Friday, July 20, 2012

Classroom Management System That Works!

When it comes to classroom management, actions speak louder than words. If you have an effective management system in place, you don't have to raise your voice or waste class time lecturing students about their behavior. You simply take action!

The most effective system that I ever used was called the "stoplight" management system. You can download a free set of directions and a picture of the stoplight bulletin board by clicking this image.

To use this system, I created a "Go for Green" bulletin board in my classroom. I posted a large illustration of a stoplight, but mine had a slight modification. It had four colors: green, yellow, orange, and red. I arranged a set of library pockets around the stoplight, and each numbered pocket represented a student in the class. Everyone started off each day on green. The first time a student engaged in an off-task behaviors, I pulled a yellow tag from the pocket at the base of the stoplight and inserted in the student's pocket on top of the green tag. This was simply a warning. If the off-task behavior continued, I added an orange tag to the student's pocket and they had to complete a Time Out form. Red was reserved for severe infractions and resulted in a trip to the office and/or an immediate call to parents.

One reason I like this method so much is that it's an easy way to manage the learning environment without constant nagging and angry outbursts. Students can be reminded without a lot of fuss that they are off-task and easily redirected to the assignment at hand. For years I had a poster in my room that proclaimed my right to teach and my students' right to learn, and I promised to do everything in my power to ensure that these rights were respected. This system helped me keep that promise and ensure that our time together wasn't wasted. Read below to find out how you can download a copy of this poster.

Go For Green Stoplight System
I wanted to share the entire system with you and make it easy to implement, so I began to write out step-by-step directions. The next thing I knew, I was creating a pattern for the stoplight, adding a class chart, including two Time Out forms, and more! What started out as a simple write-up morphed into an entire Mini Pack! The Go for Green Stoplight Management packet also includes a copy of the teaching and learning poster above. You can preview the whole thing online here or on TeachersPayTeachers to see if it meets your needs. If you would like to purchase the complete packet shown here, you can download it from my TeachersPayTeachers store. I hope you find this system to be every bit as useful as I did!  
Laura Candler



10 comments:

  1. Hello, I love this idea. I will be teaching high school in the fall (my first teaching job). I really love the ease of this idea. However, I am afraid my high school students may find this idea too "childish." Does anyone have any thoughts on this concern or ideas about how to adapt the idea for high school?

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    1. Hi! I'm going to post your question on Facebook to see what others think. I do not feel that this system would work with high school students, and I don't think it would be effective in middle school either. With older kids, changing their color to yellow would probably be like throwing down the gauntlet, making them want to act worse! I'm thinking that everything would have to be recorded on a private clipboard that you show the student involved when you record an infraction. Let's see what others think.

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    2. A colleague used this system (without the "traffic lights" in his 6th grade classroom in Cambodia very successfully.

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  2. Thanks for the idea. I modified it for the tweens using a three-light stoplight on the SMART board.

    The colors:
    Red - No one gets here (hint, hint)
    Yellow - Think what you might do differently
    Green - Rockin' the work time (I'll probably let the students rename this one).

    Also, instead of individual students, I'll start table groups on a green and adjust them as necessary.

    Janet | expateducator.com

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  3. I introduced this system into my classroom last year, and it was great. Often I only have to ask my students if they want to pull a card and it's enough to get them back on track. Probably 1/2 the class pulled one card at some stage during the year, but most only did it once, and 80% didn't ever make it past a yellow card. A few pulled yellow cards, resulting in a need for completion of a refocusing sheet which went home to be signed by a parent. Not one student had to pull an orange card (bringing up a red card) which meant an immediate visit to the principal. The kids like knowing what the boundaries are, and what the consequences are. Thanks Laura. I'm looking forward to using it again this year.

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  4. I have implemented a system very similar to this one in a kindergarten position I just started Nov. 11 in a very low SES school in which I am the 4th teacher these kids have had. It is my first year teaching and I don't have a lot of supplies right now, but I am concerned with 3 of my students who struggle every day to make it through just 10 minutes of teaching time. I am thinking I probably should do a behavior chart specifically with them like if they can make it through an hour they can add a sticker and if they get so many stickers on their chart they can get some reward. But I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions or advice on how to get this class in line because they are behind academically, but I really can't get much accomplished till their behavior is under control.

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    1. Since what you're looking for is positive behavior...reinforce that! I put small strips of light colored electrical tape on the corner of each students students desk, and when they're "making good choices" they get a check (literally make a check on the tape with a sharpie). Sometimes I'll announce, "Suzy, Bobby, and Sally are getting checks for following directions the first time". I give out checks very liberally at first. Immediately upon receiving check #5, the student goes to the treasure box...and it can't be taken away! They just have to know to put their treasure in a cubby, not their hands. Eventually, it's 10 checks, and then they're given less frequently. That way you're reinforcing the behavior you WANT, instead of giving attention to undeserved behavior. You'll be surprised how many of them immediately follow suit! I've also created charts that are laminated and then the checks are removed simply by scribbling over the sharpie with a dry erase marker, then wipe! Good Luck!

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    2. Thanks, MBroussard! Great ideas!

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