A Little Motivation Goes A Long Way
Teaching students to demonstrate good behavior can be quite a task! I think it is important to integrate character education in lessons, model good behavior on a daily basis, but perhaps the easiest and quickest way to see results is to offer a little motivation! In my classroom, I have many different techniques that I use to manage behavior. I will eventually share some of those, but I am going to start with my strategies for managing behavior in the hallway.
First, let me explain how I have the students line up. I have my desks placed in pods of four. I have a total of 6 pods. (24 desks total). Each table, or pod, is assigned a table number. (6 tables total) When dismissing students, I always say, “Stand up behind your seats, and push your chairs in please!”. I have probably said that phrase about a million times in my teaching career! haha I will not allow the students to line up until they are standing quietly with their chairs pushed in neatly. When I begin to see tables starting to follow this rule, I will dismiss the “best” table first. “Table six, you may line up!” When students hear me begin dismissing, they start “straightening up” rather quickly! C’mon, nobody wants to line up last! 🙂
Anyway.. the reason I am sharing my line up procedure is because if you are wanting the students to act nicely in the hallway, you are going to have to get them started that way before you walk out the door! Don’t let them leave until they are behaving appropriately.
Okay, so back to this behavior management thing! While all of my kids are lined up like the perfect little angels they are, I walk over to my “mystery walker” jar. As seen on the right. (It is just an old straw holder that I took the straws out and replaced with Popsicle sticks with the kids’ names on them!) I ever-so-mysteriously pull up the lid, select a name, and hide it in my pocket! The kids love it! Every day they say, “Miss Kirk.. I saw it! I know who it is!!” Really they don’t, but they are just cute, and excited, and want me to think it really isn’t a mystery! haha
What do I do with this stick? Well, the “Mystery Walker” is a special person who I am “keeping my eye on” while we go down the hall. If this person exhibits positive hallway behavior (we talked about and established what that looked like at the beginning of the year), they will be rewarded when we get back in the room. It is really neat because the kids don’t know who the mystery person is, so in hopes that it is them, they are usually on their best behavior! When we get back in the room, I announce that, as soon as everyone is sitting quietly, I will reveal the mystery walker!
What does the mystery walker get? Well, I frequently reward my students, and one of the ways is allowing them to spin our classroom spinner. (See the picture on the left.) I purchased this spinner from Scholastic, but you can also get them at Walmart. Click here to purchase. You can even find free electronic spinners that you can display on your Smartboard, or ipad! I like using spinners because, well, they are just fun! It adds an element of surprise in there. The rewards listed on your spinner can be completely original to you and your classroom. I chose simple, inexpensive things because I use the spinner a lot, and us teachers are on a budget! 🙂 The kids especially get a kick out of the “spin again” option. You know your kids and your budget, so you can chose rewards that work for you!!
Ok, let’s recap! To implement this management technique in your classroom you will need:
- Some sort of can, bucket, etc.. to put your Popsicle sticks in.
- 1 Popsicle stick for each student with his/her name on it.
- A classroom spinner (or other reward option) with prizes/rewards.
1. Line the students up.
2. Draw a mystery walker.
3. Keep an eye out on the mystery walker while walking in the hall.
4. Reveal the mystery walker when the students return to class.
5. Reward the mystery walker (IF they followed hallway rules.)
I hope I was able to effectively communicate what this looks like in my class. I have used multiple other reward systems in the past for hallway behavior management, (stamps, stickers, points, etc..), but this one seems to me the simplest, most effective system so far. As always, you know your students more than anyone! My advice is to try new things, and if they don’t work, try something else until you find whatever works for you!