's also hard to have a clip chart when you are departmentalized.  However, I love theses ideas from Christina and Rachelle and would probably use one of them if my teaching partner and I decided to try clip charts again in the future. 

Last year, I shared how  I use the calendar below and coupons in a classroom economy type system. You can find that post here

I really love the coding on this calendar and it's a great way to communicate quickly with parents about their child's behavior.  However, kids are smart.  They purposefully loose them when they get a lot of signatures and are in danger of loosing their bigger reward, such as an extra recess.  I didn't have a backup system and that made things hard when you were figuring out who earned the reward and who didn't. 

This year I plan on binding this cute free calendar from my friend Sarah and at least try to write down which calendars I may have signed that day to have some kind of record myself. 

Shopping for coupons was a little difficult this year.  My partner and I shared coupons and sometimes we ran out of good ones. Sometimes we would forget to go shopping and we found shopping every week was hard.  Luckily, Laura's coupon pack has full page coupons that we could but in a binder. I think that might be easier for us. Additionally, we may choose to go shopping once a month instead and change the value on some of the coupons. :)  If kids carried over a balance of stars/stickers, we just wrote that on the top of their new calendar. Not super pretty, but it worked. 

Now even if you find something you really like that inspires your most students to strive for good behavior, there are always outliers of students where that just doesn't work for them.  So you need to come up with a plan for them, otherwise you'll be trying to put a square peg in a round hole all year and that's no fun. 

For example, one my students used this management system instead.  One of my students really loved to clean and really struggled with his behavior. So if he didn't get his calendar signed, he wanted to sweep the floor at the end of the day. Most of ED students have a behavior plan set in place by their intervention specialist and I don't mess with it, or force them to do my system, because what she does works for them. 

As far as whole group behavior management, I've tried a lot of different whole group incentives. However, I always come back to behavior bingo. 

I found Behavior Bingo back in the day on Mrs. Gold's website.  It works for me and has worked for most of my classes.  I love it because it doesn't require much extra work for me to have two, since I teach two sections of ELA. I just have two bingo boards. One for the AM and one for the PM. 

This year, I used this one from Ms. Sanchez
I love using Behavior Bingo to reinforce things that my classes struggle with whole group, such as walking quietly in the hallway or transitioning without starting conversations, etc. :) 

I keep two bingo boards in the front of my room. I have a pouch of unearned numbers for each class.  This is where I draw the numbers when they earn numbers.  Each class also has a pouch for their earned numbers, so the numbers aren't picked twice.  

Once one of my classes earns bingo, five in a row or four corners, they earn a reward.  We brainstorm a list of possible rewards and then vote.  The brainstorming allows me to weed out things that just won't work, such as KFC lunches for the whole class, field trips, etc. 

In the past, I've send home letters asking for donations for bigger rewards, like ice cream and root beer float parties.  Typically, if you aren't asking all the time for donations, parents will help out.   

Sometimes your class might earn two bingos quickly, and that's okay.  I just stress during our brainstorming to come up with manageable/free rewards that time, especially if I'm footing the bill. An extra ten minute recess or watching a Magic School Bus while they eat lunch are two suggestions of free to me rewards.

One of my coworkers had a super challenging class this past year and she only had twenty-five numbers on her board.  This made earning a bingo very manageable for her group.  You could do twenty-five squares to start out and then increase the number of squares on their bingo board if you feel 100 off the bat is overwhelming. 

Like I mentioned earlier, this is simply what works for me.  What works for me, might not work for you and your class.  However, the important thing to remember with behavior is that consistency is key. If you want a clip chart to work, make it a point to use it every day! If you don't use it or don't put an emphasis on whatever you are using, your kiddos won't be motivated by it.  I found this to be true on the weeks we would go without coupon shopping.  They weren't motivated to keep clean calendars because we weren't using the coupons to reward them. 

I'm linking up with Miss V's Busy Bees and Ms. D's Corner today.  If you are in need of some behavior management ideas, I highly suggest you check their linky out. I clicked around and found some good ones myself. 

Check out the linky by clicking {here}


  1. These are some great ideas! Love the behavior bingo, which I have already printed off and plan to use. Also like the calendar idea, but I plan to use student's agendas instead to keep track.

    Thanks for sharing!
    Shepherd's Shining Stars

  2. Love the behavior bing board! Quick do you choose the number once they earn one to get colored in?

    1. Someone pulls a number out of the envelope of numbers so it is completely randomized.

    2. Someone pulls a number out of the envelope of numbers so it is completely randomized.


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