Novice educators walk into their first classroom full of fresh ideas and high expectations. Reality quickly brings them back to earth when the first disciplinary problem arises. This article will present a unique behavior modification method.
The Behavior Ticket - What Is It?
A behavior ticket works similarly to a traffic ticket. I always make the analogy to my students that if I am driving 45 mph on a 25 mph street, chances are that I will receive a traffic ticket for breaking the law. In class, a student who breaks a rule receives a behavior ticket.
Content of the Ticket
Here is the content of the behavior ticket I use:
Your present behavior is unacceptable.
I know you can do better
I generally put these in a word text box, which I was unable to replicate here. Copy them duplexed, 6-8 per sheet, depending on the size of the tickets. Cut them apart, keep a stack with you, to be distributed as needed.
When you observe a student breaking one of the rules, mark the appropriate offense and place the ticket discreetly on the student's desk. There is no need to make a big deal out of giving one out. It simply embarrasses the child, and disrupts the momentum of the lesson. The student is then to sign and return the ticket to you before leaving class that day. Keep a record of who got tickets, why, and when, so that appropriate consequences are given when necessary. Failure to return the ticket to you by the end of class results in receiving another ticket the next day for not following classroom procedures.
These are the consequences I use:
First offense: Warning. No punishment
Second offense: Lunch or morning detention
Third offense: Phone call to student at home
Fourth offense: Phone call to parent(s) at home
Fifth offense: Visit to the principal
Very rarely does a student go past a third offense. By then, they realize that you are serious about discipline, and begin to act appropriately. Of course, you may modify any part of the ticket and consequences to adapt them to your preferences.
If you are consistent with using the tickets at the beginning of the school year, you will find that by the end of October/early November, you will rarely use them any more.
Behavior tickets are not appropriate for severe or chronic student behavior issues. For example, fighting, theft, destruction of property (school or another student's), etc. Situations like those would require immediate administrative intervention.
Have you tried this method? I would love to know how it worked out for you. Leave a comment with your experience or your own ideas for managing behavior in your classroom.