Sunday, September 2, 2012

Behavior management tips

First of all, clearly I'm horrible at managing blogging and teaching. But one thing I can manage, is a classroom full of children with lots of issues. In one classroom, we have a child on the spectrum, one oppositional defiant disorder, several IEPs, about three children working with a therapist for anger management issues, a couple kids reading on a first grade level, 5 behavior plans and many ADHD kiddos. But walk into my classroom, and I don't think you'd notice.

My principal complemented my partner and I on our ability to stay calm and keep things on lock. We received a child who brought multiple weapons to his last school. Where we teach, behavior management can make or break you. More than one good teacher has been asked to leave our district because they lack skill.

We've got about 5 things in place, probably more than keep a lot of different issues in check. Here are just a few.

Whole Brain Teaching
I don't fully implement every piece of WBT, but I use a few pieces and depend heavily on them. My favorite being class/yes. However you say class, is how your class responds with yes. After a couple days of practice they are ALWAYS listening for it. I can whisper and they all immediately whisper back "yes?" and get silent. I have to admit, sometimes I'm shocked.

I also use "hands and eyes" and "teach/okay". Look on youtube for some excellent videos. I also have the rules for free on my teacher's notebook page.

Hand signals
This is my first year using it, I don't know what made me try it and I never plan to stop. There are many times a day when I'm either answering a phone call, listening to a student read, helping another student, talking to an adult who's come to ask me a question and it never fails another student needs something. I'm pretty strict about them asking to leave their seats, so I might look up 20 seconds in to a one minute fluency passage and have three hands are up. How to solve the problem? Hand signals.
1 = drink
2 = bathroom (although usually I don't send them on their own, I have some special exceptions this year)
3 = tissue (it's clearly cold/flu season)
4 = sharpen pencil
No. The kids aren't abusing it. Yes. I really think it's worth it.

To help the kids remember, I photographed their cute little hands holding their hands in the position and labeled them. I'll post a picture.

I know. It's not a secret anymore, but it is debatably the best website of all time. No more documenting. You can take attendance on it. The kids have a visual reminder up (I have it on my Promethean if I'm not using it for something else). And the best part is, I explained the concept to the parents and I'm using it as the number system in their planners. My partner teacher and I share a login, and while she has my class, she pulls that class up. When I have hers, I pull her class up. It's so simple, it's genius. It's totally worth checking out, trust me.

Communication Log
This is something we implemented building wide this year. In a school where behavior problems are common, it became an issue that students wouldn't listen to anyone who wasn't their homeroom teacher. Special areas, lunch room aides, other teachers in the hallway. Typically if you haven't developed a relationship with the student, they disrespect you, and don't care if you attempt to give them a consequence or not. This has made a big difference, I simply tie it into the number system in the classroom. If the special area teacher has an issue, I change their number. They appreciate us trying to support what they have going on. Click the image to download the editable form from my TN store. 

Hope you can use some of this. If you have any questions, or tips, leave a comment or send me an email! 


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