Tuesday, December 14, 2010

How can I stop this color card behavior management?

Ms. Dorothy,
We have had it with the red, yellow, green, purple behavior chart that this kindergarten teacher uses. Tomorrow is the last day prior to break and we are trying to figure a way to support _____, and support the teacher. Do you have any suggestions of ways a kindergarten teacher that is used to summative color behavioral grading can adapt or try something different?
-Concerned Dad

Nobody's day should be about their behavior.
It would be far better if the focus were on the effort given toward learning, or the quality of work produced; and to offer the teacher some other ways to manage the classroom.

What if you were to suggest
that the teacher start handing out tickets? If she catches a child demonstrating a behavior she wants to see more of, she hands them a "ticket." (Anything can work- I've seen them printed up with school behavior goals on them, but I've also seen just sticky notes used.) The children get to collect the tickets count them up, and work toward a goal.

When this is done well, the class can work to make sure that everyone goes home with at least one ticket at the end of the day - that could get the students noticing each others' positive behaviors, and then they can earn a ticket for being a good citizen and pointing out what someone else has accomplished.

Eventually it becomes self-sustaining where the children award one another tickets and count them up at the end of the day - till it starts to lose their interest and is forgotten. At this point, hopefully, the behaviors the teacher is hoping to encourage have become a part of how the students monitor themselves.

Ultimately, the goal should be intrinsic motivation and flow, not extrinsic rewards and fear of consequences for the best learning environment.

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