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Sunday, July 14, 2019

Having Consequences for the Classroom

Do your students follow all the classroom rules? 

Do your students test their boundaries?  

Do you have consequences for your classroom?

Having Consequences for the Classroom 

Consequences are necessary for any classroom environment. Students need to know their boundaries within the classroom. Consequence is defined as "a result or effect of an action or condition." They are a direct result of an action taken by a student. Help your students know that consequences are the boundaries that help them behave appropriately. 

Build Relationships First

If you haven't already read the blog post, "How to create a positive environment", I recommend doing that first. As teachers we need to work on creating the best environment for our students first, then enforce consequences after rules have been broken. One of my favorite ways to build relationships with students is through a ticket system. Not all students are intrinsically motivated, and some students need external motivation to follow the rules. 
The ticket reward system is to acknowledge your students are doing "the right thing." It is a positive re-enforcement system for one class or many. (I have used this system both in elementary and middle schools with all different cultures). Do you love being rewarded for doing something right? Yes! Most people love being rewarded and your students will love this too! 
You can award tickets to your students for good behavior, turning in homework, completing a project, finishing all the classwork, or helping a fellow student. Have a set list of things that you will award tickets for. Make it as fair a system as possible that any student in the classroom has an opportunity to win a ticket. 

These are the tickets I have used with affiliate link. Students write their name on the ticket and then place it in their class bucket. Every Friday I pull tickets for candy or prizes at the end of the math class or day. Students then leave the class motivated to continue to do well to earn a prize. 

How do I apply consequences? 

What do consequences look like in today’s classroom? Here are some examples of consequences that you can use in your classroom today.

1.       Verbal Warning

Students need reminders. Some students need lots of reminders. When they get comfortable, they forget what they are doing. Giving students verbal warnings is a good way to get them to redirect their behavior in a positive way. The appropriate way to address a student and give a verbal warning is to say, “{Student’s Name}, please stop {inappropriate behavior}, and {state what behavior they should be doing}.”

An example of this would be when Susie is texting in class. Say, “Susie, please stop texting on the phone. The school rule is 'all phones must be turned off and put away in your bookbag'.” Notice that the statement was broad and only used Susie’s name once to gain her attention. It is simply a statement used to remind the student of a school policy. Practice these statements to gain confidence in giving short responses.

2.       Phone Call to Parent/Guardian

Phone calls to parents and guardians should not be avoided. Involving the parents into the process is helpful in understanding why there is a situation occurring at school. Make sure to gather accurate phone numbers at the beginning of the school year for every student. Use a general contact card to get parent/guardian emails and phone numbers to create open communication all year long.

3.       Lunch Detention

Having detentions served during lunch is a great alternative to before and after school detentions. Depending on the school, lunch detentions could be served in your classroom or in the hallway of your school. Have the students complete a reflection prompt during lunch detention? Have them think about their actions that resulted in a lunch detention. 

4.       Conference Meeting with Parents

Hold a conference with parents, student, guidance counselor, and any other teachers that work with the student. This is a great time to talk about the positives that the student does and refocus the student to make better choices in behavior and/or academics in the future.

5.       Referral to Dean or Principal

Referring a student to the dean or principal should be the last thing that you do. Take all of the above actions first. Make sure you give the student plenty of verbal warnings and ask them to knowledge your warnings. Phone the parents and create that line of communication. Have the student complete a lunch detention. Have a conference meeting with parents and administration.

Making and keeping consequences doesn’t have to be hard. Start by sending home a parent assignment to get your parents communicating with you now!  

Happy Teaching!