Rewards can encourage positive behavior in the classroom.

Fourth-graders are starting to be less egocentric and better able to understand when they have committed a mistake, according to Both of these developmental milestones make it both easier to manage behavior in the classroom and even more important to manage and shape behavior. A behavior management chart is a good visual guide that can help students stay on track by seeing how close they are to a reward or punishment based on their behavior.

Teachers vs. Students

Get students excited about good behavior by turning it into a contest with rewards. Elementary School Garden recommends creating a "T" chart by drawing a line down the center of a poster board to form two columns. Write "Teacher" in the upper left column and "Class" or "Students" in the upper right column. Draw a line under both. Throughout the week, when students behave well by raising hands, working quietly, cooperating during group work and so on, mark a tally in the "Class" column on the chart. When they behave poorly by talking out of turn, being insulting to one another or refusing to complete a task on time, put a tally in the "Teacher" column. If the students have the most points in their column at the end of the week, they get a reward, such as extra recess time. If the teacher has the most points, they either lose the reward or face a punishment.

Clothespin Chart

The Douglas County School District recommends this simple behavioral chart. Create a chart with seven colored bands. The center band is green and should say "Ready to Learn." On the top, the bands are red, orange and yellow, and they read "Outstanding," "Great Job" and "Good Day." On the bottom, the colors are blue, purple and pink, and they read "Think about It," "Teacher's Choice" and "Parent Contact." Each student's name is written on a clothespin, and all the clothespins are attached to the green, center band. Each day, whenever a student shows off good behavior, their pin is moved up a band. If a student misbehaves, the pin is moved down. The first band for bad behavior is a warning, and the second involves a consequence of the teacher's choice, like losing recess time. The final band involves sending a note home to be signed by the parent.

R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Chart

Teachers using this idea from Education World should write the word RESPECT at the top of a chart. At the start of the week, a new row is created. For each time the class displays bad behavior such as being disruptive or disrespectful, the teacher should mark an "X" under one of the letters. At the end of the week, the class will suffer a consequence based on the number of marks they received and how much "Respect" they lost. Words such as "Reward" and "Behave" can also be used.

Themed Rewards

Keep kids motivated with the promise of rewards. Each month, set a different theme and create a chart for it, such as a tree during fall. Students are divided into groups, and a tree is created for each group. During the month, students earn a leaf when they display good behavior. Each group has to earn a specified number of leaves by the end of the month so that the whole class can enjoy a special reward, such as an ice cream party. The theme can change each month, such as a Christmas tree with presents or a Cupid with hearts.