I did use, with some success, a positive reinforcement system I found at the The Cornerstone. It was simple and positive. I liked that it did acknowledge those kids who were doing the right thing and that I could manipulate it a little if I knew someone needed a pat on the back). The problem was that it doesn't address negative behavior.
Last year I saw lots of system where a child starts in the middle (green) can move up or down throughout the day. I had a really difficult class so I decided to give that a try. I found it very frustrating. Part of it was a problem with my own organizational skills... I originally told parents that the kids would record what color they ended up on in their homework folder each day. I hated spending time doing that and I found myself trying to manipulate things at the end of the day to reflect the overall tone of the child's day. I quickly did away with the notice portion and basically ignored the chart unless someone was having a really hard day and then occasionally I would try it again. This meant that it was basically a negative system again.
As I said, my class was really hard with lots of difficult behavior (and I was in a far corner of the school with no aide so I didn't have anyone to help me remove a screaming, kicking child or even the opportunity to sit and talk with her because the rest of the class would be hitting or fighting...it was a very physical class). I truly was at my wits end.
I found Sally's Safe Pocket system as I was desperately looking for ideas on the internet. I can't tell you how I felt when I found Fairy Dust Teaching. She was teaching the way I wanted to teach. Although I didn't implement The Safe Pocket system last year (I felt it was too late in the year to introduce another whole system), I did go back to my belief that I wanted to respond to individual children and situations with the values that I wanted to teach the kids.
The Safe Pocket System starts with 5 values or life skills.
Sally begins by teaching what these values mean in a classroom situation. Once again, I love how Sally describes each value. She also introduces a kangaroo puppet and the class talks about how a mama kangaroo protects her joey in her pouch. Sally explains it is her job to protect the students. The kids then each decorate their own pocket and Sally decorates the teacher's safe pocket. Each child is given a kangaroo that stays in their own pocket.
If the teacher sees inappropriate or unsafe behavior, she addresses it in term of the 5 life skills. For example, " Susie, you keep running in the classroom and that is not being careful, please go move your kangaroo to my pocket." When the child exhibits careful behavior they can move their kangaroo back to their own pocket. If the child's kangaroo is spending lots of time in the teacher's pocket she would contact the parents.
I am sure I have not done justice to Sally's Safe Pocket System and suggest that it is well worth the $5.95 it cost. I did not need this system this year because I have a class that doesn't need this type of visual reminder. However, I plan to use the star and 5 life skills portion of her lesson plan at the start of next year. I will add the kangaroo pockets if it seems that we need them. I will also use the materials that she includes to be sent home to parents so they can work on the life skills (or values as I think of them) at home.
I obviously have to learn how to write shorter posts. I should have just said "Go to Fairy Dust Teaching and buy her great behavior management system!"