When you are introducing your classroom rules at the beginning of the school year, you hope they stick! As teachers, we make every effort to repeat, rehearse and restate our classroom expectations, but will our students remember them and follow through? Setting personal behavior goals will help build a classroom community.
During the first days of the school year, we know it is a fundamental rule to establish a feeling of community and cooperation. We hang our classroom rules as visual reminders of how our students should behave. Those posters are hung prominently in our classroom but will the rules be effective? Will your students comply and meet your expectations? …
Try Setting Behavior Goals
When you start assigning personal behavior goals, you will see a major shift in the number of reminders you have to provide your students. They will be held accountable throughout the year.
Making their behavior goals visual and accessible to them (and yes, to their peers), and later celebrating how they have accomplished their goal can make a huge impact.
Here is how is to accomplish this huge task.
Use Classroom Rules with “I can” Statements
Begin by displaying Classroom Rules with “I can” statements. Using “I can” statements will empower your students to understand that they CAN change their behavior.
Instead of having a classroom rule that states “Be a good listener” (this has a more authoritative tone), try using “I can be a good listener”. Do you hear the shift of tone between these two examples? Not only is it more kid-friendly but it has a more positive tone and will foster a can-do attitude!
Assign Behavior Goals
At the start of the year, you plan lessons to help your students get to know one another and establish friendships. Why not assign a whole class behavior goal to begin the year: “I can be a good friend.”
As you get to know your students, you will learn quickly what each child needs to work on. “I can raise my hand” is a common one at the start of the year because the children are not used to waiting their turn to speak after the long days of summer.
You can make your students goals visible in the classroom by simply attaching their name to the classroom rules poster as seen the photo below. Or you can print out the behavior goal and place it at their seat as a visual reminder all day long.
You may ask:
Is Making Their Personal Behavior Goal Visible to Their Peers an Embarrassment?
No, it doesn’t have to be. When an undesired behavior occurs during a whole group lesson, smile (yes smile) and simply have the WHOLE class repeat after you “I can raise my hand.” (or whatever rule is being addressed). It is a subtle reminder to that one child and the entire class that being a good listener is an expectation in your classroom. And then quickly move on to redirect their attention to your lesson.
I promise you, you are not “singling them out” you are simply repeating a classroom rule for all to hear. The rest of your class will benefit from this reminder as well. If you do this often, it will become second nature for your entire class, and they won’t think twice as to WHO needed the classroom rule repeated. And that one student, who prompted the reminder, will take heed. Fingers crossed!
Also, providing EACH of your students a goal provides a sense of community and an understanding that we are all learning to be the very best that we can be. You will find that your students will become more patient with each other and respectful of each other’s differences. You will need to explain this to them to drive the message home. It works!
When a Student does not Meet their Behavior Goal
Of course this is bound to happen. If your efforts alone are not working in the classroom, you may have to address your concerns about their behavior with their parents. A Behavior Modification Plan may need to be put in place for those students that need the extra support.
When a Student Meets their Behavior Goal
Celebrate and remove their name from the poster! Then have a discussion as to what they want/need to work on next. Most times, they will come up with another goal on their own because they will be excited to have their name on a new poster. You will be surprised at how intuitive they are as to what they need to improve upon. On the other hand, some of them will need prompting and encouragement.
You may ask them: Are you having trouble finishing their work on time? Well perhaps your next goal should be “I can stay focused”. Are you tattling a bit too much? Then perhaps you need to work on “I can be a good friend”.
I do hope that you have found these tips on how to set personal behavior goals helpful and will consider using “I can” statements in your classroom.
If you need a classroom poster set like those seen in the photo above, they are available in My TpT store. You can find them here:
or pin it for later: