, , , , ,

This is the behavior management plan I recently cooked up. If I had all the freedom in the world this is how I would run a classroom. Of course, when I get my own classroom I will probably be working with building and maybe even district norms so it will have to change but for now I thought I would share it. I have Teach for America friends who got where they were going only to find there was no such plan to work with. Yikes! So for them I thought I would put up the new teacher behavior management plan I came up with during my fancy education.


Let’s start with the basics, rules. I prefer to have my rules generated by class, beginning with my Predators always values. I will go over these in detail later but here’s a copy of my poster. ImageDon’t make fun of it too much, I majored in History not design.

Here are the values:

In this class we operate under three guidelines at all times.

We Participate
– we come to class with the materials needed that day.
– we offer input during discussion, and do our share during group work
– we remain in the classroom during the lesson

We collaborate
– we use debate norms
– we work with others
– we help each other

We Are diligent
– we work to completion
– we strive
– we are not done until we are all done

As kids are creating rules based on these values I slip these in.

  • No chatting during instruction.
  • No cell phones/ texting in class.
  • During SSR we are all reading (that means me)

Usually kids will cook up a decent set of classroom rules, I have the last word, but their ideas are usually just about perfect.


The management plan is designed broadly for multiple classes under the same genre while the survey is more specific. This is tailored to the individual history class. They are defined for a 9/10th grade class, and the survey Is targeted at a 10th grade us history class specifically but the adjustments for a different age group or subject would be pretty easy. I beta tested this plan when I taught summer school English and met with a great deal of success.

I want a democratic but tight and fair classroom. My reward system is based on the simple premise that homework is practice and if you are already past mastery there is not a reason to practice the skill. Boring children and giving them things which are below them, or giving them busy work breeds resentment. It should be noted that not all homework is optional. How will the kiddos keep all that straight?

Good question. Keep a Squidoo lens (or other free website) about homework (Opt Out v. Mandatory) as well as making it VERY clear when homework is mandatory. Also remember to tell them why it is mandatory. Reasons it could be mandatory: It is actually part of a larger culminating project, where work outside of class is expected or (sad but true) we are studying up for a very tricky or very high stakes exam. Sometimes there are larger culminating activities/papers/projects/portfolios.

Classroom Policies

I like to spend a big chunk of time in the beginning really hammering in my expectations. If you get the silly stuff down now you’ll reap great rewards later.  This is a copy of the syllabus that I distribute on the first day. I follow it with a survey and the first homework assignment a parent survey.

Ms McKenzie’s Social Studies Class Syllabus

My Expectations:

Participation: I expect students to contribute to discussions, to begin work when it is assigned and to be actively engaged in the task at hand. This means no staring at the desk or pretending to work.

Collaborative Spirit:  This is a classroom that works in groups often and you will often be reliant on the work of others. Because of this we use our debate norms, work with others and help each other. We are a team. No one is done until everyone is done.

Diligence: We work until we are done we strive to be the best we can be, we aid our colleagues and improve our own work

Democratic Classroom:  I believe that you have a say in how we do things in class.  I usually ask for your input during many class activities.   However, everyone has responsibilities and as your teacher my responsibilities will require me to make some decisions that cannot be open for discussion. Your behavior, choices, and participation will greatly affect how often I must make these decisions.

Materials Needed: Things you will need EVERY DAY are: (1) Your history notebook, (2) a pen or pencil and (3) an eagerness to learn .  It is one of your responsibilities to have your pencil sharpened and all necessary materials with you before class begins.  Students should not be asking to go to their lockers after class begins.

Class Library: I will assign bonus readings over the course of the quarter, if you borrow a book you are expected to return in when it is due back. Just like a regular library. If you would like to use one of the classes history books let me know and I will sign it out to you.

Assignment Due Dates:  All assigned work will be due at the BEGINNING of CLASS on the assigned Day. Homework will be given at the beginning of the week as a packet. It is due on the last day of the week. If you are struggling with a concept consider bringing in the packet with what is done and I will assist you. OR if you need clarifying help I keep a website (http//www.blah.example.ex)

Late work: You work hard, so get into the habit of turning work in on time and get the credit you deserve!  We will be discussing/reviewing/self-assessing most assignments during class.  Not having the assignment (late work) will not allow for any of these activities.  Please talk with me in advance if you are aware of any legitimate reasons that an assignment may be late.  Otherwise all late work will receive a 10% deduction per day.  NOTE: any assignment over five days late will receive a zero.  Please don’t let that happen.

Absent work: If you are absent on an assignment due date, then the assignment is due the first day that you return to class.  It is your responsibility to find out what activities and assignments you missed during your absence.  Most assignments will be accessible on my web page.   A doctor’s note is required for any extensions to a due date. You have as many days to complete absent work as you were absent.  (Example: 2 days absent, work is due 2 days after you return).  Absent students turning in work will not lose points if it is turned in on time.  Work turned in beyond the agreed time will be considered late. This will mean you’ll have to work twice as hard. If you are absent I will take assignments via email as well.

