Tag Archives: student behavior

Tips for Encouraging Good Student Behavior

Red Pen Reversal
Teachers often use a red pen to mark answers that are incorrect. Instead of using a red pen to check all wrong answers, use a red pen to check all right answers! Write “okay” on all correct answers. Leave answers that are wrong untouched. This is another silent message to students to go back and correct the wrong answers. They know, without you saying, that the problems are wrong, and they know which problems to correct. Be sure to use a red pen or pencil. Students have learned to associate red marks with the word, “wrong.” Using a red mark for the right answers is a way of using reverse psychology on them.

Tattling can be a big problem in a classroom. This type of behavior usually occurs when a student is trying to gain teacher attention. Students can tattle for the following reasons:

  • to get others in trouble
  • to hopefully get an award
  • to gain attention
  • to feel superior over others

Try using a tattle box. Cover a shoebox with paper. Label it, “The Tattle Box.” When a student tries to tattle, have the students write the problem down on paper and drop it in the box. Be sure to keep paper and pencil handy beside the box and be sure to read the papers!

Another tactic to curb tattling is when a student comes to tattle, ask a question: “Is it in or out?” In other words, you are asking the student “Are you tattling to get someone in trouble or out of trouble?” Only listen to those who say “out of trouble.” Students catch on quickly that you are not going to listen to their negative tattling.

Sticker Praise
Mark extra good work with a smiley sticker and watch the smiles on students’ faces. It is simple, but it works. Stickers with words of encouragement are also great for rewarding and motivating good work.

More Ideas for Rewarding Good Behavior

Classroom Coupons
Why not create coupons to give as rewards for good behavior, special efforts, good work? Coupons could be for eating with the teacher, a night off from homework, having lunch with another class, moving one’s desk to a preferred spot, etc. Coupons are a fun way to reward.

Compliment Box
Have a special box for just compliments. Encourage students to write a compliment when they catch a classmate doing something nice. At the end of each day, read each note aloud and then, give the notes to each student who was complimented. This tactic can build up students’ self-esteem. You might want to keep a list of those who receive notes in order to make sure that each student gets a note from time to time.

To make this technique work, you must have a pocket folder for each student. On the first day of a two-week period, students are given a set of homemade money, cut and stapled in a durable envelope with their names on the front. Students will, initially, write their names on the back of the money. Set up a system of values.

Students can lose money for the following reasons:
$ ___ no pencil
$ ___ no homework
$ ___ chewing gum
$ ___ eating in class
$ ___ running in the hall

Students can earn money for the following reasons:
$ ___ a clean desk
$ ___ a good grade
$ ___ bringing homework
$ ___ being helpful

Adjust rules as you wish. Have an end-of-the-period sale. Provide small items that the students can purchase such as stickers, books, pencils, etc., or even a no-homework night.

Rewards at No Cost
If you do not want to always buy things as rewards, here are a few reward ideas that do not cost anything.

  • be first in line
  • draw on the board
  • use the computer
  • no-homework-night pass
  • go to the library
  • be the teacher helper
  • do work at the teacher’s desk
  • move desk to another place
  • read to a younger class or student
  • have extra center time
  • go to another room for lunch

Zip the Lips
Make a large set of lips, complete with zipper. Cue in your students that when you make a zip motion over the lips, the meaning is the following: “Zip your lips.” In other words, get quiet!

Fishing on Friday
Want to have good behavior during the week? One way to encourage following rules is to have a special surprise. First, obtain a small fish bowl. Place the students’ names in the bowl if a student was good for the week and followed all the rules. At the end of the week, have a drawing. Have some type of special treat or prize for the week’s winner.

Smile Face Reminder
Sometimes it is hard to remember to smile. Make a large smiley face and suspend it from the ceiling. When you notice it, it will be a great reminder to stay positive.

Be Human
Students need to know that teachers are human, too. Everyone makes mistakes, even the teacher. Sometimes it is effective to deliberately make a mistake in order to let the students react and correct! When using this approach, be careful that you do not let students get away with being disrespectful. Students respect is a necessary component of good teaching.

Silent Signals and Signs
Silent signaling to your class is always a plus. To silently signal to students that they should stop talking, create a signal light. Put up the red signal when they are too noisy and need to be quiet. Put up the yellow signal when they can talk and share in low voices. Use the green signal for saying talking is all right. If money is no problem, purchase a small stoplight through a teacher supply company.

Other proven methods involve using hand signals. A thumbs up can mean “excellent” or “I’m proud of you.” Work with your students to develop signs. This can be a fun way to talk about people who are deaf and how they communicate with each other.

For more ideas on rewarding good behavior, check out Creative Classroom Ideas: Ways to Motivate, Manage, and Spice Up Your Daily Routine.

Ideas for Rewarding Good Student Behavior

Punch-a-Hole Card

Need a way to reward good behavior? Make a card for each student and divide the card into small squares, large enough to place a hole punch. Randomly give punches to the student’s card, ensuring that the student realizes that he or she has earned the reward. Keep the punch card in a visible place on the student’s desk. This way, you can check to make sure that you are not missing a student or unfairly giving one student too many punches on his or her card. Randomly reward behaviors such as the following:

  • completing work assignments
  • following instructions well
  • studying with another student
  • attention to task
  • helping another student
  • showing kindness to another

Consider using one of the specialty design punches, such as shapes like stars or hearts, rather than using the ordinary hole punch (stickers are also another great alternative). Additionally, set a time limit on the card’s use, such as a card for every two weeks, or so. You will find that students will count the number of holes they have earned. This makes the card a constant reinforcement of good behavior.

(Caution: The good student will typically earn hole punches too quickly. Therefore, make sure that these types of students do things over and above the behaviors they normally exhibit. Therefore, you are setting a goal for the good student to achieve.)

Have a special reward when each student has earned a set number of hole punches. Students must know they are working to attain a goal. The goal should be within reason.

For more tips on rewarding good behavior, check out

Student Discipline Strategies for Teachers

A good teacher is never without a good plan for discipline in the classroom. Ask any teacher and you’ll know that good behavior management can go a long away. To help with managing student behavior, here are a few discipline strategies for teachers to keep in mind:

Discipline with Dignity
All students need to be treated with dignity. Even when a student is being disciplined, he or she needs to retain dignity. Private reminders and conferences with the child will preserve his or her dignity and yours.

One of the best things to remember concerning disciplining students is that they win whenever they get you to “lose your cool.” Take your time when students “push your buttons” and decide carefully on your response. In this way, you will not behave in a way that you will regret later.

Teach Students Responsibility
Students need to be taught that they are responsible for their own behavior. If a student does not follow the rules, it is best for natural or determined consequences to take their course whenever possible. When parents and others intervene, they take the responsibility for the student’s behavior away from the student.

Exercise Break
One of the best favors you can do for your students and yourself when students get wiggly and cannot seem to concentrate is to take an exercise break. One good time for a break like this is about 45 minutes before lunch. Take your students outside for 5–7 minutes of exercise led first by yourself, and then, after they know the exercises, the students. This is not to replace physical education, but it is a quick chance to do some specific physical activity when students need it most.

Another variation on this is to use low impact aerobics for children in the classroom. One caution is that many of the shoes the students wear to school might be dangerous for exercise routines. If this is the case, you might want to encourage students to bring some tennis shoes to school for their exercise breaks.

Reward Good Behavior
A good discipline system should also include positive reinforcement for good behavior. Award certificates, badges, or simple, sincere verbal praise can keep good behavior on track and build self-esteem.

There are, of course, many more strategies for student discipline, and what may work for one teacher may not work for another. What discipline techniques have you found to be effective in your classroom?