Saturday, March 5, 2016

Holiday Fuzzies

If you have been reading my blog, you may remember that I have a challenging class this year when it comes to behavior.  I like my class but there may be some days I just want to hide in the janitorial closet after recess. Just saying.

Before my first year of teaching began I searched the massive land of teacher blogs for classroom management ideas. I was basically clueless. My only teaching experience had come from minimal subbing and volunteering. A title 1 charter school took a chance on me and put me into my first classroom of 29 first graders. And they ate me alive. Managing classroom behaviors can be completely overwhelming without the right attitude or tools!

Managing behaviors and consequences has been constant work this school year. What worked three weeks ago with my class is losing its novelty fast. I find myself tweaking my systems as my students, and their behaviors, evolve. 

I use the famous Warm Fuzzies system in my classroom (I believe it was brilliantly invented by Melanie of Seusstastic) and for most kids this system is very successful. However... A few of my kids lose more fuzzies than they gain most days. In an effort to motivate them to earn them I've been trying to get creative this year.

I present. The giant golden (yellow) fuzzy. I award it to the week's Star Student. It's a big hit and the Star keeps it in their fuzzy cup for gloating purposes all week. They also get to choose any two classroom coupons they want! YAS! (The coupons are by Seusstastic as well. She's just amazing!)

"Holiday fuzzies" are another tactic I use. I don't know if I invented this idea but they're a festive spin on the fuzzy system and I announce (very loudly) that they are worth double the points (regular fuzzies are 1 point for a small fuzzy and a big fuzzy is worth 5 points.). Best of all, the Target Dollar Spot usually sells holiday pom poms for every occasion. My kids love to get a "Halloween fuzzy" or a "Christmas fuzzy"! Doesn't hurt if they are glittery either!

I keep a class list in a sheet protector on the board. When my usual suspects are out of fuzzies and they make a unthoughtful choice, they mark a tally next to their name.  Each tally counts towards two minutes of their recess. I HATE (capital H) taking away recess so I really try to make the time short for a minimal offense. While they sit out, I had the idea of having them fill out a reflection log. My hope is that it will give them an opportunity to think about their actions and make their few moments away more useful.
Discipline is hard. And really not much fun! Of course we want to try to manage behaviors with teachable moments as opposed to just punishment. My hope with the behavior reflection log is it gives students an opportunity to look back on their behavior and ahead on positive changes. 

My behavior management is not perfect by a long shot and I find myself frustrated by outlandish behaviors often. The best I can do is remain calm and use smart tactics to diffuse situations.

I hope you got an idea or two from this post! Thanks for stopping by!

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