These past two weeks have been hard. My kids have become comfortable with me, thus showing me their true colors. Last week I had to crack down on discipline, sending warning sheets home and calling parents, making children cry. You know the usual.
Discipline is a hard subject to address in the modern public school. In general, discipline in the form of punishment is not allowed, leaving positive reinforcement as the other option to try to persuade children to behave long enough so they can learn. Positive reinforcement can go a long way for many kids, but to do that effectively you need to know what motivates the children in your class. There are a few kids that I can’t seem to find anything that interests them, well at least that I can control. I’m not really sure punishment would work for them either.
Anyways, this is my current management system:
Positive = Each child has a large index card with their name on it that they keep on their desk. This is their wallet. When I see they are on task and behaving well I reward them with a small stamp. Each stamp is worth $.10, which can be redeemed in the classroom store every 4 to 5 weeks. We have a banker(student) who helps to me to keep a weekly total of each kids earnings, and when the store opens the first time the kids will get account sheets to record their income and spending ( + and – Decimals!). Oh, and I explained to them they can earn 10% interest every 9 weeks on the amount they have saved in their account. And no, I will not be selling I-pods, so please don’t ask. ( This was a real question by more than one person).
Negative = I warn you once verbally. Then I write your name on the board. You get a check by your name, miss 5 minutes of recess. You get a second check, you miss 10 minutes of recess. If I have to talk to you again about the behavior, you get a warning sheet home, and I call a parent. Oh so fun. And, after 5 warning sheets you get to see the principal.
So that’s my current plan of action. I’m getting tired of writing people’s names on the board though. So, I’m think of just making a long skinny poster for students to move clothes pins with their names written on them up and down the behavior ladder. We’ll see. If anyone has any suggestions, I would love to hear them.