Tracking Class Behavior
Behavior management – I’ve tried to think of a clever metaphor to capture the magnitude of this in the classroom. If done right, effective behavior management can provide a mutually joyful and relaxed learning environment for students and teacher. My day goes by smoothly, filled with engaged kids and meaningful routines – on days like these I feel like Rocky Balboa running up the steps and punching the air in triumph while glitter rains down around me (the glitter part didn’t happen in the movie but that’s how it plays out in my head).
On those inevitable bad days, I wallow in my crumpled confidence for a little while, eat unnecessary amounts of chocolate and figure out what I can do differently tomorrow.
This past school year, my system of tracking and redirecting whole class behavior worked OK. I had three letters that spell out A R T and a stop sign. The class received three warnings – I took away a letter for each warning, then I moved the arrow on the stop sign from green to yellow.
If I moved the arrow down to red, the result was silent art (this was excruciating to enforce – it was more work for me than the students). If a class kept all the letters up, and it still spelled A R T at the end of class, I colored in a square for their class on the Good Choices Chart.
At the end of each semester, if a class had a certain amount of squares colored in, they received a prize. This system had a few problems, the positive reinforcement wasn’t immediate and I saw certain classes more often than others because of holidays or testing. This year I’m SO excited to try out a different system I came across on Pinterest from teacher Katie Jarvis.
In this whole brain teaching method, the class gets tally marks for positive and off task behavior. At the end of class, if there are more points on the positive behavior side, the class receives a golden paintbrush. If there are an equal amount of tally marks on each side, the class receives a silver paintbrush. Four golden paint brushes earns the class a day of free art (a silver paintbrush is worth 1/2 of a silver brush).
I think this way of tracking whole class behavior is genius because the “reward” is more immediate and tangible – a physical brush they can bring back to class. I’ll let you know how it goes – for now I’m focused on finding 200 chip paintbrushes for dirt cheap.