What do you think of this behavior idea?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by waterfall, Aug 21, 2011.

  1. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Aug 21, 2011

    My school's program is really big on "character traits." It's not something that they just say at the beginning of the year or whatever...they talk about them daily and the kids know them well. They have "character cards" that we teachers can fill out and send the kid to the office with. When they get to the office, they get a little prize. At the end of the week, some cards get drawn out for a bigger prize. I kind of want to do something similar in my own classroom, but I want to get away from the extrinsic rewards.

    I was thinking of having my own "character board" (hopefully with some catchy name I come up with) and just having little cards that I can write about the students and put them up on the board. I generally don't have behavior problems in my room at all- and in fact I do have a lot of kids that really seem to go above and beyond with showing compassion, trustworthiness, etc. I want to do something "extra" to recognize that, but I don't want to attach an extrinsic reward (such as giving them a trinket) because I don't want that to be their motivation behind behaving that way, if that makes sense. However, I'm concerned that they'll expect a prize because of the school-wide system, and I also don't want to seem like I'm going against the system that our school has already set up. I thought maybe I could do a little of both, but I don't want it to be confusing for the kids. In general, last year I only gave out the cards for "habits of work" and they had to be really big things like passing a goal or making a huge improvement. I was thinking this board in my room could be for smaller things. I know this seems silly, but in our new building the office is literally 5 minutes away from my classroom (it is a HUGE building) and I don't want to waste all that class time sending kids down to recognize them for little things. So, do you think I should do it or not?
     
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  3. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    Aug 22, 2011

    How about if the kids do it for one another? I do thank yous and compliments at the end of every day.

    Kids can thank one another for things they have done throughout the day, and I get to thank kids too.

    I have a set of note cards that I made with three spaces for comments. Each child has one, and I keep them (and the extras) on a binder ring. At the end of the day, I choose a child (or a few children) to compliment or say thank you to. When they have 3 comments on their note, I tear it off the binder ring and they take it home. I write their name on a new card right away (so I don't forget). Since they are all right there, I can see who has had a comment recently and who needs one.

    They love it! No external reward, except a note for their parents to see!

    I also have the kids do thank yous at the end of a group work period. They can thank partners, or share what worked well for them.

    I do not give even non-material rewards for this stuff. Just the note and the nice words from friends.

    If you do a board, I say, the reward is simply having your note go ON the board. Nothing else needed!

    If my WHOLE class is doing awesome at something, I am going to fill in the a letter in the words SOMETHING SPECIAL. When SOMETHING SPECIAL is filled in completely, we will do something special, like an extra recess, games, etc. I choose!
     
  4. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Aug 22, 2011

    I think there are lot of creative things you could do - I see some good ideas on this thread so far. However, my question for you would be: what's your goal? What do you need to improve, or how is your current system insufficient? Adding just to add means you have to keep that system up, there's a chance it will not work, and less energy you'll have to focus on other things.
     
  5. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Aug 22, 2011

    Also, keep your eye on those quiet, good kids. They often fall through the cracks for awards like these, because teachers sometimes try so hard to catch the "bad" kids being good.
     
  6. pinkdaisy88

    pinkdaisy88 Rookie

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    Aug 22, 2011

    My school is big on character traits as well. We have character cards the kids can earn and put them into a drawing at the end of the week. We then draw one from each grade level and they go to the office and the principal makes a "phone call home". He makes it seem like the student is in trouble and then fills them in on the good news. The kids love the idea because they're tricking their parents and they're really not in trouble :)

    Just an idea :)
     
  7. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Aug 22, 2011

    Miss Froggy, I like that idea but I'm having a hard time thinking how I would implement it because I don't have a class. I teach special ed so I work with mostly small groups that would be in my room for an absolute maximum time of 2 different 30 minute lessons a day. There is very little "independent work time" where the kids would have time to go over and write a little note since we are always busy doing interventions.

    EdEd, I don't really have behavior problems now, so it's not that I'm trying to fix something- I just see so many of my students going above and beyond the "character" expectations that I'd like to recognize them for that. I'll have the same kids this year so I already know them. I think they really like the attention they get from the small group and many of them view coming to my room as a sort of "treat" (they often ask me multiple times a day if they "get to come" or when group starts) so even kids that I hear are behavior issues in the gen ed room are really good for me. They are really good about congratulating each other/cheering each other on to pass goals or make big improvements on progress monitoring day (even if they didn't do so well themselves that day), offering to help friends practice before a test, and being supportive/encouraging when other students make mistakes. I'd like to acknowledge them for going above and beyond- especially since a few of them are known as "trouble makers" in their gen ed rooms.

    Alice, I know what you mean- I often felt like that when I was a student! I was pretty quiet and pretty much followed the rules all the time, so I was always passed over for being recognized for "being good." However, I never have more than 2-5 kids in my room at the same time, so it's pretty much impossible for students to get looked over. Also, I'm really looking for students who are taking the extra step to go above and beyond- not just ones who are following expectations. I don't really have to tell my kids anything twice- following expectations in general is not an issue in my room.

    pinkdaisy- Our P already does some phone calls as part of the school wide "character traits" system. I'd make some myself, but all of my students' parents only speak Spanish and I'm not comfortable enough with my Spanish to do that- especially since I often find it's harder to understand someone speaking Spanish over the phone for some reason. My P is bilingual. I do occasionally send home notes, since I can take the time to make sure the Spanish is all correct and read it to the kids and ask if it makes sense.
     
  8. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Aug 22, 2011

    My first response, then, would be to hold off on adding any kind of reinforcement. One thing to keep in mind is that reinforcement is reinforcement - whether intangible or tangible. The danger you'd run into with reinforcing an existing behavior is getting them used to receiving a new reinforcement for an existent behavior, increasing their expectations for reinforcement in other environments. In general, the goal is to reduce artificial reinforcement (reinforcement that doesn't just naturally occur in the environment) so that behaviors sustain themselves without adult support.

    This isn't to say that you can't take it to the next level, but I'd suggest something like moral reasoning training - or something that challenges kids to develop new skills, rather than adding additional reinforcement for existing skills.

    Same advice would apply though - given that you only have a limited amount of time, would adding something to the curriculum take away time they need for academics? If it takes 15 minutes/week to implement a new character development/moral reasoning segment, is that worth your time over an extra 15 minutes of reading intervention?
     

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