Great classroom management quote:
So many teachers and other educators have consistently shared with me that once they changed their emotions they didn’t need to change their management plan. Gary Alderman
This quote is true; however, even the best classroom managers might have difficulties during the final weeks of school. Spring is quickly turning into summer and there are still 10 days to make a positive difference in a child’s life. This is the time of year when minds start to wander and student behaviors might become problematic, decreasing the likelihood for a strong finish to the school year. It is important to maintain consistency during the final days of school; however, you might need a couple of extra strategies. I will usually suggest a change in classroom management procedures to raise a student’s level of concern and motivate them to stay on task. Below are a couple of possible examples that you and your students might enjoy:
Classroom Compliment Chain
Each time your class gets a compliment from a parent, teacher, principal, etc. your class can get a link. Once you get 10 links, your class can get an extra five minutes of recess. Suggestion: use different colored links to reinforce place value concepts. This is a fun and easy way to raise the level of concern for your students and does not take a lot of planning, which is great for the final couple weeks of school.
Secret Student Leaders
Pick one child as a “Secret Leader” when going somewhere or doing something within your classroom (transition, independent work, recess, assembly, going to lunch, walking in hall, being a good friend, etc.). Pick one boy and one girl (pull names out of a hat) and don’t tell them who the “Secret Leader” is until you return back from your destination or the activity is finished. This raises the level of concern for students because they might be the “Secret Leader," and it is fun! If the “Secret Leader” was not quiet or was inappropriate, simply state, "My Secret Leader did not meet the expectation of a Leader." and put the name back into the hat. Don’t tell who it is. This strategy helps students self-regulate, and it is fun! At another time, away from the class, talk to the misbehaving student to reinforce good behavior.
Students get one "Oops" per day for minor infractions, with minimal consequence besides knowing they made a mistake. A second "Oops" in a day results in loss of privilege, a third 3rd "Oops" is a call home. Track the "Oops" in a discrete way so that you and the child receiving the "Oops" are the only ones knowing. Saving face increases likelihood that behaviors will decrease. Those who don’t receive any for the week get a prize from the treasure box, extra recess, special note home, etc. This teaches self-regulation and promotes ownership for behavior. If you have a classroom full of baseball fans, you can utilize three strikes and you are out, same concept as "Oops."
These three strategies are easy and can quickly be implemented. They will also generate great conversation and self-regulation during the last few days of the school year.
Lastly, it is most important to stay connected with your students, always recognizing the importance of relationships, and celebrating the great learning and friendships that flourished during the school year!