I have a system for positive and negative reinforcement in my classroom. I prepare the students at the beginning of the semester so there aren’t any excuses for not knowing. It takes a little bit of extra time to prepare the materials needed, but I think it’s worth it.
Part of my system is to acknowledge students. One of my special class rules is to try your best. Whenever students do try their best, I let them know they have done a good job. Sometimes I even stop the class to show all of the students how proud I am of this student.
I also use Brittany money. All of my students love it! They earn money by doing good work, helping others, and consistently following class rules. They can save their money and buy candy from the Brittany store or the school market. It’s usually just candy or some sort of toy, but they size doesn’t matter for them. They just love being able to purchase their prize with the money they’ve earned.
Most of my students’ parents can read English but aren’t confident enough to speak it. This kind of makes me hesitate to make phone calls, but I send progress reports home every Friday. On these reports, there is a special note about the student’s behavior for the week. When a student is especially awesome, I will send their parent a text message.
Even though I only have a few students in each class, I still have to be with-it. There are some students that just clash with others. I have to keep watch because things can turn from good to bad in a short amount of time. My students Brad and Michael always fight for no reason. There have been times where they argued over who said what first. They just like to argue with each other, but it’s distracting for the rest of the class. To prevent any of this from happening, I have to be right there with them. Sometimes I hover over them. I have to consistently keep them on topic to focus on their assignment.
Although my students are in the 6th grade, I do still have a time-out area. I’ve only really used it for two students. The students really don’t like it because of their age. They feel like it’s childish so they try not to end up in the time-out area.
There have been times where I used group contingency. My class really wanted a pizza party. I told them they could have one if they all received excellent scores on their upcoming weekly tests in all subjects. All students earned the required scores, so we had a pizza. Although it is recommended to only use this for extreme bad behaviors, I have found it effective in the years I have been teaching.
I also use a point system for bad behavior. When a student reaches -5 points, they will have detention after lunch for one hour. The points will then go back to zero.
Here’s a flowchart to see how I enact reinforcements: