Even as a 16+ year veteran teacher, I can tell you that managing behaviors never really gets easier but it does help to have a good plan in place and to have a variety of motivators and incentives. My favorite classroom management tool is focusing on positive behaviors and using positive behavior incentives.
At my school, we are required to use a behavior clip chart. I can be honest with you and tell you that I’m not a fan of the clip chart and I’ll tell you why. Many of my students with behavior issues are seeking attention. They do not care if you give them negative attention (clip down) or positive attention (clip up) and they often realize that it’s easier, and faster, to clip down than to clip up! If they clip down and continue to clip down, they are getting a lot of attention from you! It’s just what they want.
How can you work that attention-seeking behavior to your advantage? The goal is to help all of your students behave so that they are actively engaged in the lesson or activity and that no students are distracting others from learning.
Positive Behavior Incentives: Punch Cards
I love using Behavior Punch Cards along with a digital prize wheel to reward positive behaviors. I have this tied to my required clip chart, however, my system focuses on the positive aspects of the clip chart. My students get a “punch” on their card every time they end the day on “green” and get extra punches when they clip up.
During the first week of school, our classroom brainstormed rewards the students would love to work towards and we created a list. From that list, I took the most reasonable ones (I eliminated rewards such as field trips and extra recess, that I cannot fit into our schedule. I also did not include expensive rewards such as a pizza party). Our wheel includes: Lunch Bunch (they can bring two classmates with them for a video and lunch in the classroom), the Teacher’s Chair (a favorite), Move Your Seat for the Day, and Lead a Class Game (great for a morning meeting activity or an afternoon brain break).
Positive Behavior Incentives: Prize Wheel
I used this rewards list to create a prize wheel. I found this website, Wheel of Names where you can modify a digital wheel to add any choices you like. There are sound effects and confetti when a choice is selected. You can also create and save multiple wheels for different needs. I bookmarked the link to the wheel I created to my computer and pull it up any time a student wants to redeem their completed punch card for a spin. On our classroom projector, the wheel is HUGE and I turn up the volume to get the full sound effect experience. My students LOVE to spin what we’ve nicknamed our “Woo Hoo Wheel”. It puts students in front of the entire class to celebrate their good behavior.
Here’s a quick gif of a Reward Wheel I created for my classroom:
We started the year with a “10 punch” punch card and all of my great students have had a chance to spin the prize wheel multiple times during our first 6 weeks of school. All of my students have spun the wheel at least once and everyone wants to earn a punch on their punch card to fill up their card to earn a spin of the reward wheel. My most challenging friends count up how many more they need to spin the wheel and do work hard to make sure that they end up on green or above by the end of the day. I may increase the number of punches needed later on in the year, but I love how it’s working now – good behavior is being rewarded frequently. It’s not costing me much to load up my prize box with goodies and all of the other options are FREE!
I love this system because it motivates students to change bad behavior so that they end the day well. It doesn’t matter how far down the clip chart they go throughout the day, but they can make a comeback and get themselves clipped up to end the day on green. I make it a point to clip them up the chart if they are making any effort to improve. My goal is for my challenging students to learn that it is actually easier to do what is right and for them to feel the personal pride that goes along with making good choices.
Want some no-prep, ready-to-use behavior punch cards to print for your students? I have created this fun set of Behavior Punch Cards in my Teachers Pay Teachers shop.
Want to read some more classroom management tips and ideas?
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