Teachers are always on the lookout for easy and effective classroom management strategies to use with students. Especially when teaching middle school, it can be tricky to find something that pre-teen students will enjoy and buy into. A good behavior grid is a student favorite and is easy to implement.
What is a Good Behavior Grid?
A good behavior grid is a classroom management strategy that uses two simple tools: an easy to make chart and sticky notes.
The grid looks like this: it is simply a 6 by 6 grid labeled along the bottom and left sides with the numbers one through six. Also, the squares need to be large enough to place sticky notes inside the grid.
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How do I use the grid as a part of my classroom management strategies?
The Good Behavior Grid is simple to use. When you see a student who is making awesome choices about their behavior, you give them a sticky note.
The student will write their name on the sticky note. Middle school students love this part because they can write their name with their favorite handwriting style or use a fun pen. Students do not always get to use their “cool” handwriting. They like writing their name graffiti style or in the script they’ve been practicing.
During a transition time, the student places the sticky note on the grid. They can choose any open spot on the 6 by 6 poster.
As students continue to demonstrate good behavior, the grid will begin to fill up. Once the grid is full, the fun happens!
A full grid means it is time to choose some students to receive a reward. Now you will need to roll two dice. The first roll will tell you which number to find along the bottom or x-axis. The second roll will give you the left side number or y-axis. Locate the student who has their sticky note in this part of the grid. Repeat the rolls as many times as rewards you want to pass out!
Why should I use the Good Behavior Grid as a part of my Classroom Management Strategies?
Good classroom management strategies benefit teachers, students, and the learning environment, but why choose a Good Behavior Grid? There are several reasons why this method works well, especially as a classroom management strategy for middle school classrooms.
Immediate and Delayed Rewards
Students receive immediate feedback about good behavior choices. This will help your students become mindful of good decisions and keep those decisions coming. Receiving the sticky note from the teacher is a immediate signal to the student that they are on the right track!
Although a sticky note may be enough for your teacher-pleasers, that just will not do for some of your trickier students. Having a more substantial reward possible in the future is a motivator for students to keep improving behavior. The more sticky notes received, the great the chance to receive one of the rewards. This is a great impromptu math lesson on probability as well! Students also do not always receive a reward, increasing their stamina for delaying gratification.
Whole Class and Individual Strategy
Because each student is contributing individual sticky notes to the grid, they are displaying their own behavior. Any student can receive multiple sticky notes. Whether the student has one sticky note on the board or 20, they have a chance to earn a reward.
There will not be a roll for the rewards until the grid is completely full. This means that the more students who are earning sticky notes with more frequency, the quicker the grid will fill. This makes whole class behavior important, too! If the grid doesn’t fill, there will be no rewards for anyone–so sad!
Inexpensive to Implement
Music to a teacher’s ears–you can run a Good Behavior Grid for little to no money out of your pocket!
The supplies you need to make the grid are simple and available at most schools on hand for teachers. You can literally just print it on plain copy paper. Have the school laminate the poster and it is ready to go! Can you get sticky notes from school, too? Great!
If using sticky notes isn’t an option at your school, don’t worry! There are still tons of really easy no cost options. For example, gather scrap paper that has been printed on one side only and cut it into squares. Students can tape it to the laminated poster.
Do you want to go paperless? When you have the poster laminated, students can write their names directly in the grid using dry erase markers. Just clean it off after each reward session.
Also, you are only giving rewards when the board is full. This likely will give a few days between times that rewards need to be passed out. Usually you will just be “rewarding” behavior with sticky notes.
Middle school students love rewards that have no monetary value! Choose rewards that do not cost you anything. My students loved rewards like:
Sitting in the comfy rolling chair
Choosing a stuffed animal to hold during class (Yep, I know. Even my thirteen year olds! Middle school kids are a goofy bunch!)
Wearing sunglasses during class (I had a couple of cheap pairs at school. Don’t worry! I washed them!)
Choosing a song for the class to listen to during math station work.
More free ideas for fun, free or cheap rewards for middle school are coming soon! Make sure to subscribe below to learn more!
What else can I do to improve my classroom management strategies?
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Digital resources are an easy and engaging tool for teachers today. Except sharing them with your students can be time consuming or complicated. Unlike a paper worksheet or activity, you cannot just hand a digital activity to your students. Many teachers use Google Classroom to distribute digital lessons to their students, but not every school, teacher, or student has access to Google Classroom, or even a student email. Here are some of my favorite ways for teachers to share digital math activities or lessons with students the do not require a Google Classroom or student email accounts!
