Ready to Collaborate with Your Specials Team on Classroom Management?
Oh my… is it time to work on the behavior in your library? If your specials team has inconsistent behavior expectations and discipline guidelines, students can easily get confused. When a student knows what’s expected, no matter where he or she is on campus, better choices are made. After 35 years in education, I believe school-wide discipline plans are best, but hey, that might not be possible for you this year. On the other hand, let’s explore getting your specials team on the same page. Curious? Well, this is how it happened for us.
A few years ago, my principal wanted to start a school-wide behavior plan. She and a committee of teachers had come up with a basic set of rules for EVERYONE in the school to follow. In our case, this was kindergarten through fourth grade. Her goal was that no matter where a student was on campus, he or she would know the school rules and be actively obeying them.
R.O.A.R-ing about Good Behavior!
Since our school mascot is a lion, she brainstormed acronyms and decided upon R.O.A.R. For us, the letters represented respect, obedience, attitude, and responsibility. Underneath those four headings, she outlined common behaviors that frequently needed correction. Every teacher in our school led discussions about these headings during the first few weeks of school. We explained what the new rules “looked like” and “sounded like” in a variety of situations. In addition, we facilitated role play to make sure the students understood that these rules applied in the hallway, cafeteria, restroom, on the playground, riding the bus, walking home, and so on.
Cue the Specials Team
As part of the “specials,” or activity team, my co-workers and I jumped on board, thankful to be included. Our five rotation classes are library, art, music, physical education, and enrichment. Since each of us sees every single student each week, we quickly bought into the benefit of all teachers and staff members emphasizing the exact same wording because the rules were general enough to fit every subject.
As a team, our principal had us create our own “activity time” behavior notes. I typed up a form (see below) to include the four headings and a list of the misbehaviors under each. I also added a place to jot down a few comments. As an extra time-saver, I typed in our names along the bottom as well as a summary of the actions taken. With its circles and checks, this form gets the job done fast when the unfortunate need arises.
I took our completed form to a local print shop, and the owner made us a huge stack of “carbon copy triplicates.” This format has been super convenient when scribbling out a quick note because there’s automatically a copy for the parent, the classroom teacher, and one to store away in our own files.
After several years, we still love our note. We also find that our classroom teachers truly appreciate that middle copy. Many use our behavior notes as “evidence” when a student’s misbehavior seems to be showing a pattern. Holding our kids accountable to the same behavior expectations also saves a lot of explaining when attempting to redirect. Now, we just ask, “Are you being respectful?” and “What should that sound like?” or “Is your attitude appropriate right now?” Then, we can follow up with a kind question, “Okay, can you correct this on your own, or do you need my help?” Usually, that’s all it takes. Because of this school-wide plan, many behavior issues are simply defused quickly. This, of course, has been awesome because no one loses a temper, and class time isn’t wasted!
Add a Little Praise
In my opinion, the only thing missing from our behavior note was a way to offer praise, too. So, think through this with me. Many times, our kids do something SO SWEET or CRAZY CLEVER during activity classes! We’d love to share these things with parents, but there’s another class coming in the door, right? That means there’s no time to scramble for pen and paper… the day flies by… and the praise-worthy incident is sadly forgotten. That has always bothered me! It just doesn’t seem fair to fuss more than we praise. Many kids are trying their best every single day and NEED that approval. So, this summer, I’ve changed up our form a bit and developed a new twist that I think will help my team “note” positive behavior choices as well – on the very same “note.” (Sorry, it’s getting late!)
Kids with C.L.A.S.S.
The more I worked on this new form, the more I liked it! Next, I started thinking that other specials teams might benefit from it, too. I really like the idea of helping my teacher friends feel less stressed, so I kept going. I decided to tweak the acronym as well. (After all, not everyone’s school mascot is a lion.) Anyway, my new acronym became C.L.A.S.S. which stands for kids who are Creative, Likeable, have an A+ Attitude, are Self-controlled, and of course, Smart!
With my addition, students who display C.L.A.S.S. can be bragged on, or fussed about, (or both) on the very same note. This makes it super easy for a busy activity teacher to pass out a little more praise during the week.
As I was working on the new note, a low-cost, group reward idea came to my mind, too. So, I developed a set of cute, little door tag hangers that indicate the “C.L.A.S.S. of the Week” or the “C.L.A.S.S. of the Month,” whichever you choose to promote. My examples (below) are printed on Astrobright cardstock. They’re so easy to prep. (I’m imagining this as a great project for library helpers, a parent volunteer, or perhaps to leave for a sub.)
Again, the positive note and the door tag rewards are just a way to try and work in some extra praise for those precious students who ALWAYS try to do the right thing. It’s also a little more helpful for those kids who are in trouble, but at least they’re showing improvement in making positive choices. After all, who doesn’t want to encourage a bunch of kids to show a little more C.L.A.S.S.?
A Freebie for My Readers!
As we finish up, I wanted you to have a little freebie sample, so if this classroom management idea interests you, please feel free to download it and take a look.
I left a blank space on the “C.L.A.S.S. of the Week” door tag hanger, so you can fill in the name of the specials classes at your school by creating a text box. Of course, if you think your team might be ready to collaborate, and you want the full resource, by all means, hop on over to my TpT store by clicking HERE. (And thank you! Hope you love it!! 🙂 This set has a few fun extras like ALLLL the door hangers, a mini-poster, hall passes and lost tooth envelopes!)
Please note that if you are the purchaser of this resource, you are definitely permitted to share that copy with the entire specials team at your school. Please don’t think you need to buy a separate license for each specials team member. 😊
I hope that you’re able to convince your specials team to jump in and collaborate on classroom management this school year. Who knows? It may turn out to be your best year yet… despite… well, you know. AND, maybe your efforts will even grow into a school-wide plan that makes your entire campus a calmer, happier environment for everyone. I’m a believer. When everyone commits, group consistency over time can go a long way towards promoting better behavior choices and ultimately, kids with a lot of C.L.A.S.S. 🙂