Progressive Discipline

I have used a colored card system in the past, where for every infraction, the student moved a card, with each card resulting in a progressively more severe response.  Last year the cards were getting old, and I was getting tired of them, so I got rid of them.  I had a really good class last year and we got by with an occasional trip to timeout as the only real consequence in the class.  A couple of times kids did things that resulted in a visit with an administrator, but those things usually fell outside of that would normally be handled in a classroom setting anyway.

This year, I started out that way again, but with this mix of kids it just hasn’t worked.  I have a little cluster who could spend all day in timeout and couldn’t care less.  So I have adapted and re-instituted the card system as described in the second paragraph below. Over the last two years I have come up with the following class rules which I really like.  They aren’t so much rules as guiding principles about how we will treat each other in our class. They are framed  around the rights of the individuals in class.

Class rules and expectations:

Everyone has a right to learn, no one has the right to interrupt or waste our time.

Everyone has a right to hear and be heard. No one has the right to keep us from being heard when it is our turn.

Everyone has a right to be safe, and have their belongings be safe. No one has the right to make us feel afraid, or to damage or take our belongings.

Everyone has the right to be themselves. No one has the right to laugh at us, to intentionally hurt us, or our feelings.

Discipline Plan

Students have a magnetic picture/name card on the white board. Their card is moved when an infraction occurs. Cards are reset daily. For normal infractions, their cards move one category. The first move is a Warning, the second move results in a Timeout. A third move results in a Loss of Lunch Recess (if before lunch, that day, if after lunch the next day) The fourth move results in a Call or Note Home (a note must be signed by a parent/guardian and returned). Anything beyond is a trip to the office. Some infractions, such as fighting may result in direct serious consequences (such as a call home or a trip to the office) regardless of where they start.  On Fridays, students who have not moved past a warning during the week will be rewarded for their efforts either with an extra recess, or a treat.

I think it’s a perfectly reasonable plan.  The administration feels differently.  I can’t have the fifth consequence apparently.  They don’t want us to send them our kids, because, they would have too many kids in the office…………

A little while after making me remove the Visit to the Office as a consequence, the vice principal came into my room and asked to borrow my overhead for a training.  I said sure, if I could still send kids to the office.   I’m an impertinent kind of guy.  But realistic.  I quickly told her I was just kidding and certainly she could use the overhead.   When it gets right down to it, you really don’t want get on their bad side………

We have an Elmo at our school that I discovered has just been sitting in a closet, so I commandeered it.  I figured how hard can it be to use one of these things, Right?  I mean, I’ve seen someone use one before.  So the other day I got it out during math and was trying to set it up, it was going OK, but was taking a couple of minutes to get the cables connected and so this one little darling in my class, said, “Mr. B. you are breaking rule number 1.”  I was busy connecting things and I said, “Huh?” and he said, “You know, nobody has the right to waste our time…..?”

I hate smarty kids.

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10 thoughts on “Progressive Discipline

  1. I use a similar discipline plan with two differences: 1. Our cards (just white index cards with names) are also used for attendance and moved if there are behavior problems. At the bottom of the pocket chart are slots marked 5, 10, 15, and X. The numbers are timeout minutes and the X is no recess or center time or “free choice” time. I get to choose what they miss depending on the time of day and the infraction. Serious infractions such as fighting are a “pink slip” and trip to the office.
    2. Timeout includes writing. Either they practice their handwriting or write “I will follow the class rules”, or “I’m sorry I…

    At the end of each day I collect all the cards that are in the bottom pockets and give everyone else a sticker on the back of their card. I also randomly give stickers when someone does something outstanding. Each time a student gets five stickers, regardless of what day it is, they get a treat from my “treasure box”. I keep sheets of stickers, shiny pencils, cute erasers, plastic animals, necklaces, etc. in my box. When a student fills a card (about eight weeks or so) they get a new card and a book (coloring, sticker, etc. I buy them for a $1 at Dollar Tree). This has worked well for me for eight years.

  2. What a smarty pants, for sure! Funny, nonetheless! I use almost the exact same discipline method, and have for as long as I can remember. I love your list of “rules.” Mind if I steal them for next year?

  3. Mary, I like your ideas. I’m going to implement some of them, like actually having to DO something while in Time Out. I like the idea of varying the time in Time Out. I have one girl who it is almost pointless to put in time out because she doesn’t really stay there (she’s such a mess I’m not sure she CAN stay in one place very long), but if time out had an assignment, then it wouldn’t matter. I used to have boxes on the back of the first card that got stamped with a paw print (we were the lions) if they got no cards pulled, and the number of how many times they got in trouble if they did. It had the whole grading period on it, so you could see it at a glance. I think I’ve figured out how to track that using the magnets.

