Friday, December 21, 2012

My Behavior Management Plan

I have used a "ticket/class auction" system for managing behavior in my classroom for several years now and it's been quite effective.  In addition, my students love it!  Let me explain how it works:

Every Monday, I give my students ten of these tickets (I usually order them from Oriental Trading, but have also seen them at Wal-mart and Target):
(image from Google)
As you can see, each ticket represents $1.00.  If a child breaks a rule, I say, "I'm so sorry, but that will be $1.00" (or more, depending on the severity of the offense).  The child then gives me the number of tickets I ask of him and I quickly mark the misbehavior on a chart.  I use the chart to determine conduct grades at the end of the grading period. 

At the end of the 9 weeks, the students turn in their tickets for play money and we hold a classroom auction. 

The students bring in garage-sale-type items from home (they are NOT to go out and buy anything) and bid on them using "money" they have earned.  Whatever money they don't spend, I add onto the next 9 weeks' auction.  For example, one child was absent on the day we did our first 9 weeks' auction, so she had over $100.00 to spend in addition to the money she earned this 9 weeks.

With this system, the students also have the opportunity to earn more money.  If they get a compliment from another teacher, are caught doing something kind for others, etc., I may offer a couple of extra dollars.  The students are not allowed to ask for money; extra tickets are given at the teacher's discretion.

The second 9 weeks' auction is the most anticipated because students want to buy presents for their family members.  I encourage them to bring in items for all ages.  Here are a few items from last week's auction:        
And in case you're wondering, I've perfected my auctioneer chant!  "Next item up for bid--a cute little stuffed monkey!  Would be a great toy for you or a gift for a younger sibling.  Raise your hand to bid...and here we go...1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10?  Can  I hear 12?  15?  SOLD!  For $15 to Johnny!"  Even though I'm not as fast as actual auctioneers, I can spit out my numbers pretty quickly!
While I am the auctioneer, I assign one child to be the "banker."  This child gets to sit at my desk in my fancy swivel chair, collect money, and give change.  Boy, is this a special job!  Those 5th graders covet this position.  After all, only 4 kids out of the whole class get to do this since there are only 4 nine weeks.  I choose students randomly by pulling their number out of a hat, basically, and no student is allowed to have this position twice.
This system works great for me.  Instead of getting mad or frustrated about a child's behavior, I simply say, "That's inappropriate and it will cost you $2.00."  If they give me attitude (which rarely happens), I up the ante and require more money from them.  They are the ones losing and they realize this.  They like to keep as much money/tickets as they can!

I know this system may not work for every teacher, as some may teach in low socioeconomic areas and the students may be unable to bring items in from home.  I just wanted to share an idea that has worked for me.  My students and I love the ticket/auction system!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Christmas Crafts

Each year, I guide my students in some sort of Christmas craft.  In years past, I've done elaborate and time-consuming crafts that required more effort from me than my students.  Forget that!  This year, I wanted to do something that was less work for me but still enjoyable for the kids.  I found this ornament decorating activity from Pinterest and it was a hit in my classroom.

First, I started with clear glass ornaments:
I removed the tops:
We squeezed drops of acrylic paint inside the bulb.  Be sure to cover the inside completely:
After some gentle swirling, we ended up with a marble effect:
I turned the ornaments upside down and placed them in Dixie cups so they could drain overnight:
I replaced the tops and we tied a piece of ribbon (not shown) on them:
My 5th graders loved the fact that this craft was customizable.  They selected their own colors and could choose as many colors as they wanted.  And I'm one happy teacher--this year I didn't have to pull out the glue gun or tie a million bows or twist a million paper clips.  Ahh!  I love student friendly crafts that are actually cute. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Teacher Tip #5: When your schedule allows, GO!

When a student invites me to his/her recital, game, performance, whatever, I feel so honored and try to make every effort to go.  The teacher's attendance builds good rapport with the family and shows the child that you care.  They feel so special when you actually show up to an event they invited you to.  Whenever your schedule allows, I encourage you to go to public, outside-of-school functions that the student or parent invites you to.