This week I implemented a new behavior management system in my classroom. I teach elementary Spanish (grades 1-5); I am currently subbing for the regular teacher who is on an extended maternity leave through the end of the school year. I see each class 30 minutes twice a week; since time is at a premium, I hate to waste it dealing with behavior issues. Although this system was created in Spanish, I also created the cards in English, and you can easily use it in your regular classrooms.
My classroom’s theme is fútbol (soccer) and I consistently remind each class that they need to work together as an equipo (team). Although the permanent teacher did an amazing job setting up the classroom so that everything reflected the fútbol theme, the behavior management system just wasn’t working (she had told me back in November before she left that many classes were having behavior issues and that the system may need some tweaking). I did some thinking and some more thinking (since I see all grades and there is a huge difference between grades 1-2 and 3-5 I was not sure how to set the system up so it would work for each class). I finally decided that a clip system would would (hopefully!) work, and could be modified depending on grade level. I created these cards and laminated them. The basic concept for all grade levels is the same: to score a goal by demonstrating good behavior.
For the students in grades 1 and 2 I decided that a more individualized system would work better. I therefore created mini soccer balls with each child’s name; I laminated them, cut them out, and put a small piece of magnetic tape on each one. Each day the soccer balls all start on the green card “Ready to Play.” This is what it looks like (I apologize for the bad picture – only had my phone with me that day):
I keep each set of soccer balls in a ziploc baggie and switch them before each class. The system is twofold: 1) the class as a whole is working as a team to achieve “EQUIPO” (team) by keeping all soccer balls above yellow and red. If the class does this, at the end of class they earn a space colored in on a chart (there are 10 spaces); when all 10 spaces are filled, the class earns a movie (in Spanish, of course!) the next class period. 2) Each individual student is working towards an individual prize (I will have a prize box with Spanish pencils, stickers, key chains, etc. for kids to choose from). At the end of each class period, anyone whose ball is on GOL/GOAL earns a goal (which I keep track of on a class chart). Once 5 goals are earned, the student gets to pick a prize. I made it clear to students that the ball must END on goal at the end of class (i.e., once a ball is moved up to goal it is not a green light to start misbehaving – behavior has to STAY good to get the goal). If a student needs to be warned to stop a disruptive behavior 2x, the 3rd time will result in that person’s ball being moved to a tarjeta amarilla (yellow card). After 2 more warnings, the ball moves to tarjeta roja (red card). I advised the students that if their ball ends on red at the end of class, their teacher will be informed. I also asked each class what a red card in soccer means, and each one knew that it means the player can no longer play. I explained that if we are playing a game or doing a more “fun” activity and a red card is received, that person must sit out, but of course if we are learning something new or in the middle of a lesson that person may be asked to sit alone at a table (my 1st and 2nd graders have assigned spots on the rug). I explained how it is possible to move UP by changing the poor behavior and making better choices.
Kids asked if they could move directly to goal or red card and I told them they had to work their way up the field, just like in soccer, so couldn’t go automatically to goal. I also explained that the only way to go directly to red would be if someone intentionally hurt someone or destroyed property, which I hoped would never happen!
My older kids sit at assigned tables in groups of 3-4. Each table is a different fútbol team and a different color (signs hang from the ceiling above). The system generally works the same way, except the tables work as teams instead of individually. I have a magnetic clip that is the same color as each table:
The tables can move up or down just like the soccer balls. Each table that stays above red and yellow will get to color in their space on the chart to get EQUIPO (the chart has 36 boxes, 6 for each table). Goals are counted individually because we do change tables once in awhile and I don’t want students to lose goals if they switch to a table with less goals. Just like with the younger grades, once 5 goals are achieved, a prize will be awarded.
The kids were SO excited about it and it worked fabulously for the first week. Hopefully it will continue to work out well. I know it sounds confusing, so if you have any questions feel free to leave them in a comment and I will do my best to respond!