Step Three: Correction Plan For Misbehavior – Part 1

This is step three in my summer goal to create a comprehensive classroom management plan.

Yes, I know, I’m running out of summer. It’s okay. I’ve got this. (please help)

This is probably the hardest step for me. The reason this is “part 1” is that I will only be covering consequences for my classroom rules. I will need a part 2 for consequences for violating other rules and regulations. And there’s so much literature on the subject, it’s hard to fit all my ideas from them in one post. A large part of my knowledge is coming from the “CHAMPS” book that I have, but I will also be pulling from “The First Days of School” by Harry & Rosemary Wong.

The first thing I think I should do is assign specific consequences to my 6 classroom rules:

  1. Always try.
  2. Compliment and encourage yourself and others.
  3. Listen to listen, not to respond.
  4. Keep track of missed work.
  5. Be prepared for class before the bell rings.
  6. Pick up supplies only when needed, use appropriately, and put away when done.

Rule 1: Always try. I am going to be implementing Standards Based Grading in my classes this year (ideally). This means that if the students don’t try, they don’t get credit. Trying and showing that they have learned a concept will be how they get their grade. Without doing so, they cannot improve their grade. I can simply remind them of this fact. If it becomes too much of a habit I will start keeping a record with infraction cards, an improvement plan, and followed by a parent conference (either on the phone or in person).

Rule 2: Compliment and encourage yourself and others. Obviously, I can’t really enforce them doing this specifically, but I can give them infractions if they discourage or insult themselves or others. And I will. I am thinking a combination of restitution and positive practice. The student will have to first apologize to the person he or she insulted or discouraged and then practice saying something positive instead. If the student refuses, it will be a write-up, a call home, and s/he will have to sign a slip of paper stating s/he said something rude and refused to correct the behavior. This two-step process may have to be separated so the student has time to calm down between the insincere apology and the fake compliment.

Rule 3: Listen to listen, not to respond. The best way I know this rule has been broken is if a student interrupts either me or another student. I can’t always catch it, but I can try. I think the best consequence for this would be time owed. By interrupting someone, even if it is immediately caught and the person is allowed to continue, time is wasted by the interruption, correction, and thought to recall where the conversation broke off and what was next. I would guess about 10 to 15 seconds. This means every time it happens, the student would owe 10 seconds after class. I know it doesn’t seem like much, but for a teenager who is waiting to gain access to his/her phone and see his/her friends, it can be. My biggest issue would be keeping up with it. Teenagers forget things quicker than I do, so I don’t really expect them to remember either. I would need a system in place to keep a record and remind them at the end of class during my end-of-class report. Perhaps I can use $10 poker chips. I can hand them to students when they interrupt someone and they have to return them to me at the end of class once their time has been completed. If they try to pocket them and run out the door, it’s a write-up, a parent conference, and a signature acknowledging the infraction. This still means I need to record it somewhere. Probably on the clipboard I will have to carry around to keep track of their academic progress.

Rule 4: Keep track of missed work. This is also something that will directly affect their grade as a consequence. In addition to having a specific place for them to pick it up, I think I will also attach a half-slip that acknowledges they picked up the work and take responsibility for completing it on their own time. That should be signed and picked up by me that day. This will require me to keep track of when someone was absent and needs to pick up the work so I can go and get the slip from them. If they forget, I think a 10 second time infraction would be appropriate since they will be wasting 10 seconds of class time getting the work they should have gotten before class started.

Rule 5: Be prepared for class before the bell rings. This will mean having all materials on their desk and ready to go as well as having read the opening question and began thinking of a response. When a student is absent, it will also mean grabbing the work s/he missed and signing the acknowledgment slip. If a student has to get up to get their notebook or borrow a writing utensil, it’s another 10-second infraction. I am really going to have to have a good system down for these time infractions.

Rule 6: Pick up supplies only when needed, use appropriately, and put away when done. This rule is to teach responsibility while minimizing distractions and off-task behavior. It can also be potentially dangerous depending on what the supply is (a corrosive chemical, for example). Therefore it will start out with 10-second time infractions but will escalate to a behavior improvement report, then a parent conference if it continues, and finally an office referral if the behavior does not stop. This is a particularly important rule to me that I have a low tolerance for so I may need a way to keep track of how often it is violated per student so I can be consistent with escalating the consequences. Additionally, if they break something as a result of inappropriate use, they will get a call home and be asked to fix or replace the item (provided it something small like a pair of scissors and not a beaker). Unless, of course, it was a legitimate accident while they were trying to handle the material appropriately.

Other rules and regulations will exist that I will have to have consequences for. CHAMPS (rules/guidelines) for specific activities, breaking school-wide rules, having their phone, not participating, lab rules, etc. Those will be in my next post.

