These Classroom Behavior Management Strategies Work Great with Little Knuckleheads!


Classroom behavior management, as I'm sure you will agree, is a constant challenge for ALL of us.  Whether we like it or not, kids are just going to act up in class--and, why on Earth do they do that? classroom behavior management

It's their job!  And, as I'm sure you will agree, they're quite good at it!  classroom behavior management

Unfortunately, misbehavior is the nature of the beast.  As one of my former principals put it, kids are just simply "adolescing."  

So what do we do about it?  

To borrow a sports analogy, the best offense is a good defense.  

If you have taken the time and effort to create a plan for classroom management, to establish effective classroom routines, and to provide a strategy for motivating students, you have completed the most critical steps to ensure your success. 

Two Important Tools to Consider

You may want to use the CHAMPs Classroom Management  System.  Although it may look to you (as it looked to me, at first) like just another set of “classroom rules,” it’s really much more than that.

CHAMPs provides highly-focused, temporary, behavioral expectations for specific classroom initiatives. 

For example, what you would expect your students to do during, say, teacher-directed instruction is far different that what you would expect them to do during small group work.  

For complete details about CHAMPs (and to get 10 of the classroom signs associated with it for free), just follow this link.  

Another important tool to consider is 125 Classroom Signs for Structure and Organization.  It contains everything you may need to beef up your offense through structured organization of your classroom.

cluded in this collection are…

  • Classroom Entry Signs (19) 
  • Workshop Model Signs (12) 
  • Weekly Agenda/Common Core Signs (24) 
  • Document Center Signs (31) 
  • Classroom Traffic Flow Signs (5)
  • Classroom Object Location Signs (36)  

Additionally, 68 of these signs will accept your own typing, insuring that what you post on your walls and whiteboards reflects your own unique circumstances. 

See complete details here where you may download the Free 12-Sign Sampler, or purchase 125 Classroom Signs for Structure and Organization.

No matter what strategies you have put in place, however, Jeremiah will inevitably show up in your classroom.  You know Jeremiah.  He’s the one that wants to hold class in YOUR class.  

You clearly cannot allow that to happen.c

What follows on this page are strategies that I have found to be effective in dealing with classroom behavior management, or more specifically, classroom misbehavior management.  

I'm not suggesting that these strategies will ensure that you will NOT have student behavioral problems.  But, I DO think these strategies will make an impact on young miscreants.

Quick Links for THIS Page

Establish a Progressive Discipline Plan

Student Planners

Student Behavior Contracts 

Discipline Packet

Establish a Progressive Discipline Plan

One of the most common ways to effectively to deal with classroom behavior management issues is to implement a progressive discipline plan. 

In progressive discipline, each step is followed by another, providing students with several opportunities to modify their behavior. 

For typical classroom situations, the following is an effective list of 10 progressive discipline steps that can be implemented.

Step 1:  Redirect Student Behavior 

Redirect student behavior by verbally or non-verbally pointing out to the student what he or she should be doing.  Standing near a student who is off-task or asking a student a clarifying question can serve as effective types of redirection.

Step 2: Face-to-Face Conference with the Student

I have found that the best way to carry out this step is to schedule a quick meeting after class with the student, before he or she goes to the next class.  Just pull a student aside and communicate your behavior expectations and provide the student with an opportunity to respond.  

Step 3: Change the student's seating assignment. 

This often works quite well, particularly if neighboring students seem to be encouraging the misbehavior. 

The front row, closest to the teacher, is a good spot for relocation, although I have used seats in the back row for attention-seeking students on occasion.  

Step 4: Informally discuss options with your fellow teaching teammates and/or support staff. 

Use this opportunity to express your concerns and look for any input or behavior strategies that may be working in their other classes. 

Step 5:  Time out. 

Relocate the student to another teacher's classroom for a time out.  If the previous four steps have been implemented and the behavior continues, you can send that student to a pre-arranged time-out room.  

I've always found it a good practice to notify the partnering teacher that you are sending the student.  After all, you are placing a misbehaving student in his or her class.  With that in mind, always provide work for the student to complete while in the other teacher's class. 

Step 6: Contact the parent, preferably by phone. 

Always begin your call on a positive note by noting ways that the student is being successful.  After that, communicate your concerns along with the process that you have already taken to correct the situation. 

Make sure to take notes, provide contact information, and to express your eagerness to partner with the parent throughout the process. 

Step 7: If the behavior persists, assign a detention. 

