I used the "ART" thing on the blackboard a few years back, and erased the
"T" then the "R" and finally the "A"....
when the word art was gone, or "NO" art was on the blackboard, no art was to
be in the classroom. Heads down, and all that stuff.
However, someone here shared a marvelous thing a couple years ago that I
tried instead with a few modifications and it works quite well. That, and I
mix it up with a reward system that now a number of other elementary
homeroom teachers are implementing using marbles.
What I have is about eight 4" x 6" cards I made up. Red construction paper
on one side, green on the other, and had the AV person laminate them. If a
student is talking too much, goofying around too much, etc., I lay the card
on their desk "red" side up. That amounts nearly the same as yelling in a
way. It is a symbol to that person in particular that if they don't turn
their behaviour around by the end of the period such that I'll turn the card
over to its green side...(that is, if the card remains on the red side right
up to the end of the class), then I will be calling home that night to speak
with their parents. You may have to follow thru a few times just to get the
message across that you will indeed do this. IT is for the most part an
alarming proposition for the young people.
When I turn the card over to green, it remains on their desk as a reminder
that I can come back and turn it back over to red. It works quite well, and
now I only use it occasionally.
After a couple years of using this, my system of marbles as a reward has
taken over to have greater impact by self-policing or peer pressure. A
class can earn as many as five marbles each class period. One for coming to
class in a line and quietly, then taking their seats quietly. One for
sitting quietly for me to begin the class and give instructions. Another
for the class "as a whole" working well. One for the class doing a good
clean-up, without chaos and undo noise. Finally, the fifth marble for
returning to their homeroom in line and quietly. After 20 marbles
accumulate for that class, I give them a free day consisting of- a video, a
gallon of ice cream I scoop up, and they can bring in a soda. I have little
tupperware containers with pop up lids for each class, and do this for
grades 3 thru 6.
The nice side of this is, kids know I can remove a marble as a penalty if
one of the rules is severely compromized.
You begin this way too, to really see a pattern of which class (year) is
more difficult...as it seems some groups as better or worse than others. It
may sound counterproductive giving up one class period for a free day,
however...those free days are not as common as you might think. On the
other hand, when one class earns a free day, the buzz of it reverberates
throughout the elementary wing of our school and suddenly other classes
halfway there, etc., work that much harder to get it themselves. The end
result is you have more quality time on the non-party days, which in my book
makes it worth not having to yell, get frustrated, and the kids think you
I know of 3 other elementary homeroom teachers now that are doing this due
to the success I'm having, and no doubt kids enjoying it enough they have
asked their teacher to do it. The sixth grade just had a pizza party this
past week, which the teacher provided instead of the ice cream. So, between
the cards and the marbles...things sail pretty smooth for me. They provide
At the high school level, I have a sheet of my rules and expectations and a
in-school suspension room next to the principal's office (with his
blessing), where I can send a student to sit the whole period and copy word
for word my sheet. That is for extreme misbehaviour, which really doesn't
happen too often. Came close, but not once this year yet. (crossing
fingers and knocking on wood!).