"Menu of consequences"?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Lei286, Aug 18, 2018.

  1. Lei286

    Lei286 Rookie

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    Aug 18, 2018

    I've been reading some classroom management books and articles, and I've seen the term "menu of consequences" several times. The menu is just a reference for possible behavior infractions and what kind of punishment would be fitting for that specific behavior.

    My question is does anyone actually have this or has had this in the past? Did you find it beneficial? How did you go about creating one? And most importantly- did it WORK?

    Thanks!
     
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  3. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    I wouldn't use one. Managing behaviour is about relationships and clear expectations. When a student does something that warrants a consequence, you have to start with your relationship with the student. I'd rather talk it through with the student and come up with an appropriate solution to the problem together, hopefully a way to make amends. A menu would force me to respond the same way to every student and not every student needs the same kind of reinforcement.

    I can see how it would be helpful to take the emotion out of the process - you did X so here is the consequence for X. If you think you will find that part of management stressful and emotional, it might help. I guess I have done something similar when there was a recurring issue - but I've done it for individuals, not the whole class.

    Whatever you decide to do, be consistent. Nothing derails classroom management like inconsistency.
     
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  4. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    We have a behavior matrix. It’s not about choice like a menu, though. It outlines exactly what happens for each type of misbehavior. There is one for minor infractions and one for major infractions.
     
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  5. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    School wide? Does it cover little things like talking in class? What kind of consequences does it list?

    I am curious. It seems like that could really help with consistent behavior expectations throughout the school.
     
  6. Lei286

    Lei286 Rookie

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    Well I think that's the reason for having the menu- the consistency of the consequences. Yes, there are kids who have severe behavior issues that the menu might not work for (I had TWO students like that last year), but I have a student this year where they were written down as needing consistent consequences. I guess this whole upcoming class in my level tends to be very socially immature and impulsive. So I guess I am looking for a way to make expectations and consequences for failing to meet expectations as clear as possible.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2018
  7. Lei286

    Lei286 Rookie

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    This would be strictly for my class specifically.
     
  8. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    We are a PBIS school, so we have school-wide discipline matrix. It has really helped with consistency. For instance, there are some teachers who never send a kid to the office for anything except severe issues like fighting. Others would send a kid to the office for chewing gum.

    The minor infractions list includes things like PDA, excessive talking, not having materials, disrespect to students or staff, missing assignments, sleeping in class, cell phone use, being tardy. There is a five-step process for being sent to the office for any of those things. Verbal warning, student conference, parent contact, after-school detention, then office referral.
     
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  9. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Interesting - This sounds like an excellent way for teachers to remain consistent throughout the school.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2018
  10. Lisabobisa

    Lisabobisa Companion

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    I use it for individual students. These students usually increase their behavior when they receive a consequence so having it spelled out before hand helps a TON. We come up with the menu together. I explain that they have a choice of showing expected behaviors and earning privileges and rewards or showing unexpected behaviors and earning consequences. When they earn the consequence I remind them that it was their choice.
     
  11. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    I've found that consistency and established procedures are the most important aspects of classroom management. When the students know what to do and when to do it, they normally cooperate. Concerning a menu of consequences, usually any social group has established penalties for misbehavior. In my experience, the problem arises when the need for consequences becomes the expectation rather than the exception; in other words, if consequences become the result of when you misbehave, rather than if you misbehave. Our expectation of the students should be that they will behave not that they will misbehave. It's important to be sure students are aware of expected decorum in the classroom; perhaps it's best to ask the students what kind of behavior would be most efficient, productive, and would promote safety. When a contrary behavior occurs, my rule for myself is to stay calm. I listen to anything the student says concerning the behavior, although I insist that the student speaks to me in the same respectful tone of voice that I speak with the student. I appreciate the student asking "Why?" rather than responding with, "Because I said so!" or "Because I'm bigger than you!" or "Because I can speak louder than you!" Students need to learn the reason for rules.

