This post originally appeared on the blog Garden Full of Knowledge.
In order for learning to take place in a warm and welcoming classroom environment, it is imperative that some sort of classroom management is in place. Now, I know that there are many different classroom management strategies out there; choosing the right classroom management tool will not only depend on the dynamics of your classroom, but also on your own teaching style.
For the past few years, I have simultaneously used Table Group Points and Class Dojo. My students love Table Group Points because at the end of each month, I have the winning team visit my special Treasure Box. They get to choose either a special toy, pencil, fancy eraser, etc. from my stash of goodies. By the end of the school year, I ensure that each student has definitely had a chance to visit my Treasure Box at least once. My students love Table Group Points because they know that on the first of each month, they will get a new seating partner. The morning of, you can see the look of excitement on their faces because they can’t wait to find out as to where and with whom they will be seated with. Once they are all seated, I then announce that month’s group names. The names will usually be words that I pick from our unit of study for that month. So, for example, if in that month we are studying about Plants, then our group names would be: Loam, Silt, Sand, Clay, and Humus. Or, if we are studying shapes in Math, then our group names would be: Quadrilaterals, Parallelograms, Hexagons, and Pentagons. I use these group names all throughout the day. For example, I might say, “I like the way the Hexagons are sitting. They may line up!” Or, I might say, “The Silt group will work on their projects out in the hallway, while the Sand group works on their iPads at the carpet.” We keep tally of our points on a designated spot on the blackboard. Let me tell you, students definitely take pride and ownership when it comes to their points. I could go on and on about our Table Group Points, but I think I’ll save that for another post.
We also love Class Dojo because my students enjoy earning individual points. And, like the Table Group Points, I award prizes, but this time to only those three students with the highest score at the end of each term.
These tools are amazing and have always done wonders to the atmosphere of my classroom.
However, this past year, these two tools were just not enough; especially for one of my students. I tried everything with this particular student. I mean, everything!!! This student just wanted to be the center of attention. I needed to think of a strategy that had immediate results. I needed something that did not take a lot out of my time because this student’s behavior literally consumed our whole day. Teaching and learning was not taking place. You get me?!?!
I needed something that was going to encourage positive classroom behavior, and discourage defiant behavior.
Let me tell you: This classroom management tool was born out of mere desperation. You see, I had tried all kinds of other positive reinforcement strategies, but they were JUST NOT WORKING! So, one morning, it came to me! [cue in the harp music here]…
I am so excited to share with you a strategy that is cheap, easy, and successful!
We all have them. We all love them. We can’t get enough of them.
Students love getting fancy sticky notes. They come to class all excited and looking forward to their next “fancy sh-mancy” sticky notes.
Once students receive their sticky notes, they then write, “I had a good day today!” along with their name.
And, since I was teaching a French Immersion class, I made some posters in French, too.
And, since I do not want my students to be distracted by these cute sticky notes, they were asked not to touch them. If a student was caught playing with their sticky note, their sticky note would get confiscated. (I never had to confiscate a sticky note, ever!) In all honesty, I mentioned this rule only once to them and they took me seriously. Who knew, that a simple sticky note would have such an impact.
What happens if a student is off task?
Their sticky note would get confiscated. They would have nothing to collect. In actuality, I only had to confiscate it twice. My students made sure that their sticky notes stayed right on top of their desks, and not on mine.