For now, I need something other than a poker chip (something more difficult to slide into a pocket) to use for the time infractions, pre-written slips for students to sign based on different types of misconduct, a behavior correction plan outline/form, and a system for keeping up with it all. Please share any and all suggestions for these items.

I would love your opinion on this discipline plan. It’s my first one (though my 2nd year of teaching). What ideas for improvement do you have? What do you see not working or being difficult to implement and why?

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Step Two: Classroom Rules

This is step two in my summer goal to create a comprehensive classroom management plan.

Something I never thought I would have to say as a high school teacher: “Stop playing with the scissors/glue.” Yikes. Other things I had to say a lot were, “get off your cell phone,” “stop talking,” and “pay attention.” All of which would fall under ‘off-task behaviors.’ I had students drawing and writing and playing games and doing work for other classes. All of which comes down to them being off-task. I suppose I never thought I needed to communicate the expectation of being on-task because they are high schoolers and should know better. These are teens who are close to adulthood, so I had the idea to treat them like adults. I should not have done this. They have no idea how to be adults. My goal should be to teach them how to be adults.

The first step is to think of traits I value in others. Then possibly get more specific and turn the traits into a guideline for success. Last is to identify a behavior – what does that trait look like to me – and turn that behavior into a rule.

I value when others are respectful. More specifically, I want my students to have mutual respect and understanding with each other. To me, that means complimenting and encouraging others, no matter what. It also means when someone else is talking, it’s important to “listen to listen, not to respond.”

I value when others are patient. Not just with others, but when themselves too. To me, this looks like saying things like “I can do this,” and “I will get there,” when starting to feel discouraged. A simpler rule might be “Always Try,” instead of getting so lengthy with the rule. I’ll have to get input on this one.

I value when others are open-minded. In the classroom, I specifically value students being open-minded about what they learn, how they learn, and how others learn. This looks like changing your thinking based on learning new information. It also means researching something on your own that you’re not sure about. It means understanding that others learn differently from you and that doesn’t make them wrong.

I value a sense of responsibility. Not just with work, but also with improving yourself. Being responsible in the classroom looks like keeping up with missed work and being prepared for class before the bell. Which means having all materials on your desk and ready to work. It also means you only pick up supplies when using them and put them away when done. As in, don’t play with the glue, just use it and then put it away. Self-improvement in the classroom means staying persistent when you don’t understand something the first time.

I value when people are focused. Specifically, I think successful people are able to be focused on where they are and what they are doing. This looks like putting away distractions, such as cell phones. Since I will have a policy for where to put phones that will be part of a routine, I don’t think I need to list it as a rule. This will keep my list of rules shorter for students to remember. Listen to listen and not to respond also falls under staying focused.

  1. Listen to listen, not to respond.
  2. Always try
  3. Compliment and encourage yourself and others daily.
  4. Keep track of missed work.
  5. Be prepared for class before the bell rings.
  6. Pick up supplies only when needed and put away when done.

Notice that none of these specific behaviors are negative – as in none of them say “No __________.” I won’t say “no cellphones” as a rule, I’ll say “put cellphones away.” I won’t say “don’t insult one another,” I’ll say “compliment and encourage others.” It’s important to me that my rules be in a positive tone instead of a negative one. Easier to catch flies with honey than with vinegar and whatnot. I want to promote a positive and encouraging atmosphere, and that starts with the rules I set.

What are some traits that you value in others?

What does that look like?

What is one (or more) of your personal guidelines for success?

I would love to read any thoughts, inputs, or reflections that you have on positive traits, what helps a person be successful, and what rules help promote those traits. I would also love feedback on the rules I have drafted here.

Parents, what rules do you want to be enforced in the classroom?

Teachers, what rules do you have in place that have worked well for you?

Strength 5: Intellection

This is part of a series where I explore my top five strengths in detail and think of ways I can utilize them in the classroom. Check out the intro post hereThe two books I reference in this post are “Strengths Finder 2.0” by Tom Rath and “Teach With Your Strengths” by Rosanne Liesveld and Jo Ann Miller.

Intellection means that I am a deep thinker and introspective (129 Rath). Makes sense. My brain never seems to stop running and I frequently need alone time to process events, conversations, and ideas. I also day-dream a lot, making it hard to pay attention to any one thing. Probably why I focus better when there is music or some kind of background noise. This video on Intellection helped me understand that this strength is the reason I work better alone – that’s where a lot my ideas develop. This can pair nicely with my analytical strength because after I have an idea, I can start forming a plan for data collection, data analysis, and/or implementation of the idea.

Next year I will be teaching two different classes in two different departments. That’s two different groups to plan with. I need to be sure to set up a schedule for what days I plan with what teachers and what days I plan alone and be sure to set those boundaries and expectations with the other teachers. Without this, I could easily see spending both my off periods planning with each department instead of having time on my own to plan.

