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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Strength 4: Responsibility

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.

Responsibility basically means that I take pride in my work. I will volunteer for task after task and feel personally responsible for the success or failure of whatever I take on. Others can rely on me that if I say I will do something, I will. If something goes wrong, I feel like I have to fix it or make it up to the person, rather than just apologizing. (149 Rath) I learned in college that I have to be careful to not put too much on my plate. I would volunteer for things left and right and would have to drop the ball on something. I learned to look at what I already had to do and if I could realistically take on another thing and get everything done without skimping quality.

I am honestly not sure how to apply this one in the classroom. I burnt myself out in my first semester because of this trait. I felt like it was my responsibility to make sure everyone learned, even the ones that didn’t try or care. That meant that I was constantly stressing about how to help certain students that didn’t want help. I even put extra work on myself to help them succeed even though they didn’t care and didn’t do it anyway. It was a frustrating nightmare for me and I had to learn to let go.

Maybe I can use this strength to help divide out responsibility in the classroom. These high school students are about to be adults and have no idea what that means. Maybe I should find a way to incorporate responsibility into my lessons and/or classroom management. One idea would be to have students tidy the classroom before they leave. I could put a timer on for 1 minute where they have to pack up, put things away, tidy up, and throw away any trash they find. I can also help them divide up the various responsibilities of group work.

Liesveld and Miller say that my “heightened awareness of right and wrong could position and prepare you to make significant contributions to the ethical and moral development of students,” (153). I’m not entirely sure how I could tie that in other than just making moral choices and letting the students see that.

What suggestions do you have on making “significant contributions to the ethical and moral development of students”? I would also love to read your ideas on how I can bestow a sense of responsibility on my students. What other ways do you think I can utilize this strength in the classroom?