This week I spent time considering how I might reward/reinforce positive student behavior as well as my method of responding to negative behavior and its consequences. I think this exercise will be helpful for me to repeat once I am in my 2nd grade classroom as well. Seeing as I am a librarian and elementary computer class teacher right now, I decided to focus on the stage I am currently in and on the students I currently have.
I developed a method of reward/punishments that mainly focuses on the class as a whole due to the more group oriented nature of Korean culture. However, not all of my students are Korean, so I have also included individual rewards and consequences for those students. Take a look at this screenshot of my point chart and the grading rules listed below the chart:
Near the beginning of the school year we discussed how they would like to be rewarded or punished for following/not following class rules and procedures. I was happy to see that concept reiterated in The Art and Science of Teaching, by Robert J. Marzano. I created a google sheet that automatically color codes students points (10 or greater = “gold”, 5 or less = red) for ease of assessment. When a student has a behavior issue I make a comment in the box. Honestly I have used this system primarily as a record of misbehavior. I think I can improve it by also focusing on a better method of positive reward.
Let’s look at a possible classroom scenario and how I might use this chart to record positive and negative classroom behavior and then reward it or give an appropriate consequence.
Today is Wednesday. I have a computer class with my 4th grade students. We are learning how to make spreadsheets and graphs representing our holiday spending on gifts we want to buy for our families. It’s the last period of the day. Andrew and Isaac are having trouble focusing on the lesson. Andrew speaks out of turn. I look directly at him while continuing to deliver my instruction motioning with a “shh” signal. He continues. I walk over and whisper to him that I need his full attention so that our class can run smoothly and that I will be deducing one point from his chart for the disruption. I ask him if he wishes to contribute to a successful and fun class or if he would like to go into the hallway for a “time out”. I have to repeat the same sequence with Isaac. Isaac however, responds and pays attention for the rest of the class period. After 10 minutes of continuing without disruption and focus on our lesson, I give Isaac his point back. Andrew, however, does not respond positively and continues to be disruptive, distracting his classmates and speaking out of turn, not doing his work and messing around on the computer instead of making his spreadsheet. I invite Andrew into the hallway where there is a desk and chair. I have him fill out a Hallway Chart and inform him that I will return in 5 minutes to see if he is ready to re-enter the classroom. Meanwhile I deduct another 2 points. I make a note in my chart and email his parents
Also during this class I one student behaved very well. Louise was very attentive and actively listened to what I asked her to do. She finished her assignments first. I praised her behavior with positive narration “I love how Louise is typing quietly and staying focused on her task. I gave her points for her behavior and I also asked her to help me with special tasks during the lesson. For example, I am teaching my students to use “control + tab” to switch between screens. I asked Louise to demonstrate this to the students on one half of the room while I demonstrated it to the other half of the room. Louise would gain points for her helpful and respectful behavior. If she were able to maintain or exceed 10 points for four class periods in a row would receive a “golden ticket” which entitles her to several benefits (detailed above in the points chart) as well an email home congratulating her for her outstanding behavior.
There are many other things that might happen during a computer lesson. Here is a flowchart that depicts the process I follow when teaching my computer or library classes as I consider how to award points and/or recognition of the student or address misbehavior.
(Click on the image for a larger version)