Saturday, September 22, 2012
Classroom Management Ideas
The hardest part about teaching is never the curriculum... it's classroom management.
When I taught third grade, I used "Doran Dollars"~ an economy system where students were 'paid' for jobs they did (after applying and interviewing for 'said' job) with money that they designed (they voted in their favorite design). Just like they were paid for their jobs (and could earn bonuses), they also had to pay for things and did have 'fines' if they did not get something turned in on time, or broke a rule. Every so often I would have auctions where students could bid on dollar store toys, candy, lunch with me... etc. I absolutely loved it, and so did the kids! It was something I stole from my awesome coworker (Sheryl), who is wonderful.
When I went back to first grade, there was no way that I could manage the economy system (or maybe it was just because it scared me to try). Either way, I asked around and got some other management ideas. The teacher's class I took over (Kelly) and my kids kindergarten teacher (Caron) had a card system and seemed to really like it.
The way it works is every child has a number (alphabetical order). I have a pocket chart with each student's number and inside their pocket are four cards~ a green, yellow, red and red X. Obviously this is first graders so they get more reminders than my third graders ever did, but after two reminders or so I have them "pull a card". I don't contact home unless they pull the "Red X". Each day they start out fresh again with a green card.
I got to thinking that this was working well but I needed to keep track (record) how they were doing each day and I wanted to reward all of my students for doing well. I decided that every time my students have 5 green cards (they don't have to be in a row) they can visit my "Prize Bucket" (candy and dollar store treats). So I found some calendars in an old book I had and made some copies. At the beginning of each month, the students color their own calendars (you can't see on the picture below, but there is a picture on the other side). I keep all of their calendars and each morning, I mark what color card they had with a letter. I usually go through and mark the non-greens (since usually there aren't too many) first and then I go through and let the class know how many more 'greens' they need to go to the prize bucket. When they go to the prize bucket, I mark that by putting stickers over the five greens. This only takes minutes and is a great way to start the day.
At the end of the month, I record my entire class's behavior by marking in my book how many yellows, reds and Xs they had. I reference this during report card time. I have found this really informative because there are students that need reminders, but don't necessarily need calls home all the time. By sending these calendars home each month (and encouraging parents to ask their children what 'color' they were each day), I have found that there aren't any surprises at report card time.
No surprised makes happy parents.
And happy parents= a happy teacher.