Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Whole Group Management Strategies

I have a very challenging group of wild energetic students this year! I'm talking blurting out, out of seat, whining, pencil drumming, raring back in chairs, yelling, profanity, breaking pencils, and these are only the mild behaviors I'm listing! Sound familiar?

I have numerous behavioral reinforcements going on all over the place in my room at all times. I have students on "Cool Points" charts, some on individual token boards, some marking frequency charts, and some that thrive on verbal praise and a simple high five. 

While these are amazing for small group, 1:1 instruction, independent work systems, and self-monitoring; I've also found that having whole group behavioral management systems in place is important as well, especially if you have a large group. (I have 12).

Here are some whole group management strategies that I use in my classroom to provide additional positive reinforcement.

This is a whole group token board. I use it when I'm teaching whole group (morning meeting) to reinforce positive behaviors. Students earn tokens for raising their hand, staying in their seats, looking at the speaker, keeping chair legs on floor; whatever the behavior is the student is working on. I catch them following the directions; not NOT following the directions. You can read a detailed blog post on how to use the whole group token board to teach rules and procedures here.

I use these as group incentives. My students sit at tables in 3 groups of four. At the end of each day, we determine the best group "together," (we all take a quick vote) and that group gets a hole punch. The first group to get all 10 punches gets a prize. This not only holds them accountable for their behavior at the end of the day, but encourages teamwork and group interaction.

You can get these punch cards from Creative Teaching Press here and you can choose from four varieties. These also work great for individual student token systems as well.
Changing things up to keep it exciting is also important, so before I began the punch cards in January, I was giving each group a ticket and then the group with the most tickets at the end of 10 days received a prize. These also work great for individual student goals too. Creative Teaching Press also has these here

One of the best things I ever did for whole group classroom management was creating a GOAL WALL four years ago! I get asked alot, "Are these their IEP goals and is this a breach in confidentiality?" No, these are not their IEP goals. These are basic classroom behavioral goals that we all need to work on that are posted much like classroom rules. Students that are capable help to determine their own goals and often they add goals as needed. In addition to having an active role in their goal planning, students also recite their goals daily following our classroom rules that we also recite daily. 

It's no different than with academics. Our behavioral challenged students also need that daily repetition and reteaching of behavioral instruction.
This goal wall has been very powerful! My students know their goals by heart, they are conscientious about what they need to work on, and even my non-verbal student uses PECS to recite his goals each day. And because we all know what our classmates are working on, we encourage one another to achieve our goals! You can create your own goal wall here.

While my classroom is strongly centered around positive reinforcement, and students should never lose something they've earned, there also has to be some consequences!

So I started this minute chart in late September and it has really decreased a lot of spontaneous behaviors. Students get a tally for breaking a pencil, blurting out, being out of their seat, yelling, whining, using profanity; whatever the inappropriate behavior is that should have a consequence, and then those tallies are turned into minutes they owe at the end of the day when everyone else is on free choice. The last 30 minutes of our day is free choice if students have no missing work (assignments they refused to do during the day) or no tallies. Students that have tallies sit for that many minutes before they can join in on free choice.

Those tallies can be so painful for some of my students...because well who wants to sit while everyone else plays!? Right? But it has worked in decreasing many of these impulsive behaviors in my classroom! Hope some of these tips can work for you too!

Learn even more about "How to Rock Your Behavior Management" here

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