Is Behavior Management an Issue?
I have something for you to try. Hopefully, it will help! I’m offering you a FREEBIE email list bonus. It’s a subset of four “Library Cheer Chain Charms” and matching teaching slides. This fall-themed subset is not available on TpT… and it will only be posted here through September 2023. Be sure to download your copy before it goes “poof” and disappears!
Help Them Hit the Target!
A former principal used to remind us quite often that“It’s much easier to hit a target if you know what you’re aiming at.” Of course, that’s obvious, but it also stuck with me as a young teacher trying to figure out my classroom management style. Several years ago, “describing the target and aiming for it” became the basis of my Library Cheer Chains system.
Most of us want our young students to:
- “use good library manners”
- “behave properly” in the library
- “use the library independently”
- “grow reading stamina” and so on.
So, we’re going to have to teach them what all of that looks like and sounds like. Then, we’re going to have to give them opportunities to practice those new skills and concepts. Here and there, we’ll probably have to help them fine-tune any problems — and really brag on their initial successes. Finally, we’ll need to celebrate when the desired behaviors begin to appear on a regular basis! That’s where the cheer chains make an appearance.
Library Cheer Chains
In my library, I had a cheer chain for each of my K-2 classes. Each chain started with a jumbo paper clip, looped over a simple hook. That first paper clip was attached to a teacher tag — one for each class that visited my library. (This pattern is also included in the bonus file). The goal was for my students to work together and earn charms each week to hang on an ever-growing, class chain of paper clips. After X many charms had been earned, I would award some free time at the end of library class.
This included indulging in tasks like:
- stinky feet reading (shoes off)
- flashlight reading (shop Amazon for cheap sets!)
- bear cave reading (under the tables)
- drawing with YouTube (Art Hub for Kids)
- knock-knock joke time
- puzzle time and so on
I had a packed schedule, no assistant, and a love for cute shoes…so my celebrations had to be low-prep, cheap, and FUN… but really easy to pull off and clean up! After 40 or so charms had been earned and strung up on a class chain, those students got to choose a small trinket or candy from my treasure box. (Squishies and Starburst seemed to be the favorites year in and year out! Again, I watched Amazon and local stores for cheap deals.)
Charmed, I’m Sure!
There are 48 little charms in each of my three TpT Library Cheer Chain sets. Each little charm (think tiny, colorful, laminated, paper badges) has a picture on it to represent a desired behavior, a library skill, or a curriculum concept. I grouped these loosely by seasons, depending on when I tended to teach this thing or that.
Teach and Train For Your Expectations
Each week my students had an opportunity to earn a charm or two for their collective class chain. I would explain the goal, and I would carefully describe the EVIDENCE that I would be looking for to PROVE they had truly earned the badge. Then, we would practice it.
It was a package deal… to win the charm…EVERYONE had to work together. As the chains grew, so did the excitement! AND…although I didn’t plan on this part… it became “a little competitive” between some of the classes to see which chains were growing the longest. If one class earned a charm that other classes had not been introduced to yet… I heard, “UH! When do WE get to try for that charm??” On the other hand, if everyone ELSE’s class had already earned a certain charm — say maybe, “Way to go, Walking Feet” or “Our Mouths are Under Control,” there was a little unspoken peer pressure to get caught up! (Plus, I staunchly reserved the right to REMOVE a charm, if a class reverted to unacceptible behavior.) Seeing a “hole” in someone’s class chain seemed to cause a lot of whispers as other students tried to quickly figure out what had disappeared!
Can I Get a Visual on That?
I always hung our cheer chains right by the library doors. That way the teacher could easily see what his/her class had earned that day. (Most of them started asking!) This seemed to work in my favor, too, especially if a charm was missing!
The Library Cheer Chains also ended up serving a dual role as a library advocacy tool. When admin and other guests popped into the library, they ALWAYS stopped to take a peek. You see, as the chains grow in length, they are pretty cool to look at — AND all of the little charms represent a plethora of cool things that YOU are doing with your classes. WIN WIN.
I Predict That They’ll Be a Hit!
The teaching slides (that are just being added to my cheer chain resources this fall) were the brainstorm of several library cheer chain facilitators. (Thank you to my TpT feedback providers!! I read every single one!) Each PowerPoint slide allows you to project a single charm, so your students can really see what they’re trying to earn. There is also a space for you to type your expectations out in black and white, so you can thoroughly help your students understand the target that they’re aiming to hit!
I hope you enjoy your fall cheer chain bonus! This sample includes two charm targets that are open-ended enough for you to personalize them from class to class or by grade level, depending on what kind of behavior you’re trying to encourage or squelch!
There’s another charm to celebrate the pumpkin decorating events that many of us enjoy this time of year. (I’ve also included a worksheet that might come in handy, if your bunch doesn’t decorate actual pumpkins). Then, there’s the genre charm (pictured above) that would be fun to earn during a book tasting or a lesson that encourages kids to branch out a bit when selecting new books — maybe musical chairs with books!
Okay, then! If you enjoy the freebie and the cheer chains seem like a good addition to your classroom management toolbox, there are three sets in my That Library Girl store on TpT — FALL, WINTER, and SPRING! Links are tucked within the resource. Take a peek!