Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Classroom Management using Post-its and a Cell Phone

I have polled a number of teachers about how they were prepared to deal with issues related to classroom management. Many have stated that they did not feel they were formally or adequately prepared to set up a proven-fail-proof system that would help them to manage behavior in their classroom. One teacher shared that they took an actual classroom management class. It consisted solely of watching their instructor teach a class. Class participants took notes on how she reacted to and dealt with issues that come up in her room. 

I have come to the conclusion that many teachers feel the same...they were not adequately trained to manage what could go awry in their classroom. In speaking to teachers at different schools, it seems that in many cases, even the way we handle how things go in our classrooms can vary widely from teacher to teacher within the same school.

I have tried the tried and true "Flip-Card" method in which students all begin with a green card. If they struggle to meet expectations, they might flip their card to yellow as a reminder that they need to slow down on the path they have taken. If it gets out of hand, they will have to flip their card to a red card. They can earn grace and go back to a green card. I used to make the students flip their own cards as a matter of personal responsibility. However, it seemed that this system wasn't truly effective because generally, good students always stayed on green and the same difficult students always stayed in the yellow to red areas...it didn't seem to impact or change anything.
This Post-it was created using Post-it Generator

This week, I designed a method that has literally changed the course of behavior in my classroom. Introducing.......................the fancy, smanchy yellow Post-it!

Our enrichment teachers send a yellow slip with students to notify their parents if they have had any misbehaviors. It has to be signed and returned. To go along with that, I am using yellow Post-its in my classroom when needed. If a student is not responding to verbal reminders about their behavior, I will hand them a yellow Post-it that they stick to the edge of their work space.

I have them sign their name on it. I will later put the date and the issue I had with them on it.
The rule is: if you do not receive ANY yellow slips at all by the end of the day, you will receive a bonus sticker for your behavior chart (which is good for turning in for a prize once you get to 20 stickers).

You might think one would feel defeated if they receive one. I have a way to solve that problem. I set my cell phone alarm for various times throughout the day with a specific alarm tone. Students know that if they do not have a yellow slip at their desk during that time, they can line up in a flash for a "Random Bonus Sticker". You see, students who receive a yellow slip can actually have them taken back by me if they choose to make an effort to change their poor choices. So, if they received one, but happen to have it taken back by the time the alarm goes off, they can earn that random bonus sticker. However, because they earned a yellow slip in the first place, they do not qualify for the end of the day bonus sticker. 

What do I do with all these sticky Post-its? Easy! I simply stick them on my clipboard that holds all the weekly behavior charts so that at the end of the day, I have an automatic catalogue of all the behaviors I need to notify parents about.

Mind you, I am choosing my battles with what I choose to report...these notes are only given out if the student is not responding to verbal reminders. 

After only using the slips for about a week on a consistent basis, the students know I mean business and they are responding well with this. In fact, they are responding so well, that one day, a parent was in the class and her phone went off with the same alarm. They automatically lined up at my desk for their sticker! I went ahead and rewarded them!

I am truly searching for a method that works, so if you have one, PLEASE send it along!!



  1. Hi Christina,
    Just wanted to let you know that I thought this blog post was great, so I shared it in my Thumbs up Thumbs down post (as a Thumbs up of course:).
    The Picture Book Teacher's Edition

    1. Thanks Shawna! I appreciate the shout-out you gave me. I enjoyed reading your Thumbs up and Thumbs down posts!

  2. Christina, Happy Valentine's Day! I've missed you! We haven't talked in so long. I use the behavior system that you do, with the colors, but I added another color because I believed that there were two (yellow and red) that were sort of more negative, and I thought there should be two that were positive (green being good, and blue being excellent). So, to get a blue in my classroom, students have to follow all the rules and they need to be SUPER courteous or kind to someone in the building. This really encourages students to do little acts of politeness and kindness for others. I do agree with you that those hard-to-reach students sometimes don't care if they get a yellow or red. I'm still working on that part. I just put up some freebies concerning cupcakes and the book "If You Give a Cat a Cupcake" on my own blog. Also, I found some new widgets. Stop by if you have a second! :)

    Sharon Dudley, NBCT
    Teaching with Sight

  3. Hello Sharon! Thanks for your kind comments! When I used to use the card system, I also added another color. I used purple and called it Excellent also! I know that some teachers believe that once the card was flipped, it had to stay flipped. I taught them about grace by allowing them to flip their card back to a better color if they improved their behavior during the day. I will come by to check out the cupcakes and widgets. My students love "If You Give a Cat a Cupcake"!


I would love to know what you think!

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