April 3, 2015

Daily Stamp Charts

Insert some quote about how we teach math and so we should be teaching behavior too.

My co-teacher and I were frustrated with our students' behavior. So we set some goals:

  • Kids taking responsibility
  • Engagement of all students
  • Undo all the learned helplessness

Kids need immediate feedback. Sometimes I fail at giving it. I laughed when someone made the analogy, but it's true - one of our counselors trains dogs and uses clicker training. The goal of the clicker is to immediately identify the target behavior. As soon as I see a kid looking at their notes, I stamp the "Used resources: Binder" box. It names the behavior, reinforces the behavior and is also less of an interruption than saying "Way to use your resources appropriately!"

We've been using the charts all year but it's still a learning process. Last month my co-teacher made these posters to reinforce some concepts.

I rarely use the off task boxes because they set kids off rather than motivating them. Instead I sweep the room and stamp everyone who is on task (prompting kids who are off task while withholding a stamp). Other days kids earn an on task stamp for each problem/page/section they complete.

Since I feel bad about using so much paper (half a sheet per kid per day!), we use the charts for a few other things as well. Kids take quizzes on the back and journal at the bottom. It's great having all the things I want to collect on a daily basis neatly organized. I tally weekly stamps (in two categories- on task and other) on my gradebook clipboard. It's never particularly surprising information, I have a pretty good sense of how kids are doing, but sometimes it does jump out when a kid is having a particularly good week.

I do have a few kids who don't buy in and so they don't bother to hand in their charts except on quiz days. I miss out on reading their reflections, which is frustrating, but I don't take it out on their grades. 10% of the grade is classwork - they don't get credit for journal entries they don't write, but I estimate their stamps rather than giving them a zero out of spite. The classwork grade has very little impact on the overall grade, but I do value participation, effort and reflection so it is included. It also lets me say "Yes." when kids ask "Does this count?" for activities I have no intention of collecting and grading. Sometimes we play the game.

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