Behaviour management has always been something that I work very hard on to improve each and every day. Over my 18 months of teaching, I have tried so many different things but I have finally found something that is working really well for my teaching style and the needs of my kiddies.
This year I decided to implement the very popular peg chart. While it worked for a while, I found that my kids were getting bored and so was I. My heart wasn’t really in it so I found it hard to use it constantly throughout the day. My kids loved moving up the chart but didn’t really seem to respond the way I had hoped when their peg needed to be moved down.
So this term I decided to try something new for my individual classroom management. Enter the fuzzies inspired by Stef at Miss Galvin Learns who was inspired by Mel at Seusstastic Classroom.
Basically, each of the students in my class have their very own plastic cup. Whenever I see somebody following our classroom rules, they earn a little fuzzy for their cup. When we are sitting on the carpet, I might give a fuzzy to three students who are ready to learn first. During Learning Play I might give a fuzzy to an amazing cleaner. Sometimes I use them as bribery and look for a whole table working quietly or a whole table that clean up sensibly and quickly. I have been known to hide them in my pockets and pull them out while walking to and from PE or Music.
At first it seemed as thought students were constantly walking to and from the fuzzy shelf so I started a new rule – the kids were only allowed to grab their fuzzies during a transition. This means that the kids have to keep a tally in their head and they are very good at remembering how many they are owed!
We also have BIG fuzzies which I rarely ever hand out so when I do…it’s kind of a big deal. I have actually only given out three BIG fuzzies this term and we are up to week 7. The first was for one of my lowest students when she was able to name all of he sounds that the letters of the alphabet make and the second was for a student that gave up the very popular spot right next to me in the circle to a student who used their very best manners all without me having to ask them first – that was a pretty kind thing for a 5 year old to do!
The last was today. One of my students was violently ill just before lunch but I had to head out to the oval for duty. I rang the Mum and she was on her way up to the school to collect her. One of my gorgeous cherubs gave up her lunch break to sit with my ill student for the entire break so that she wasn’t lonely and had someone to walk with her to the toilets if she was sick again. She also searched everywhere for her missing drink bottle. While there were two other teachers keeping a close eye on my little one, it was such a lovely gesture!! It makes my heart melt just thinking about it…so that was definitely worth a big fuzzy!
Now this is where the point system comes in. Little fuzzies are worth 1 point each but the BIG fuzzies are worth 5 points each! Once a student has five fuzzies, they are able to trade them for a prize out of my prize box. This trading session takes place in the 1 hour a day that we do Learning Play. I trust the students to come to me when they have five points and I also trust that they will trade them correctly. I have only had one problem with dishonesty but after fining the student ALL of their fuzzies, we haven’t had a problem since haha – awful but it did work!
I am so grateful that Stef pointed me in the direction of this awesome behaviour management strategy – my kids are loving it but most importantly, so am I!
This term I also introduced my cookie tray whole class incentive! I use this for any whole class behaviours that we are working on together. At the moment, we are improving the way that we line up and walk around the school. Whenever the whole class are displaying the correct walking behaviours, they earn a happy face for the tray. Once we reach our goal (sometimes as little as 3 or as many at 12) we earn ourselves a whole class reward that we have decided on together. Yesterday we finally got our 5th happy face for lining up sensibly and quietly so we had a popcorn party for munch and crunch!