Behavior Management Strategy for 7th Grade

Here are my pre-school thoughts on the behavior management system I wish to implement with my 7th graders. It’s a mix of an idea I got from a veteran teacher and the program used at a summer camp I worked at. I want to post these expectations so that the process is clear with the understanding that I can change it up as I see fit.

1. verbal warning

2. name on board

3. yellow card (like in soccer)

-a yellow card means the student has until the end of the class period (preferably about 3 minutes) fill out a small form detailing what happened and what the student will do better next time. If the student refuses to fill it out or does not finish, I will write MY side of the story, which I’m sure students don’t want. These yellow cards will be kept in a file with other cards for that class period. Students might receive an automatic yellow card without warning if the behavior warrants.

4. red card

-a student would receive a red card for getting more than 1 yellow card in a period or more than 3 yellow cards per week. It’s for repeat-offenders or when behavior warrants. Like a yellow card, a student fills out the red card detailing what happened and agrees to have a conference with the teacher on his or her own time (before/after school, during break) or parents are called.

5. blue card (maybe I’ll make it grey depending on the colors I find in the copy room)

-A blue card is a form that the teacher fills out detailing what happened. Parents and/or administrators are contacted. It’s a last resort.

I like this system because the progression is clear, and students are given chances but are forced to think about their actions so they don’t get off without a consequence. Of course, parents can be called at any of these stages. I also like this system because the teacher doesn’t even have to stop talking or teaching. I can just give the student a card and they’ll know what it means. If they don’t fill it out, they’ll know that I will write my version. Let’s see how it works…

A logistical thing: to keep track of who I gave yellow/red cards to (especially when they’re not turned in by the end of the class period), I will put a colored check (yellow, red, blue) next to the names since they should already be written on the board by that point.



BuzzFeed Teacher Hacks

BuzzFeed published an article about teacher hacks that mostly pertain to behavior management.

Here are the hacks that I fond the most interesting:

  • stamp the papers of students’ who are working quietly/on task. Don’t even say anything. Just start stamping. Stamps might mean nothing or might be worth a special point or ticket towards a prize.
  • use table cloths as backdrops of bulletin boards

Oh, I guess that’s all that I thought was clever.

25 Attention-Grabbing Tips

Samer Rabadi from Edutopia published an article that will lead you to a google doc powerpoint (whatever the term for that is) about getting attention in the classroom. There are some excellent ideas, and members have added more ideas in the comments.

The First 5 Minutes a la The Nerdy Teacher

I read a post by The Nerdy Teacher where he discusses using the first 5 minutes of class as time for students to chat with each other and time for the teacher to chat and get to know the students. Part of the rationale is that by getting the chatting out of the way at the beginning, students are much more ready to go by the time class begins 5 minutes after the bell.

I am all in favor of this. If chatting at the beginning makes management and engagement better throughout the rest of the period, using the first 5 minutes for this purpose is well worth it.

What I’ve been taught to do is start class with a warm-up or a Right Now activity. To incorporate this new idea of the first 5 minutes, I might direct conversation towards something in the news or a new movie coming out so that all students can chat about basically the same thing before having a focused discussion or a writing prompt later. Or the task might be something small and quick like correcting grammar in a paragraph where students can work together and still have time to chat after finishing.

Or, using the first 5 minutes as chatting time might be used as incentive for good behavior: if students can get on task and get their materials ready in a timely manner, the next day they can have 5 minutes of chatting as they get settled.

You Are a Musician

I had a minor epiphany while watching middle school orchestras perform: being a good student is a lot like being a good musician. I can’t figure out how to insert this as a picture, but here is a link to a World document that could be converted into a classroom poster. You are a Musician

I think that teaching various behaviors and expectations using this analogy could be really powerful even if not all kiddos are musicians. I, myself, am a musician and am quite passionate about it, so I think that passion could help interest students and also help them understand certain behaviors, like walking silently in the halls.

This post is the first in a series called Gettin’ Serious. Now that I’m applying for actual teaching jobs, I need to start getting serious about how I’ll really run my classroom.

Self-Scoring Class Behavior

I have this idea written on a sticky note, and I’m not sure where it came from, but it’s something I’d like to try some day.

At the end of the day, have students agree upon a score to give themselves as a class based on how well they followed expectations of working quietly, on-task, efficiently, etc. Maybe develop a rubric (1-5) to make scoring more concrete.

Scores may be posted each day, not so classes can compete with each other (which might lead to students giving higher scores each day even when they don’t deserve it) but so they can see how they, as a class, are improving. A reward may be given once the class reaches a satisfactory number over a period of time. For example, the class may get a reward if they get excellent marks (5/5) all week or if they get 5s three times for one week.

Behavior Management with Cards

When students are misbehaving, talking out of turn, being disruptive, give them a yellow card as in soccer (just a piece of yellow card stock). You don’t even have to stop teaching or talking – just give the student the card. That’s strike 1. With a second yellow card comes greater consequences (maybe a detention). Strike 3 is a red card, which students know comes after two yellow cards. A red card means calling home or meeting with the principal or something students really want to avoid.

The trick is to make it so that the first yellow card isn’t a “free pass.” There must be some consequence associated with it. Students must also know that misbehaving badly enough can get them an instant red card or two yellow cards at once – it’s not always the same progression of one yellow card, another yellow card, and finally a red card.

Right now, without being a teacher, I’m thinking 1st yellow card = sit apart from students or some other small consequence depending on the “offense”; 2nd yellow card = lunch/recess detention to work on homework or help the teacher with a chore; a red card = parent conference at the least.

I really like this idea because the teacher can communicate with misbehaving students without disrupting the teaching. Another thing to consider is how to keep track of which kids have how many cards… Maybe a chart on the teacher’s desk (though not necessarily on the white/black board – it’s not necessary to humiliate children who are sensitive or to give the attention-seekers some “fame”).

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