Sunday, November 13, 2011

Behavior 101 in Kindergarten Series: Part I is A Linky Party

In even the best situation, behavior management is tricky (at best) in most kindergarten classrooms (and, if its not, please share IMMEDIATELY why and how here!).  Even though I have taught kindergarten for many years, I have never used the same exact behavior management system two times.  My reason being that every class is different and responds, as a whole, to different systems, well, differently. 

I actually have to say that I begin my year with nothing in place (besides a plan in the back of my mind).  I use my role models in the room (by the grace of god, I always have some!) as examples and praise, praise, praise. In a perfect world, I would simply continue to use praise and verbal positive reinforcement to build intrinsic motivation within these children that I am sending out into the big world in 9 short months, so that is how I begin every year.  If that is enough for a group of children to maintain appropriate level, that is ALL I want to use.  Believe it or not, I have had years where that is how it has shaken out, but, it has been YEARS since that has happened. 

In a world with increasing societal challenges and less focus on what is best for children, the anxiety level and behavior of children have increased as well as changed.  So, we, as their educators need to amp up our game and increase our level of aniticipation in regards to maintaining a safe, engaging, and less disruptive environment.  I will say right now, that I do NOT have the answers to this epidemic that the educational world is facing.  I am in the throws of this ever-increasing challenge, just as many of you are.  What I can do is let you know what I do in my classroom and what I do as unique challenges arise.

You can never plan for all of the, well let's call them, interesting behaviors that arise during kindergarten.  So, once the verbal praise and positive reinforcement method has become an epic fail in my classroom, it is time to implement some sort of plan that involves three VERY integral parts in your classroom:
  1.  A visual component that doesn't shout out "Brandy's been BAD today."  I try to place my chart in an inconspicuous spot (like, not on your door where everyone that enters your classroom can see) and make their names small.  I work hard to teach the childdren that each of them is responsible for their own behavior  and do not need to concern themselves with their classmates negative behavior.  It is a fine line though because I want them to encourage positive behavior amongst each other and recognize the great things their classmates do as part of our "team", but then I tell them to take charge of themself when it is something negative (more on that later because I do encourage "quiet encouragement" in the midst of negative behaviors).
  2. Something that is EASY to integrate throughout your day and follow up on at the end of the day for teacher data and home communication.
  3. A system that allows for "do overs", where students can regain their positive status in the system if s/he turns the problem around.
Simple, right?  If you ask most kindergarten teachers, the answer would be a loud, resounding, "No!", because it is not a simple process with so many factors to take into consideration.  This year, I decided to implement the Clip Chart System.  I will devote an entire post to that soon (including freebies and links to get you started) soon, so stay tuned.
Here is the top part of my clipchart that I really
like to focus on.  This was an EXCEPTIONAL
day where all students landed on pink.

I really do find that this system is effective for the everyday, normal challenging occurrences in the kindergarten classroom.  The students ALL want to be on green or above and the students who can naturally maintain themselves, have the ability to think before speaking/doing, and understand the basis and importance of respect and order do VERY well on a daily basis with this system.  Am I saying these students are perfect?  Absolutely not, but, when they make mistakes requiring a clip down, they can redirect themselves and clip back up if there is any time at all left in the day. 

As I continued this post, I realized that it is a series of posts, not just one.  So, be looking for Behavior 101 in Kindergarten Series Part II:  What Do I Do If My Techniques are Not Working for ALL Children?
Behavior 101 in Kindergarten Series Part III:  A Closer Look at the Clip Chart System in a Kindergarten Classroom

In the meantime, I thought I'd provide a Behavior 101 Linky Party for all of the blogging professionals out there to share their knowledge (thoughts, ideas, methods, systems, etc...) on behavior management in a kindergarten classroom.  PLEASE link up and make this an honest post so that new teachers realize that this is a work in progress for even veteran (or almost veteran--when exactly do you become a true veteran anyway??) teachers.
Please follow the regular regulations for Linky Parties:
1. Link ONLY to individual post not
your homepage (you can do this by clicking on the title of the particular post you are linking up and then copying and pasting from the url box).
2. Follow the party topic: anything on Behavior Management in a Kindergarten Classroom
3. Add a link back to this blog post:
(You could even grab my button, if you want to!) and please mention that this is Part One of a Behavior 101 series!
I am excited to see who can link up with us!  Let's use our expertise to band together and help each other out, particularly to support the new teachers out there and let them know that we are all working hard in this area!