Detentions can be served before or after school, or if the administration allows, during lunch.  I usually avoid after-school detentions because most students depend on school busing for transportation.  But, if it works for you in your situation, then this is another option.

Detention can be effective, particularly if the student must complete a task that he or she would not normally undertake.  Of course, it DOES require you to put in extra time as well. 

Step 8: Write a guidance referral. 

Depending on your situation, you may be able to send the offending student directly to the guidance office at the time of the infraction.  If not, you may be able to schedule a conference with the counselor.  

If possible, provide your written documentation of the behavior interventions that you have taken for the guidance counselor's reference.  

Step 9: Meet with your direct supervisor or assistant principal. 

Provide them with the documentation you have collected during behavior intervention.  Seek their counsel and direction.

Step 10: Write a detailed discipline referral to your administrator.

Trust that the administrator will make the right decision for the student based on the documentation that you have provided.  

I have also found that some of the following techniques can be used to effectively enhance classroom behavior management.

Student Planners

At Twin Lakes, all students were issued planners during the first week of school.  

These planners have the school calendar, code of conduct, and sections for each class subject divided into the individual days and weeks of the school year. 

We required each student to copy into their planners the daily class schedule and homework assignments for each class.  

Not only did this help them become more organized and focused on the tasks at hand, it also came in handy for communicating with parents.   

For example, if  parents were concerned about whether their student was handing in homework, they could request that the student have the appropriate teacher initial his/her planner.  

Additionally, if students were misbehaving in class, parents could request that teachers indicate that in their planners.  Yes, I agree--it sounds like just something else that you have to do.  But, it IS effective. 

Developing and implementing a Student Behavior Contract is something else that I think you will find to be very useful for enhancing classroom behavior management.

Student Behavior Contract

The primary purpose of a Student Behavior Contract is for students to be held accountable for their behavior while allowing the teacher and parents to maintain a reasonable amount of control.  

It can act as a basic agreement that may allow you to work toward a resolution for problem behaviors. 

You, as the teacher, should work closely with the parents to specifically identify what the expectation is for each behavior.  So too, the privileges and consequences associated with the contract must be specific. 

The rationale behind providing consequences should be primarily to offer an unpleasant learning experience so that the student will learn to correct his or her behavior and not repeat the offending actions.  

For most students, a consequence that consists of weeks of grounding on a first offense is too long and will cause further resentment rather than providing the intended learning experience.  

Two samples of Student Behavior Contracts are included in the next section.

Discipline Packet

I am offering this downloadable Discipline Packet completely free of charge.  It contains 13 documents designed to assist you in dealing with behavioral issues.  

These PDF documents include a clickable Table of Contents for your convenience (shown below). 

What follows are samples of the documents that are included in the Discipline Packet along with a brief description for each. 

Disciplinary Writing Assignments 

I have used the following writing assignments for students exhibiting specific behavioral patterns.  They work pretty well with kids because they drive home the notion of why their behavior is not constructive to them or to their fellow classmates.  

Before I issue an assignment, I give the student one of these written warning slips: 

Here are the assignments:

As part of my documentation for parents and administrators, I use this student observation sheet:

Along with a telephone call home, I send the following behavior letter to parents.  The header area at the top is customizable.

Individualized behavior contracts are very effective with kids, particularly if parents and administrators participate in the development and implementation process. 

Here are two sample behavior contracts that are excellent for this purpose: 

Because behavioral problems can cause students to struggle to complete class assignments and to make significant progress in achieving passing grades, the following grade recovery letter to parents is an excellent starting point. 

If you teach in a school that does not offer summer classes for the purpose of grade recovery, creating a grade recovery packet is a viable option.

The following grade recovery letter is an excellent way to get the process underway.  The footer area is customizable.

Free Download

All of the above classroom behavior management documents, along with a clickable table of contents are in PDF file format.

If you need a PDF reader/printer application, Adobe offers a free download which you may access here.

This Discipline Packet can be downloaded free of charge here.

Conclusion of Classroom Behavior Management

Clearly, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to classroom behavior management.  Kids just respond differently to corrective initiatives. classroom behavior management

The ideas presented here, in my opinion, will assist you greatly in dealing with students who insist upon wreaking havoc in your classroom. classroom behavior management

The true secret weapon, however, is to out-number them.  Surround them with people who care about their success in school and who are willing to exercise the appropriate tough love.

It may take a little trial and error, but you WILL be successful.

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