    Avoiding consequences is not the reason for rules. The reason for rules, as mentioned above, is for efficiency, productivity, and safety. If consequences are overemphasized, the students begin playing cat and mouse with the teacher. When the cat's away, the mice will play. The teacher's role shifts from educator and guide to a walking burglar alarm with "eyes in back of her head" ready to catch the next misbehaving student. Ideally, the students should be working together and with the teacher to do their job of learning. If a student does misbehave, and they will because kids are still learning how to cooperate, the teacher then becomes the guide in teaching that student how to make better decisions. I find I have better results from using my ears more than my mouth: rather than lecturing and scolding, I discuss the situation with the student. Although a warning might be sufficient, I do have difficulty with enacting an established first offense is a warning procedure. That's like saying to a student, OK, you're allowed to do a certain misbehavior one time, or you're allowed to misbehave one time per day/week/whatever. In elementary grades, I have small penalties; where I taught, it was usually 5 minutes off of recess. To a kid, wasting 5 minutes of recess is usually sufficient.

    I am concerned that todays youth culture isn't as structured towards compliance to rules as when I first began teaching or when I was a student in the 60's-70's. Here's why. First of all, I've seen adults ignore rules. For example, when I recycle, although each bin is clearly marked, often I find someone dumps a bag of all their recyclables (and some non-recyclables) in just one bin, or some other such infraction. (In my area, anything disposed of in a trash bin costs 1.00 per bag, but recycling is free, so some recycle just to save a buck). These adults have children who are probably riding along observing. In my area, some parents are drug dealers and many use illegal drugs. Some workplaces in my area, to quote one supervisor, are more like adult daycare and the workers flagrantly disregard procedures when no one is looking. These workers are parents. At home, many parents ignore their children, except to yell at them, and many parents and kids are separated from each other within the same room as they twiddle their thumbs with their heads bowed toward an electronic device (not that that's totally bad, but it is when it becomes the totality). And just yesterday, I overhead a conversation among two adults about how teachers don't really care to teach anymore; when children hear how supposedly bad their teachers are, why should they behave? True, there are exceptions, but most teachers are doing a splendid job, despite what the media might report. So we have these situations working against us.

    But we are the teachers. We are the manager of the classroom and our goal is to guide the students to strive together for a successful and prosperous year. We're not the Grinch, we're not the troll under the billy goats bridge, we're the guide on the side.
     
  12. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Aug 20, 2018

    I wouldn’t make a hard core list. You need some flexibility. I keep in mind that consequences should be related, respectful and reasonable..
     
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  13. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    I would never do a specific menu, as each situation may warrant different reactions. A student who consistently is disruptive and then blurts may need a different reaction than a student who is almost always quiet and respectful but then blurts once.

    That being said, helping students see what natural consequences might look like for different choices is definitely important, and having some initial standard that is very flexible may be helpful (i.e. students who need to finish their homework have an "opportunity" to finish it up at some point during our day - a school set reaction - but I'll flexibly decide whether it's necessary...sometimes it's counterproductive, or perhaps was completely out of their control, such as if their family spent the night in the hospital with a relative).
     
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  14. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    While I think it's vital to have set consequences for rule infractions, a menu seems, as Obadiah suggested, rather "asking for it".
     
  15. Lei286

    Lei286 Rookie

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    Well this would not be a type of thing that I would wave in front of my students and say "THIS WILL HAPPEN IF YOU DON'T BEHAVE!!!" This would be strictly for ME to know about and use in order for my consequences to remain consistent with the action. For example, if I see a student writing on my property, this consequnces would be having to clean it off or clean up something else within the classroom community - rather than having the consequence be say...having a silent lunch (which has no relation to property damage).
     
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  16. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    You actually DO have to share with students. Otherwise, they are always playing a game of “how far can I go before anything happens” with you.
     
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  17. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Menu might be the wrong weird, then. What you described is what I would consider a fairly natural consequence. Does it need to be written down and spelled out? If you're looking more at reasonable/natural consequences, I don't really think you need to have something for every possible situation.
     
  18. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    It's probably a fine idea for sending a message about fairness, consistency, and transparency. So, if you publish it and them don't follow it, you shouldn't be surprised to get some very resentful students.

    It's mediocre at changing behavior, though. Kids will have different sensitivities to punishment: for some even the idea that they're being punished will be enough to keep them well-behaved, and others won't be affected by calls to parents. Consequences (i.e., "punishments") operate to reduce some negative behavior, not to increase the behaviors you want to see. So, at any rate, such a menu should be only a part of a disciplinary system.
     
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