Monday, July 25

The Bead Behavior System

Last year I hesitantly bit the bullet and took down my green, yellow, red chart.  Until then, I had clung to it as a security blanket.  The funny thing is that I knew it didn't really work several years earlier, but I really hadn't found another system I wanted to try.  What I disliked most about "flipping cards" was the focus on bad behavior.  I really wanted to find someway to praise the good bahaviors (which actually do happen more often than the bad, it's just the bad is much more noticeable) while at the same time holding students accountable for their bad behaviors.

So, last summer I was browsing the web and came across The Cornerstone for Teachers website.  Angela Powell has so many great ideas (many for classroom mangagement, but that's not all she blogs about).  I was so intrigued by her website I bought her book.
In her book she makes this statement, "There must be a balance between teaching students to behave for intrinsic reasons and having something meaningful to work towards.  As teachers, we show up to work everyday on time because it's the right thing to do, not because we're expecting a reward...but we wouldn't show up at all if we weren't getting paid at the end of the week."

Her website and her book both talk in detail about the Bead System.  I started using it last year and really liked it alot.  Here's how it works:
  • Each child has a pipe cleaner (cut in half) taped to their desk.
  • During the week they have the opportunity to earn beads (pony beads) to add to their pipe cleaner.
  • By the end of the week they need 10 beads (unless it's a short week at school).  So, they know the goal is 2 beads per day, but they can earn more or less based on their behavior.  They can earn beads for: helping a friend, being the first one sitting on the carpet, walking quietly in the hall, cleaning up without being asked...  They learned quickly that if they asked for a bead they wouldn't get one.
  • On rare occasions beads could be lost-- but this was rare.
  • Those that earned 10 beads by Friday, had "Fun Friday."  I would get the iPod Touches out and let the kids play apps.  By the end of the year some kids prefered to just draw or sit and talk-- most still wanted the iPods.  Those that did not earn 10 beads just read from their book box by themselves.
  • Children earned "sick pay" (2 beads) when they were absent.
  • I told them that if I ever saw them stealing beads they would lose all of their beads for the week.  The threat must have been enough to scare them.  I never had stolen beads.  Actually, my sweet friends last year would find beads laying around the room and bring them to me to put back in the jar. 
The bead system helped to reward good behavior.  But, I still wanted some way to report bad behavior to parents.  I added a little behavior chart to the bottom of my monthly calendar that goes home with the kids each night.  I loved this system last year.  It didn't take but just 3 or 4 minutes to quickly write down the behavior code for the day (mostly 1's for good behavior), plus it showed parents issues to address at home.  Here's what my calendar looks like so far for August. 
I'm sure there will be more to add once I get my class list and official school calendar.  I have a really simple system for take-home folders.  The calender gets stapled on the left side of the folder (the poly kind without brads- Office Depot sells some really sturdy ones) and their papers go home on the right-hand side.  Each month I remove the old staples, put the new calendar on top and re-staple all previous callendars together in the folder.  The calendars are great documentation for parent conferences.

How do you manage behavior in your classroom?  Link up with The Lesson Plan Diva and share your ideas.


Tara said...

Adorable best friend teaches first grade..I'm gonna tell her to check your blog out:))
I'm having an adorable Seussy bracelet giveaway, stop by and check it out:))

4th Grade Frolics

Mrs. D said...

I am searching for a new behavior plan this year and I love this idea! Thanks for sharing! :)

thepolkadotowl said...

I adore Angela Powell, well Watson. I love this behavior plan and I am using it this year as well!! My school requires me to do the clip chart, so I am combining both. Students will earn beads for good behavior, etc...they will also earn a pre-determined amount of beads when they are on the top colors of the clip chart. I am still tweaking the system, but I hope it works well. :)

Andi said...

Thanks for sharing this. I've never heard of Angela Powell. I REALLY like the Bead System. I've always felt bad for the kids who are always well behaved and didn't get the attention they deserved. Question: What do the kids who haven't reached 10 beads do while the others are playing?

Lauren Morse said...

Andi- It didn't occur to most of the kids that if they reached 10 beads they could stop trying. I think most younger children are so happy to receive the praise that they will keep working to earn extra beads. I generally made a big deal about those earning over ten and would try to spotlight the child with the most beads. A teacher down the hall gave a small treat to children who earned 15 or more (in addition to "Fun Friday" for earning 10 beads).
I was also very stingy with beads, so they really had to work for them- ha!

Anonymous said...

I used the card color system but felt the same way you did about it being so negative...and where was the reward for kiddos who always did their job? So I added on blue and purple. All kids start on green for the day and depending on behavior can move up to blue and purple or down to the other colors. If they are on blue they have special freetime privleges. And purple is the same as blue plus a good note home. I also have allowed kids to earn a color back with changed behavior. It has worked much better for me! I love the bead idea too and am going to put it in my notebook for when I need a change :)

Angela said...

Thanks for your kind words about my site! It's so cool to hear how this system worked for you.

By the way, if anyone is worried about students not trying anymore once they reach ten beads...I used to let whoever got the most beads choose their centers/Fun Friday activity first. Therefore, the kids would always want to earn more! On Friday, I'd ask anyone who had more than 20 beads to come up and choose their center and everyone would ooh and ahh and clap for them. Then I'd ask for 19 beads, 18, etc. :)

Miller's Flip Flops said...

What about the student who has that split personality who shuts down when he doesn't get what he wants, sometimes to the point of being forceably removed from the classroom? I can see him trying to steal the other kids beads out of spite. Yes, I could easily take any beads he had away, but he wouldn't care because he was already in trouble. Do you ever keep up with who got beads in the event a child had some stolen? I currently use a ticket system and I tell my students it is their responsibility to keep up with their tickets. I don't keep up with any of it. At the end of the week, they put their tickets in a bucket for a drawing for a prize. I usually pull about 5 tickets each week. I love the bead visual reminder, but I am also concerned the kids would play with them on their desk when they are supposed to be paying attention. Have you had this problem? How have you handled it?

Lauren Morse said...

Miller's Flip Flops,
I haven't had any trouble with children stealing beads. That being said, I teach at a school with very few major behavior problems. The kids know exactly how many beads they have at all times- and what colors they have. Most keep them in some sort of pattern on their desk, so they are very aware of what is theirs. I haven't had too much trouble with the kids playing with them either. The biggest issue is them wanting a different color when I pass the beads out. Of course I don't give into them picking colors, so they resort to swapping with a friend. I guess I could say "no swapping" but it's kinda cute that they care so much about their beads :)