Thursday, July 17, 2014

Back 2 School Weekly LInky

It's Thursday, which means Friday is tomorrow, which for me means PAY-DAY!!!!  Gotta love those Fridays!! :-)

Yesterday while I was reading some of the blog posts from new friends I've made, I came across a Back 2 School Weekly Linky being held by Mrs. D's Corner and Miss V's Busy Bees.

Technically yesterday was the first day, but since I had already made 2 posts yesterday I thought I'd save this for today.  The first topic of this linky is behavior management.  Lots of bloggers are linking up to talk about how they handle behavior management in their school/classroom.  It's neat to read about all of the different tips and tricks different teachers use in their classroom.  Most of the posts I read used positive reinforcement and tangible rewards that they can earn, which is what we do at our school.

Our school follows the PBIS program, and last year we earned 'Gold Status'.  Woot-woot!!  PBIS is our school-wide initiative, so that means that every classroom in our school uses the same system.  Our school mascot is a train (yeah, I know) so we are the Engineers.  We kept that theme when we moved over to PBIS.  I was one of the original team members, so I got to see the process grow from the start and got to give a lot of feedback.  Here's how it works at our school:

PBIS stands for Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support {click on the link to visit their website to find out more} and means that students are more frequently rewarded for their good behavior than they are reprimanded for their not-so-good behavior.  As a team, we chose the goals for our school:  Be Respectful, Be Responsible, and Be Safe.  Every school or class rule fits into one of those three categories.  When a student is 'caught' displaying one of those behaviors, they can earn a Golden Ticket.

We stuck with our train theme, and borrowed from a famous Roald Dahl children's book, and copy these tickets on to golden paper.  Students can earn a Golden Ticket from any adult in the building, as well as the bus drivers.  Once the earn a GT, they keep it in their Ticket Pocket.  Each teacher does the pocket a bit differently.  Some use baskets, others Ziploc baggies.  I use the library card holders that used to be in the back of library books to hold the checkout cards.  I place a pocket inside each student's locker, and that is where they will keep their tickets throughout the year.

As this picture shows, I give out A LOT of tickets to my kinders.  They are a great way to motivate them to follow the 'BEs', and they really enjoy earning them. Also, once they earn a GT, they cannot have it taken away for later behavior infractions. Once a week they are allowed to spend their tickets.  The 'Golden Ticket Train' comes to our classroom every Thursday morning.  This is our fancy name for an overhead cart full of little toys, trinkets, and supplies.  I don't have a picture of the cart, sorry!!  The cart is stocked with Oriental Trading-type toys as well as school supplies like crayons and glue sticks and folders.  Believe it or not, one of the most popular items to purchase in my class last year was a new folder.  Nothing special, just solid color three-brad folders you can get for a nickel a piece at Wal-Mart, but my kinders LOVED buying a new folder!!

Besides student rewards, our PBIS plan recognizes classes for following the BEs, too.  Other staff members may reward an entire class if the entire class is following the BEs.  For example, my class can earn 'Train Tracks' for walking in the hall quietly and safely, for behaving as a class in a special, or for behaving in the cafeteria.
This is the track we used for the first few years, nothing fancy.  However, it became difficult for teachers to remember to carry them at all times and hand them out.  So, now we just tell each other 'Your class earned a track!'  Most of us have it as a classroom job to keep track of the tracks earned, in my room I call it the 'Track Tracker'.

My kinder who has that job for the week uses a Vis-a-Vis marker to put a dot in a ten-frame for every track our class earns.  See how I brought math into it by using ten-frames??  My class ROCKS at walking in the hallway safely and quietly, and that is where we earn most of our tracks.  In this picture, we have 31.  Yikes!!  We were saving up for one of the 'big rewards'; Free Gym Time.  There are several different awards classes can earn with their tracks.

Last year, we were able to have several of these rewards.  'Bring a stuffed animal to school day' was a very popular one, as was 'Finer Diner'.  My kinders worked hard to earn tracks so they could save them up and trade them in.

In my classroom, I use a clip-chart method.  Most of the other teachers in my building do, as well.  This year we went to a school-wide color system where EVERYONE must start on Green every day, and that the colors Yellow and Red should be included as 'bad' colors.  Some classes only use those three colors, others use more depending on the needs of the class.  I quickly came to realize that three colors just weren't enough, so I added a few more.
Just like the rest of the school, everyone in my class starts on Green every day.  When they are having a hard time following directions, they need to move their name 'down'.  First stop is Yellow, which is just a warning and means a 5 minute loss of recess or free choice time.  Many of my kinders only need this one warning, but others need more.  Next warning moves you down to Orange, which now requires a Reflection/Thinking sheet to be filled out by student and teacher, and it gets sent home for a signature. If I have to give the same student another warning, they move down to Red.  This is the color NO ONE wants to be on!!  It means that the student must now receive an MIR (Minor Incident Report) that gets filled out by the teacher and sent to the office for the Assistant Principal to review and talk with the student about.  It also means a call home from the teacher.  Luckily, in my three years of kindergarten, I haven't had very many littles on Red.  Last year was a pretty rough year discipline wise in my room, and I constantly had the same two students on Red.  Nothing seemed to work...not interventions, rewards, punishments, nothing.  Isn't it hard when you have students like that, who aren't motivated or deterred by ANYTHING??

For those students who show that they know how to follow the BEs, they can move their name 'up' the chart.  Blue is the highest you can go, and any student who lands on Blue gets to pick a prize from the 'Treasure Chest'.  They LOVE that, so for most of them that was a great incentive.  Also, anyone on Green or better could participate in various Green Zone Celebrations.  Sometimes this was a movie, a popcorn party, extra recess time, Finer Diner, etc.  Students who had not earned the Green Zone Day would need to participate in some sort of Behavior Intervention.  There are also random Green Zone Celebrations, where students on Green or better can participate in a dance or an ice cream treat, or something as simple as a high-five from the principals.

This is what we do school wide, and like I mentioned earlier, each teacher puts their own spin on it.  As long as they have the colors of Green, Yellow, and Red, they can have whatever other colors and/or classroom procedures that address behavior management.  In my room last year, for the first time since teaching kindergarten, I had a group of littles that was having a VERY HARD TIME treating each other with respect and kindness, of being friends instead of being mean.  So, last year I implemented GEMS of Kindness in my room.  My kinders could earn a GEM (pom-pom) for being kind or helpful or respectful towards a classmate.  I chose gems because dragons really covet them, and the kinders loved being dragons collecting gems!  Once they earned 10 GEMS, they could trade them in for a Jewel.  If they earned a Jewel, I put a rhinestone sticker on a craft stick for them.  Students who were a Jewel got to do things first, like line up, pack up, go outside, etc.  Something so simple as being first was a HUGE motivator for my kiddos!!

This is our GEMS of KIndness board.  Each student gets a white pail that I put the 'gems' in, and I used a dry-erase marker to write the total amount of gems in each pail.  Unlike the Golden Tickets, I could take GEMS away from them for not being kind and/or respectful to their classmates.  We talked about how we are a school family and need to get along, and for the most part my kinders worked hard to earn GEMS by being kind to each other.  This is a strategy that I'm going to keep for next year, since my kinders responded so well to it last year.  Plus, it was wonderful to see and hear them being so kind to each other!!

I hope that my post was informative for you, and if you have any questions please ask!!  I would LOVE to know if you do something similar.  How do you handle behavior management in your classroom or school?


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