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.
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.