Before I describe these forms I want to restate that classroom management is driven mainly by content (engaging lesson plans), and secondly by making students feel welcomed and appreciated, and keeping ourselves positive and energized. For me personally, if classroom management ever became a process of making a bunch of rules, and figuring out how to enforce them, then I would probably quit teaching because my heart is not into it. But that being said, a discipline structure is needed, this post is the beginnings of a description of mine.
My main tools for handing out discipline in my class are Long Forms and Short Forms. These forms generally take the place of referrals and detentions. The Short Form has entirely eliminated my need for detentions, and the Long Form is generally used in replacement of referrals.
I save all forms in class folders. Students who are behavior problems generally get their own folder. This is great for me and administrators, as I can bring the folder to parent / teacher conferences, and provide it to administrators as a record of student behavior in class.
Here are brief descriptions of each:
Short Forms (Student Behavior Reflection): I give students Short forms for minor distractions. When they get a short form they must stop whatever they are doing and fill it out immediately. They are not allowed to protest a short form, and if they feel they receieved it in error, they must write that in the form. At the bottom of the form there is a place for their signature and mine, which I will only do after class. Thus after class I quickly touch base with each student and let them know why I gave it to them. I also be sure to listen to their explanations of why they acted the way they did, or why they thought they didn’t deserve it.
Long Forms (Student Self-Diagnostic Referral): Long Forms are for more serious infractions. Some examples would include defiance, and name calling. I also do not give two short forms to the same student on the same day. Thus if a student already has a short form, then any distraction could result in a Long Form.
If a student gets a Long Form, they must leave the classroom to fill it out, and they must come back into the classroom when they are finished. The Long Form also has a place for Parent / Vice Principal signature. I do not always require the student to get those signatures.
Student who recieve these forms must stay after class and talk to me. These conversations are incredibly important for a lot of reasons – diffuse any possible hostility, help further explain to student why certain behaviors are not acceptable, and so forth. I will write a post all about the importance of these conversations , and how I approach them, at a later date. (see update below)
If students refuse to stay after class to talk, then it is an immediate referral.
I added that little box at the bottom of each form this year. I check the box if I think the form did not change student behavior.
Here are some thoughts on discipline discussion you should be having with students who receive these forms.