Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Classroom Rules

Well this is my first summer using a curriculum book, it is so much easier than the fall curriculum but I still feel unorganized. When I first started as a preschool teacher I was so excited but taken back because there were no rules, and I struggled coming up with rules in my classroom especially because the year had already started. I was in the middle of transitions from the Pre-K to the preschool so it was confusing to say the least. I finally feel I have some handle on the rules and my class's behavior problems. Today  ended well when a parent said she liked the idea of my rules so much that she wanted to implement the same idea at home. When I first started working as a teacher at my center, I started a star chart in the Pre-K classroom, and my co-teacher at the time took over and it's been going on for nearly four or five months now and I am amazed and thrilled how well it worked. Of course my co- teacher did a little tweaking of his own by putting up pictures of each of the rules, which I wished I had thought of that. I took his idea of the pictures and the basic rules he has for his class, then I added my star chart. I thought it wouldn't work so well but the kids actually understand the rules, they just choose not to follow them. I have to admit I did bribe them a little but only for good behavior I saw, boy was it exciting to see how they really wanted a prize from my prize box. I like to encourage reading and writing, and I added some fun stuff too, but I just shop at my nearest dollar store.
Here is what I get:
pencil pack (a few very colorful ones)
some eraser packs as well (they have sports, cars, space related ones too)
packs of reward stickers ( a pack of four small boxes with some stickers inside)
a few packs of the party treat bags (whistles, bracelets, rings, noise makers, pinball game, spinners, these come in packs of 4-8 inside so it's super cheap and it excites the kids).
Once I run low I just go to the store spend maybe a few more dollars max is 15 dollars depending on what I get.
But I also have a special prize box with a bit more expensive prizes. Let me explain though, it's to encourage more good behavior and so the kids don't just go for the "special prizes" I keep them in a different box. My special prize box has things such as super hero pencils, pencil case, erasers, sharpeners, note books but I also have the same type of stuff for the girls in the princess type stuff.

My Rules are:
sit in circle time
listen to your teachers
zip your lips in line
use indoor voice
keep hands to myself
walk instead of running
help clean up the toys

So my basic routine is after snack we sit in the circle and we ask ourselves Did I...(fill in the blank) and if they got all of the rules for that day they choose a star and place it next to their names and at the end of circle time I bring out my prize box and let only the children that received a star get a prize. You would be surprised because once they see the prize box they swarm around, just to see what's inside and if they could choose a prize too.

Some thing as simple as rules may seem hard because you really have to consider the age of the kids you are working with, and how to get them to focus on the rules too. Since I started using this star chart  this past week, I have tried to include the parents of those who have a hard time with my rules and choose not to follow them.  I tell my parents to encourage their kids to follow the rules at school so they can earn a star. I can't explain the excitement of one of my previous students who moved to the Pre-K classroom, when he gets a star for behaving it is a priceless moment. To think he was one of the most misbehaved in my class not too long ago. Their parents  get so excited too, which makes me really happy for them. For the Pre-K classroom, their class prize is an ice cream party at the end of the month. I just hope I have as much success in my classroom too and so far we are on the right track.

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