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Handling undesirable behaviors (part 3)

Handling undesirable behaviorsThanks to many suggestions from readers and teacher bloggers … we are now up to our 3rd (and final … for now) post on strategies that teachers have used in their classrooms to handle undesirable behaviors. We started this series of posts in response to a question from a reader. You can view the original question, and Bill Corbett’s (Cooperative Kids) response in “Handling undesirable behaviors (PART 1)” … and other suggestions and tips from around the web in “Handling undesirable behaviors (PART 2)“. Now, we are onto PART 3, with a few other ways teachers have dealt with this issue …

Modeling Desired Behaviors

Kindergarten teacher Candy Lawrence from Auntie Annie’s Childcare blog uses PUPPETS as one strategy to model good behavior and help children problem solve:

In the case of group misbehavior, as with any other misbehavior, the first port of call is individual relationships with each child. The moment you start considering a group as a homogenous mass instead of the sum of its parts, you’re in trouble. Each child who’s ‘catching’ the misbehavior may have a different need, but I’ll put money on at least one or two of them feeling a need to be ‘seen’.

Puppet shows have been my go-to in this sort of situation. I work through the problem ‘remotely’, if you like, by making the puppet/s do whatever the misbehavior is, then I talk lovingly to each puppet about the problem. Nobody MOVES when I get puppets out… and the kids love to interact with them and help solve their ‘problem’.

Candy shares a link to her Behaviour management page, which lists various types of situations and links to suggestions.

Positive Behavior Charts

Kindergarten teacher Matt Halpern from Look at my Happy Rainbow blog shared his idea for a behavior chart:

Something I’ve used with lots of success is a Positive Behavior chart. I have three tiers (any three colors will do, but I steer away from red, yellow, green). Kids start at the bottom tier and when I see them doing something good (listening, sitting still, basically following the rules), I move them UP a tier. It’s kind of like the reverse of many behavior programs – you get moved for being GOOD. At the end of the day, kids at the top get a reward – I try to not use a prize box. Some rewards are: you get to pick your center first, you get to pick your playground equipment first, etc.). This works really well and helps me focus on the positive too. 🙂

Positive GROUP Rewards

At the child care center where I work, we have some teachers who are teaching their class about the concept of TEAMWORK. Rather than giving out individual rewards for good choices, they focus on the class as a whole and how they function together in certain situations. When the class works together to clean up or walk quietly down the hall; they receive a pom pom in their collective teamwork jar. When they have gotten enough pom poms to reach a certain level – the class gets a reward (such as pajama day or a special activity). When individuals or groups of children are not cooperating, the teachers address it and point out how it affects the wholeclass (team). This isn’t a “fix” for situations where individual children have specific needs that need to be met … but it is an important lesson for children to learn how their actions affect others, and this is just one way to help them learn that.


Thanks to Candy and Matt for your helpful suggestions and links! And thanks to Miss Julia and Miss Jo at our school for the pom pom idea!

I’ve really enjoyed learning about each teacher’s own “bag of tricks”. Since not every tip/strategy will work in every situation or with every child (or group of children) – I feel it’s helpful to have a lot of different/varying ideas to pull from … and I hope you have found something that will be useful to you in your own teaching, either now or in the future.

Don’t forget to check out PART 1 and PART 2 if you haven’t done so already.

Do you have a tip or experience to share in relation to this topic? We’d love to hear from you! Please share your experience (or other questions) in our comments below or send us an email.


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