using a color-coded card system for behavior

Discussion in 'Behavior Management Archives' started by verann, Jul 23, 2004.

  1. verann

    verann Rookie

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    Jul 23, 2004

    I am looking at possibly changing my behavior/discipline system for the upcoming school year. In the past I have used "name on the board with checks" and smiley faces--super for no written warnings, happy for 1 written warning, ok for 2 warnings, and sad for 3 or more warnings. When my students had 10 super faces, they got to pick a prize from our treasure box. I'm thinking of using a color-coded card system this coming school year and was wondering if anyone has used or read about this sort of system?

    Thanks!

    Vera
     
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  3. awaxler

    awaxler Comrade

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    Jul 23, 2004

    Hi Vera,

    As a teacher mentor/trainer I would stongly suggest that you do not use either of the systems you are referring to.

    By putting students names on the board you are not only making classroom management a major focus of your class, but also using what Alfie Kohn refers to as a "carrot and stick" system.

    There is countless research to indicate that that system does not work and in fact can actually have the opposite effect than what you desire. Do a quick search on Alfie Kohn and you'll find a great number of articles he's written on this topic.

    Basically though, the management systems you describe are focused on extrinsic motivation rather than intrinsic motivation. And, in using those systems, you may actually descrease your students intrinsic motivation to learn.

    Instead of focusing on classroom management skills, I would focus on strong instructional skills. In doing so you will see your classroom management problems disappear.

    My ebook on teaching strategies is based on the premise that the best management system is a strong instructional system. The ebook is loaded with ways that you can virtually eliminate classroom management problems through the use of effective teaching strategies rather than management strategies. Using effective teaching strategies will also increase your students intrinsic motivation to learn (the two go hand in hand).

    I hope I am not sounding harsh here, that is not my intent. I just think you will find much more success with a different approach.

    I hope that helps,

    Adam Waxler

    P.S. You can take a look at a sample of the ebook right here on Amanda's site.
     
  4. Margo

    Margo Devotee

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    Jul 23, 2004

    While I agree with Adam that most behavior can be eliminated through teaching techniques I feel that you do need to have some kind of plan in mind. I use the card pulling in my Kindergarten classroom and it works very well. I use a five color system - green (great day!), yellow (uh-oh), red (5 minute time out), purple (phone call home) and black (office referral). But I am very proactive, as Adam mentioned and find that I very rarely need to pull any cards. I teach my little ones early one what is acceptable and what isn't. I can go days, sometimes, without needing to use the cards. But, the cards are a reinforcement as well. Most of my guys don't even want to be on yellow so they always try their best for me.
     
  5. Bookworm

    Bookworm Companion

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    Jul 23, 2004

    I highly agree with your statements! The teachers I have observed who struggle with classroom management all use some type of behavior system based on rewards. The children who have difficulty with directions and rules quickly figure out that they can't win this "game" and give up and return to old behaviors. In my experiences, children who have a difficult time with directions and rules quickly respond to praise and feeling successful. Instead of behavior systems create situations and lessons that make all of your children successful and dish out the praise frequently!!!
     
  6. Tara19

    Tara19 Companion

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    Jul 23, 2004

    I have tried the pull a slip method before, but I didn't like it much, at least for little ones. My class always got mad and some would even go and pout or cry, beacuse they were on yellow and evrybody else was only on green. So, then I decided to switch to a something that wouldn;t point out individuals, instead, it owuld be a whole class. Now, I put "SPECIALS" on the board, and everytime I have to erase a letter, that takes away 3 minutes from their 2'nd recess, and it worked great this year.
     
  7. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Jul 23, 2004

    I agree with you, Adam, for several reasons. You can redirect a student without demoralizing or embarrassing. A well-run program along with an atmosphere of respect is the best behavioral system of all. I do realize that in large, tough schools, it is possible to get students who are actually entrenched in their positions as troublemakers or difficult students, etc. They may, in fact, thrive on negative attention. That is a good reason not to give it to them. Behavior problems often arise during 'down times'. Eliminate those times. Students should always be actively engaged. Sometimes I have to just get silent for a few seconds waiting for the expected behavior. Then I merely ask, are you ready to begin now? It rarely fails to get their attention.
     
  8. verann

    verann Rookie

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    Jul 23, 2004

    Thank you for your insights into this matter. I agree with Margo about needing to have reinforcements in place. When I used the smiley face system, I rarely had to do sad faces and when I saw that the system wasn't working for some, I did individual behavior plans for them. I have downloaded the sample chapter of Adam's book to read and will do a search on Alfie Kohn's work.

    Thanks again,
    Vera
     
  9. lblau6680

    lblau6680 Rookie

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    Aug 10, 2004

    I am a bit confused on all of this. I am a first year kindergarten teacher and working in a very low income school district. I was told by a fellow collegue that I should 100% use some sort of consequence/reward system. I was going to do something creative like "reach of the sky" and have a large Kite. The children's names would be on their own mini-kite and they would move clockwise around the Kite if they misbehaved or didn't follow one of our class rules. At the end of the day who ever was on the original position, the top point of the diamond, would receive a ticket. or a sticker on an incentive chart, at the end of the week, those with all five tickets or stickers, would be able to go into my treasure chest. Does this make sense? Any suggestions please!!
     
