Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Positive Reinforcement

To properly manage a classroom, I feel it is important that teachers use some form of positive reinforcement techniques. As stated in the Positive Reinforcement article, “Positive reinforcement is anything that occurs after a behavior that increases the likelihood that the behavior will reoccur.” This reinforcement can be a supportive word, such as “good job on that group project,” or an extrinsic reward such as candy or extra recess time.

The article Positive Reinforcement explains that these rewards only hold value if the student has completed or accomplished a goal or achievement. If rewards or positive feedback are given to a student without the student earning it, then the extrinsic reward will not be meaningful and the positive behavior will not continue.

Positive Reinforcement focuses on group contingencies and the different ways that students can earn extrinsic rewards. Of all the methods that students can be assessed in group work for deserving positive reinforcement, I strongly support Independent Group-Oriented Contingency. The Positive Reinforcement article states “In an independent group-oriented contingency each student is only responsible for his or her own behavior. The only thing that makes this group-oriented is that everyone participating has access to the reinforcers on the same terms.”

I feel Independent Group-Oriented Contingency is a fair and appropriate way to assess student behavior. By allowing each student to be responsible for their own behavior, students can be rewarded for their efforts. Oftentimes, there is a student in the group that may be disruptive and ruin the extrinsic reward for the rest of the group. I do not feel that a student that is behaving and participating should be punished because another student is disruptive or uncooperative.

The second beneficial resource I discovered on the topic of positive reinforcement is How to Use Positive Reinforcement in the Classroom by April Sanders. This article presents instructions that will aid teachers in reinforcing student’s strengths as opposed to focusing on their weaknesses.

At the beginning of every school day, start the day off on a supportive note. Look for a student that is following directions well and praise this student instead of reprimanding the students that are disruptive or noisy. I feel this tip is helpful, because perhaps the misbehaving students will observe the praise a student that behaves is receiving and follow suit.

The tip “using praise specifically” is also an instruction that I support. I believe that if a teacher is going to praise a student, then the teacher should explain why the student is being praised. If the teacher says “good job” to a student, there may be confusion as to what the student was successful at, and the behavior may not occur again. However, if the teacher says “good job keeping your voice down during group work,” then the student may try to speak in a lower voice more often during group work because the teacher directed the praise towards a specific behavior.

When a good behavior or action arises, be immediate in praising the student. The article How to Use Positive Reinforcement in the Classroom states “Delayed positive reinforcement does not reinforce anything. Sometimes it even confuses those students who have a short memory.” I agree with responding to positive behavior immediately. By clearly stating why the student is receiving the reinforcement, the student has an understanding of what they are successful at, and the behavior is more likely to continue.


Positive Reinforcement. (2005). Retrieved June 2, 2009, from University of Kansas Special Connections Web site:§ion=main&subsection=classroom/positive

Sanders, A. (2009). How to Use Positive Reinforcement in the Classroom. Retrieved June 2, 2009, from eHow Incorporated eHow How To Do Just About Everything Web site:

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Rewards and Incentives in the Classroom

Rewards and incentives in the classroom motivate students to strive for a higher education. When students are rewarded for good behavior or class participation, the positive attribute is likely to continue thanks the incentives of an extrinsic reward. Since I am moving towards my goal of managing my own students and classroom, I decided to research rewards systems to better assist the success of my future class.

The article Motivational Tools by Emma McDonald explains the importance of using a rewards system in the classroom. To decide the type of rewards system that is most appropriate for your class, a teacher needs to first decide the goal they are trying to achieve. As I read the article, I discovered a participation rewards systems that I found simple and interesting.

The first rewards system I would like to use in my future classroom is “Red Tickets.” Red tickets are designed to promote class participation from each student. At the discretion of the teacher, red tickets are awarded to students that contribute and volunteer insight to class discussions and small group work, and whom assist their classmates with class work. The students that receive a ticket write their name on the ticket and place the ticket in a jar. At the end of the week, the teacher will pick four or five names from the jar, and these students will receive a reward.

