Ready, Set, Goals - Positive Behavior Management in the Classroom, Part Two

As I began to organize my thoughts and photos for this post, "Positive" from Legally Blonde: The Musical started playing through my head on loop...that's exactly how I strive to keep my classroom: positive! Of course, it can be incredibly difficult to keep your cool and think happy thoughts when one of your students starts giving out unsolicited hair cuts or when a child removes an entire brick from your classroom wall (both of these happened within my first month of teaching - yikes!).

However, if there's one thing I've learned, it's that there's usually a reason for every behavior. I work in a low income district; many of my students have less than ideal home lives, and bring to school more stress than I ever dealt with as a six year old. Raising my voice and taking away recess proved unsuccessful time after time. This year, I made a vow to keep it positive when it comes to behavior management and have seen amazing results.

In addition to providing my students a safe space to release emotions and calm down (if you missed Part One of this series, check out my classroom Zen Zone here!), I also offer my students incentives for showing me stellar behavior. As a class, we discuss one of our behavioral struggles as a group. Are we forgetting to raise our hands to speak? Neglecting to be kind to our friends? Running in the hallways? We vote on our biggest "weakness" and then set a goal to work on it! The goal is posted in the room for students, staff, and administration to see. This helps keep us accountable.

Here's a close up. I typed up a simple goal sheet on Microsoft Word. The adorable pennant is from an Edible Banner Kit on TpT.

You'll notice that there's also a reward. The students choose this, too. My kiddos have picked some great rewards over the years: a GoNoodle party, a shoe free day, extra center time, cookie decorating. As long as it's within reason, I give it the green light. This year, I even have some awesome parents who have offered to "sponsor" a behavior goal party (more on that later)! 

We then get to work on our goal. Our first two goals of the year have been centered around talking (I have a chatty bunch). I stuck some magnets on the back of basic bulletin board letters and posted them at the top of the white board. When students get too rowdy, I remove a letter.

At the end of the day, if we still have letters left, we earn a "donut." We need eight donuts to earn our party! We keep our paper donut awards on the whiteboard or a bulletin board so we can see how close we are to reaching our goal. I use this method for all of our rewards. Here's an example from last students needed to earn six scoops for their ice cream party. With each new goal, we bump up the number of days we need to meet our goal in order to earn the party. 

It usually takes my class anywhere from three to six weeks to earn their reward, depending on the goal and their dedication to it. Our behavior reward parties are very short (about ten minutes) and are usually held during snack time. Of course, not all rewards cost money...but some do. As a teacher on a budget, I always go the cheap route. For example, a "brownie party" is a boxed mix and basic ingredients I already have at home. This year, I have been incredibly lucky to have a few parents ask to "sponsor" our behavior reward parties. Once we earn a party, I reach out to them and they either drop off the reward at school or send in a gift card for me to make the purchase. Last week, my students got to enjoy a donut party, sponsored by one of my amazing parents! 

To encourage my students to work as a team and have speedy transitions from one task to the next, I created a simple point system. Again, this is posted in a corner of my whiteboard. At any given time, I give points to the table that is serving as a great example to the class. At the end of the week, the team that earns the most points gets to select their centers first for "Friday Freedom" (play center time on Fridays). The winning team also gets to "wear a crown" for the entire next week.

Of course, the "winning" team is always changing, as points are awarded many times a day throughout the week. At the end of each day, the team with the most points is awarded the coveted "Quick and Quiet trophy." Who knew I'd ever have a practical use for all those rabbit trophies from my 4-H days!

Even with these system in place, I still do have the occasional repeat offender. If the Zen Zone is failing us, I ask the student to please stop, think, and reflect. They are given a reflection page to work on in an isolated area of the room, which then gets sent home for their parent to sign and return. I have various levels of reflection pages to accommodate for my wide range of abilities.

If the behavior is frequent or severe, I send home a Pink Slip. This is an edible template you can find on my TpT store that I use to communicate with parents and administration (if needed). Students can complete a reflection at home with their parents before returning the Pink Slip to school. 

If a behavior continues, I immediately set up a behavior contract with the student and their family. We set goals, visualize, and set a reward.    

To keep students accountable, I give my student a goal tracking sheet and behavior card. The behavior card is printed on card stock, laminated, and written on with a dry erase marker. Tracking sheets have different themes to appeal to student interests!

By using goal setting and positive reinforcement, I have seen incredible changes in my students' behavior. Even better, I have noticed that my students' have become more accountable for their actions and have a strong urge to work as a team to achieve. 

Looking for more? Check out my full editable Behavior Referral Set on TpT here.

Thanks for stopping by!

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