  10. Melanie G

    Melanie G Guest

    Aug 10, 2004

    Hi Verann!

    I am taking my masters in elementary education, and have many friends who are students, so I'm not self promoting anything. The current thinking is to completely avoid the whole putting names on the blackboard and rewarding good behavior scenario, though I know that many of my teacher friends do use it. My Child Development professor touts Alfie Kohn as well. If you want the current thinking, I recommend "Punished by Rewards" by Alfie Kohn. I know personally that the name on the board method can have profoundly negative affects on the children. Once a child starts to see themselves as labeled on the blackboard as a continual problem or disruption they begin to have a self-fullfilling behavior of continuing to act out, as that is what is expected. At least there are several children I know personally for which this was the case. My professor advocated that a classroom structure that is engaging, exciting and provides a sense of community will eliminate disciplinary problems -- thought that could be in a perfect world. Another great book you may want to check is "The Morning Meeting Book" by Roxanne Kriete. This provides a great way to build classroom community, which results in less disciplinary issues as well.

    I hope this helps.
     
  11. awaxler

    awaxler Comrade

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    Aug 10, 2004

    Hi lblau6680,

    Education is funny profession. As much research that you can provide to prove one thing, you can also find just as much research to disprove it. You see, there are no test groups in education, therefore educational research is easily manipulated. Therefore you need to combine your own research with practical experience and a dose of common sense.

    With that said, I will tell you that I never have, nor will I ever use a consequence/reward system. (I have no intention of ever rewarding students for behavior that is expected of them. At least not in a way that they come to expect a reward when they do something they are supposed to be doing. However, unexpected surprise rewards work great--a lesson from Skinner.) I will also tell you that I do not have any problems with classroom management.

    My personally belief, based on tons of research as well as practical experinece, is that the best approach to classroom management is to use strong instructional strategies that keep all your students actively involved in all your lessons.

    I strongly suggest doing some of your own research on the subject. Do a google search for people like Alfie Kohn and Eric Jensen. You can learn a lot from their work.

    As far as your colleague telling you that you should 100% have some type of reward/consequence system in place...I would 100% disagree.

    You will likely get many responses to my post here that disagree with me...that's fine...In fact, it is part of what makes this such an interesting profession. In the end though, you will have do what works best from your own experinces. For me, I try to focus on increasing students' intrinsic motivation rather than extrinsic motivation.

    Hope that helps,
    Adam Waxler
     
  12. Winnie

    Winnie Rookie

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    Aug 13, 2004

    I just want to say that I think there is a place for reward systems in the classroom. I use them consistently and I do not have behaviour problems in my classroom. I know that sounds like I'm tooting my own horn but I deserve the credit. Do I think it's all due to the reward system? Absolutely not. A lot of it lies in the teaching. I believe that a reward system should promote collaboration and team work among the students. They should be required to work together towards a class goal, not individual prizes. I think that by using prize boxes, it not only can get expensive, but it becomes expected by the student. The rewards I use are class rewards such as having a class outside, or playing music during some independant work time. I even have them work towards their special occasion "parties" such as Hallowe'en. You don't have to reward with a toy or trinket. This works like a charm. Now, I teach grade 5 so it might work better with older classes, but who knows. I've even had some of my students work towards being able to read stories to a younger class. They eat this stuff up! And it becomes a teachable thing at the same time. I teach in a hard community with many problems. This can work if you do it right. We're all professionals for a reason. Ultimately you need to do what's right for your classroom, your students and yourself.
     
  13. Sam Aye M

    Sam Aye M Companion

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    Aug 13, 2004

    Several years ago, when I inherited my current class, we had a rather extensive reward system. We had a point system, had classroom officers, a store, and special lunches, and movies, and all kinds of stuff. We kept this structure because it was what the last teacher used, and it kind of worked. The classroom was a rough one (jr high SED) and the rewards seemed to keep them on the right track.

    Then we realized something. The same kids kept getting the rewards, and the same ones kept missing them. We also noticed that the kids were wanting to get rewards for things that they were expected to do (like homework). We realized that it wasn't encouraging anyone to behave.Gradually, we got rid of the store, the classroom officers, the movies, and decided to work on the classroom structure and curriculum. Although it was tough at first, our classroom went from the one no one wanted to work in, to a model classroom of our little school (7 classrooms). Eventually, we started getting rowdy students from other classrooms put in our room, because the most difficult students usually were much more successful in our classroom... as long as they could handle the curriculum. Students were afraid to come to our class, cause they heard we were "mean," but that would all change once they actually set foot in the class. We had our occasional outbursts, but it was nothing compared to what we inherited. We used to worry about how many restraints we would have to do in a day. Now, our biggest problem was a student who would sleep all day, and refuse to work.

