Why do you need to document behavior?
Most school districts now require teachers to document student behavior in some way. Regardless of whether or not you’re school requires this, teachers should be documenting repeating behaviors. First of all, these documents are helpful to use when meeting with parents. It’s something physical you can show them and they can’t deny what it says. Rather than arguing with those parents who insist their child is a perfect angel, you can show them the evidence and move to a solution. Documentation is also helpful to show students. Maybe the student doesn’t realize they are repeating the same mistake over and over. You can show them your documentation and perhaps the student will have one of those “ah ha” moments. In the end, if a student has ongoing behavior problems, you will need hard data to give to the school and parents if you want the student to receive a higher consequence.
What should you document?
You need to be documenting:
the type of behavior the student exhibits
how often if happens over an extended period of time
and if possible, what caused the behavior.
What teachers don’t need is another thing added to their plate. These three strategies are easy enough that the students can track their own behavior!
A Behavior Notebook
A behavior notebook is a whole-class management technique for recording classroom misbehavior that integrates student reflection & ownership. It can quickly be implemented with any existing rules and discipline plan, and is used as an alternative to other methods such as a clip chart, card system, or writing names on the board. Each student has their own page, and they are all stored in a binder in a given location in the classroom. When a student does not follow a classroom rule or procedure, they record the infraction in the notebook on their individual page (similarly to moving ones clip down). Teachers could add another step for certain behaviors and ask students to complete a think sheet or write what they will do differently next time.
So I’ve never really got into the QR code excitement. But this summer I read a post by Peppy Zesty Teacherista about how to use QR codes to track missing homework (awesome). Then I thought, how perfect would it be to use the same system to track when students go to the “calm down corner”, “buddy room” or whatever your school uses for students when they need to take a break from the classroom. All you need to do is create a QR code, put it by the door or in your calm down spot and students scan the code each time they have to go to the area you are tracking. The QR code inputs the students name, date and TIME onto a google form. Now you have instant documentation about how often a student is going to the calm down corner, and what times of day (so you can see if there is a pattern). Having a QR code in place means you don’t have to interrupt your lesson to document the student behavior and you don’t have to try to remember to do it later.
Individual Daily Behavior Charts
If you use a behavior chart as part of your classroom management system you can have students record the color they end up with each day. Print out a calendar each month and have students color in the step they ended on at the end of the day. Parents can check this regularly to see how their child is doing. This type of behavior tracking can help you establish a pattern of poor behavior but it doesn’t track what the child actually did. Therefore, for certain students you will need a more thorough form of behavior tracking.