Tardies: You are considered TARDY if you are not in the classroom when the bell stops ringing.  Sprinting into the room as the bell stops ringing is still considered TARDY!  — And unsafe

Hall Passes:  Students are encouraged to use the bathroom during passing periods, lunch, before and after school.  Basically any time except during class.   But, I fully understand that the human body is known to experience certain “emergencies” – I eat a lot of exotic food – been there, done that.  In any situation where students need to leave the classroom, students must: (1) notify the teacher and gather permission. 2) sign in and out 3) only one student may go at a time. Unless, of course, students are willing to use a predator pass.

Assigned Seating:  All classes will have assigned seating.  You will have the right to choose your activity partners and where your assigned seat is.  However, this right can and will be suspended due to off task behavior, lack of student participation, causing a disturbance,  . . .

Grading: Grades will be based on a point system (points earned / points possible).  Each assignment will have a set point value and will be sorted into one of three weighted categories.   Semester grades are based upon point percentages.  Many assignments will be self-assessed using rubrics.  The three weighted categories are as follows: (30% + 30% + 40% = 100 %)

Participation 30%
Activities, assignments, homework 30%
Tests and papers 40%

Grade Contracting: If you can provide a substantial argument to alter this grading system, I am available for discussion.  A meeting can be arranged with you and a parent/guardian to discussion an alternative grading contract.

Gum:  Gum is allowed in this classroom.  BUT, if gum is found on the floor, stuck under a desk, or somewhere other than your mouth, gum will be banned from the room for the rest of the year (unless you, as a class, can convince me of your changed behavior).

Disclaimer: I reserve the right to alter this document if it will result in an improvement in classroom safety, this course, and/or your learning.

The Reward System:
I love simple token economies but it is hard often to figure out what to give secondary school students. So I give out a list of the rewards I offer, and a brief explanation of what each thing is I include this in the syllabus along with consequences.


Verbal praise: I will tell you how awesome smart and fantastic you are, Even though you already knew

Song tickets: Is a raffle ticket which you can write the name of a song on. At the end of the week there will be a raffle and the first (school appropriate) song I pull is played during the Do Now section of the lesson.

Extra Credit: I don’t often pass this out for impromptu good deeds but if you have gone above and beyond the call of academic duty I may reward you.

Free Time: We are not done until we are all done, but if the whole class is well ahead of schedule, I will work in big fun activities of tertiary historical value just because they are super sweet.

Spontaneous treats!: Your teacher is a relatively accomplished vegan baker, just a heads up. (Chewy cherry oatmeal bars tend to be a big hit and cheap to make.)

Predator Passes: You get these for practicing good predator skills and they can be turned in for all manner of things.


There are two sides to every coin. In this classroom there are rewards and punishments. ImageAgain here is my poster, and again I did not go to school for design, so…

Warning (silent or verbal)

No song ticket that day

Write a letter to the class

Call home

Office referral

And now for the moment you have been waiting for

Predator passes:

I’ve been alluding to these all post and here’s the blip I put at the bottom of their syllabus.

What are they? A predator pass is awarded to students who hunt down their learning like a predator. Who demonstrate good pack skills.

How do I get one?
a 95% or higher on an in class assessment.
a 90% or higher on a paper
an entire week without a behavior infraction( a warning counts as an infraction)

What do they do?
Instead of doing an individual assignment in the homework packet a predator pass may be affixed to the page, some restrictions apply.

A predator pass may be used as a no strings pass for the bathroom or drinking fountain pass. Normal sign out rules apply.

Predator passes can be used to purchase material packs (comp book, w/ pen and pencil, and sticker)1 Pass = 1 Pack

These little passes do some great things for me. 1st) I don’t have to grade as much homework. This saves me time which I can devote to giving better feedback on the kids who do need  the practice. 2nd) There is a method in there for my B students to get a little time off of the homework when they’re well behaved. 3rd) the passes solve some of my access issues. This is mostly because the first assignment in my class is to complete the survey below. Completion is 100% so everyone gets a pass and they can be used for material packs. The next opportunity to get a pass is to bring back the completed parent survey. The two documents give me much needed information. The documents follow, there is more open space to write in the ones I print but for the sake of your poor scrolling fingers I clipped it.

Ms. McKenzie’s Class surveys

NAME: ____________________________________     CLASS:__________________  PERIOD:____

Hi there! I’m Ms. McKenzie and I look forward to working with you this term while we study American history. Before we begin I’d like to know some things about you. The last page of this survey is for your family. I use these answers to create my lessons so please answer thoroughly and honestly.

What do you like?

What should I know about you?

Why did you pick American history?

What is a topic in history that you think would be fun to study?

Do you have a computer at home?

– Internet?

– fast enough to stream video?

Is there anything you would like to know about this class or about me as a teacher?


Hi, I’m Ms. McKenzie and I have the pleasure of having your student in my class this term. Before I teach students I like to know a about them and their family. So, I write out a little survey.  Out of all the people around you probably know the student best. So in a billion words or less,

What would you like me to know about your student?

What do you think is the most important thing for a student to know about American history?

I like to maintain lines of communication throughout the year, notifications on homework, projects, grades, events, etc.

What is the best way to get a hold of you?
[   ] Call   [   ] Text   [   ] Email


Thanks for all your help. I look forward to working you and your student this term!

– Ms. McKenzie