    Occasionally, we would bring things in for them, or reward them for a job well done, but it was never a planned thing. This worked far better than that old system that we thought was needed.It may sound simple, but we raised the levels of expectations from them, and they really responded.
     
  14. lorbis

    lorbis Guest

    Aug 13, 2004

    Hi,
    Could you elaborate a little more about what you did in your class to eliminate the use of rewards/consequences in your SED class? I will be teaching a similiar class this year and am all ready to go with my behavior plan, but I've always felt that I should try to something where the rewards are intrinsic rather than extrinsic. I'd appreciate any suggestions you can offer.

    Thanks
     
  15. new user

    new user Guest

    Aug 24, 2004

    behavior management plan a must!

    I don't care what research says, a behavior plan is very important in the school that I teach at. I teach in a very low income, high crime neighborhood in the inner city where behavior is a major issue. I pride myself in being a good teacher and try my very best to keep them engaged at all times. Behavior problems STILL occur, and can be very disruptive, and dangerous at times. My students LOVE my behavior management system, and I have received praise for it from administration. I make a large rainbow, sun, clouds, and raindrops and hang it on the wall. Every child's name is laminated and stuck to the sun at the beginning of the day. If they are not behaving, they are moved down to the clouds which is a warning. If it happens again, they move to the raindrops and begin losing minutes off of their recess. This also works in reverse. They can move up if they change their behavior, and students on the sun receive a sticker at the end of the day. Students on the rainbow receive a small prize. If you make your management plan fun like this, the students will really get into it. Every teacher in my school is encouraged to have some sort of plan in place, and I cannot imagine what I would do without one.
     
  16. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    Aug 24, 2004

    do you use the rainbow for consecutive days of good behavior?
     
  17. msh

    msh Guest

    Aug 24, 2004

    Color coded cards were helpful for me

    Hello, Vera. I just wanted to say that not every behavior management plan works for everybody. So, I'm sure you're getting lots of varying opinions on this subject! I started using the color coded card system last year, after solely relying on the "name on the board with checks" system for 19 years (I realized that I seemed to be the only teacher in my building still doing the names and checks, so I thought I'd try something new). It was like a breath of fresh air for me! The color card system is silent (I just turn and pull a card), it's fast (especially since I don't have to write out names on the board for a kid with 12 letters in their name!), and it's slightly more private (small names on the pockets - believe me, the kids know which pocket is theirs!). After school each day, I spend 5 minutes to graph the colors for each child in my grade book (this provides valuable information at conference time). Also, students that kept all their cards in their pockets for the week, privately get a small reward (pencil, pen, eraser - I'm opposed to candy or food for rewards). Anyway, this is what worked for me last year. As we know, however, just when we think we have things figured out they change!
     
  18. verann

    verann Rookie

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    Aug 25, 2004

    School has been in session for us for 3 weeks now. We had a bit of a setback this past weekend with the typhoon that blew strong winds and heavy rain our way. I started off the year without any system just to see how things would go. Last week, I implemented my color card system. Some kids have not had a card turned. In fact, most have not. For the kids that have, as soon as I turn a card they improve their behavior and get to the task at hand. For others, when I see them start to struggle with following the rules, I pull them aside and have a quick discussion. Sometimes I have to tell a child in the middle of a lesson that we'll talk later. The kids who stay on green (no warnings) all day get nothing more than a few words of praise from me. The ones who have turned cards are given words of encouragement, a quick discussion of what was wrong, and what to do next time. I've had some pouts and a few tears, but when they hear the encouraging words ("I know you can do better because you're really good at listening during...") it all stops and I get a hug. I'm sure this message will bring on another onslaught of replies, but...as a teacher, I'm willing to take a risk. :)
     
  19. Claire

    Claire Guest

    Aug 25, 2004

    As a newly qualified teacher, I have been studying in great detail the different classroom management systems that can be implemented in order to control behaviour within the class. Many research studies suggest that the use of extrinsic rewards can overshadow the true value of the tasks set. Through using reward systems children are motivated to recieve a sticker or stamp rather then working towards the intrinsic gains of the task itself. Instrinsic motivation is more satisfactory because the child gains a greater understanding of the task and its outcomes and therefore work towards completing the task to further their own understanding. Learning becomes based around developing understanding rather then recieving a reward. Indeed other systems such as positive praise can be more successful then labelling children with charts and symbols that are not individualised . It seems that the use of rewards will always leave some children in the class feeling left out and undervalued; whilst the higher attainers, lower attainers and children with behaviour problems are often rewarded, those children who happily move through the class are left unnoticed and therefore unmotivated to achieve their full potential. It seems that if reward systems are to be used they need serious planning beforehand in order to ensure that they are inclusive of each and every child and that they do not in fact undermine achievement and motivation within the class. Shirley Clarke has written excellent guidance on this subject which speaks volumes about how children can develop their own desire to learn. Her research studies and those of many other writers compellingly suggest that extrinsic reward systems within the classroom require serious review and amendment.
     

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