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Classroom ideas

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Classroom ideas to improve performance and behavior

Sometimes the best classroom ideas come from simple observation and trial and error. Very quickly, something either works or not, and the trick is to develop a strategy. The problem with most classroom ideas concerning good behavior and discipline, for example, is that all students are treated the same and just as they function diversely academically, so do they respond behaviorally.

What are some effective classroom ideas?

1- Reward good behavior

One teacher actually bribes her students with gumballs and pizza. She has a large machine, which holds 10 gumballs. When children receive compliments from others, they get gumball as rewards. Most people are worth one gumball, but a compliment from a principal or assistant principal is worth 2 gumballs. When the machine is emptied three times (30 gumballs), the class earns the right to have a pizza party, the cost of which they all contribute.

2- Develop a homework management system

One teacher suggests the utilization of  time management tools. A monthly blank chart where each student's name is written in the vertical column, and each date of the month is indicated in the horizontal boxes along the top. Whenever a child arrives unprepared for class, he or she is expected to sign the "Not Prepared For Class Chart". In an effort to promote individual responsibility, students are encouraged to write their initials in the chart box that matches the date upon entering the classroom, instead of waiting to be "caught" by the teacher. 

The student is then expected to glue in one of two types of homework slips into their notebooks alerting their parents to the situation. One slip reads: "Today I was not prepared for class. Tonight I have to...." and the other reads, "Today I was unprepared for class but managed to complete my work at school." Each slip contains a line for a parent signature.

3- Managing negative classroom behavior 

Learning consequences is an important part of growing up and for one teacher, when a student exhibits negative behavior or does something that might harm another, that student must write a report about the dangers of that activity and read the report aloud both to class members and to the class members of a lower grade.

4- Capitalize on the holidays for "red nose rewards" in the classroom

Keeping children focused as the holidays grow near isn't easy, but for one teacher, the red nose rewards turned out to be one of the best classroom ideas. Take a piece of yarn, stretch it horizontally across the room and attach it to both sides. On one side attach a sign that reads "North Pole" and on the other a blown up red balloon, which represents Rudolph's red nose. Attach the balloon to the yarn so that it can slide along.

While students are working, move the reindeer in small increments from the "North Pole" towards the "red nose." The desired goal is to reach the nose, so as misbehavior is happening, start moving the reindeer back the other way. As you move it forward, say things like, "I appreciate the way ______ is working so quietly." Students will pick up right away what is expected of them.
When the reindeer reaches his "red nose", pop the balloon to find a "surprise" in it. (Before tying your balloon, slip in a piece of paper with a class prize like: extra 10 minutes of recess, or class treat, or class homework pass, etc.) Keep the element of surprise alive and well.

5- Earn points for a class pet

Have the class decide what class pet they want! The choice can be part of a science project in which the chosen pet is studied at length. Turtles fare well and are easy to care for. Divide the class into groups of five. Draw 5 boxes on your chalkboard, representing each of the groups. Give points to each group when they show good behavior and none when anger or other negative reactions are displayed. Tally points at the end of the week. The group with the most points will get to play with the pet for 20 minutes!

These classroom ideas foster good behavior and keep the classroom lively and interesting.

Try some on your class today!

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