How to get students to behave!

Most teachers have a good handle on behaviors and classroom management in the classroom.  The problems sometimes happen however when the students are out of the classroom, on the school bus, or when a substitute teacher is in the room.  I have had some luck with this and I wanted to share.

I Allow Tattling

Ok, not really! I see many teachers completely brushing off an issue when students come to them. Saying things like, “Just go play somewhere else.” or, “Stay away from her.” I don’t do this.  The students are allowed to tell me things but they know that my first question will always be, “What did you do about it? Did you use an ‘I’ statement?” The students are required to say something to the effect of, “I didn’t like it when you _____ because it made me feel _____.”  This can resolve so many issues and has been very effective.


“What happens at specials stays at specials”

Another common trend that I see is that teachers will not listen to a student tell them about something that happened outside of the classroom. They may say something like, “Did you tell the cafeteria aides? Then I don’t want to hear about it.” I always find out what was done about the situation.  If it seemed appropriate and was taken care of then I explain that to the student who is telling. Every week I randomly pick a super kid to be the classroom helper.  This student runs errands, waters the plants, takes the lunch money, and is the eyes and ears of the classroom when I am not around.  I tell the class when I need to step in the hallway, or out of the room, the super kid is in charge.  They don’t say anything to the student misbehaving they simply write down their name and I take care of it.  This works amazingly great. Even the students that have behavior issues do a great job as super kid. If I have a substitute the super kid knows that if the substitute takes care of an issue  then they can’t write it down.  If the substitute did not appropriately take care of an issue they are allowed to write me a note.


Why Reward them for Something you Expect?

A few teachers use a rewards system for behavior. It usually looks something like this: The students behave at specials or the cafeteria, the teacher puts some sort of marble or button in a jar, and when they get enough marbles, they get a reward.  I don’t use this in my class.  I don’t want the kids to think, “I’ll behave so I can get a prize.”  Anytime they ask, “Why can’t we get a marble?”I tell them,  “I don’t want them to behave because they might get a reward, I don’t want them to behave because I might be mad at them.  I want them to behave because IT’S THE RIGHT THING TO DO!” (I do frequently reward my students, but it is usually when they least expect it!)

Try It Out!

I get many great compliments from specials teachers, bus drivers, and cafeteria staff.  I had a college student  who substitute taught in my room ask to come in and talk to me.  She said, “This is BY FAR the best behaved class I have ever sub’d in.” Give it a try and leave me a comment!

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  1. #1 by Charity on April 4, 2011 - 2:18 am

    Love the Super Kid idea – empowerment of their own behavior expectations works wonders! I also like to choose rules and consequences together as a class at the beginning of the year. Ownership of the expectations usually works wonders for students as the year goes on. Great post!

    • #2 by Anonymous on April 4, 2011 - 2:41 am

      I agree with letting the students choose their own rules. Thanks for the great idea!

  2. #3 by techedoutteacher on April 4, 2011 - 2:23 am

    I have a personal best board that works great! It is my way of rewarding them when they least expect it. Any time I think a student has done their personal best, I can tell them to go pick a square to sign their name on the personal best board. In some ways it is like the marble jar because when the board is full there is a reward BUT… the kids never know what the reward is or how many people will get the reward. The board makes a coordinate grid. I draw a random letter and number. The student whose name is in that square gets the reward. I might do 5 or there might be only one. It just depends. Once the drawing is complete, the board is cleared and we start over. This works great for me, because I teach 6 different classes of students in my science lab. Another plus is that once you praise a student for doing their personal best at something, everyone starts doing a better job in that area.

    • #4 by Anonymous on April 4, 2011 - 2:37 am

      Great idea… I really like that!

  3. #5 by Mrdmcd on April 4, 2011 - 2:41 am

    To get them to behave, treat them with respect. Show them that you like them, that you are proud of them. Help them to realize how smart they are. Compliment them often, individually and as a class. Show them that people see the good things they do. Laugh with them, be patient with them, remember that they are children. Remember that like all of us, most of them are fighting battles that the rest of us know nothing about. Sit on the edge of a desk, and actually talk to them, talk to them as if they were real people with real minds and feelings and experiences. Try to give them happy days. If you can do some of these things, they will not misbehave.

    • #6 by Anonymous on April 4, 2011 - 2:46 am

      This is the other side of this, but still VERY IMPORTANT! Thank you for bringing this up. I try so hard to make a connection with each and every student in my class. Great!

      • #7 by Mrdmcd on April 4, 2011 - 2:58 am

        it really is the positive things that work best, and the personal connection. You cannot harshly discipline a student when he needs it unless he respects you and likes you, because of the respect and interest you have shown in him. Otherwise they just walk away. All the best!

  4. #8 by guest on April 4, 2011 - 11:29 pm

    I teach middle school and have six different classes – each one every other day for 80 minutes. I have found that more than half of my “behavior management” is actually classroom procedures and organization. Having a routine for class, a procedure in place for the borrowing of a pencil, for handing in homework, for asking to leave the room to go to the bathroom… it all adds up toward better behaved kids. Since they know what to expect, things go more smoothly all the way around. I also try to use humor a lot, and to be “visible” around the school – doing a little extra hall duty time or chaperoning a dance in the MS really does wonders toward building relationships with the kids.
    I mostly wanted to comment, though, about “tattling” – a great policy (borrowed from someone else) is that they need to think about if they’re “telling” to get someone INTO trouble or OUT of trouble. Tattling has the added nuance of being for the pleasure of the tattl-ER …. who wants to get the tattl-EE into trouble… very different from “telling” in order to stop someone from doing something dangerous or hurtful to another just because it’s the right thing to do.

    • #9 by Anonymous on April 5, 2011 - 2:41 am

      Thanks for your comments. There are a few books out there about the difference between “telling” and “tattling” One is called, “Don’t Squeal Unless it’s a Big Deal” and another is called, “Telling isn’t tattling.” Both may be a bit elementary for middle school however.

  5. #10 by Elliottjn on April 5, 2011 - 1:52 pm

    Wow, those are some great ideas, you are an amazing teacher….NE….

  6. #12 by Hannah-murray on January 23, 2012 - 10:32 pm

    i am trying to get a powerpoint up for my class because i carnt think what to put in it does any body know what i can go on

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