There are endless debates about the most effective and appropriate form of classroom management. Is it positive reinforcement, reward systems, negative reinforcement? Some students barely need any reinforcement while others need consistent immediate feedback to get through a school day. Teaching is tough!
One thing I have learned, no matter your view on classroom management, is that recognizing when a student does something positive is always a good thing. It’s not about reward systems and token economies, it’s just simply letting the student know you saw them doing something good! As teachers, we often get caught focusing on the negative behaviors, the ones that stand out and make our teaching tough. We have to make an intentional shift to focus on positive behaviors. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves, multiple times in one day, to find the good.
Let’s be honest, we like when people notice when we do something good. It validates our efforts and motivates us to continue doing good. Our students feel the same way. This is less about classroom management and more about how we treat each other. Focus on the positive. It will change your mindset, your attitude, and therefore, the culture in your classroom.
In order to hold myself accountable for focusing on the positive, I came up with stickers for my students. The stickers say, “Ask me about how I…” and then you can fill in what you caught them doing! My favorite thing about these is that they aren’t just noticed once. Hopefully throughout the day people see the sticker and ask them about it. Think about how good that will make your students feel! Makes me smile just thinking about!
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Ideas about how to use these stickers to create a positive classroom culture:
- Pass these onto your Specials teachers. If your class seems to have a harder time during Specials (Art, PE, Music, Library…) give a sheet of these stickers to the teacher. That way, when you go to pick up the students, you can see who was caught being good!
- Set a goal for yourself to pass out one sheet of stickers each week.
- Have student give each other stickers. You could give 2 or 3 students a sticker to pass out. Ask them to find someone doing something positive.
- Have the students give you a sticker when they see you do something positive!
- Give your colleagues a sticker! Pass the positive around your school!
- There really is only one rule with these stickers: you can’t take it off for the rest of the day!
Here’s to positive attitudes and stickers!