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Old 07-23-2004, 04:56 AM
verann verann is offline
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 5
Guam, USA
using a color-coded card system for behavior

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?



Old 07-23-2004, 06:01 AM
awaxler awaxler is offline
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 430
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.
Old 07-23-2004, 06:23 AM
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Margo Margo is offline
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 1,153
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.
Old 07-23-2004, 06:28 AM
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Bookworm Bookworm is offline
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 187
1st/2nd Grade Looping Teacher
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!!!
Old 07-23-2004, 07:47 AM
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Tara19 Tara19 is offline
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 185
Big Smile

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.
Old 07-23-2004, 11:25 AM
Upsadaisy Upsadaisy is offline
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 17,699
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.
Old 07-23-2004, 08:15 PM
verann verann is offline
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 5
Guam, USA
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,
Old 08-10-2004, 11:03 AM
lblau6680 lblau6680 is offline
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 7
Chicago, IL
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!!
Old 08-10-2004, 11:40 AM
Melanie G
Posts: n/a
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.
Old 08-10-2004, 11:43 AM
awaxler awaxler is offline
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 430
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

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