trying a new reward system, comments welcome

Discussion in 'Behavior Management' started by magister, Apr 2, 2012.

  1. magister

    magister Rookie

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    Apr 2, 2012

    I tutor 8th grade (and 7th) math in groups of 5-8. Got a couple unruly classes, so I decided to try a new system to christen the fourth marking period. Unfortunately, now having explained my plan to the kids in depth, I realize it may not work well.

    I give each kid three points every class. For every disruption, they lose a point. If they get down to zero points (three disrupts), then they go out in the hall w/their work. I think three chances is more than enough. This seems ok so far.

    The other side of the sword is that the kids can spend their accumulated points on little toys (ex. silly putty) or candy (acceptable in the school). This is where it gets dicey because, of course, any kid will immediately get upset for losing points because he/she wants to spend them.

    The problem is I sometimes don't know what constitutes misbehavior. I may tag one kid for talking and not tag another because the one kid does his work usually while the other is constantly goofing off. For example, if a kid laughs out loud for some innocent reason, I have to consider this as a disruption, but it's also not malicious.

    I don't know whether to scrap this plan or let it play.
     
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  3. Gareth

    Gareth Rookie

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    Apr 2, 2012

    I think you will need to be really specific on what you tag or not, make sure you're certain yourself. This will make it easier for you to monitor and also to explain it to the class. I would also talk to the class about it, let them know your concerns and that they need to understand that someone might not lose a point if they were disruptive without meaning to be.

    Now that you've explained it to the class it might be best to stick with it.
     
  4. BumbleB

    BumbleB Habitué

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    Apr 2, 2012

    In the past, I have narrowed it down to about three "target" behaviors that count as disruptions (ex: 1. speaking when the teacher is talking, 2. distracting others with words or actions, 3. leaving your seat without permission from the teacher). That way, you're really focused on a small number of behaviors and can identify a disruption easily. Your choice of target behaviors will obviously depend on your individual class and what the students need to work on.

    I would then put those three target behaviors on a poster and display it in the classroom where all students can see it regularly. This will constantly remind them of what will make them lose a point, and you can refer to it if a student wants to argue about your decision to take away a point.

    Last, I would spend a chunk of time discussing what each disruption looks like. I would have the kids role play examples and non examples so that they really know what you are looking for. I might even end the class with a quiz where they circle "yes, I would lose a point" or "no, I wouldn't lose a point" for various scenarios you make up.

    Now of course, you can phrase your poster in more "positive" terms (such as "I will remain quiet when the teacher is talking" instead of "Not speaking when the teacher is talking") so that you can focus more on the POSITIVE that will allow them to keep a point as opposed to the negative that will make them lose.
     
  5. jennirich

    jennirich Rookie

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    Jun 1, 2012

    Exactly.

    You have set the rules. Stick to it.

    To avoid confusion, categorize disruption so its easy for you to identify which behavior is acceptable or not.

    Lastly, when you say it, mean it. Specially at this grade level where they test you and your patience.
     
  6. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jun 1, 2012

    I don't think you can differentiate like that.

    If a normally good kid is talking, he's still talking. MIddle school kids are all about fair, and you've got to treat the offense, not the kid.

    Personally, I'm not a fan of "3 strikes" systems, since they give you 2 free passes before you're really in trouble, but that's just my point of view.
     
  7. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    Jun 1, 2012

    I would read tools for teaching by Fred Jones. Talks about why this system does not work.
     

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