Consequences Chart

I wrote a blog in January about not posting consequences to misbehavior in the classroom. To add to that post, I encountered a flow chart of consequences to use.  (Due to privacy laws, I cannot say where I got this idea, but it was not my own.)

At the top of the chart is the class period/the unit being started/or types of activities that require specific norms such as “5th grade discussions.” Then there are two branches coming down from it. The left branch says “what it looks/feels like” and the right branch said “we will.” Under the left branch students write what various types of misbehavior look like, from interrupting to being rude. Under the right branch is what will happen if that negative behavior occurs.

The idea is that the teacher doesn’t say much but exists to keep students on topic and to help keep them focused while the students themselves identify the problems and solutions.

As I develop my classroom management plan, I agree with Gary Rubinstein that consequences don’t need to be posted at the beginning of the year. But certain norms need to exist for seminars, SSR, independent work, etc. If students aren’t getting work done or the environment isn’t supportive due to student behavior, then this flow chart may be used. If the chart were used at the beginning of the year, students may not know each other well enough, and it also shows that the teacher assumes misbehavior will happen. Of course it will, but we’ll pretend like we have faith that it won’t.


To set various targets/objectives for classroom conduct as a whole or for specific activities, the class can make a T-chart. On the left can be “what it looks like” and the right can say “what it sounds like.” For example, the topic may be “small work collaboration.” The left column may say things like “everyone working together,” “everyone being helpful and listening,” etc. The right column can be direct quotes that students may hear, such as “I agree with you, but…” or “Can we try…?”

The right column can also serve as sentence stems for ELLs.

This T-chart is meant to be used to set goals for behavior whereas the flow chart that I mentioned first is used to set up classroom norms – that is, how exactly students will act and with what consequences. I am still not positive about the major differences of when and how to use each chart, though. I guess the T-chart could be used in a more broad sense of setting up what is expected of students in various circumstances. Norms are specific practices that students agree to, along with consequences for breaking them.

Consequences and Punishment

Gary Rubinstein wrote another gem about not posting your consequences for misbehavior. Here’s why it’s bad:

  • students know what’s coming, which isn’t very scary
  • no room for the teacher to address worse problems and skip steps
  • students more likely to manipulate the system
  • it shows you’re assuming there will be problems rather than assuming that there will be none (although we all know problems will arise but we’ll pretend like we’re not expecting it)
  • also – don’t say you’ll use or actually use a verbal warning because it’s a free pass

Gary also has a video of a Teach for America training in which he teaches to not use the old system of giving students a verbal warning, then writing their name on the board for the second offense, putting a check by the name for the third offense, adding another check, etc. How can the teacher keep track of who’s got a warning? And having a kid’s name on the board really isn’t a punishment.

Instead, he suggests perfecting the “teacher look” and using surprise parent calls. He also mentions winning the students over by gaining their respect and by preventing problems to begin with.