I think the concept of the red tickets reward system is a smart and simple way to motivate students to participate during class. If a student knows that they can receive a small reward such a free homework pass by making good choices, the student is more likely to contribute than if there was no incentive. Also, the concept behind red tickets is straightfoward; the students understand what is expected of them to achieve a red ticket.

The second article I discovered that detailed various rewards systems is Classroom Rewards Reap Dividends for Teachers and Students by Cara Bafile. In this article, fourth grade teacher Kristina Campbell explains “By offering rewards, we are trying to show them [students] that by attending school and getting an education, they will be rewarded. There are the immediate rewards, such as prizes and treats, and long-term rewards, such as a job, college, and a future.” I agree with the concept of the rewards system and the assistance it offers teachers when attempting to manage a classroom. Students need to see that their hard work, whether behaviorally or through participation, is recognized by the teacher and worth positive reinforcement in the classroom.

To promote good behavior in the classroom, Classroom Rewards Reap Dividends for Teachers and Students, explains Lee Canter’s card system, which uses red, yellow and green cards. Each day, the students begin on a green card. The students stay on this card color when they maintain positive behavior. If the student’s behavior is disruptive or negative, the student’s card will change from green to yellow, or from green to yellow to red, depending on the severity of the poor choices and behavior. However, when the student reaches a yellow card or red card, the student is given chances to redeem themselves. Good behavior and positive actions allow students to enter the green card zone again. If students can maintain green or yellow behavior for an entire week, then an extrinsic reward is presented to the student.

I felt Lee Canter’s card system is a helpful tool in managing the behavior of students. While I understand that students will still misbehave and the rewards system is not fool proof, I still believe that having the incentive of an extrinsic rewards system will counteract behavioral issues.

Besides the developing of a rewards system, both articles also explain the type of extrinsic rewards that are successful in the classroom. The article Motivational Tools reminds teachers to use rewards that are not gender specific. For example pizza parties, movie day, and no-homework passes are inexpensive ways to reward class participation and positive behavior. The article Classroom Rewards Reap Dividends for Teachers and Students, suggests “Make the reward meaningful to your students. Opportunities for student choice can be particularly effective.” I thought this proposal would be effective for many students. For example, certain students may work harder to achieve a free homework pass to use at their leisure as opposed to the opportunity to participate in a pizza party.


Bafile, C. (2000, November 28). Classroom Rewards Reap Dividends for Teachers and Students. Retrieved June 1, 2009, from Education World Incorporated Education World The Educator's Best Friend Web site:

McDonald, E. (2008, October 23). Motivational Tools. Retrieved June 1, 2009, from Education World Incorporated Education World The Educator's Best Friend Web site:

Monday, June 1, 2009

Power Teaching Techniques

As I began to research effective classroom management techniques, I discovered the concept of power teaching, and decided that I wanted to learn more of what this method of teaching entails. I stumbled upon the Power Teaching website created and written by Jeff Battle, a devoted user of power teaching techniques. Power teaching was developed by teachers that believe that all educators no matter the grade level deal with students that lack discipline, background knowledge and fundamental problem solving skills. “Orderly fun” is the main goal of power teaching.

Since there are many power teaching topics and management techniques, I chose to focus on a simple class attention grabber. The teacher say “Class!” and the students respond “Yes!” However, this attention grabber has a hook to obtaining the attention of the students. The class must respond using the same voice of the teacher. If the teacher says “Class!” in a silly voice, the students must respond “Yes!” in a silly voice.

As stated on the Power Teaching website, Jeff Battle explains the Class-Yes! Technique as “If I say ‘Classity-class-class!’ they have to say ‘Yessity-yes-yes!’. If I say it loudly they have to respond loudly. If I whisper, they respond in a whisper. They have to match my intensity” (1).

The principles that this method of teaching focuses on appear successful simply because students enjoy learning if they are given the opportunity to have fun while doing it. By following rules and motions that are made enjoyable through games, students are more likely to participate and less likely to ignore the teacher. I thought this simple concept is a unique and fun way to grab the attention of students and to make them interested in what the teacher has to say. I feel every classroom should have a time and a place for students to be able to let loose and be expressive while maintaining control.

