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Charity Preston's picture
Charity Preston, M.A., is a national presenter, consultant and author. She has completed studies in gifted training, cooperative learning and differentiation, as well as a master's degree in...
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Try a Token Economy System

Behavior management is typically not a widely covered topic in university teacher education classes. I suppose that is because there are so many other items of importance~ such as standards~ assessing~ and actual methods coursework. Unfortunately~ if learning how to manage those behavior problems in your classroom has not been addressed~ the class could be running you!

In my first year of teaching~ I had a challenging class full of boys. There were about six boys who fed off of each other's personalities and habits (not all good choices). Not to say that all behavior problems are boys - quite to the contrary~ especially if you are dealing with adolescent girls! These were good boys~ if separated. Unfortunately for me~ in a class of 23~ I didn't have the luxury of placing them very far apart from one another. So~ I had to try some other "tricks" to help me get a handle on the situation.

I did split them up as much as I possibly could. Being that we are a cooperative learning school~ I had to have students in groups of four or five~ so close proximity was a challenge. I chose to create a "team" atmosphere. They all helped each other to succeed. The teams chose names and colors. A tally went on the board for each team. They started with five points~ and every time I saw that teams were behaving appropriately~ I started tacking on those points. As much as I could~ I only used positive reinforcement~ rather than negative consequences. Competitiveness came through~ but in a healthy light. Students reminded others in their group to do homework~ sit quietly~ and stay on task. They were in control of making correct choices.

At the end of the week~ I had the class add in their total team points into their checkbook registers~ which were donated from the local bank. I had a "store" from which the children could use their checkbooks to buy items as rewards. Some chose to save their points for higher ticket items~ while others spent every week regardless. Most items were donated by parents~ and other items were purchased by me from a dollar store.

The investment for my sanity was well worth it 100 times over! Students learned from each other correct ways to control their behavior~ without having constant reminders from me all day long. My boys' behavior dramatically increased~ with fewer reminders. Empower students and they will amaze you!


Charity Preston - The Organized Classroom