No matter how proactive you are about your classroom management strategies, you will undoubtedly have instances where students don’t follow rules and expectations. For these situations, it is important to have a plan in place that allows for natural consequences. Often times, the only natural consequence that is necessary is time for the student to reflect on their behavior or choices and a follow up discussion with the teacher. For these situations, think sheets can be very effective.
You can use think sheets when a student has disrupted the learning environment or community and nonverbal and verbal warnings are not sufficing in stopping the behavior. Think sheets can also be used when a student makes a poor choice that has negatively impacted another student.
In my classroom, I had a designated “cool down” station, known as Alaska, where students could go to reflect and fill out a Think Sheet if needed. If I felt a student’s behavior warranted a deeper reflection and conversation with me, I would direct them to the cool down spot and select a think sheet. I would have a few options available, so the student could decide how they wanted to reflect.
The process was a simple routine in my class. Students fill out the think sheet. When they are ready, they bring it to me to discuss the problem and possible resolutions. After, the student rejoins the class.
Some of my think sheets were very simple- with pictures and circles and checks. This worked well for students who would get easily frustrated or overwhelmed with adding the task of writing on top of any emotions they were already feeling. (Please note: If your student is still expressing an intense emotion such as anger or sadness, they should have the opportunity to deal with this emotion BEFORE the think sheet is involved.) Other think sheets give students the opportunity to draw, list, or write full responses.
Depending on the issue, the severity of the issue, or the frequency of the issue, I would choose to either save their Think Sheet to refer and reflect on later, or have the student take the Think Sheet home to discuss with their parents, sign, and return to me. The Think Sheet should not be used as the sole form of communication with parents. Sending it home should only accompany a phone call or a note that is based on facts and free of judgement. And I recommend sending Think Sheets home only when the behavior is repetitive or severe that you need further parental support.
Think Sheets are a great tool that can help students reflect and communicate about an ongoing or severe issue in the classroom. They hold students accountable for their behavior, but more importantly can be a wonderful tool to increase communication and relationships with your students.
You can learn more about my Behavior Tracking Resource that comes with Think Sheets, Progress Monitors, and Behavior Plans.
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