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Substitute Square Expectations

Found In: advice & support, works4me, substitute teachers

I am a substitute teacher and have found my Construction Paper Square Behavior system works wonderfully. I use a paper cutter at school to make 1- inch square pieces of construction paper. When the students enter the classroom, I hand each student 3 squares and instruct them to put their full name on each square. Then students spread the squares across the top of their desks. I explain that at the end of the period, all squares they have left will be placed in a bag for a drawing. (I picked up some cheap items from a dollar store, clearance sections, etc.)

I go over the posted classroom expectations with the class. If none were posted by the teacher, I write mine on the board. If a student chooses not to comply with one of the rules, I pick up one of his squares and write a brief comment on the back as to what the problem was and put it in a bag, which I pre-mark for each period. It’s amazing how the class responds to that first square being lost by a student, watching me write on the square, and depositing it in a prepared bag! They know immediately that the expectations will be enforced.

At the end of the period or day, I use the collected squares to write detailed notes for the teacher. Because I collect the squares with names on them, I don’t have to depend on my memory to keep names & details straight. The more I substitute, the more the students recognize me and understand my expectations before class even gets started.


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