For years, teachers have been looking for the golden ticket, the magic trick, the key to creating a classroom that is managed and handled and . . . dare I say . . . 'under control.' Many have claimed to have the answer, but here is what I have learned . . . classroom management isn't black or white, it isn't one way and not another . . . it really is a hodge podge of this and that and whatever works for you and the group of little ones that YOU share a space with.Many years ago I fell in LOVE with Love and Logic. I think I only had one infant child at the time, but I was doing a paper on management and came across this parenting program that also worked in the classroom. I bought the cds and books and even made my husband listen to them. I love that there are choices and logical consequences. It has been a blessing in my own home and in the classroom. Students who refuse to complete work have a choice. I might say, "listen, you can finish your work now with the rest of the class or you can do it during learning centers this afternoon when everyone else is having fun. It really doesn't matter to me. I'm happy with whichever you choose." Love and Logic really gives a great foundation for management without making it personal or getting upset with the child. There really is so much to it and I'm no expert, but I encourage you to check them out. (Here's my confession...sometimes I even use it on my husband. 'Honey, would you like to fold the clothes or do the dishes?" Works every time!)
I also use a bit of Whole Brain Teaching as well. That's right, I can "classity class" with the best of them. I think Whole Brain Teaching is perfect for kindergarten, because it is so responsive and physical. Multiple intelligences and learning styles aren't just for learning . . . you also need to consider them with managing kiddos as well. If you have visual, physical and verbal cues . . . you can reach everyone. It's funny that when I started using Whole Brain Teaching techniques I practiced them on my three boys at home to see how it would work. That was well over a year ago. Last night when there was a bunch of kids at my house and I needed their attention , I wasn't getting anywhere by saying 'hey kids' so I said "class class!!!!" Every single kid stopped what they were doing, looked and said 'yes, yes'. It worked so well in my class last year that my neighbor teacher had her kids asking to use some of the techniques. I find that by changing it up and making it fun I have the best response. Make sure you give Whole Brain Teaching's site a gander. There is a ton of resources and freebies on their website.
You can download a copy if you'd like by clicking on the picture above. I have hand motions that go with the rules and much of these ideas and things you can find right back at the Whole Brain Teaching website.
If you have different rules you'd like to add, I have an editable version you can download for free by clicking on the picture below.
I also have a color system for those little monkeys that need reminders on their behavior. This is my monkey tree. If your monkey is on the green leaves of the tree, you are following directions and behaving as expected in kindergarten. Now if you need a little help, a warning or reminder that your behavior should change, your monkey might land on the yellow bananas. If the behavior continues, your monkey goes to brown and you own me time from learning centers (I never ever take recess away . . . kinders need to move and I totally get that with three boys of my own at home) and finally, if your behavior continues to decline . . . you'll fall off the tree and owe me 10 minutes of center time and a note goes home to a parent.
Finally, I think that one of the best management tools I use is finding ways for all kids to find success. What I have found is that when my kinders find ways to be proud, their behavior tends to reflect that. For that reason, I celebrate in small ways successes that are important to 5 and 6 year olds. I have a Shoe Tiers Club, 100s Club, Mileage Running Club, Ball Word Champs (This is for a sight word recognition system I use) and even a Quicker Zipper Club. There isn't always a reward involved with these successes. Usually it's just the right to put their name on a poster. But they LOVE it. I would love to find even more reasons to give kids a little 'atta boy' when they need it. What kinds of things do all of you celebrate and how? I'd love to get some new ideas or hear how your management styles works.
Drop me a line.