Behaviour management was always a very big focus of mine during my first few years of teaching. After all, it is very difficult to teach a class when you haven’t got the behaviour under control which I learnt very quickly. My first year of teaching was amazing – I had a beautiful little class and absolutely loved going to work every day. We had the very best time together! Then in my second year, I had some tricky little kiddies and that year almost broke me. I cried in my office at lunch and on the way to and from school most days and just wanted to give up. I met with behaviour specialists and had mentors that helped me stumble through the year and I often caught myself thinking “how did I get this so wrong?”
Even though it was the most physically and emotionally draining year of my entire life, I learnt so much about how important it is to focus on behaviour and expectations in those first few weeks and then every single day throughout the year that follows. I fell pregnant at the end of that year and began relief teaching the following year. This was such a great opportunity for me to further develop my behaviour management routines and really helped me to grow as a teacher.
Since that very tricky class, I have been brainstorming what I can do to help other teachers who also might be at breaking point and need to switch things up a little. I developed these sweet little social stories for use in the classroom. I’ve already laminated and bound them ready for when I venture back to the classroom!
In my little behaviour management pack, I included two stories. “Hurtful Habits” is about what you shouldn’t do to your friends – biting, pulling hair, telling secrets etc. Making friends is such a big aspect of Prep/Kindergarten and I would always refer to the students in our class as ‘our friends.’
The second story, “Helpful Habits” features all the wonderful behaviours you expect to see in your classroom – sharing, playing safely, putting your hand up, being kind etc. This is the kind of story I imagine you would read to your class every morning to review your expectations for the day. With my tricky class, we would review our classroom rules every morning. I would make up scenarios which we would discuss. This made sure we were all on the same page!
I also printed our expectations onto big posters so that if a student wasn’t following our rules, I could quickly refer to the poster as a quick reminder as needed. For example, sometimes I would notice some students were snatching or not sharing items. I would pop the ‘sharing’ expectation poster on my whiteboard and we would set a whole class goal. Each time I noticed a student or the whole class sharing, I would add a star under the poster. Once we reached 5 stars, we would have a whole class popcorn party. Sometimes we would focus on the same behaviour for weeks until it was no longer a problem. This worked so well for my class, especially when we were having trouble remembering to put our lunch boxes away after lunch!
Each of the pages in my books can be blown up and used for posters or printed together and bound into a social story booklet. I also included some stars just in case you’d like to do something similar in your classroom! I also included a whole class behaviour picture sort which is a great way to begin a discussion with your students. There is also a black and white cut and paste version for individual use.
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