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Positive Reinforcement

Coley Cash     Known in some classrooms as Scholar Dollars, Coley Cash is Room 34's classroom currency.  When students are following the classroom rules and/or generally behaving as they should, they can be rewarded with Coley Cash.   At the end of each trimester, I open the Coley Cash Store, at which time students can purchase goodies with their accumulated Coley Cash.  In an attempt to make earning classroom money a more real-life experience, students are required to pay classroom income tax.

Paper Clip Chain     While Coley Cash is given to individual students who are behaving well, the Paper Clip Chain rewards the class as a whole.  When the entire class is working well, following directions, etc., I will add a paper clip to a small chain of clips hanging on the side of the whiteboard.  The better the class behaves, the more paper clips it earns.  When the chain stretches all the way to the bottom of the whiteboard, the class earns an extra recess.

Quiet Seat     Every day, I secretly select a student to be the Quiet Seat.  At the end of the day, if the student has been well-behaved and hard-working, I reveal the Quiet Seat and reward him or her with a small treat.  If, on the other hand, the Quiet Seat did not follow the classroom rules during the day, a treat is not earned and his or her identity is kept a secret.  

Verbal Praise     There is no substitute for a good, old-fashioned "Good job!"

Fun Day     At the end of each trimester, all students who have not received a Citation (see below) during that trimester are eligible to participate in Fun Day.  On this day, students have the opportunity to bring in their favorite games and toys for a time of celebrating good behavior.  

Competence     The ultimate result of good behavior and strong study habits is competence.  More important than classroom money, paper clips, and verbal praise, the real reward for being "good" is learning new things!

Negative Reinforcement

Unfortunately, positive reinforcement is not always successful.  When students don't respond to the above strategies, the following steps are taken:

1.  Warning
2.  Coley Cash / paper clips taken away
3.  Name on the board
4.  Check by name (recess lost for remainder of the week)
5.  Note or call home to parents
6.  Sent to principal

A classroom Citation will be given to students for major offenses such as fighting, disrespect, or consistent classroom misbehavior.  Students who receive a Citation are not eligible to participate in each trimester's Fun Day.

In addition to the classroom management system outlined above, the other fifth grade teachers and I have implemented a supplemental "Behavior Strike" discipline program.  Similar to a classroom Citation, a Behavior Strike may be given to students within the grade level for serious misbehavior or major offenses.  Students who receive three Behavior Strikes lose the privilege of attending the fifth grade's annual trip to Pathfinder Ranch Outdoor Science Camp and/or other special grade-level events.  In Room 34, a Behavior Strike is given to students who have received two classroom Citations.

Brent Coley

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