    ChiTown, sure steal it, I probably stole most of it from someone else in the first place, us teachers are masters of that……

  4. I didn’t mention it the first time, but I also do a tracking thing like Mary. Whoever still has their name at the top at the end of the day gets a stamp (amusingly enough, a paw print! We are Tigers) on our Good Behavior Points chart. This chart is prominently displayed in the room, and in the hall during parent/teacher conferences, so the parents can see how well their little darling is doing, especially relative to the other children. At the end of every marking period, I give “prizes” for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place (usually more than just 3 children), and I also make them certificates. I start a new chart every marking period. Sometimes, I will randomly give away prizes based on the chart. Especially when the babies are having a particularly rambunctious day. It snaps them back under control pretty quickly. I do like Mary’s idea of giving something every 5 stamps, though. It’s hard for 5 year olds to wait 10 weeks for a prize. 🙂 It wouldn’t be hard to do since the chart I use is marked off in 5s, anyway.

    The chart itself has three lines at the bottom that are labeled “Strike 1” (no stamp), “Strike 2” (no stamp, no free time/treat), and “Strike 3” (no stamp, no free time/treat, call or note home) I do allow the kids to move their way back up the chart, which may be different than the way others do it. I just feel, and it’s been my experience, that once I child knows his name is at the bottom, and he’s lost his stamp, he has no reason to try and follow the rules the rest of the day, because he already lost his stamp! Don’t get me wrong, many of mine just don’t give a darn, and just keep moving down instead of up, but most of them try hard to get back up the chart before we go home.

    Hate to be a whiner, but I take issue with writing being used as a punishment. It only teaches kids to associate writing with punishment, and they grow to hate writing. I don’t give mine anything to do because I WANT them to be bored and see what they’re missing, which is usually center time. Sometimes I’ll move a child away from their table if they’re being disruptive, and have them do their work alone at another table, but we don’t call it a time out. It’s not so much a punishment as it is a diversion.

    OK, I swear, no more comments today, sorry!

    • Where do you find paw print stamps? We are tigers in my K class and I am always looking for paw prints etc. I teach in Gonzales, LA. Of course the LSU Tigers, 2009 NCAA Baseball champs, are nearby. Love your ideas. If they earn the right to move back, do their parents know? I stamp their folders each day. Thanks!

  5. valid point on the writing. I’ll think about it. The only thing is, that they can’t DO anything, and they can’t do this very good, and the idea is to have them doing SOMETHING in time out. The ones who are acting out aren’t acting out because they are at the top of the class. I could have them sort unifix cubes I guess, you know, sort all of the colors into solid sticks the same color. The only problem with that is that I would probably have kids acting up just so they COULD do it. Basically what I had them do today was to practice writing their names or the alphabet, all of which these yahoo’s need work on.

  6. I’ll stick with the writing. I’m teaching my children to communicate and a quick blurted out “Sorry” just isn’t enough in my room. Too easy! And just sitting amounts to watching television- the other students can be pretty entertaining. None of my students hate to write!! They just hate to write apologies. Who doesn’t?? It’s a matter of balance. Mine spent thirty minutes today writing Christmas cards. I showed them how to write one and most wrote four. They kept thinking of people to share them with. One smart girl sent Santa a card wtih a copy of her new wish list. LOL I had to make them stop so we could paint Christmas trees.

  7. Sounds similar to what I’m using again this year. Like you, I didn’t need a plan like this in the 5th grade until this year. Then when I was ready to storm out of the room and quit, I brought out the Warning Cups from my second grade classroom. We have three warnings; third warning is Time Out. In Time Out there is a “Think Sheet” to write what they did, what rule they broke, who was bothered by what happened (unfortunately they always say Ms. Institutrice), and what they could do next time. Every kid has a popsicle stick with his name on it. If someone gets a warning for breaking one of the school/classroom rules, he gets a warning and moves his stick. The kid physically moving the stick is supposed to help them think about what is happening and take some ownership of his choice, but now they just thow a fit and think I’m mean. The kids who keep their stick all day get a sticker on their sticker sheet; when it’s full (20 stickers), they get a big reward like a pizza party. (Three pizzas for $15 from Domino’s was totally worth it to me.)

    How do you get kids to realize they EARN warnings for their poor choices, and that I don’t just give them out? They blame me when they get a warning. (They’re just extremely immature this year!) Help!!!

  8. Got nothing for you. Sorry. I’ve heard it said by 5th grade teachers that 5th grade is a lot like kindergarten. I told one girl who was having a total meltdown the other day because she had to sit on the wall at lunch recess that she couldn’t cry herself out of a hole that she dug herself into. She didn’t get it, and the aide doing lunch duty though I was mean…

    When society doesn’t believe in natural consequences for behavior, how can we teach it? Their eyes start to glaze over when I start talking about, “if your friend told you to jump off of a cliff would you do it?” and “if you step out in the street in front of a bus, can you talk your way out of it?” They look at me like I’m nuts. At least mine are only 5.

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