Sunday, July 23, 2017

Behavior Management Pros and Cons

With September just around the corner I want to share my experiences with different behavior management systems. I will explain shortly how I've used each system and some of Pros and Cons I found. Each class in different and sometimes a system that worked with one group of children does not meet  the needs of a different group. You have to pick and chose what works for you and what works for your class. I currently use a combination of Whole Brain Teaching and Class Dojo. I also use individual behavior plans as needed.  Enough set up... lets jump in to it

Behavior Management systems 
  • Clip Chart
  • Class Dojo
  • Whole Brain 

CLIP CHART     My First few years  of teaching I used a simple clip chart system. The children would start the day on ready to learn and depending on their choices throughout the day their clip would move up and down. I also gave small prizes or stickers out for students with excellent behavior at the end of the day.

PROS:  This method is great for students to visually see how their behavior throughout the day. It gives them feedback as to their choices and there is an immediate consequence for their actions (clip moving up or down). This system also helps to motivate students to make better choice in order earn a reward, prize or sicker.

CONS:  Personally, I found it difficult to be consistent using the clip chart especially when we weren't in the classroom. I would tell someone to move their clip down for fooling around in the hallway and then forget to actually have them move it once we got back to class.  I was also not recognizing positive behavior as much as I should have. That might have just been me that year (head shake)

CLASS DOJO One of my class parents was also a teacher and she recommended I look into Class Dojo. It is an app that allows you to track student behavior in real time. Each child can be assigned an avatar and you can award or remove points based on student actions and behavior. 
                                                                            Image result for classdojo

PROS: The Avatar choices are super cute. My kids had fun picking out their character.  The students can CASH in their points for a reward coupon or they can combine points for a class reward like a pajama day (My personal favorite ). Through the app you can assign or remove points on the go. If you have your phone or ipad with you, you can even monitor behavior in the hall or during assemblies. No more forgetting to move clips when you are back to class.  The parents can also log in and review their own child's behavior points for the day.  There is also a social media aspect where you can post pictures or quickly communicate with parents. They just need to create a secured account.

CONS: I haven't found too many draw backs yet. You do have to have access to the internet either through a lap top, tablet or phone. You have to play with you settings to set up your class and select which behaviors or actions you are tracking. There is a slight earning curve with this, but there are excellent you-tube tutorials out there to help get you started.  There is also a question of having other children see the point values of their peers. This may or may not be an issue depending on the makeup of your class community and how you set up DOJO. 
I do not use the social media aspect of the app. I love communicating with parents but I prefer to do it through the school's secure email. I also did not feel comfortable positing pictures of my students or their individual work through the app. I know there are plenty of privacy settings and everything is secure, I know many teachers who use it but it just didn't work for me.


 WHOLE BRAIN TEACHING is an interactive method of instruction. It incorporates repetitive gestures, movements, and words to help make learning multistory. Whole Brain Teaching also incorporates simple to follow class rules.  Students work together as a whole or in small groups to earn behavior points. When you catch the students doing something good  you verbally praise that student and the whole class celebrates with a 10 second "party" cheer. A point is given on the smiley face side. If you catch the students doing something negative the whole class  "groans" and a point is given to the frown side. You do not call out the individual student for the negative behavior, you just verbally describe what you saw or what rule has been broken.  No SHAMING here. If there are more positive points than negative points the class or group earns a reward. This could is usually something small like 3 extra minutes of recess, music or a video during snack time,  sticker or stamp... If the students earn more negative points a consequence is given. This is usually something equally small like 3 minutes off of recess or 3 minutes of silent snack. 
In Kinder the students benefit from short periods between rewards. I track points in the morning for a reward before lunch and in the afternoon for a reward at the end of the day. I keep a dry erase scorecard on my name badge so I can tally points earned vs points lost on the go. At the end of the day the score card is erased and the students start over the next day. 

PROS: The multi sensory approach is great for the little ones who need to move.  The rules are really simple.
        1. Follow Directions Quickly
        2. Raise a Quiet Hand
        3. Make Smart Choices
        4. Use an Inside Voice
        5. Make Your Teacher Happy
The students have to work together to earn the reward. You don't have to spend money buying trinkets for a prize box.  You can monitor behavior on the go without the use of technology. This system focuses more on positive behavior. Students are motivated to follow the rules and earn points because of the positive reinforcement of the 10 second "party".

CONS: With this system students are not individually rewarded beyond verbal praise; like wise there in no individual consequences for behavior unless there is a server infraction. If  you have a student with behavior or emotional issues you may need to use an individual behavior plan for that student. Sometimes habitual rule breakers will relay on the positive behavior of their peers to earn them points. The behavior of these students may also drag down the points of the rest of the class and it may not be fair to give a consequence to everyone because of the actions of a few.

There you have it. Don't be afraid to change up your behavior system if it is not working. Just try and be consistent with whatever plan you choose. Each year is as unique as the students you share your room with. No two classroom communities are the same so take what you like from each behavior system and make it your own.

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