After reading about the background and methods of power teaching, I discovered a You Tube video, Power Teaching’s Classroom Management System that showed the basic techniques of power teaching in action. This video featured a first year teacher applying the power teaching method’s which proves that any teacher can master these concepts and ideas.

The teacher’s creative method for student’s self expression was enlightening. It seemed as if I was watching “controlled chaos.” At the beginning of the video, the teacher promoted loud voices, big gestures and big smiles. She also told her students to recite the class rules in both regular voices and silly voices. By doing so, the children actually wanted to learn the class rules, and would remember them, because they were enjoying what they were learning.

The students were permitted to yell and clap and sing in a high octave, yet within seconds, the teacher would maintain control in a quiet and kind voice. As soon as the teacher said “Class, class” the students would respond “Yes, yes” and return to paying attention to the front of the room. I was shocked that the student’s attention to the teacher was automatic; every child responded immediately, with all eyes on the teacher and hands folded.

As students would complete individual silent work, the class was reminded that no one should be off task. The teacher would also warn the students that their assignment time was coming to a close by counting backwards from the number ten to the number one. I appreciated this new teacher’s mild mannered voice in speaking to her students. Her gentle tone still showed that she meant business, yet she never raised her voice.

The teacher was shown instructing a small group of students and had the students sit around her at a small table instead of lecturing at the front of the class. This helps the students in keeping them focused and energized, since the teacher can monitor their actions and direct the lecture to specific students.

During the video, the teacher would look for the quietest table, promoted small group work, and high energy lessons. Because the energy levels in the class were so high, learning and having fun in the teacher’s lessons were interchangeable. Each student appeared to understand what was expected of them and enjoy the classroom activities. The teacher also used multiple props such as personal white boards and markers that the students used to write answers. This method kept the students focused and on task, helping them to think of individual answers while working in small groups.

In Power Teaching’s Classroom Management System, the teacher referred to the class as “my friends.” This allows the students to connect to the teacher on a more personal level, and feel valued and respected by the teacher. The teacher also responded to the students with positive reinforcement methods when they chose the correct answer.

Personally, I loved this video. I thought the ideas presented on classroom management were unique and creative, and the students responded to the teacher in a positive manner. It is evident that the power teaching techniques in the video are working by the student responsiveness and student interviews.


Battle, J. (2009). The Big 6: Class-Yes! Retrieved June 1, 2009, from Wordpress Power Teaching Web site:

Biffle, C. (2009). Power Teaching's Classroom Management System : 3rd Grade. Retrieved June 1, 2009, from You Tube Web site:

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Management Strategies for Future Teachers

While I have had experience in child care and overseeing a wide variety of age groups, I am in my final year of college, and have not been assigned the daunting task of managing my own classroom. For this post, I decided to focus on management strategies for new teachers to better prepare myself for the students I will someday teach.

The first resource I discovered was the Teaching Field Guide: Classroom Management by Jessie Gerson, an experienced teacher looking to guide the future teachers of America with strategies that worked for her students and classroom. As I read the article, I was impressed with the simplicity of her ideas and appreciated learning techniques that have been successful with real students in a real classroom.

Gerson explains in the article the importance of roaming around the room as often as possible; during lectures, group activities, and individual work. By walking around the room, instead of standing at the board or sitting behind a desk, a teacher can obtain a comprehensive view of what each student is doing. Roaming the room may limit note passing, chattering and doodling to keep student’s focused on the task at hand.

If a teacher roams the classroom and catches disruptive behavior before is becomes a serious issue, then quiet discipline is more personal and is less threatening to the student. I do not wish to become a teacher that habitually reprimands a student in front of the class. This can be damaging to a child and promote feelings of embarrassment and shame. Gerson suggests a sentence to live by in the Teaching Field Guide: Classroom Management article, “You may not realize but…you need to stop…because…thanks” (3). Quietly approaching a student and specifically explaining what behavior needs to be stopped and why will avoid humiliation and aid responsiveness to what the teacher is asking of the student.

