Chain of Success: Classroom Management

How do we get our little rugrats to do what we want? If only they listened to everything I said! Maybe next year they will. :)

This positive reinforcement idea I use for my entire class. I got it from my interning teacher; she was full of wonderful ideas!

It is called the Chain of Success.
See the blue links hanging down? Thats it!
 We just started this new chain so not many links have been earned yet.
First my class votes on what they want their reward to be. I love to have my class vote on what they want! It puts the power in their hands. The more choices I give them when I can the more they will listen to me when it's time to do my choices... like an assignment! Or that is what a book on classroom management told me :)

I only take three ideas then we vote on which one is a class favorite. Some of our prizes have included:
  • Picnic outside during lunch
  • Class movie party during lunch
  • Bring toys from home to play with at recess 
  • Adding toys to our recess (jump ropes, footballs, frisbees, and chalk)
  • No shoes day (take off shoes in the classroom)
Our rewards aren't aloud to disrupt our instructional time so you'll notice all of them can fit into our normal schedule.

Then I write what they are attempting to earn on a sentence strip. I feel like it is better they can actually read and see what they are working towards to constantly remind them. If you look in the picture above you'll see they chose to bring in toys from home for a day. 

Oh! You also need to cut strips of construction paper. Usually I give this job to one of my leaders (see my post on them here) in the afternoon or morning before school begins. 

To build the Chain of Success my class needs to earn links. Every time my entire class completes a transition quickly, gets a compliment in line, or are going above and beyond they receive a link. I just tape or staple the strip of paper together. Easy as that.

When our chain of links hits the ground they win their reward!

It is a pretty big deal when that link hits the ground. The students all get up and stare at it as I let the chain go. They think will it touch? Will it touch? When it hits the ground they all jump around and make all kinds of excited noises. 

But there is sometimes that one student....

You know the one who's a straggler and doesn't quite make the transition in time? As in on the other side of the room when I'm ready to start teaching or thinks it is now a good time to get water when everyone is seated ready to learn.

Well in order to attempt to hurry them up a bit my students also get strikes. Dun, dun, dun.

3 strikes and your OUT! 

If the entire class has earned a link for making the transition in time (I count down) but one or two students doesn't make it then they get a strike. I just write their initials on the sentence strip that says the reward to keep track. Then when they earn their reward it is easy to see who is out! I rarely have a student who doesn't participate.

You could easily do it without strikes but I think it holds the one or two who try to ruin it for everyone or with that 'don't care' attitude accountable. 
Two of our chains hanging in our room as decoration.
There are ton of different variations of this idea out there such as:

Marbles in a Jar
Brownie Points from First Grade.. at Last
This is my favorite idea found at Clutter-free Classroom.
It's called Teamwork Bingo. It's a freebie too if you click on the link to her blog! I have it all printed out but just need to laminate it. Our school laminator was broke when school was starting so just used the Chain of Success instead! My kids love the links too much to change it now.
What do you do in your classroom to encourage students to work together and for transitions to run smoothly? Are there more great ideas I'm missing on my list? I'd love to hear more!

ps. I don't incorporate this into my classroom until I feel like my class needs it. If they are making the transitions fine, walking in line nicely, then great! But when they need that extra push to behavior correctly, perhaps in October, I introduce the Chain! Sounds kind of scary when I say it like that!

ps.s. Good luck to all my teacher friends and followers in Florida who's kiddos are taking the FCAT this week! I wish you and your students the best of luck! They are more than ready :)

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