I first meet with the student to discuss what THEY feel is their main area for improvement. They almost always identify their specific need immediately. Other common behaviors that need work are: staying on task and completing work in a timely manner, working without bothering others, raising hand & WAIT to be called on, staying in seat & not wandering the room, bringing homework daily (completed to the best of their ability).
After a short discussion, we decide what is something THEY like enough to work toward (non-monetary reward). Most often, my kids want one-on-one time with ME, usually as a "lunch date." They bring their own lunch, but we eat together with my undivided attention. Other children have picked a "homework pass" or to sit & work at the teacher's desk for a day. I've also had kindergarten & 1st grade teachers collaborate with me and my students can earn reading to a younger student or helping out in the K-1 classrooms. They LOVE this privilege!!
The contract is broken up into days and each day has three manageable time frames during the day: beginning of school to recess, recess to lunch, and lunch to dismissal. Asking a child to "behave" for 6 hours straight is unrealistic, so I usually start with 2/3 of each day. (If the behavior is severe, I may even shorten those time frames.) For each time period they meet their behavior goal, they get a stamp. Every time a student slips and continues the behavior we are trying to modify, I quietly write a tally mark in that box. There is no verbal shaming or attention; I just walk over to the student's contract and mark it. That is usually enough to remind the student, although sometimes the behavior continues and I continue to tally. Students take home the contract daily for parents to review and return the next day. This is also a great way for parents to monitor and support their child (& you, the teacher!)
Research shows it takes 3 weeks to break a habit (or form new ones), so after a few weeks, the contracts are usually not needed anymore. That being said, I have a a couple of students beg to continue the contract (even though their behavior has improved) because they said they want to continue to have lunch with me! Lol!
What strategies do you use to modify student behavior? I'd love to hear from you! Click on the button below for more great ideas!