That's the 3rd time I've asked Johnny to stop talking to his classmate while I'm teaching. I probably need to give him a consequence if it happens again, but what consequence will I give? What will actually be effective?
It's not always easy to know how to deal with discipline issues as they arise. Coming up with classroom consequences (especially logical consequences) on the fly usually isn't very effective... and it can be stressful!
Whether you're creating a new classroom management plan or realizing that your current plan isn't producing the behavior changes you were looking for, you need to keep this list on hand.
*This list contains a variety of different ideas because teachers teach in a variety of different schools. These are simply ideas – intended to spark your imagination. Please be aware of your school culture, age of your students, etc. when choosing consequences. What is appropriate and helpful for one situation may not be for another. We also recommend using logical consequences – consequences that follow logically from the behavior.
Restorative justice is a consequence that seeks to make amends after wrongdoing. In these consequence ideas, the student seeks to "make things right."
- Use "you break it, you fix it"- Look for a logical consequence, a way for the
student to fix what s/he’s broken. Whether they’ve made a mess, broken something, or hurt someone’s feelings, require them to take responsibility for fixing it.
- Hold "practice academy"- Students spend part of their lunch, after school, or other free time, practicing and perfecting the correct behavior. For example, if they throw something across the room, they practice crumbling a Kleenex, raising their hand for permission, and walking the trash to the trash can.
- Require students to clean your room- The student is required to clean your room during lunch, free time, or after school.
- Have students write an action plan- Give students seven minutes to answer questions like:
1. What is the reason you are filling out this action plan?
2. What happened prior to the behavior? (background info)
3. What goal could you make to help with this behavior in the future?
4. Is there anything I can do as your teacher to help with the goal?
Students sign it and you sign it. Add comments as needed; then mail a copy home and keep one on file for the student.
- A presentation- I have students do presentations to share with the class what they should have done. They have three days to prepare. They push back but we applaud them like crazy and they love it!! -Barbara H.
- Pay your classmate- I have each student that disrupts pay each affected peer one of his/her tokens. -Jeanettee W.
- Assign discipline essays- Instead of having students write the same sentence over and over, assign discipline essays which ask them to examine their behavior and plan how they should act differently in the future.
Loss of rewards
These consequences require some kind of reward system and the reward isn't given if the student displays inappropriate behavior.
- Give Class Dojo points- Class Dojo is an incredible tool that allows you to give positive and negative behavior points.
- Don't give a reward- Plan some type of reward for those who meet certain behavior or academic requirements. Those who do not meet the requirements miss the reward. (This is great for schools that don’t allow direct consequences.)
- Only let them join in a fun activity if they earn it- Make fun activities something students must earn. Students who misbehave or do not have their work completed may miss out. You could require them to complete missing work during this time. Or pair this with the “Practice Academy” idea below.
- Keep them in at recess- I will print out a missing assignment report. Just before recess I announce those that have zero missing and tell them to enjoy recess when the bell rings. All others can go out once they turn in what's missing. -Anthony C.
- Loss of tickets- They earn tickets through the week to use in our class store and to add up for an earned classroom reward. I will have them remove a ticket when needed. After losing two tickets, I will use the school demerit system. -Stephanie C.
- Prize or no prize- When I’m having issues with homework, I go through and check to see who’s completely up to date-then I randomly pick from those students and the winner gets to pick from the prize bucket. It’s not predictable. I'll do this same thing if I’m having issues with the beginning of class routine and pick from the students who are following the routine. Prize bucket includes candy, erasers, and other random small treats. -Sarah N.
additional Logical Consequences
Remember the saying, "The punishment fits the crime"? That's an easy way to think of logical consequences- the consequence is relevant to the misbehavior.
- Have students stay after school- Students are required to be in your room after school for a certain length of time. This can be used to make up missing work or as consequences for inappropriate behavior.
- Plan a make-up work time- Have a designated time for students to make up missing work. Those who are caught up have free time or do a fun activity.
- Move seats- Moving a student’s seat is a logical consequence when they are disrupting those around them.
- Take away phones or have a "phone jail"- If students are using cell phones inappropriately, take them away or put them in a designated “phone jail.”
- Make the student sit alone- Require a misbehaving student to sit alone at
lunch or in the back of the room during class.
- Withhold access to class materials- If students aren’t using class materials
appropriately, they lose the privilege of using them for awhile.
- Parental involvement- A phone call home is made. The child explains and shares their action plan for next time to their parent. A signed note is due the next school day and a record is kept by each teacher. -Rosemary C.
- Immediate re-do- One of the best consequences for me is having students re-do something. So if a student comes into the room really loud and noisy, s/he has to go back out and come back in quietly. This can also be used for backtalk and disrespect, by asking a student to try saying that again with respect. -Alexx S.
- Re-do after class- I’ll have the student stay with me for a few minutes and do what they need to do over and over until they get it right, or I’ll have a conversation with them. Depends on what they did wrong. I never take away recess. But, I will have them walk with the class to a special (Art, Music, P.E.), be last in line, and tell the specialist teacher that the student and I need to go back to class to talk about making poor choices and that the student will be back in a few minutes. -Tina M.
Other creative classroom consequences
- Have students walk laps during recess- This is a great alternative to taking away recess. It limits their fun but still lets them burn energy.
- Use your school-wide discipline system- If your school uses demerits, detentions, or office referrals, don’t be afraid to use them.
- Give them a break- I send them out when they are out of bounds. I tell them they can come back when they are ready to participate properly or follow a norm. It usually takes no time at all. Some kids just need a minute alone to regroup. If they don't, I ask them what I can do to help them work whatever it us out. I wait for a response. Sometimes they just need to talk it out and they're good. -Anthony C.
- Call parents- For certain families, a phone call home makes all the difference.
- Hold your own lunch detention- Require students to eat lunch in your room. Depending on the situation, you may ask them to eat quietly, complete missing work, write a discipline essay, or help you in some way.
- Send them to run an errand- If someone is just a bit talkative or restless I will send them to get a drink from the water fountain at the end of the hall. Or I have sent students to the office to get papers I sent down or to collect my mail. This usually helps them to settle right in when they return. (I teach grades 9-12). -Sherie L.
- Have students take a time-out- The goal of a time-out is not to be a punishment in itself but to give students (especially younger students) a few minutes to calm down, regain control, and think about what needs to happen next. You will need to model and teach what should happen during a time-out.
- Student calls parent- Have the kid call their mom or dad on their phone and step into the hall. -Jim M.
This is a great list to have handy when you're running out of ideas and need to try something new. Click below to get a printable list of our favorite consequence ideas! Feel free to share them with a colleague as well.
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