Positive classroom behavior is crucial to a successful learning environment. I have tried so many different classroom behavior management methods. I’ve done the change the change color pockets, move the clothespin chart, team points, class money, and many more. What I realized was that these methods didn’t really change the behaviors of the students who needed to improve. It was always the same students getting all of the rewards, while some students got discouraged and gave up completely. I was spending a lot of time on having a cute and clever behavior system until I realized that you don’t need to make or purchase all of those behavior management gimmicks and rewards. The best gift we can give our students is a love of learning. If students love to learn, the good behavior will follow. So here is what if found to be the five easiest and most effective ways to create the positive behavior necessary to have a successful learning environment in grades K-6.
- Build relationships – Get to know your students and make sure they know that you are happy to have them in your class and you truly care about them. Often misbehavior is directly related to insecurities, family situations, health issues and so much more. Learn about the students and build relationships by talking one-on-one with students, talking to parents, and having students write about their interests, thoughts, families, etc.
- Explain classroom expectations – I have three expectations that pretty much cover all classroom behaviors: We are Responsible, We are Respectful, We are Safe. You can write these expectations on poster paper, then brainstorm with the class examples of each expectation. As students give ideas you can write them on the poster. These are reviewed daily the first few weeks of school until students really understand them, and they you can just refer to the Big 3 chart. You may click on the image to download the chart.
- Establish classroom routines – Classroom behavior is greatly improved when students can depend on routines. Teachers should be clear on the procedures for getting drinks, going to the bathroom, sharpening pencils, etc. It is also a good idea to establish signals to use when you want students to stop and listen, go to their seats, clean up, line up etc. Turning off and on the lights, clapping three times, “123 eyes on me” are some of the signals you could use.
- Be consistent and wise with consequences – Teachers should address behavior issues quickly and wisely depending on the student and the behavior. It is important to be mindful that students deal with consequences in different ways. Often just the teacher “look” will work, or you might need to take a student to a private area to talk to them. Sometimes students need to be removed from the situation. It is wise to not raise your voice, take away recess, punish the whole class or embarrass students in front of the class.
- Prepare engaging lessons and assignments – When students are engaged in appropriately challenging and interesting lessons, behavior is greatly improved. Lessons should be differentiated based on the interests, attitudes and abilities of the students. Students who are bored or frustrated can become behavior problems. Provide students with many opportunities for teamwork, choice and projects.
It’s all about keeping the joy in learning! Positive classroom behavior management should focus on creating excitement and engagement in learning and growing.