Reinforcing Behavior

It is integral to reinforce both positive and negative behavior in order to encourage one over the other. In a managed classroom, the expected consequences are preceded by rules and procedures. A basic diagram looks like this:



According to Robert Marzano, consequences are the other side of rules and procedures and both positive and negative adherence needs to be recognized routinely and frequently. Recognition can be as simple as non-verbal cues- a smile or frown, thumbs up or thumbs down, or as tangible as a prize or detention. To be effective the consequences need to be based on predetermined merit or fault and have consistency in application. For instance, Sara is a straight “A” student and turns her homework in on time which is positively reinforced with “Sara, great job for completing your assignment on time.” Conversely, Johnny never does his homework without letters home to his parents yet comes to class prepared one day. He still receives the positive reinforcement of great job versus undermining his actions with “Well, one time doesn’t make up for all the past demerits.”

As we have discussed in our video conferences, students remember the actions/inactions of a teacher and are quick to assess what they feel is unfair. While Sara knows she always turns in her homework, she still desires her hard work acknowledged and would feel disregarded if Johnny’s one assignment made the teacher appear more proud. Simultaneously, if one student is permitted to break rules and then someone is held accountable there will be discord over the appearance of favoritism.

In the diagram above, I have referenced the adherence and lack of adherence of rules and procedures as explored in The Art and Science of Teaching. Consistency is not only beneficial for the student, but also the teacher as there is a map for handling behavior which reduces spending extra time or consideration on how to handle simple matters. For behavior that is more consequential and risks safety, or after repeated offenses, punishment can be more individually based because it will involve administration or parent conferences and extends beyond in-class behavior management.

As evidenced in the research of this module, I feel that the token economy is the best method for maintaining student behavior because it easily branch both positive and negative consequences. I like best a method that rewards the individual student on a class reward level. Meaning, as each student fails or excels a point is given or taken away from a total goal in which the reward is for the whole class. The class can predetermine if they want a pizza party or ice cream social etc. and then once a cumulative level is reached they will have achieved the goal. I feel that the collaborative reward system best builds teamwork and a competitive nature that is not exclusionary.


Marzano, Robert. The Art and Science of Teaching. 2007. Retrieved from:

Reinforcing Behavior

Climate Change- In the Classroom

We all come from a culture; whether that culture is derived from family expectations, place of birth or even ancestral migration. I would say my culture is mainstream media- meaning that my family’s connections were mostly derived from picking up cues around us. I never knew much of my family history and didn’t (and still don’t) have a way to reference habits based off place of origin or religion etc. Mostly I would describe my culture as “country”. As far as I can remember we were hillbillies- my family having come from West Virginia, though so far removed from that locale that my life has only been lived in Phoenix, Arizona.

I believe culture should be reveled in and shared instead of hidden and immersed away. To me, immersion is a detriment to society and in my classroom I would love to allow children a chance to explore other cultures in case they face the same anonymity and confusion of my own identity.

Given, I live in a place of strangers- very few people that live in Phoenix are born here and stay here. Most have moved from other places or live here part time which left me without strong senses of culture. Our big city is made up of little pieces of every culture. How do we blend the ideas of social acceptance but cultural remembrance?

The key here is what I stated a lot in activities one and two- authenticity, kindness and molding the person you want to be. Now, people will come into the classroom with a culture of hatred having been ostracized for the color of their skin, religion, country of origin- it would be unfair to have them repeat details that make them feel isolated. The key will be interpreting what and when a child is ready to share. Some aspects of anonymity can make people feel more secure in exploring new ideas and topics, which is why the internet is integral to the future of learning.

I would propose again propose the idea of comment boxes in the classroom. Each day students will be expected to drop in a piece of paper- it can be blank or it can express an idea or question that they would like addressed. The point of everyone contributing alleviates the fear that the other students will “know” they are the one that left the comment. There is such a balance of being awarded and anonymous at a young age- right?

Imagine there is a new student in class and they smell different because they cook with spices that are common in their cultural recipes but unknown to a student in class. You wouldn’t be able to ask discreetly without causing yourself or the individual discomfort. Instead, the comment card can be “why does Jane smell like that?” The teacher probably already understands where this is coming from and can integrate information into a lesson. For instance:

“Today we are going to talk about cooking. How many students eat dinner cooked in the home each night? Wow, lots of you- who does the cooking and what do you eat most often? Jane? Oh, Moroccan meatballs sound delicious. Let’s look up the ingredients- cumin! I love how cumin smells and I love when you walk into class and I sometimes feel the warmth of that. Jacob- does your family cook a lot of Italian food? I think I can small those aromas on you sometimes. Don’t you just love how you bring a piece of your home life to school sometimes?”

Reasoning behind this:

  • addresses a difference in a positive light
  • reframes differences as commonplace instead of as isolating
  • awards cultural differences
  • appreciates uniqueness

I was speaking with co-workers recently about gender identity as we have someone at work that has a child transiting from male to female. Certainly this topic is not one I would address with 8 year olds in a lesson, but the point is very integral to changing the climate in a classroom to one of both exploration and acceptance. It is not bad to have questions, it is not unreasonable to want to understand, and further we need to except curiosity and use that as an advantage to learn of people’s unique lives.

Children especially are comparative and this is the chance we have to frame differences in a conscionable light so that as they grow up their opinions can be both developed and open minded.

I feel intent and honesty is the key to respecting differences without obliterating them. Referring back to the conversation regarding gender identity we argued that painting a baby girl’s room blue instead of pink is not helping equality. As with forcing females into “male dominated” fields, the bias is being flipped not removed. I hope that the future welcomes a changed climate where each person is free to decide from a realm of possibilities that removes the dichotomy of “this or that”.  To truly create a climate of caring you have to respect what your student cares about- whether they are struggling or reveling in ethnic, social or emotional differences. Let your students lead the way and be there to guide them in their journey.




Climate Change- In the Classroom

What’s in Your Hand? by Brandi Young

Chances are you are reading this on a mobile device and if not, your mobile device is probably right next to you- Kindle, iPad, smart phone, etc. I believe in the anon do as  you want done and the same applies to children. In this modern era there are many pleas of teaching children awareness and etiquette yet I feel children do not know these things because they do not see these in their lives. Now, everyone isn’t “bad” but we are all busy, constantly calendared and BORED.

Why should a teacher be prepared to allow or require students to use mobile devices to achieve learning objectives?

Simple- because adults require mobile devices everyday for learning- at home and in the workplace. Consider children and your students as miniature adults- with questions and conflicts and the need to alleviate stress and monotony.

Create a structure that is inclusive of mobile technology. Some guidelines are:

  • Generate clear rules of the purpose of using mobile devices
  • Individual devices so that it can be transported home and remain an extension of classroom for class work and research
  • Availability of standard devices/content so that direction is easily guided
  • Ensure student’s understand what is considered inappropriate use
    • distraction
    • bullying
    • off topic content

Examples of mobile activities for my classroom:

  • Use camera to take a photo of two areas in your neighborhood that bring you joy. Share the images with your class and explain why. Do you have areas in common with anyone? Maybe you can meet in this space for group projects.
  • Use a pedometer to map your daily steps and analyze the distance of your activity. How far will you go in a day, month, year? How does this correlate to your health and wellness?
  • Provide students an online survey so that they can express their opinion anonymously. Can be a daily expression of a high/low- did a lot of students have commonalities that point to strengths or weaknesses in your teaching? Share your feedback to the class so everyone can grow in understanding as a whole.

















Smith, D. Frank. What’s the Future for Mobile Devices in the Classroom? May 2015. Retrieved from:

What’s in Your Hand? by Brandi Young