|Poster that hangs in my room. It shows natural consequences to not doing you best in class.|
In my classroom I try to establish a classroom that is has a family dynamic. We cheer for one another, listen to one another, and learn together. That doesn't mean that their aren't days where the students, like all siblings, aren't at each others throat and driven to the edge by sounds, words, or just one another's presence. Every family has their good days and bad, but the key is making the students aware of their choices. From the beginning of the year onward I constantly talk about choices. By 5th grade students become more aware of choice. Their minds and body are growing to the point where they want to be seen as older as well as have more control. Giving them choice can be hard as a teacher, but sometimes a student needs to have the opportunity to crash and burn so they can learn (look I rhyme!). I try every year to set my students up for success and I will work with students if they are willing to work for themselves. Students need to know that you, the teacher, will do everything in your power to make each day amazing. That you will help them in any way you can, but they need to have the drive to work for themselves. I have told my students more times then I can count that I can give them everything, but I can't make them learn. If they try to learn, no matter how hard it might be, they will receive positive consequences in the form of support and knowledge. On the other hand if they decide to reject and give up they will have consequences that will make class and life harder.
|This is my Penalty Box. When a student makes a poor choice they move their name up a level. They move it back down after serving their time.|
Students have choices to make and especially when they get close to jr. high those choices seem to quadruple. They key is to teach students that they have choices and they need to choose wisely. Students need to coached on how to make positive choices that lead to positive consequences, sometimes they even need to be bribed. YES! I said bribed! LOL...In my class bribery comes by way of letters. Letters? Strange form of currency, but trust me it works. If my class makes positive choices when out in the hallway, in public, or with visiting adults they can earn letter to fill out words. Only compliments given by other adults can earn them a letter and those letters create words like: brownies, recess, games etc. The students can earn these positive consequences, by just being the amazing students that they are. It helps because the students have to work together to earn these compliments, but it also gives the students positive consequences to aim for. Its theirs to win or lose.
|Positive consequences can be earned by the whole class for compliments and making good choices.|
But back to my point about coaching...students need a coach. They need to have someone to push them, yet a coach needs to help them call the right plays. We have to help students make positive choices by modeling and championing those choices. It's important to practice and role play these situations in the classroom. Like how to pick a partner: How should they pick a buddy? How do you ask? What makes a good partner? What makes a bad partner? Asking questions and talking about situations allows students to know right away what you expect and allows them a chance to be championed for positive choice answers. When a student makes a good choice we have to make a big deal about it! We need everyone to understand how awesome that is. I don't care if you stop the class, get on the desk and announce that James made a great choice by giving up his spot to someone who wanted it more! DO IT!!! Play Music! Be excited and be wacky! Students want to impress you! they want to be wanted and liked so no matter how embarrassing that moment might be for them make it more embarrassing for you! If you are willing to put your self out their for one positive consequence students will be excited to make more positive consequences just to see what happens.
How do you coach your students? Do you give them the freedom of choice?
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