Sunday, August 24, 2014

Pirate Classroom Management and Behavior Chart

      My first year teaching I modified my behavior management system several times.  When I started teaching, I had a one card system that I used with this "Don't Walk the Plank!" chart.

          After students had received a warning, they would turn their card into me and I would make a short note regarding what happened and date it. Example: "8/22/2011 - running." I sent the cards home at the end of the week for the parents to sign and each student received a fresh card on Monday. My aunt swears this worked in her K class. Let me just say - it was a NIGHTMARE for me! The kids I taught my first year were not the kind of kids who could come to the front and pull their cards, for one. They were throwing out all kinds of tantrums or taking forever and a day to retrieve it. I am also not the kind of teacher who can keep teaching, keep monitoring, and write behavior comments on students's cards throughout the day without getting a little bit distracted or confused. If you can do it all... then more power to ya! ;) 

     On to nightmare number 2.. I changed to a system I had observed in a K class when I was student teaching.  I gave students four linking cubes and students lost cubes throughout the day if they did not follow our classroom rules. I would go to the student's desk to retrieve the cubes, but they still had to physically remove the cube from their pencil boxes and put them in my hands. This may have been worse than the first option. Students were constantly playing with cubes during work time, stealing cubes from other students, and my favorite... throwing their cube trains at me when I asked them to hand me a cube. Don't get me started ya'll... my first class was just like that. Seriously. It wasn't just me. 

     Finally, with the help of the K4 and 1st grade teacher I came up with something that worked better for me! I attached these faces and names to my chalkboard and started moving the students' names myself. 

     This year I revamped my chart to match my pirate theme and also added a face for students who go above and beyond! I made these faces using my Cricut cutter and they are SO cute! Sorry about the glare.. I promise they look WAY better in real life! 

    I am usually standing near the chalkboard when I am teaching, so this chart allows for very minimal disruption to my day. I just quietly move names as needed while I am teaching. Unless a student does something major (hitting, biting, etc), I always give one warning before I move his name. I give my K5ers a visual reminder warning by writing their names on the board. This also helps me keep track of who has received a warning and who has not. At the beginning of the year, I make sure my students understand that its OK for your name to be written on the board. This is just between me and the students. If mom/dad ask if you got in trouble and all I did was write your name on the board, then the answer is,"No, I had a good day!"

     I know that many teachers are using  much more fluid behavior charts that allow students to move both up and down the chart all day long. What I have found works best for me is allowing every student one positive move, daily. (Of course, I adjust this rule as I see fit from time to time.) When I allowed for movement in both directions all day long I found that I had a group of students whose behavior became out of control until just before recess or just before dismissal. Some students were trying to see how much they could get away with and still be able to make it back to happy by the end of the day. I just wasn't a fan of that.
    One of the most valuable lessons I have learned in teaching is that what works for one teacher or class doesn't always work with another teacher or class. We have to keep adjusting until we find something that works for both us and our students.  In case you are interested in trying out my happy face chart I have created this resource that is available in my teachers pay teachers store.  It includes a set of pirate faces like the ones shown on the chalkboard below, some pirate whole brain teaching rules, and weekly and daily behavior forms. It is on sale for a limited time!

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