Obviously I'm not a public school educator, but I enjoyed reading about some of the creative classroom management ideas on Miss Cal.Q.L8's blog. They run the gamut from the "screaming doesn't work" idea (not that almost all of us non-perfect people haven't done it) to the "gallows or guillotine" being the only options for misbehaviour in class mode of thinking. :p
Here's a suggestion from Mister Teacher: Small tickets on a roll. I know I've seen them for sale at OfficeMax and likely you can find them in several other places. "I give them out for good behavior (or lack of bad behavior), and I have a drawing for goofy little prizes each week," he writes. "The pronouncement of, 'I’m looking for someone to earn a blue ticket' can change a disorganized group of misfits into a military-precision line of silence!"
Doggone it, but I probably might use that idea sometime. At present, we have a post-it note with 16 squares drawn for each child (tic-tac-toe style, four up, four across). Every day that the children have done a reasonably good job, they'll each get a star. I hate strict enforcement of behaviour expectations (that's the kind of thing that escalates situations for Elf, and drama isn't my thing), but if things are going badly, I will just say, "That's chance one," and go on. You get three chances. It's only on the fourth that I don't award a star. Even then I might give a "chance" back if I see great behaviour later. I want to motivate the good behaviour, but I also don't want things to get to the point where he says to himself, "Today's shot. Might as well act badly and have fun with this!"
I know my methods sure wouldn't work in a classroom with 26 other students. Sometimes I bend the rules to the point of being ridiculous. It just depends on what I feel each child is capable of *that* day.
I will also occasionally write Elf and Emperor's names down and some made-up word that they need to "earn" three of, such as "snoofleez" or "squampumpts" or "drogglins." After three of the item, they get a sticker to put on their workbooks. Usually we give each child a chance to earn something when things are dragging a little bit. Not that I'll tell them that.
You don't get the "zzuiits" out while things are going *too* well, but you don't want to wait too long for things to go downhill, either. It's more of an art than a science. Really? Each child winds up with about two stickers each day. Sometimes none. Sometimes three. But it isn't a competitive thing. Here's "Elf's turn" to earn a zingswat. Now it's "Emperor's turn" to answer the next question in our book and earn one.
I do know that whole books and blogs on classroom management are out there. I wish every child could learn with some of these teachers who want their children to succeed. They're always looking to improve themselves and investigate new ideas.
Others, well... Let's be honest here. More often than not, when a special-needs kid is getting blogged about... I wouldn't want to read about my child along those lines. I understand that these teachers just feel the need to vent, but my. This one has to be the worst of the lot, but I do wonder how many educators are out there who really feel this way and just don't blog about it.