15 January 2013

Scaled Consequences

As mentioned in my previous post, having a list of consequences is long overdue. Since I teach classes that do a lot of work on computers, and since kids will love almost anything on a computer, I figure having them do book work or busywork in the classroom would be a pretty good consequence.

However, only having one go-to consequence probably isn't a good idea. So, as per Teach Like a Champion, I need a scaled list of consequences. Small consequences for small infractions, large consequences for large infractions. I'm going to babble a bit before finalizing a list.

For one thing, consequences must come before emotions. I often wait until I'm really ticked off before dishing out consequences. If I were to respond earlier, even before mild annoyance is reached, I think the results would be a happier teacher and a well-behaved student.

But before we move into consequences, I suppose there should be a tiny bit of leeway for the student who wasn't disobeying on purpose, he just forgot or was slightly absent-minded for a moment. In such cases, the smallest reminder possible will do. "Remember to leave your backpack outside the door." "Only those who have been called on are allowed to speak." (Of course, these are rules that have been set up beforehand, not just new rules because a kid bothered you.) Then there's no room for "I forgot."

Once the reminder is in place, then we can get to the consequences. They need to be easy to distribute and just painful enough to discourage the act in the first place. I'm a little bit caught on the idea of busywork. I think busywork is the perfect consequence because in a creative, often collaborative work environment, things can quickly get noisy and, with teenagers, quite rambunctious. Their ability to control themselves directly correlates to their freedom in course work. If they are unable to control themselves, they get to do drab busywork.

Nevertheless, busywork is a little bit too large to be the first or even second tier consequence. It would be nice to have a list of directly-related consequence. If you throw garbage on the floor, you get to pick up all the garbage on the floor. But such a flux set of consequences might be too confusing. It needs to be simple and easy, so students aren't surprised when it happens. The book mentioned that a middle school option could be giving up a few "scholar dollars." That might fit in nicely with my desires to "gamify" my classroom a bit. Trouble is, I lack the experience and/or support to really figure out the value of whatever scholastic currency I chose to incorporate. That, I suppose, can wait for another post.

Clean desks, pick up garbage, sharpen pencils... that's all I can come up with, outside of reading something boring and answering questions about it (busywork). Maybe they'd have to write an apology. Or fill a page with sketches or journal prompts (things I'm going to make them practice more anyway, and I know they will complain about it). Yeah, maybe that's what I'll have them do. Here it goes:

  • Fulfill classroom tasks (clean desks, sharpen pencils, pick up garbage, take out the recycling, whatever needs to be done, if anything needs to be done) either during lunch, after school, or when others are working in the lab.
  • Sketch. Fill up a predetermined space with sketches of the alphabet, grocery store items, animals, geometric shapes, etc. Must show teacher for approval before it's finished.
  • Write. Respond to a prompt filling a predetermined number of lines, the quality and quantity of which to be analyzed by the teacher.
  • Read a boring, old textbook and answer the questions. This would take the place of a much more fun assignment they could be doing on the computer, though unfortunately wouldn't be as valuable to them. (Maybe that would aid in the consequence's effectiveness: honestly being sad that they don't get to participate in the more valuable work.)
  • Parents get an email from the teacher explaining the situation. (Used in conjunction with another item in this list.)
  • Loss of citizenship. (Can be used in conjunction with other items.)
So there's my list. Here's to hoping the worst that happens is busywork from a textbook.

No comments:

Post a Comment