The Teaching Field Guide: Classroom Management article deems relationship building as the “key to success” (4). The concept of letter writing to students is a profound way to connect to a child on a personal level. Many students have issues with bullying, family problems, and learning difficulties that they will not voice. However, if the teacher notices a change in personality and writes the student a personal letter, the student may be willing to confide in the teacher and talk about their problems.

The second resource I found particularly insightful was Education Information for New and Future Teachers by Dr. Robert Kizlik. The article stressed the importance of proper room arrangement. Creating a learning environment for students to grow and prosper is an influential management tool. While this may seem obvious, the teacher should be able to see the face of each student without the students having to turn their heads or body. I also agree that decoration is an important aspect of classroom management. A welcoming environment that fosters learning boosts student’s morale and responsiveness. The Education Information for New and Future Teachers further states “Frequently used areas of the room and traffic lanes should be unobstructed and easily accessible” (1). Clutter can contribute to disruptions in the classroom because the disorder requires the teacher and the students more devote more time to access supplies and resources.

Perhaps the most helpful advice in the Education Information for New and Future Teachers was presented in the “Guidelines for Effective Praise” portion of the article. There is a significant difference between ineffective and effective praise, and I like that the article shows examples of each. For example, Dr. Kizlik states that “Effective Praise is delivered contingently upon student performance of desirable behaviors or genuine accomplishment” (3). Students should be praised in direct response to an achievement. If a poor student does exceptionally well on a test, or a disruptive student is behaving in an appropriate manner, these situations should be celebrated by the teacher. By providing praise to the particular action, the student will recognize that their efforts are appreciated, and perhaps continue to the positive behavior.

The Education Information for New and Future Teachers then provides an example of ineffective praise explaining “Ineffective praise is delivered randomly and indiscriminately without specific attention to genuine accomplishment” (3). I also agree that this is an example of ineffective praise. If you tell a student “good job,” but do not explain to the student what they did a good job on, then the praise is ineffective because it is not reinforcing a specific act or achievement.

Overall, I feel these articles provided beneficial information to future teachers such as myself, and hope someone will find these resources helpful as well.


Gerson, J. (2007, August 26). Teaching Field Guide: Classroom Management. Retrieved May 30, 2009, from Teach Kentucky Teachopedia Web site:

Kizlik, R. (2009, February 3). Education Information for New and Future Teachers. Retrieved May 30, 2009, from ADPRIMA Web site:

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Rules in the Classroom

Every teacher’s goal is to promote a learning environment that fosters the growth and maturation of each child. This goal is reached by setting general guidelines and rules for students to follow. These rules are usually developed and reinforced by the teacher. Rules provide discipline to a learning community and are a vital aspect in structuring the classroom. Although I could possibly teach any elementary grade level, I chose to focus on the rules of a Kindergarten classroom because that is ultimately the grade I desire to instruct. The You Tube video I discovered, Power Teaching Kindergarten: “Class Rules” by Chris Biffle is a brilliant tool to enforce learning the rules of the classroom.

This You Tube video was a unique representation of a fun way to memorize the classroom rules, instead of the rules simply being posted on the wall, or recited in the beginning of the year. I liked that the teacher let a student lead in the reciting of the rules. By doing so, the student is receiving a special privilege by being in the leader position, and the students are likely to have a better attention span.

I felt the rules listed in the video were perfect for the grade level being taught. The rules are: listen while your teacher is talking, follow directions quickly, respect others, respect yourselves and respect you school, raise your hand to speak, and be safe, be honest. I thought this list of rules was appropriate for the kindergarten level, since children of this age group can only retain and comprehend a certain amount information.

The most interesting part of the video was not that the students completed a series of actions when reciting the rules, but that the actions corresponded to the words they were reciting. Since the actions and the words went together, the students could rely on both as tools for recognition, further sealing the words in their minds.

