I’ve previously written about one classroom management tactic I use with students who might be having a particular behavioral challenge — at times having students write a hash mark on a post-it for every ten or fifteen minutes they feel they’ve been “on-task” and carrying their weight in class, or for a certain period of time they control themselves from shouting out inappropriate comments (see More About Maintaining a “Good” Class). They receive extra credit — for awhile — for each hashmark until we can jointly “wean” them off that kind of incentive. It can often work very effectively.
Today, I was proposing that we try this to one Special Ed student (let’s call him “Ralph”) with major challenges in a mainstream class I teach. He was reluctant to try it — understandably. It would have felt to him like another label of being different. Another nearby student (let’s call him “Bob”), who is very bright and who used this method for a couple of days earlier this year, overheard our conversation. He interrupted our conversation and said, “Mr. Ferlazzo, I need my Post-It, too.” I was surprised at his comment since he hadn’t used it for a couple of months, and had been doing quite well, but I gave it to him. As soon as the Special Ed student heard him and saw him get one, he immediately agreed to using it, too.
A few minutes later, I asked “Bob” why he felt he needed a Post-It. He replied, “I don’t, Mr. Ferlazzo. But I figured that it would make “Ralph” feel better about using one.” Later I asked ‘Bob” to stay after class while I called his father to tell him how impressed I was with what he did. His father, who has not received many of these kinds of calls from schools, sounded like he was going to cry over the phone. After I gave the phone to “Bob,” I thought he was, too.
That kind of empathy and social intelligence might not get measured on a state test but, no matter what his scores are, I’m betting on “Bob” having a very successful life…
Yes!!!!! What a great way to start my day! Thanks for sharing this one…
What a touching story. Thanks for sharing it!
I love your blog & I read the above. What a wonderful story and a beautiful outcome. Thank you for all your good works.
Thank you for sharing this, I’ve been so discouraged lately and this has motivated me to keep on keeping on.
Wow! Thank you for sharing this story. I went back to your blog about classroom management strategies. I wonder if I could tweak the post-it note strategy for a physical education setting?