Primary Chalkboard: Behavior Management {An Idea to Try Out Next Year}

Behavior Management {An Idea to Try Out Next Year}

Hey peeps... Stacy here from over at Funky Fresh Firsties with a short post today.  Can you believe that we are already half way done with February?  I am already counting down the days until summer {don't judge}.
I wanna chat today about behavior management in my first grade room.  I love that all teachers have a strength... it's really cool to watch that play out in a school setting.  I feel like my strength happens to be classroom management.  Some days teaching 1st grade feels a lot like herding cats... but it's nice to know that I am a good "herder" overall!  This is my 12th year and I have found that flexibility is key.  What worked last year might not be that great this year.  Last year I used Class Dojo and my kiddos ATE IT UP!  They would beg me to bring up the screen on the SMART board each day.  You can read more about Class Dojo from my guest post for Rachel Lynette at Minds in Bloom HERE.
This year though.. my firsties don't really dig it quite so much.  What has worked is a very visual behavior management tool that goes with us around the school and is also displayed  in the classroom!  
This is at the front of the classroom right next to the SMART board.  Each child has a magnet with their number on it {These come from Tea and Coffee... mine are lime and teal.}  This allows them to see exactly where they are for the day... and also allows for redemption.  I have found that redemption, or the idea that they can get back in my good graces, is a very powerful motivator this year.  I also make them move their magnets which also seems to be pretty powerful.  If they make it to the top of the chart... they are rewarded with 10 minutes of iPad time or computer time.  
When we travel in the hallways for our special classes or to/from lunch... we take our behavior stick that is painted with the same colors and each child has a clothespin with their name clipped.  I can quickly move them up or down depending on hallway behavior.  
 This also makes them accountable to other adults in the building (their lunch monitor, specials teacher, special education teacher, etc.).  To make the stick, you paint it with the colors you choose with acrylic paint and VOILA!  The green section in the middle should be the biggest section though!  I also separated my sections with mustache washi tape and sealed it with mod podge for extra durability.

I think the key is truly being flexible and finding what works for your kiddos.  I teach in a very disadvantaged area for sure and I think the key to my success with these children is that I am in... ALL the way in.  I know their family situations and it motivates me b/c of how I grew up.  I love these children and they know it.  I hug each and every one before I put them on the buses... regardless of what kind of day they had.  They also know that when they walk in the next day, they have a clean slate.

Lastly, and possibly most importantly, I do not yell.  Ever.  The logic behind that is... I know what many of them are going home to.  They are used to being yelled at.  Have they ever seen me upset?  Absolutely.  Do they know when I am disappointed?  Yes.  I tell them at the beginning of the year that we are a family and I truly mean it.  Each one of us plays a part and we all have a job to do.  We share each other's joy and pain.
I hope that you will have a great week with your kiddos.  I think Friday is supposed to be a full moon and Valentines Day {remember when I said herding cats earlier?}.  One last thing... I am going to be giving away a set of clothespins from Tea and Coffee to one of you!!!  Here's how to enter: leave a comment with your best behavior management tip.  I will let one of my little humans pick a name on Valentines Day!  Good luck!!!


  1. Great ideas! I just started using Class Dojo & my kids are eating it up! Behavior management seems to come second nature after teaching for awhile (at least for me- this is my 21st year) BUT I think my best hint is to focus on the positive. I always try to find kids who are doing the right thing & praise them. This seems to help the most- others are motivated to do the right thing. :-) Carol

  2. I love the idea of the traveling behavior chart! I can't wait to make one.

    Searching for Teacher Balance

  3. I just started using the color-coded clip chart this year, and the concept of being able to move up, as well as get back in my good graces if they've had to move down, really works with my group this year. I love the color-coded stick that travels with the group though, and am "pinning" it as an idea for next year!

    Thanks for sharing!

  4. I love the traveling chart!! I use a totem pole behavior chart in my classroom and my kids who move down are very motivated to move back up. I think that with any behavior plan, kids need the opportunity to redeem themselves!

  5. Every day that my a student keeps their clip on our designated color (green) they get a paper with a star stamped on it. When they get 5 stars they get to go shopping at my store. You can change the number of stars they need which makes it more flexible!

  6. Love the post! What a great entry. It is so important to remember not to yell at the students, too. I love your behavior chart and the super heroes! The magnets are adorable, too. Our school uses PBIS Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports. We reward students monthly for good behavior with a huge school wide event! I also use Class Dojo on a daily basis since learning about it at a technology conference last year. My students love it and they love seeing their names on the screen each day!

  7. What a terrific post! I, too, teach in a school with students from challenging home situations, and I have found that Whole Brain Teaching, and especially the Scoreboard, have been life-savers for the past two years. The Scoreboard allows students (as a class) to earn smileys to work their way back even after they make a few poor choices. I love how it reinforces the students working as a team to meet a goal, and it keeps them on their toes! Thanks for an inspiring post and some great pictures!

  8. I started the year with "Warm Fuzzies", but since that wasn't in their face so to speak, we have moved to "Eye Like What I See". I have a happy face/sad face on the board. Each time something makes me smile they get a tally mark on the :) side. If they aren't doing what they are supposed to they get a tally on the :( side. At the end of the day if there are more :), we put an overall tally mark below. Once they reach 10 they get a reward such as playdoh or puzzle time (they LOVE these 2 things). Since it's on the board they have a constant visual, and these kiddos need that.

    I do a clip chart too for individual behavior, and sometimes I'll throw in a :) tally for whole class if a table is being awesome or a handful of kids.

  9. We are using Warrior bucks in our school for positive reinforcement with behavior. I will give a student a Warrior buck for doing something I expect them to do, and other students are not doing. I then state that Suzie got a Warrior buck for following my directions, or not talking in the hallway. I do not do it all the time for the same behavior. It keeps students on their toes about when they get a Warrior buck. I also will give out a Warrior buck for any compliments we get. They are able to buy items at the store with their Warrior bucks, or attend events. The last event was a Dance Party.

  10. Oh my lands! I love the clips! I use a scoreboard with a Teach vs. Student theme. If students win with more points there are different winners choices (ipad time, extra recess, grab bag, or piece of candy) If I win I get students recess (1 min/point for teacher) They all strive to earn points and help remind others if they are talking or not doing what they need to. I also had to divert from the Dojo, as they lost interest at about Christmas Break.

  11. I use a clip chart for individual behavior. Depending on where they are on the chart they earn stickers on their behavior card. When they fill up their card they can choose a coupon (eat with the teacher, bring your favorite book, no shoes day- all things that are FREE for me.) We also do whole class compliments that we can earn or lose as a class. Every 10 compliments they earn a reward like extra recess or a show and tell. Another really effective thing for me is secret student. I choose one student at the beginning of the day and one in the PM and then all I have to say is "I hope my secret student is working hard/listening/being kind/etc" and they will all start doing it. If the secret student has a good day they earn our class a compliment. This is only my second year teaching, so I am slowly figuring out classroom management. :) It seems like it gets easier and more natural the longer you are doing it!

  12. Love it cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!