Throughout my teaching years, I have to say I have not had a completely unmanageable class. I mean, every year had its moments, for sure, but that’s to be expected! Not one class is ever going to be “perfect.”
I was mainly a first-grade teacher, and I LOVED my firsties! However, they were probably the chattiest sweeties I had!
I remember one year that was simply the… well, most memorable. I tried everything! I made clear expectations, improved my teaching routines, updated modeling exercises, and utilized Class Dojo until I completely ran out of ideas. All efforts were not wasted! They just didn’t work the way MY class needed that year.
They still had issues behaving in the hallways and bathrooms, and don’t get me started on the cafeteria (PHEW!). It actually got to the point where my student’s activity teachers would send feedback that they were “talkative, energetic, off task, and sometimes unmanageable.”
This broke my teacher’s heart because I KNEW these littles were such a sweet group of kids who just needed some creative reasoning. So, I came up with an idea!
Super Student Bingo!
This is a behavior management system I created that involves some fun aspects like friendly competition, mystery, and a whole-class reward. I had plenty of experience figuring out creative ways to positively incentivize students in a productive, fun way, so I decided to bundle it into one classroom game!
It helps when students have goals set and a clear plan to reach that goal. This is what makes this management tool so effective!
This is how Super Student Bingo works:
I had the bingo board displayed in the front of the room for all the students to see clearly. Having it easily noticeable or reachable is very important. You can easily give students reminders, and they can see how close to their goals they are.
I would then set our bingo picture cards in a little bucket (with a cute label) and then all of my student’s assigned numbers in another bucket.
Every time we planned to leave the room, I picked one student’s number and kept it a secret. This is where the mystery is! I told my students that I would be watching my secret super student very closely. If they follow all expectations the ENTIRE time we are out of the room, then our super student will earn us a bingo picture!
As per the regular bingo game, five covered spaces in a row wins! So, if the chosen super student won our bingo picture card, I would add it to the corresponding picture on the bingo board in our classroom! We will add cards until a line is complete, and then the class wins the big prize!
I would let my students take a vote as to what the big whole-class prize would be before we started the game (a lunch party was the usual winner – of course!). I would make the prize options fun but also reasonable. Lunch party? Yes! Music, picnic-style lunch with our cafeteria or lunchbox food in the classroom, and games IF there was extra time. PIZZA party? No. That was only for special occasions, and I didn’t want to set the bar for each class prize too high to become a chore when we reached our goal.
I loved the camaraderie this positive system encouraged! They never knew who the secret student was. So they would work as a unified team to redirect their classmates who were talking in line or not being respectful in the lunchroom. Everywhere we went, students quickly learned the expectations for that space and began implementing change in a positive way.
Plus, students were able to work on their communication and friendship skills. We discussed how to carefully and lovingly remind their fellow classmates to follow expectations without saying it rudely or demandingly. So, all this helped with our team skills, too!
Do you want to implement this super fun management tool in your classroom this year?!
Sidenote: This classroom management bingo game is a great way to exercise those Social-Emotional Character Education skills too! Such as tattling vs reporting, following directions, and voice levels!