  1. Oh Krissy, I can't tell you how fabulous this post is! I am a very new teacher (this is my second I am older than most newbies). All throughout my degree I was concerned that I would not provide my students with meaningful learning experiences...well, since stepping into a classroom as a sub 4 weeks ago, that is no longer my concern. Although I think on the whole I am doing OK on the classroom management front, I really want to be doing better, and come home some days so disheartened. I want to be a happy, positive teacher! Some classes are so much easier than others....! This post has really lifted my spirits, thank you!! I can't wait to read the ideas of experienced teachers! Thanks again.

    Good Morning Mrs Rubie

  2. Hi!

    I find this blog post very fascinating - such a very good idea. I have some questions to ask.

    What would you do if a student hits another student? Does this student deserve a do-over after hitting/pushing/etc.?

    Also, what would you do if a student knows the system very well by doing a bad thing every morning and knowing that h/she can earn the ladder to the top by doing good things later in the day daily?

    My co-worker told me that students are already clever with the system. Before using this idea of yours, we want to set up expectations and rules - that students can't take any advantage of.

    Thanks for sharing, and hope to hear from you soon!

  3. Rubie, So glad to hear that something I've written "from the trenches" has lifted your spirits. I think too often the "perfect" pictures of classrooms and the wonderful stories on the web sometimes give the impression that all is well and well, "perfect" out there in education land. I, on the other hand, want all to realize that I am a real teacher and, although I have great ideas, they are sometimes difficult to implement because of the management factor and all of the other "stuff" that is necessary for teaches to accomplish in kindergarten these days. Hang in there! My first job was a longterm subbing position. I guess I did okay because they hired me back as a full time teacher! It is a great place to start... Again, thanks, Rubie, for taking the time to comment. It always makes me happy to read that something I have shared or written has helped or somehow affected someone. :) Krissy
    p.s. Hoping that more teachers will be linking up soon. I have a group of k teachers who said they will be--but everyone is so busy!

  4. Hi Mary, I just want to make it clear that I DID NOT originate this system. I actually came acrossed it this summer during blog stalking. Part 2 of this series will focus closely on the set up of the system and I will try to answer your questions specifically.
    But for now, I want you to know that there is no perfect system (as you know). A clip back up after hitting a student does not "erase" that behavior, but it does help that student know that a mistake doesn't have to ruin an entire day. I am in contact with every parent, every day and will still write that a child hit, but that s/he turned his day around and landed on green by the end of the day. More in the part 2 post! Stay tuned..... Thanks so much for your comments!

  5. Hi!

    I completely understand what you mean. My co-worker Nicole asked me these very good questions, and I was like, "Oh, I gotta ask her!" We are looking forward to seeing your part 2 blog.

    We already have our own behavioral system, but we are wondering if there is a better system. Ours is often hard for us to keep track of each student's behavior daily. A student has to earn 5 spots on the chart with the design of a paw in order to get a reward daily.

    I don't have a website of mine, but I am a fan of your blog. I discovered the websites of the Kindergarten teachers this year - that's so great. I have been a teacher of Kindergarten for 3 years, and now, I am a Pre-K teacher. But you can take a look at

    Shoo, many of last year's posts were deleted - :(! :)

    Our students are Deaf/Hard of Hearing - I am also Deaf. :)

    Once again, thank you for your time doing this for teachers out there - including me, and it is greatly appreciated.


  6. Love, love, love that you are hosting this linky party! I am so excited to hear what everyone has to say about this topic!


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