3 Quick and Easy Classroom Management Tips

2017-08-07 | The TpT Blog

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!

STICKY NOTES!!!!  

We all have them. We all love them. We can’t get enough of them.

Classroom Management for Positive BehaviorClassroom management tip for positive behavior
Classroom management tips for positive behaviorClassroom management tips for positive behavior

 

This is how it works: Every morning, our Special Helper of the Day places a sticky note at the corner of each desk. These sticky notes are only given to those students who are present. Those students who are absent or arrive late to class would not get a sticky note on their desks right away. However, if a student does arrive late to class they would give me their Late Slip, which they would pick up from the Main Office, in exchange for a sticky note.

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.

 
Classroom management tips for positive behavior
 
In the beginning, I was constantly writing on the blackboard “I had a good day today!” However, as the weeks wore on, there were days that I would forget to write this quick and easy simple sentence on the board. My students would quickly remind me of that, that’s for sure! So, I created a variety of posters. I attached magnetic tape on the backs of these posters and used them interchangeably on my whiteboard.  
Classroom management tips for positive behaviorClassroom management tips for positive behavior

And, since I was teaching a French Immersion class, I made some posters in French, too.

french Classroom management tips for positive behavior
 
How does this all work?
Easy! As I walk around the room, helping students with their work, I might either bring along with me a bunch of stickers, stamps, a cute teddy bear hole puncher, or a colorful pen; whatever I can quickly grab on the moment. When I notice that a student is demonstrating positive behavior, or has learned a concept, I would immediately praise them with a reward. You should see their faces when they get a stamp or an initial from me! I just love making my students happy!
 
Sometimes, the stamp fairy also comes along and stamps their sticky notes while they are away during lunch or recess. Remember, good behavior could be anywhere, at any time. As long as students display good character, they are always rewarded.
 
My students love earning these simple rewards. They really try their best because they want to fill their sticky notes with as much of these goodies as possible. 
 
I just love this strategy. It engages students and they really enjoy earning their stamps, stickers, or decorative hole punches.  
   
K-6 teacher Najda says,            K-6 teacher Najda says,
 
K-6 teacher Najda says,
 
K-6 teacher Najda says,
 
K-6 teacher Najda says,
As you can see, this student has received 6 stamps and 1 sticker.
   
Classroom management tips for positive behavior using Post-It Notes

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.   

 
Can they get a new sticky note after their first one has been confiscated?
After awhile, if they demonstrate good behavior halfway throughout the day, then yes! However, rather than having them write, “I had a good day today!” on their new sticky note, instead I would write it out for them. The reason I do this is because at the end of the day, students are allowed to take their sticky notes home and share their good day with their families. However, if a student takes a sticky note home with my handwriting on it, then this signals the caregiver that the student had a mediocre day and that they were given another chance.  
 
What happens at the end of each school day?
Students take their sticky notes home to share their good day with their family and friends. 
 
How do students transport their sticky notes home? 
I did notice that some of my students were placing their sticky notes either in a keepsake box, in an envelope, or just collecting them within their agendas. (Sorry, I forgot to take pictures of their stash of Post-It Notes.)
 
What’s the end result?
The end result was that my students were able to demonstrate good character, while having fun learning all of the grade level concepts! Most importantly, my defiant student was no longer defiant. And, the rest of my students ended up having a wonderful keepsake along the way. They kept their sticky notes like a daily diary and couldn’t believe as to how many good days they’ve had throughout their 2015-2016 year! A win-win situation for all of us indeed!
 
So there you have it!  A cheap and easy strategy that can be easily implemented in your classroom.
 
And, since you stuck with me to the end of this post, I have a freebie for you.  You can download my “I had a good day today!” posters from my TpT store. Click here!
Classroom management tips for positive behavior using Post-It Notes
 
Enjoy the rest of your summer!  
Toodles!
Najda
 
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K-6 teacher Najda says, Najda, Garden Full of Knowledge, is a K-6 teacher who has been teaching since 2010. She has taught various subjects both in English and French, including Music, Dance, and Drama. She enjoys creating interactive and engaging resources that are fun and memorable! Najda is passionate about teaching and you can see her enthusiasm at her blog, TpT store, Instagram, Boom Learning, and Facebook.   

note:  Borders are from Kelly Benefield, fonts are by Hello Literacy, and digital paper is from Sonya DeHart Design  

 

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