Real talk: classroom management has always been my biggest struggle as a teacher. I think that this is true for a lot of teachers. It’s one thing to read about classroom management strategies in a college classroom, but it’s a whole other ballgame when you’re standing in front of a roomful of middle schoolers and you are somehow expected to keep them all in line!
I’ve had a few tough groups over my first few years, and I needed something to up my classroom management game. The classroom management strategy I’m going to share with you today has been a total game-changer for me, and I hope it can help you, too!
This strategy is called Behavior Bingo. To implement it, you will need a 10×10 chart numbered from 1-100. I used to draw mine out on big chart paper, but I’ve since created this handy printable board so that I don’t have to draw it out each time! You will also need 100 popsicle sticks each labeled with a number from 1-100. I keep these in one of those metal pails from Target, and you will also need another pail for the sticks to go in once you have pulled them. You will need a board and set of numbers for each class you are using this with – I have used it with up to 4 classes at once! I marked each class’s set of sticks with a different color and then discarded them all into the same tub. If you don’t want to buy or have to label all the popsicle sticks, I have also seen teachers use small slips of paper numbered 1-100, or even just a random number generator online!
Here are the rules that I use:
- The object of the game is to get 10 numbers in a row (vertical, horizontal, or diagonal) and get a bingo.
- At the start of each class, I write the numbers 1 2 3 on the front whiteboard.
- During class, I erase a number any time the students are not meeting my expectations, starting with 3, then 2, then 1.
- At the end of class, however many numbers are left on the board is how many popsicle sticks they get to pull that day. For example, if only the 3 was erased, then they get to pull 2 popsicle sticks. They can earn up to 3 numbers each day.
- The students pull out the correct number of sticks for that day. I let them take turns. I hold the jar up above their heads so they can’t peek inside. Then I color in the numbers that were pulled on the bingo board.
You can certainly adjust these rules to meet your needs. For instance, you could use a smaller or bigger bingo board, depending on how quickly you want them to earn their reward. With the 10×10 board, it usually takes 1-2 months to earn the reward. You could also adjust how many numbers they can earn each day.
Another thing you could do is tie the numbers to specific goals. For instance, my students know that at the beginning of class they need to be in their seats with homework out and working on their warmup. If this doesn’t happen, they know I will erase a number.
As for the reward, we choose this as a class before beginning the game. I have the students brainstorm ideas (I tell them that they need to be something either relatively inexpensive or free and can only take up about 20-30 minutes of class time) and list them all on the board. Then I have the students vote for their top two choices. Some ideas we have come up with in the past include an ice cream party (I bring the ice cream, they bring the toppings), root beer float party, time outside, free time, board games, donut party, dodgeball, or popcorn and a short movie. I write their choice at the bottom of the bingo board as a reminder of what we are working toward.
And that’s it! It’s very easy to keep it running, and it has been very motivating to my students, especially when they are down to only one number left for the day.
You can find the printable board that I use in my Teachers Pay Teachers store if you’re interested!
Do you have any awesome classroom management strategies? I would love to hear about them in the comments!