Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Simplest Classroom Management System Ever!

I have tried a variety of classroom management ideas over the years...names on the board with checkmarks, (okay, that was 30 years ago), moving clips up and down, bean jars, prizes, etc. For the past 5 years, since I moved up from 2nd to 4th grade, I have used an idea given to me by a fellow 4th grade teacher...(thanks Stephanie!)

Teacher Points/Student Points!

What I love about this system is that it takes absolutely no preparation or money, and I can use it as much or as little as I want, (or remember!) Here's the basic idea...I have a little scoreboard at the front of the room, (I actually just draw mine on the chalkboard.) When students are on-task, I just walk over and put a tally mark in the student column. If they are loud, off-task, or not following directions, I get a point. When they travel quietly in the halls they get a point. If another adult compliments the class, they get a point. When they transition quickly, they get a point, etc. Once I explain it at the beginning of the year, from that point on, all I have to do is walk towards the scoreboard if they are being too loud and they immediately quiet down ... without me saying anything ... gotta love that!

At the end of the day, whoever has more points gets 5 minutes. If they win, they get to put the 5 minutes towards Friday afternoon's Choice Time. If I win, I keep the 5 minutes for learning, because the fact that I have more points means we must have lost learning time that day being off-task.

Occasionally they skunk me, meaning I didn't get any points that day. When that happens, they get 10 minutes towards Choice Time. Believe me, that is very motivating! They will remind each other to follow the rules and I don't have to say a word..."Guys! We're skunking her...get in a quiet line!" (said in an intense whisper  as we were lining up to go to a special, and they know I need a quiet line to travel in the hall.)

At the beginning of the year, I award points more frequently during the day as we are building routines. Later on, I honestly forget sometimes! That's the beauty of this system, though...the number of points doesn't matter. It's just whoever has more at the end of the day. It usually works out that students earn between 20-30 minutes for Choice Time. We have a rule that if they don't earn at least 15 minutes, we roll the minutes over into another week, because less than that just isn't worth it.

One other thing that I do occasionally is to allow one student to earn a student point for the entire class. As an example, we do a yoga-type program first thing in the morning called Get Ready to Learn. I have a student with ADHD who has a very hard time sitting in his chair, let alone participating in the yoga. He regularly disrupted the other students during this time. One day I noticed that he was really trying to do the movements, so after yoga I told the class that he had earned a point for the whole class because he did something that was really hard for him. The class was excited and thanked him, and he felt great!

I do still have to deal with individual students being off-task or disruptive. I don't take a teacher point for this. I use positive time-out as recommended by Responsive Classroom. Sometimes students may need to stay in a recess and complete a behavior reflection. It varies with the situation.

So, if you're looking for a simple whole-class management system, maybe give this a try!


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19 comments:

  1. Great idea! I've had to go back to beginning of school year rules with my group. They have spring fever in the middle of winter!

    MissKinBK

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  2. Wondering how I could make this work for middle school (6th grade)... less points per class.. hmm..

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    1. The kids love this system even at the 6th grade level! Little to no modification needed. We took our kids outside for an activity at the end of the week.

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    2. I have almost the exact same system in my 6th-7th grade classroom, which I call Beat the Teacher. I count them down from 3 if they're getting out of turn or loud, sometimes quietly and sometimes loudly, but always where at least one of them can hear me. If the entire class quiets down before I get to one...and they STAY quiet (including noises made by their feet/hands/pencils/etc), then they get the point. If even one of them breaks the silence in any way, I get the point. If they've Beat the Teacher by the end of the week, they all get candy (I'm pretty stingy with candy because "I don't reward expected behavior"). If I win, no candy. If it's a 0-0 tie, they get candy because I never had to count them down, which we all know is a teacher win! If it's a tie with hashmarks, I win.

      I even have one class of 9th graders, and it works for them. It's amazing what tweens/teens will do for a piece of candy.

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  3. I like this. Now to think about how I could adapt it for the library ... I don't get them long enough for any "choice" time. But egads, if the teachers could actually follow through with something like this for the kiddos line behavior as they walk through the library (we're the hallway ... no walls #DUMBARCHITECT) it would be AWESOME.

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  4. This is a great idea! I don't have choice time right now, but I bet I could figure out another time to take or add. Thanks for the great idea!

    Becky
    Compassionate Teacher

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    1. I used your idea last year but... if the kids won each day I would take problems off of the homework for Friday. At the time I was giving math homework everyday day of the week. Well, I flipped my classroom and now I don't have homework very often except to watch my videos for the next day. So any suggestions for out to reward the kids in a different way. I teach in a middle school class so giving free time is not really an option. So... advice would be welcome from anyone.

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    2. ALL kids, no matter the age love something fun and different. As a 7th grade teacher I used the following: Free Time Friday (they can chat or text - per school policy); reading time (silent or you reading to the class); a special game (my kids loved a simple throw a wadded up piece of paper in a garbage can, team with the most points won, or you could even do even heads up seven up); a special activity outside for the last part of class. The possibilities really are endless, and may be different for each class. It will be trial and error. I would suggest that you switch it up at the beginning of the year and then take the favorites for each class and repeat those the rest of the year. Good Luck!

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  5. Love this idea!!!

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  6. Great idea..I am writing about my Classroom Management ideas in my blog and I mentioned you and your Point System! Thanks for sharing!

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  7. If there's a tie, then they don't earn the 5 minutes. But the beauty of this system is that there is no set amount of points that have to be awarded and no set frequency for awarding them. If overall, I feel the students deserve to win, and we are currently at a tie with 10 minutes to go at the end of the day, I may give them to chance to earn a point if they are packed up and ready to go within a certain amount of time.

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  8. As a teacher preparing for my second year of 5&6 graders I really appreciate you sharing this idea. I love simplicity and look forward to implementing this idea! Thanks again.

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  9. Wonder if this would work with Prek class...only modified somewhat? Any suggestions?

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  10. I have not worked with children that young, so I'm not sure if the point system would be effective. You could maybe try something geared only towards rewarding positive behaviors, like you add one part of a drawing when they are following the rules, and when the drawing is complete, they earn the extra free time. I know some teachers in my school use a pom-pom jar. They drop a handful in when the kids are doing what they're supposed to. When the jar is full, they earn a reward of some sort.

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  11. I keep it simple. If it is nice weather, we go outside for an extra recess. They love having the playground all to themselves! If it is not good weather, they have the typical inside recess choices: They can play games, use one of our 6 iPads, build with cubes or Legos, draw, etc. I've toyed with the idea of saving the points for a larger reward, like a movie/popcorn party, but I never seem to have consensus between the kids who want to save the points, and the kids who want more immediate gratification.

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  12. tks I am going to try this method. I have been using an individual tally system for quite a few years and it is very effective as my young kids see the positives go up... but I am looking forward to not having to keep an ongoing tally of points for prizes... short and sweet til the end of the week

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