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How to Improve Behavior Management

Janelle Cox


As teachers, we often find ourselves managing disruptive behavior, or dealing with unruly children throughout the school day.

To help eliminate this disrespectful behavior, it's important to address these issues before they become a problem. Whether you're looking to improve a select few behaviors in your classroom, or eliminate one specific issue, you want to make sure that you establish and incorporate effective behavior management techniques that will work. 

Use these behavior management tips and strategies to help you establish effective classroom discipline.

Set Rules Early in the Year

Even before the school year starts, have an idea of what you want your class rules to be. Research has shown that people find it easier to remember things when they are grouped in three to five. Come to school with at least three rules in mind, and then give students the opportunity to pitch in for the other two. When children have a say in what the class rules are, they will be more apt to follow them.

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Honor Good Behavior

It's important to reward elementary students' good behavior. Once a week, invite only the students who have exemplified "the best" behavior all week to eat lunch with you in the classroom. You can also create a "table of honor" for these students and reward them with a sweet treat. Another way to reward students is with a prize incentive. At the end of the day, or week, students can pick from a "prize box" if they have demonstrated appropriate behavior.

Keep Students on Track

A great way to motivate good behavior throughout the school day is to try the sticky notes strategy. Whenever you see a student demonstrated what you think is appropriate behavior (sitting quietly during transition period, doing what is asked of them, etc.) then place a sticky note on the corner of their desk. You can even make a game out it: The first person you notice who is ready to move on to the next lesson gets a sticky note. At the end of the day, or week, students can turn in their sticky notes in for a “Get out of homework” free pass. Quick Tip: Write positive phrases on each sticky note, such as "Great job waiting patiently" or "Nice work listening."

Avoid Hurt Feelings

Every classroom has the same select students who are always the first ones to raise their hands. To avoid hurt feelings, and help manage the classroom, try the “Pick a stick” behavior management strategy. Simply write students' names on a craft stick, or assign each student a number and write the number on the stick. This simple strategy can be used to call on students for an answer, choose helpers, or assign student jobs.

Improve Select Behavior

If your classroom has one or two select behavior issues you are looking to improve, this strategy will help. Discuss with your students the issue you are looking to improve, and write it on the front board. Issues may be staying quite during transition times, raising your hand when you have a question, etc. Then, each time you see students displaying the designated behavior listed on the board, place a star next to it. Other options are a tally mark, check mark, sticker or adding a link to a chain. Whatever way you choose to acknowledge that students are getting it will work. At the end of the day, tally the marks and reward students with a prize.

Challenge Good Behavior

Research has shown that when students have a say, they become more invested. Whenever possible give students a few options. Whether it's a choice of selecting a pen or pencil, or how many pages of homework they will have, give them an option. Students also love to be challenged. Say, "I challenge you to finish this math worksheet in less than five minutes." You will be amazed how fast students will work to get that math sheet done on time.

How do you improve behavior management in your classroom? Do you have any tips or strategies that you would like to share? Please feel free to leave your suggestions in the comment section below. We would love to hear your thoughts. 

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