Tuesday, January 6, 2015

5 Tips for Re-establishing Rules & Routines After Winter Break


Hello Everyone!
I hope you all had a great first day back with your kiddos yesterday.  My daughter Suri was up, dressed in her uniform, and ready to go by 7am.  She didn't like having to wait until 8:10 to go.  Hopefully all your students were happy to see you and glad to be back at school.

Now that you have 1-2 days under your belt you're probably noticing some behaviors and routines that either need refreshing or reintroducing.  Always happens after a long break.  Here are 5 tips that I hope will help.

1.  Review, review, review!  Go over those anchor charts from the beginning of the year when you established behavior expectations.  Go over the routines anchor charts you used to describe what students are to be doing in reading, math, writing, etc...  Pull those charts back out again and leave them in front for about a week.  By January mine were a couple of charts back behind my more recent ones but I always pulled them back out and went over them again.  Read your rules anchor charts again.  Discuss how the rules were established in your room (did your students help create them?).  Go over your behavior management system.  In my room this involved a behavior rubric.  I went over what it means to earn a 4, a 3, a 2, and a 1. 

2.  Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse!   Enough talking.  Time to rehearse.  Even the best actors and actresses require rehearsals.  Practice those rules and routines.  Pick a couple of students to show what following the rule looks like.  Have the whole class watch.  Give them a chance to turn and talk and discuss what they noticed with their partners.  Have partners share out.  Now pick a couple of students to show what not following the rule or routine looks like.  This always had my class laughing!  Again let them turn and talk about what they noticed.  When they share out make sure they describe what they saw the couple of students doing (crawling under desks, not putting books away, talking while someone else was talking).  After the partners have shared out turn the discussion to what the students would've been doing if they were following the rules or routines.  Pick a couple more students to model the correct choices.  Discuss as a whole class.  Now let them practice as a whole class.

3.  Reflect, reflect, reflect!  Spend some time reflecting during the day on what is going well and what still needs practice.  Do this at your morning meeting and your closing meeting.  Stop and do this periodically throughout the day.  Helping our students learn to reflect is a tool we can give them to help them be life-long learners.  We're really good at teaching them to reflect on their learning.  They also need to be able to reflect on the choices they make about their behavior and how it impacts them and those around them.  I created behavior reflection logs to help my students reflect on their behavior choices, make the necessary changes, and turn around their day.  These are a best seller in my store.  Click on the picture to get them from my TpT store.
                                                     Behavior Reflection Logs

4.  Reinforce, reinforce, reinforce!  Students want us to notice them.  Sometimes a simple "I notice you working hard on your math" can turn around their day.  As a teacher I was always careful to "notice" my kids to reinforce them.  I tried hard not to give face value compliments ("I like the way you are coloring your work page") but instead tried to notice them.  "I noticed how you lined up quickly and quietly".  "I noticed that your desk is neat and organized".  "I noticed that you remembered to raise your hand before speaking".  "I noticed that you came in and got right back to work".  Notice them meeting and exceeding our expectations.  This is the reinforcement they crave!

5.  Reward, reward, reward!  Everyone wants to be rewarded for working hard.  As our students grow older we work hard to teach them about the intrinsic rewards for working hard.  But let's face it, even we as teachers get a salary for working hard at our jobs.  So reward those students for settling back into their routines and following the rules again after a long Winter break.  I know all of you have excellent reward systems.  I've seen them on Pinterest.  And if you're in the hunt I LOVED this one that I found.  
                                                Behavior Catalog & Reward Coupons for Rewarding Awesome Behavior

I was only sad that it took me so long to find it.  I used it very successfully for the last 3 years I was in the classroom.  What I like about this system is that I picked the rewards that I could manage in my classroom and would be reinforcing for my particular class during a particular year.

And then there's those kiddos that just need a little extra.  It's time to target specific behaviors to help them along so they too can receive the reinforcement and reward that they need.  I created these behavior charts for those kiddos.  When they fill their own chart they got to pick a reward from my reward system that was meaningful to them.  There are charts with 5 squares to fill in and ones with 10.  We made progress one behavior at a time.  :)
Click the picture to check these out in my store.  
                                          

I hope these tips help re-establish a happy and peaceful classroom.  You can do this!

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