B is for BEHAVIOR!
Actually, more specifically, I am going to talk to you about how I encourage positive behaviors in my classroom.
Behavior can make or break your classroom. For my first few years of teaching, I did the color system/card chart. You know the one I am talking about, right? The kids would start on green and if they did something they shouldn't have, they were on yellow. Then next offense moved them to orange and finally red. It was "eh." For some kids it worked and for others it didn't, but I never really liked it. One year I tried a system where the kids started with 100 points. Negative actions would take away points and then at the end of the month, they had a behavior "grade". Their grade would earn them some sort of reward if the grade was high enough. Still didn't really like that system either.
I think the reason I didn't like either of these systems very well, was that I was not encouraging positive behaviors and giving immediate feedback on those positive behaviors that I saw. I wanted to focus more on good behaviors than I did the bad ones.
Enter the Bingo Board.
This idea came from my coworker, Katie. She had a big sheet of laminated poster board that was a big grid. It had letters across the bottom and numbers going up the left side. Attached to it was a dry erase marker. The concept was simple. If a student exhibits a positive behavior, they get to "sign the chart". (They get to put their initials in one of the boxes on the grid.) Once the board is filled up, she would draw coordinates and if your initials were in that box, you got a prize. Simple. Effective. Positive. I made a board for my room immediately. Every time the board filled up, I would pull 15 coordinates and those kids would get to pick something out of the prize box. The kids loved it. I loved it. It was positive and I could reward kids for doing the things I wanted them to do. Thank you, Katie!
I made a grid on a regular piece of paper and put it on a clipboard. This way, I could take it with me other places in the school. When it is full, I just print a new one.
Over the years, we have changed the idea slightly....
- We named it the "Bingo Board". Actually, I think my coworker Stephanie started calling it that. It flows very well though and it kinda stuck. When a student does something great, we just say "Sign the Bingo Board".
- We changed the coordinates to be numbers at the bottom and the left. This makes the coordinates ordered pairs, which is a concept we study in math. Behavior system and math review in one...SCORE!
- I changed the backgrounds to make them cute and match the theme each year.
- Instead of a prize box, we give out passes as prizes. If your square is called, you pick a pass. Passes include stuff like: mechanical pencil, sit in the rocking chair, extra computer time, sit with a buddy, hat pass, bring a stuffed animal, and more. Basically, 99% of the prizes don't cost any money and the kids love them.
Students are motivated to sign the bingo board as often as they can. I now can reward the behaviors I like immediately and encourage students more often. I do have a system for negative behaviors as well, but I never have a child remove a square they have signed. Once you are on the board, you stay there. No system is perfect, but it really does work for most of the kids. There is usually at least one pass in that bin that a student wants....and one is all it takes.
Would you like a Bingo Board for your classroom? Feel free to download a board and set of coordinates from my Google Drive.