Time Out and Managing Classroom Behavior

I will never use behavior charts in my room. Why? 

1. Behavior charts are simply a tool for recording or tracking behavior, not a method to teach correct behavior.

2. Behavior charts cause unnecessary anxiousness in young children! The majority of young children have the innate desire to behave, but at times their natural curiosity, exuberance for life, or limited attention span halts their ability to adhere to the cultural "green" expectations of school. If they are constantly threatened with the looming yellow and/or red cards, their natural desires to learn and discover are negatively impacted.

3. The chart lays in wait! It is there glaring at students, expecting them to misbehave! Charts set the stage for misbehavior...." I expect that you will misbehave, so here I, am ready for you!" "I WILL catch you!"

4. Behavior charts are negative and embarrassing. Students do not always understand why they are asked to turn their card or move their clip to red. "What did I do?" Young children are not always savvy to the expectations of their teacher "in the moment."

5. The "Blue Birds" of the classroom also receive negative consequences. Always staying on green can drive the anxiety of perfectionism. I have always been on green, so I must ALWAYS stay on green!

Want a great alternative to the charts?

This is my Time-Out Tower! It is simply a large one minute sand timer. (I purchased it at Lakeshore) When a student continues to misbehave (such as poking a friend on the carpet, time and time again), I simply look at the student, make the sign for time out, and continue teaching the class. The student quietly moves to the time-out tower and flips it over. There they stand for 1-minute. At the end of time they return quietly back to the carpet/table/desk and join the group. No embarrassment, humiliation, or wondering why. The 1 minute gives the student time to reflect and come to a decision to adjust their behavior.

Really, this works like a charm! I had a principal once tell me that she was amazed! I sent a child (yes the same one) to time-out twice during one of my evaluations and did not miss a beat in my teaching. Not one child paid attentions to the time-out, they simply continued to be engaged in the lesson. The child adjusted her behavior (after her 2nd time-out) and joined the group with a positive smile, ready to learn.

So, when I am asked what behavior system I use, I simply don't have an answer. I don't use a behavior system. Rather, my goal is to empower students to self regulate, to remain engaged because they love to learn, and to enjoy the classroom as a child who has an attention span of a child. If my expectation is that children will behave, they will behave. I simply must respect them and give them opportunity to reflect and a short amount of time to adjust "un-classroom like" behavior.