There are a lot of moving parts in a typical kindergarten school day. Students are still mastering the basics of being at school while learning and growing at lightning speed. An effective classroom management system is essential for keeping students on track, but it can be daunting to stay on top of it! In this post, I’m sharing one of my favorite simple classroom management strategies. With one simple tool, you can completely transform student behavior and motivation in your classroom.
Why Teachers Need Simple Classroom Management Tools
When it comes to classroom management in kindergarten, I will always be a proponent of simplicity. Complicated classroom management systems are just one more thing that young students need to learn and understand. This can be a lot for these five- and six-year-olds who are trying to navigate their first year of elementary school. Keep it simple so it’s easier for students to understand the behavior expectations, rewards, and consequences in your classroom.
Plus, we all know how important consistency is for effective classroom management! Simple classroom management tools are generally more effective because teachers can use them more consistently. Complicated classroom management strategies are more easily pushed to the side when there’s limited time at the end of the day or when there’s a substitute teacher. This is where my favorite system comes to save the day with its simplicity: Glow and grow notes.
How Glow and Grow Notes Work
Glow and grow notes are one of the easiest classroom management tools that you can use. Each note has a checklist with options that you can select to describe the behavior you want to communicate to parents. Glow notes are for positive behaviors that helped the learning of the student or the learning of others. Grow notes describe behaviors that did the opposite. Grow notes also have a checklist to describe the consequence given for that behavior.
To keep this classroom management system as simple as possible, I suggest sending home one glow note per day plus one grow note as needed. That’s it! Print off the glow and grow notes on different color paper (I liked to use green for “grow”) and have a stack handy to make it even easier to hand these out each day. Your students will quickly get used to this part of your daily routine and soon they will be begging to find out who earned the glow note each day!
Check out this video if you'd like to take a closer look at this classroom management tool!
Benefits of This Simple Classroom Management Strategy
These two simple notes are such a game changer in the classroom! I wanted to share some of the benefits that I have noticed from consistently using this simple behavior management system.
Focus on Positive Behavior
First and foremost, glow notes encourage you to focus on positive behavior in your classroom. When you know you need to find a reason to fill one out each day, you’ll just naturally start looking for all of the positive things happening in your classroom.
This can do great things for your own mindset, as well! The more you look for positive student behavior, the more you’ll find. This can be really encouraging, especially during years when you feel there are more challenging behaviors than usual.
Relationships are one of the keys to successful classroom management. Before you can address behavior in your classroom, you need to establish a relationship of trust and build rapport with your students. Glow notes are one way that you can maintain a solid foundation to support your classroom management all year long.
Address Challenging Behaviors
The benefit of grow notes is that they keep language positive when addressing behaviors of concern. When students impact their learning or the learning of others, it is communicated to families as an opportunity to grow. Students are able to work on this behavior with your support and with encouragement from their families.
This is why I suggest that you never send home a grow note for the same student day after day. You haven’t given the student a chance to work on this behavior. This would be like planting a seed in your garden, then planting another seed the next day because the first isn’t producing any cucumbers yet. (This is one reason why behavior calendars can be disheartening for students.) Instead of sending home multiple grow notes for a student in a short period of time, try to follow a grow note with a glow note as soon as you can. This will reinforce to the student and their family that you are looking for (and recognizing) their growth.
Recognition is motivating! Adding daily recognition to your classroom routine will encourage your students to stay on track. They are always so eager to see if it’s their turn to receive a glow note and they’re equally eager to take it home to show their families. Glow notes are especially motivating for students who tend to receive a lot of feedback about their challenging behaviors during the school day.
Document Behavior and Communication
Glow and grow notes are a time-saving way to document behavior and parent communication. I like to take a quick picture of students holding their notes and add it to Seesaw. This way parents can expect the note in the communication folder. Plus, the picture provides documentation if the signed note doesn’t get returned.
Printable Glow and Grow Notes
Glow and grow notes offer the biggest impact on behavior for the smallest price tag and lowest prep time. If you’re ready to simplify your classroom management this year, this is the bundle for you! I have compiled a set of six different themes of glow and grow notes for you to choose from. Each theme comes with a variety of different clipart images so you can choose the glow and grow notes that would work best in your classroom. Plus, the lists are all editable so you can target specific behavior and reflect your classroom consequences.
Save These Tips for Simple Classroom Management
Be sure to save this post if you want to quickly find it later. Just add the pin below to your favorite teaching board on Pinterest. You’ll be able to come back to these simple classroom management resources and tips.