1 – Share with a QR Code
Share a your digital math activity using a QR code. Then your student can access it easily and without logging on in many cases. This makes this method ideal for sharing with young students who cannot type user names and passwords on their own. This is also perfect for older students who are working on their own device.
QR codes work on many different devices, but are most useful on tablets, iPads, or phones. The device needs to have easy to access camera. Recent generation iPads and iPhones do not even need an app to read QR codes–just open the camera and aim!
So, how do you turn your activity link into a QR code? There are many websites that allow you turn a link into a QR code for free. One of my favorite sites is QRCodeMonkey. To use it, just paste in the url link for whatever website you want your students to visit. It can be any url, for example, the link to a Google Doc you want them to use or it can be a website with a math game you want them to try.
The best part, is it is so simple, you can literally do it at any moment with your projector on. Students can scan the QR code with their device from the seat when you have it displayed on the board. BAM! You just shared your digital math activity with your whole class in seconds!
2 – Use a Link Shortener
What if your students are not using a device with a camera? A link shortener may do the trick to get your students to that math activity digitally and quickly!
Link shorteners allow you to paste in a looooong url and it turns it into a short url. This short url is much faster and easier to type in correctly than a really long one.
Before getting started, there are a couple of things to remember about short links:
Some anti-virus and anti-spam filters used by schools may block you from using a short link. Make sure to check that the short link will work within your school’s internet.
Case is important! Students who cannot type well may have trouble with short links because the LeTTerS HaVE to bE TyPed iN THe coRReCt case or else the link will not work.
Always make sure the link is safe! If you made the link yourself, you are ready to go. Beware of links from others though. Short links are sometimes used by people to disguise links to site that students should not visit.
Now you are ready to start! Find a site to make your short links. One of the most commonly used is bitly. You will need to make an account, but its free and if you already have a Google account, you can log in with those credentials.
Once the account is made, simply copy the url to share and paste it in. The website will turn it into a shortened link.
Write the link on the board old-school-style or display it with the projector. Like with the QR code, any student in the class who can see it, can use it! Again, it can be used with any url, the link for an online game or one to a digital math activity.
3 – Use the Seesaw App to Share Digital Math Activities
This app is a classroom game changer! There is literally too many amazing things you can do with this app to fit in one blog post. One of the most impressive things for my students is that it works between iPads, Chromebooks, and PCs. Whether it is through a web browser on the teacher desktop or a class iPad, all the devices in the classroom can use Seesaw.
It is also free and pretty easy to get started using Seesaw. Visit their web page to sign up for a free account and find how to set up your class. After students are set up in the app, share links and files with them. They can also share back with the teacher or the whole class, however it is set up by you.
What I love about the Seesaw app is that it can turn any paper or digital math activity into an technology experience. Students can snap a picture of an old school task card and use Seesaw to notate it and mark it up right on their iPad! They can also link to any site or digital activity that is placed in the app. Once they are finished, they can turn it in to the teacher using Seesaw as well. The student responses show up in a feed for the teacher to look at right away, or to save for later review.
Ready to share digital math activities now?
Now you have more ways to share digital math and science activities with your class. How about some great activities to start with? Take a look at this list for ones that interest you. I would also love to add to this list. Share your favorite sites, Google Activities, and other finds in the comments!
Teaching proportionality is a difficult task with any group
of students, but with students who may be below their grade level in reading,
teaching proportional relationships may seem to be nearly impossible. After years of working with English learners
in the math classroom, a simple sentence stem may be all you need to bridge the
gap when teaching your proportions unit this school year.
My students were always looking for patterns in word problems—quick fixes that would “tell” them exactly what they were supposed to be doing. As a teacher, this often made me crazy. The story problems just did not work like that. Once we started proportions, this student tactic was made even worse by the way the proportion problems were worded. My kids needed a pattern—a mathematically correct pattern—for analyzing proportion problems. They needed a signal that the problem that they were solving was not just about operations, but that they would need to find the information and set up a proportion.
How would they be able to tell when they are working on a problem that contained proportional relationships?
We were on the look out for questions that could fill this
When I have
________________, I also have ___________________.
Can this word problem fill in the sentence stem? Yes, we can say that, “When I have 2
teachers, I also have 70 students.”
Practice this pattern again and again with your students. Every time you are looking at a word problem,
use this sentence stem with your students.
As you repeat the stem, write the ratio.
Your students will start recognizing the ratio in word
problems with this repeated practice.
Can your students write the proportion equation?
Once your students have mastered finding the ratio in the
word problem, the next step is to add one more piece to the sentence stem.
When I have
___________________, I also have __________________, but I really