I'm new to 5th grade. What works best at this age? I'm used to Pre-K where I used sticks for each student and moved them for not following rules from "happy cup" to "straight face cup" to "sad cup". At the end of the day, if a student was in "happy cup" , they earned a sticker for their behavior chart. When the sticker was full, they got to get into my treasure box.
Would this type of system work for 5th? I don't know.
Please, if you work with this age group, let me know what works for your class.
I just student taught for seven weeks in a sixth grade inner city school. The students were not dangerous (as some inner city schools may be--just saw a news of a third student death this school year due to guns/gangs in Chicago), but unruly and confrontational toward one another.
I used a whole-class behavior management system. Granted, I was student teaching, so I had to capitalize on time, since I did not have much of it.
I gave them a "Challenge." Each day, they could earn up to either one or two points. The points gathered day after day. Once they reached 10 points, we'd watch a part of a movie and have a snack. Tangibles work--as undesirably as extrinsic motivation seems to be.
I had three classes, so each class had a small box drawn on the dry-erase board with the homeroom number and the total points they earned.
Beneath that, I wrote numbers 6 down through 1 (six on the left, one on the right).
The Rules of the Challenge:
- Keep at least a 3
--Whenever the class as a whole got unruly (it could not be the fault of just one or two students), I would erase a number, starting with 6. If, at the end of the 90-minute block, there was still a three on the board, the class would get a point.
--This focused on behavior
- Everyone gets at least a 3/5 on a quiz
--I gave a five-point quiz just about every other day (simple, multiple-choice, three choices per question) to review from the previous class. If everyone got a 3/5, the class got a point.
--This focused on academics.
- Everyone turns his or her homework in
--Since I noticed that students were not doing homework, I provided this part of the challenge. If everyone turned in their homework for each day when it was due, the whole class got a point. It didn't have to be correct, just completed.
--This focused on responsibility.
I created this system after teaching for two or three weeks, so was able to gauge how they were doing on homework, on quizes, or behavior-wise before I created the "Challenge." It can be adapted to anyone's needs. I was really surprised at the effect in general. The homework one still lacked, but they continued to do well on quizes and the behavior improved (if just a little). Had I more time with the students, I would have changed the stipulations as they increased (increase behavior to keeping at least a 4, get at least a 4/5 on the quizes, etc.).
Walking over to the part of the board with the numbers usually quieted most of them down ("Shhh, shhh, he'll erase a number!"). It was a great non-verbal cue.
The only major problem was that it was not individualized. Those students who always behaved did not get an individual reward. However, it's a starting point.
Don't be afraid to use visuals, and tangibles work well for ANY age, as childish as it may sound. Also, wording it as a "challenge" and perhaps telling them they may act as a "team" may get 5th graders pumped up and ready to meet your challenge.
Hope this provided a little insight from my student teaching experience!
You can use something similar. Just adapt it for fifth grade. With my kids I use the colors green, yellow, and red. The colors look like stop lights and they are attached with magnets to the side of my chalk board. Each students name is writen on a paper crayon, and attached to the chalkboard with a magnet, so they can be easily be moved up and down.
At the beginning of each day each kid starts on green. If they do something wrong I warn them once. If they do something again I ask them to change their color to yellow. The student can be moved back up if they drastically improve their behavior, and they can be moved down to red if they continue to misbehave. By recess time if a student is on yellow they owe 10 minutes of recess time, and they have to complete what I call an "Action Plan" where they write about what rule they broke, and how they plan to improve their behavior. If they are on red then they owe their entire recess. At the end of the day any student that is on red gets a phone call home, and has to get their "Action Plan" signed by a parent.
At the end of each day I have a chart next to my board with each students name, and I record what color they ended the day on. Students that end the day on green for an entire week are able to apply for a classroom job. To keep the job they have to continue to end each week on green. If they end just one day on yellow or red then they loose their job, but they can gain it back again if they can stay on green for a week.
Students who end every day on green for an entire month get a certificate for that month for outstanding behavior, and they get rewarded with a party during lunch. For example an ice cream party, pizza party, Happy Meal party, etc.
I also pass out fake dollars to studens who behave throughout the school day. Each time I see them doing something right, or doing something good they get a play dollar. Every Friday the students get to cash out. I have a price list with different things they can buy like fancy pencils, sitting at the teacher desk for a day, treasure box, eating lunch with the teacher, teachers assistant, good phone call home, candy, etc. I like having this incentive for students who will have a hard time accomplishing the weekly, and monthly goal of ending the day on green. This way they can get rewarded with smaller things when they do the right thing.
My behavior management plan seems to work out well. I'm a first year teacher, and I have had the least referrals out of my whole school for the entire school year so far. Also on average between 11 -12 of my students are able to reach the monthly goal of ending the day on green for an entire month out of a class of 20 students.
Newingham Class Economy
Classroom Economies work well for this age group and the site I posted gives you detailed directions for every part of setting it up. I am not a big fan of stoplight systems for any grade and beleive that the behavior of one student is between the teacher and the student.
Here is a link on 4th grade ideas, many of them will work for 5th too 4th grade link
Just to add to my earlier post, and to reply to a few new ones. The Newingham Class Ecomony system looks like a good classroom management plan too, and I would probably use that or take ideas from it. I think as a teacher you have to decide what works for you, and what works for your class. What I use works well for me, and for my class. I took and adapted most of my ideas from Harry Wong's book The First Days of School. Some teachers may not like what I do, but thats their personal opinion, and they are entitled to it. But I've only had 10 referrals the whole school year, when some teachers in my building who really don't have structure, or incentives, and just yell at their students have over 100. So I guess its a matter of personal preference, and what works best for you.
I meant to add that many teachers do use some form of stoplight systems and my comment was just a general one. I have seen them in many classrooms and most often it seems that the same student changes their color everyday. I think that something has to be done on top of your plan if the same students are behaving the same way on the first day as the last. If you are already making a behavior modification plan for them, why not try something different. Behavior systems have to work for the teacher and the students, if a stoplight system is working in your class, then use it
Alice, Rafe Esquith has written There are No Shortcuts and Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire, both about his fourth grade classroom in a underprivileged part of the Los Angeles Unified School District in which he has his kids performing Shakespeare and a great many other things that people think are beyond kids that age from that socio-economic stratum. He is in some ways more than slightly showboating, but his passion's undeniable.