Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Getting the buggers to behave

If there was anything that I particularly struggled with during my PGCE, it was managing behaviour. When I taught in Thailand it was fine, I knew how to manage the children's behaviour but they were my kids, my class, it went how I said. I think I struggled during my PGCE because I was going into someone else's classroom and was trying to take on their way of doing behaviour and they just weren't me. Once I stopped trying to be the same as someone else and started being me, it went a lot better.

I used Class Dojo during my last placement and it worked really well - I'd definitely recommend it! The top two children who had the most points at the end of the week got something from my goodie box and then everyone who had over a certain number of points (I think I said 10) got to have 10 minutes on the activity trail with the school mentor who ran it. I thought about using it again with my new class but it just wouldn't work as well as I couldn't have a whole class reward like the activity trail but also, that rarely ended up happening and it was always the same few children who ended up at the top so I think it demotivated some of those in the middle who were generally good but wouldn't be at the top. So I've racked my brain to try and come up with a new idea, here's what I've come up with.

This is my 'zone board' which is like something I used on placement that the school already had in place. We forgot to use it most of the time because the teacher didn't really use it but when we did, it worked quite well. The children hated moving themselves down and you would see them improve after. On the other hand, children who moved up were really proud of that. Just because someone moves down, they don't have to stay down, they can work their way back up again. Each child has one of the little cards with their name on that they have to move up and down the board.

If they finish the day in gold, they get to take one of these business cards that I got from Vistaprint home that tells their parents that they had a good day, Vistaprint always offer these business cards for free, you just have to pay for postage. I haven't quite decided what will happen if they end in red, on placement they used to lose 5 minutes of golden time but we don't have golden time. I may say that it means a quick word with mum or dad after school, any other suggestions?

Then each child has one of these sticker charts to match our theme of Turrets and Tiaras - thanks Chris for making them for me! They'll get a sticker for anything behaviour or work wise that I feel warrants a sticker. One way to get stickers is that at the end of each day, the first table to be tidied up and sat down ready in their seats will get to have a sticker each. Once they fill all 10 windows of the castle, they get to choose something from this...

I've filled the treasure chest with lots of cheap goodies from pound shops and good old Wilkinsons. They had loads of things in their bargain corner a few weeks ago so I've filled the chest for no more than about £5, bargain! Will make it look a bit more pretty with beads and fabric at some point, possibly.

I thought about table points using marbles but I don't want those who are misbehaving to get things because there are others on their table who are good, in the same way that I don't want those who have been great to be held back by those who have misbehaved. I thought about doing Class Dojo and having a set a of things that children could 'spend' their points on but it was becoming too complicated. Hopefully what I've come up with will be a good compromise and work well, I think the children will like the rewards and this way each child gets to have a reward exactly when they deserve it.


  1. It seems we always have to modify what we use as we move through classes. No two mixes of young personalities are exactly the same.

    You have made a very valid point when stating, "I think it demotivated some of those in the middle who were generally good but wouldn't be at the top."

    Children can be disheartened when they see the same people always achieving yet they can't despite their efforts. It reminds me of the recent Olympics when the concentration was on gold and some thought they hadn't succeeded if they achieved silver or bronze or a personal best.

    We can't all be Usain Bolt but we can try to achieve our personal bests. A system where we recognise effort as well as achievement works well for most children.

    Your efforts to modify your approach to suit the class and school seems a very good idea. It's positive and should encourage children to try harder. I know the children will like the rewards if they are anything like the many classes I've had over the years. :)


  2. You're so right, don't think I've ever used exactly the same thing twice. I remember watching an Olympic event (can't remember which one now) and one of our athletes got silver or bronze and actually apologised for not getting gold. I sat there slightly gobsmacked thinking is this really how gold hungry it all is? To get get to the Olympics full stop, to compete against those world class athletes and get ANY medal is amazing and enough to make any parent/country proud, whether it's gold or not. I just want to make sure that all children are rewarded. Thanks for the comment, it's much appreciated.

  3. The castles look a lot better now you've added a stylish font!