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Positive Training

I have been struggling for some time with my fourth-period class in particular. Their behavior is usually awful, they’re chatty, and they don’t seem to care one iota about consequences. Lately, it seems like every time I turn my back to advance the PowerPoint slide or grab the worksheets or whatever, at least half the class starts to chat.

So last Tuesday, instead of doing the regular “if I write your name down that’s a warning and if you get a check that’s a consequence” I decided to reward the good kids. At the start of the period, I wrote everyone’s name on the board. Throughout the period, I drew blue lines through the names of students who talked or were a distraction. I told them this was a consequence-free period and I wanted to see who all had been good at the end of the period.

They were still chatty and some were still obnoxiously talking but the class was better. At the end of the period, I handed out donuts to those who had not had their name marked out and we went on with our lives.

On Wednesday, the same thing. Names on the board, blue marker in hand. They didn’t know if I had brought anything or not so even more were quiet on Wednesday. I had only to pick up the blue marker for them to shush.

I decided to take it a step further and create a whole new behavioral system. Basically reinventing kindergarten, I purchased clothespins over the weekend and wrote a student’s name on each one. Today, before school, I clipped each period’s clothespins to a strip of bulletin board border and hung them on the board. 

If your clothespin is still on the “track” at the end of the period, you get entered into the drawing for a reward on Friday. So if your clothespin stays on the track all five days, you will be entered five times. And, I told them, you never know when I might just bring candy one random day and everyone who is still on the track gets candy at the end of the period.

Will it work? Who knows. I’m doing it mainly for 4th period as they are the worst group but I am hopeful that it will be effective for the other classes as well. At the very least, it’s something new to give a try.

Have you used any different behavioral systems in your classroom that have really worked? If so, I’d love to hear about them! Sound off in the comments!

For now, that’s a wrap!