I believe in the concept of positive reinforcement. I liked the chart that the teacher hung on the board with stars and smiles to represent weekly or daily rewards. I think rewarding children for positive behavior is a wonderful way to provide incentive to behave in class. I also like that there is a section on the chart for sad faces to remind students that bad behavior does not earn a reward. Although the rewards the students earn do not have to be extravagant, I agree that these small incentives are a helpful tool in controlling a class of young children.

The teacher in this video had very good classroom management skills; the classroom energy level was high, yet controlled, and the students appeared to be actively participating. At the end of the video, it stated that power teachers rehearse their class rules several times a day: at the start of school, after each recess, and after lunch. Reciting the class rules keeps the principles of proper classroom behavior fresh in student’s minds. Also, students are reminded daily to respect themselves, each other, and their school, with is an essential moral necessary for a thriving school community.

The second classroom rules resource I found informative is Elementary Classroom Rules and Management. I support methods that promote student involvement, which is exactly what this website suggests. Leah Davies, M.Ed. believes that students can partake in a discussion to develop rules as a class. By including student's in this thought process, the students can determine for themselves what is important to value and adhere to in the classroom. Perhaps if the students have difficulty creating rules, the teacher can ask the students questions to prompt and guide the ideas of the students. This process may help mold student’s responses to develop more specific rules.

Once the rules are established and agreed upon by the students and the teacher, this website suggests that the teacher compose a paper for each student to sign and display around the classroom. By reviewing the rules the students constructed and signing the rules contract, students know what is expected of them and are forced to accept the consequences if these rules are not adhered.

Elementary Classroom Rules and Management also explained that teachers should follow a sequence so that students are aware of the repercussions of their disruptive behaviors. Effective classrooms are built upon structure. Elementary Classroom Rules and Management provides an example of a possible teacher's management plan for individual students. First infraction: Name on board. Second: Student writes down the rule that he/she broke. Third: Student looses ten minutes of recess. Fourth: A parent is called or a note is sent home for the parent to sign and return. Fifth: The student is sent to the principal. If students understand what is expected and know the ramifications of their actions, perhaps they will not engage in the behavior, for fear of disappointing the teacher or getting in trouble.

Every teacher should maintain flexibility in disciplining students. At times, the teacher may choose to meet with the students individually to assess the problem. A student may be participating in disruptive behavior and acting out in class because of an issue at home or school. By talking to the student individually, the teacher can develop a comprehensive view of the problem and determine the best way to handle the situation.

Blog Resources:

Davies, L. (2007, April). Elementary Classroom Rules and Management. Retrieved May
29, 2009, from Kelly Bear Press Incorporated Kelly Bear Web site:

Biffle, C. (2009). Power Teaching Kindergarten (1): "Class Rules." Retrieved May
29, 2009, from You Tube Web site:

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Why Classroom Management?

Hello world, my name is Kristina. I am a twenty-three year old college student entering my final year in the elementary education program. For the last three years of school, the concept of classroom management has been drilled into my head by professors, teachers in the elementary and middle schools I have observed, and my family and friends that have careers in the education system. When given the opportunity to ask these educators what the most difficult aspect of adapting to teaching is, nearly every teacher responded with a resounding “Classroom management!”

I have worked in a kid’s club for two years with children ranging from three months old to five years old, and discovered that structure and order are key components of a successful classroom. After my personal experiences with children in this atmosphere, and speaking to professionals with far more familiarity on the subject, I realize that classroom management is much more than a set of rules that is written on the board for children to follow. Classroom management is a style of teaching; methods of conducting a classroom, anticipatory sets, rules, and the layout of the class are simply a few aspects of this broad topic.

Instead of allowing classroom management to intimidate me, I decided to take a different approach to the subject. This blog will be dedicated to the discovery of already existing Internet sources concerning the topic of classroom management. I plan to incorporate articles, You Tube videos and even other education blogs into my search for tips, ideas and strategies that will someday integrate into my own classroom.