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Saturday, February 2, 2013

Classroom Behavior Management

At my internship, guidance was a part of the Specials rotation. One thing that I focused on was how to effectively manage the most "energetic" classes. In my Master's program, we are not taught how to manage a classroom as a school counselor. I was an Education major during my undergraduate days, but the discipline that is appropriate for a classroom teacher may not always be appropriate for a school counselor to use. This has been a growing experience for me, leading me to look for alternative ways to manage a classroom effectively. Below are some ideas that I have tried, and some ideas that I have found on Pinterest that would be easy for a school counselor to implement in a classroom.

1. Mr.Potato Head-  I have used this as a visual for whole body listening. At start of a classroom guidance
or small group lesson, discuss what ears, eyes, mouth, hands, brain (hat), and bottom should be doing, adding body parts as you discuss. If you notice that kids are not using their body appropriately during the group or class, remove that part of Mr.Potato head. Replace when you have everyone's attention again.

At the end of class, if Mr.Potato Head has all of his parts, give the class a compliment when their teacher arrives to pick them up, or another agreed upon incentive (see below). For smaller groups, you could pass around Mr.Potato Head at the end.

2. Counselor versus Students game- Draw a T-chart on the board, labeling one side "counselor" and the other side "students". When students are actively participating and using whole body listening, the class receives a point. If the counselor is waiting on students to finish conversations, or is not feeling respected by the class, the counselor receives a point. The objective is for the class to have more points than the counselor. 

3. Erasing letters of a word- Write the one-word topic of the lesson on the board at the beginning of class. If class is speaking out of turn, not following directions, or disrespecting teacher, erase a letter. The objective is to still have a part of the word left on the board at the end of class. 

4. Building a word- Similar to the erasing letters of the word, the class must work together to build the vocabulary word by showing positive behaviors. The objective is for the class to build the entire word by the end of class.

5. Bucket Fillers- Introduce this using the book, "Have You Filled a Bucket Today?". Remind the students throughout the class to think about if they are filling your bucket, and/or filling another student's bucket.

6. Peace Makers- Introduce by talking about peace. Discuss ways to make or break the peace in a classroom. Create an anchor chart with things that are "peace makers", and things that are "peace breakers". Through the lessons, remind the class to be peace-makers, not peace breakers. (Click picture for source)

7. Mystery Person-  Before each lesson, pick a Mystery Student to watch for. Do not tell the class who the mystery person is. To redirect students during the lesson say, "I wonder if my Mystery Student is on task!"  If the Mystery Student follows the “rules” they receive a reward of some kind. If the Mystery Student does not follow the rules - a brief, vague discussion is had with the whole group about what we should be working on to earn "Mystery Student". Source: Growing Kinders Blog

8. Class Bingo- Use a BINGO board for each class, and a bag with the individual spaces listed or bingo balls- (ex. B3, N5, G1). If the class is following directions and being respectful, choose a student to randomly pick a number from the bag, and color in that spot on their class BINGO board. When class gets an entire row of numbers filled in (horizontal, vertical, or diagonal) the class will receive a special reward/party.

9. Marble Jar- When you catch your class doing something really well, add a marble/pompom to the jar. The objective is for the class to fill the jar to a certain point to obtain a class incentive. 

10. Quiet Critters- Quiet Critters are Pompoms with googly eyes and felt feet. They only appear when students are being quiet. Each student receives a quiet critter when they are being quiet, but have to turn in their quiet critters if asked to stop talking. Source: Teaching Chick Blog

Counseling Classroom Incentives:
  • Game day (Teambuilding, following directions)
  • Minute to Win It games (builds on teamwork skills)
  • Feelings charades/ Onion Head cards (identify feelings, building empathy)
  • Brain Breaks for extended amount of time
  • Compliment to teacher
  • Students enter drawing for special seating during classtime
  • Pass around a puppet friend
  • Share individual stories at end of class


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  2. It is wonderful way of managing classroom behavior. You elaborated it very clearly in simple and easy language. Indeed, I enjoyed reading the post till last. Great efforts !
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