Behaviour management was always a very big focus of mine during my first few years of teaching. After all,it is very difficult to teach a class when you haven’t got the behaviour under control which I learnt very quickly!
My first year of teaching was amazing – I had a beautiful little class and absolutely loved going to work every day. We had the very best time together! Then my second year, I had some very tricky little kiddies and that year almost broke me. I cried in my office at lunch and on the way to and from school most days and I just wanted to give up.
I met with behaviour specialists and had mentors that helped me stumble my way through the year and I often caught myself thinking “How did I get this so wrong?!”
Even though it was the most physically and emotionally draining year of my entire life, I learnt so much about how important it is to focus on behaviour and expectations in those first few weeks and then every single day throughout the year that follows. I fell pregnant at the end of that year and began relief teaching the following year. It was a great opportunity fr me to further develop my behaviour management routines and really helped me to grow as a teacher.
Since that very tricky class, I have been brainstorming what I can do to support other teachers who also might be at breaking point and need to switch things up a little. I developed these sweet little social stories for use in the classroom. I’ve already laminated and bound them ready for when I venture back to the classroom!
In my Habits of a Happy Class pack, I included two social stories for using with young children. ‘Hurtful Habits’ is about what you shouldn’t do to your friends – biting, pulling hair, telling secrets etc. Making friends is such a big aspect of Prep and Kindergarten and I would always refer to every student in our class as ‘our friends.’
The second story, “Helpful Habits” features all the wonderful behaviours you expect to see in your classroom – sharing, playing safely, putting your hand up, being kind etc. This is the kind of story I imagine you would read to your class every morning to review your expectations for the day. With my tricky class, we would review our classroom rules every single morning. I would make up scenarios which we would discuss. This made sure we were all on the same page!
I also printed our expectations on big posters so that if a student wasn’t following our rules, I could quickly refer to the post as a reminder as needed. For example, sometimes I would notice some students were snatching or not sharing items. I would pop the ‘sharing’ expectation poster on my whiteboard and we would set a whole class goal. Each time I noticed a student or the whole class sharing, I would add a star under the poster. Once we reached 5 stars, we would have a whole class popcorn party. Sometimes we would focus on the same behaviour for weeks until it was no longer a problem. This would so well for my class, especially when we were having trouble remembering to put our lunchboxes away after lunch!!
Each of the pages in the books can be blown up and used for posters or printed together and bound into a social story. I also included some stars just in case you’d like to do something similar in your own classroom! I also included a whole class behaviour picture sort which is a great way to begin a discussion with your students. You’ll also find a black and white cut and paste version for individual use.
There are so many ways you could use this resource in your classroom and I can’t WAIT to see what you create! Be sure to tag me on Instagram at @littlelifelonglearners and use the #littlelifelonglearners hashtag!