In our classroom we have a chart entitled "How Am I Doing Today?" It contains pockets for each child and it includes each student's name and 4 color ranges (it used to be just 3, now it's 4), green, yellow, orange, and red. It gives children a visual about how they're doing. If they have been listening to their teacher, getting along with their classmates, and completing their work they will have a green card by their name. If I have had to speak to the student more than once about his/her behavior, a yellow card is earned. If the student has not made improvement in behavior and I have had to remind the student about it, an orange card is earned. If the behavior still doesn't improve, a red card is placed in the student's pocket on the chart. Students have the opportunity to move their card back to green if they make efforts to change their behavior. For example, if a child has an orange card and s/he manages to stop whatever the behavior was that earned her an orange card, I change it to yellow the minute I notice a change. If the change continues, the child will earn back the green card. From now on, if a child gets a red card at any time of the day, you can expect to find a note in your child's homework folder to inform you about it. Also, if a student does not have a green card by recess or centers, they can expect a time out during those times.
This is my first time using this strategy and so far I have been liking the results. I have caught students checking the pocket chart from time to time to check what color they have. I have also noticed some students showing effort to change in order to get their green cards. I used to be anti "behavior modification" (blame it on grad school), but based on my experience, some children need a concrete way of understanding that there are expectations for behaviors and there is a time and a place to act a certain way. This carries on into the working world. There are certain behaviors that are acceptable and unacceptable and one needs to adapt to the norms. However, I do feel that there should also be a certain sense of belonging and one should feel valued for who they are and that's also something that I hope to build in the community of my classroom, as well.