I am not big on behavior "programs". It's just not ME. I respect my students and expect the same in return. At the beginning of the year, we don't talk about RULES, we talk about our classroom COMMITMENTS. We talk about mindset, working hard, helping each other, not giving up and having fun with our learning! When I talk, you stop talking and listen. If you have questions, ask them. If you have to go to the bathroom....go. Pencil needs sharpening....do it! This has ALWAYS worked for me. Until this year.
It seemed that they were talking NON STOP, unable to get their work done, constantly interrupting lessons. EVERYONE needed to sharpen and bathroom constantly. 1 lesson....24 questions!! Students were getting up out of their seats on a whim. Chaos reigned!
Several weeks ago on a Friday, as the students were leaving, I realized that I was EXHAUSTED. I felt a little bit like I did my first year of teaching. For the first time in a long time, my usual casual way with classroom management wasn't working and it was taking it's toll on both me and my students. I wasn't happy....they weren't happy. I had become a huge NAG! I decided that something needed to change....before the next Monday rolled around. We needed a "come to Jesus."
I scoured Professor Google for the answer....AND I FOUND IT!
I found Mel D at Seusstastic. Have you heard of her fuzzy classroom management system? If you have "that class" you might want to check it out. It has been a game changer for me this year and my students LOVE, LOVE, LOVE IT!
Basically, students earn "warm fuzzies" and they can trade them in for some pretty amazing rewards at the end of the week. Mel D has a set of awesome coupons available for download on TPT. What I love about this system is that is so POSITIVE! Students mostly earn fuzzies, but they can also lose them if they break a classroom rule. I love that I don't have to dwell on it....I just say "fuzzy" to that student and they fork one over. Talking during a lesson....fuzzy! Rude to your classmate...fuzzy! Out of your seat when you shouldn't be....fuzzy! Done deal! It's a gentle reminder that they need to get back on track. I also give away A LOT of fuzzies during the week for all kinds of things. Caught being kind.....fuzzy! First one to get quiet during a transition....fuzzy! Lined up quietly or got a compliment from another teacher....fuzzies for everyone!! They absolutely go crazy over those colorful little pom poms.
The best part is trade-in day. On Friday, they can count them up and trade them in for tons of cool reward coupons. Most of the rewards are things that cost absolutely nothing....like being the teacher's assistant for the day (I say that's a win-win for everyone), bringing a pillow from home, or getting to pick your own partner for the day. Those kids that work hard all week have over-flowing fuzzy cups and sadly those that don't may not have enough to trade-in for anything (Sadsville, as Mel D would say). But I really see those students working to redeem themselves the next week! I am very, very careful, though, to look for the "fuzzy-worthy" in all of my students so that none of my students end up with an empty cup every week. There's nothing worse than offering such rewards to students and making them unattainable for some. (My son told me that his third grade teacher had a giant jar of jolly ranchers and he NEVER got one....the WHOLE YEAR!). I make those fuzzies super-duper easy to get!! Just do the right thing!
So I know some of you are thinking that external rewards are BAD, BAD, BAD! And I've got to admit.... the conscious discipline teacher in me is cringing a bit...but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do!
If you want to know more.....see this post on Mel D's website.
Here are some "FUZZY BUSINESS" pics from my classroom....
Students keep their fuzzies in paint cups (the kind with the hole in the top)
My big fuzzy jars.
Pencils, erasers, pencil grips....ten fuzzies each!
Treat Jar Pick....ten fuzzies please!
Have a great week and keep on doing the great things you do every day!!