One suggestion that Liesveld and Miller had is to ask important questions and “keep track of the questions that have stimulated the most discussion and generated the most learning” (138). They are right in that I do come up with some pretty good questions when I have time and space to think. Perhaps I should include whole-class discussions as a regular activity in my instruction. Or at least small group purposeful talk. Maybe I should have the students start out with small group discussions and turn into a while class discussion, once students have had the opportunity to develop and voice their ideas in a less-intimidating setting.

Oh! Maybe I could have a big question that I pose to students at the beginning of class for them to keep in mind the entire class. Then at the end of class, after clean-up time, they can partner up or group up and discuss that question until time to leave class. I like it.

What other ways do you suggest I implement deeper thinking into the classroom? I would love your suggestions on ways to make class discussion more successful. I haven’t done many of them, so this will be fairly new territory for me.

My Summer Goal: To Conquer Classroom Management

I just finished up with my first year of teaching, and even though my administrators, co-teacher, and colleagues said my classroom management was good, I feel it could be a lot better. I often felt overwhelmed at how “out of control” my class was. Students NEVER worked until the bell, several of them were cheating, many spent more time on phones than on work, and my test grades were so bad (in my opinion) that I didn’t feel like they were really learning anything. I know that getting students to learn starts with classroom management. Even though I have dreams of making all my own unique lessons, doing more hands on learning and move labs, switching to standards based grading, and differentiating instruction; my goal for this summer is to focus on conquering classroom management. That’s not to say I won’t spend any time on unique lesson plans, implementing standards based grading, or trying to differentiate some of my lessons. I will. But my primary focus will be on classroom management. Besides, I can’t fully hone classroom management if I don’t know what my lessons will at least somewhat look like so I know what I want my students to be doing.

That being said, there will be several steps to this and since I also miss writing, and for me writing helps me better reflect and think things out, I will be blogging my progress as I go in order to help me along. The least this will do is help me out. The best this will do is help others out. And if you are reading along as I go, please comment any reflections that you have. Anything that stands out to you. Anything that you have tried and loved or have tried and didn’t work. Anything you think you want to try. Or any questions on details I leave out or why I thought to do a thing in the first place. I would love to hear from you. And now, onto the steps I am planning out (which will likely change as I go on).

I’m thinking step one will start with myself. When she first hired me, my principal had me take the Strength Finders test and gave me a book so I could read about my results. The idea is to figure out your top 5 strengths and learn to utilize them in your job (in this case, teaching). That way, you’re building up what you’re naturally good at, leading you to be more successful than if you tried to build up things you are not naturally good at which can make you feel more like a failure because that’s a lot more difficult. In order to understand how I want my class to look, I need to reflect on what my strengths are and how those could be utilized for my own unique teaching and classroom management style.

Step two will be figuring out basic rules for my classroom. These will need to communicate my expectations to my students. It will probably start out with guidelines to be successful in my class and then specific ways to follow those guidelines. I also need a good attention signal. I will want to reflect on my ideals. What positive traits do I like to see in others that I would want to encourage in my students? Those will help me set my rules and regulations and let me know what’s important to me. Knowing what’s important to me will help me distinguish what is worth consequence and reward in my classroom.

Step three will be a correction plan for misbehavior. What kind of consequences I will have in place for certain behaviors. And ones for unpredictable behavior (these kids are creative when it comes to pushing the rules haha). What kind of data and documentation I will want to/be willing to do. I know documentation can take up a lot of time, but it can also save your butt. Plus it helps me remember things since there are too many things to remember as a teacher.

Step four will be figuring out a reward/motivation system. What I want to reward, how frequently, what kind of rewards I don’t want, and if I will let students pick or vote on rewards. I need an individual one and a class-wide one. Something that will allow students to feel inclusive and part of the whole as they work together towards a common goal.

In step five I will figure out my beginning and ending routine. I have to keep in mind that these students like to start packing up and lining up at the door 5-10 minutes before the bell – thinking there isn’t enough time to get anything done. Maybe I could start by showing them how much work can be done in 1 minute or even 30 seconds to help them realize how much time is being wasted standing at the door. Plus it’s a huge pet peeve of mine and I don’t want to be fighting the students daily about it like I did last year.

I supposed step six will be routines for everything else. Handling group work, passing out and in papers, missing work, behavior during independent work, and anything else my research leads me to add.

I believe that’s it. If you noticed I missed something, please let me know. Please also feel free to share resources on any of the steps for me to look at while I’m working on that step. I imagine each step will take a few days minimum and possibly multiple blog posts. We shall see. I have books and other resources from my school and from trainings I’ve done. Plus the entire internet. I will post my references best I can. Thanks for reading.