Helping Kids Make Better Choices: Think Time

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Classroom management is a huge part of maintaining a successful classroom environment. As teachers, it's important we find ways to help our little ones make good choices and contribute to a peaceful, cohesive classroom community. Nowadays you can find thousands of fantastic tricks and tips to support students from different schools of thought. I believe in clear expectations and accountability. One of my favorite things to use to help students take ownership over poor choices is Think Time.

 In my classroom, student are asked to complete a Think Time sheet if they have received a reminder about a specific behavior and have chosen to repeat or continue the behavior. It gives the child a chance to reflect on the choices they have made and how it affects others around them. Think Time is not the same as Time Out! I do not have a specific Think Time desk or table in my classroom-  students complete it right at their own desks. Its purpose is not to shame or punish the child, but provide them with a consequence that focuses on reflection and problem solving.

Think Time Response Sheet for Primary GradesThink Time Response Sheet for Kindergarten

Once the Think Time sheet is completed:
  • I hold onto it until the child has had enough time to calm down and meet with them one on one
  • I get on his or her level (sitting or kneeling as necessary) and kindly ask them to explain why they think they needed Think Time. This is so important! You wouldn't believe how quickly some little ones forget what happened! 
  • I then use "I" statements to explain specifically what he or she did, and why it wasn't acceptable. I do not scold- it feels a bit more like a heart to heart. Touching base with the student is vital... obviously, children do not like to receive consequences (which can cause anger or resentment) but this allows them to see and hear that you aren't mad at them, you love them, and just want them to do well! Also, kids sometimes don't understand why some actions aren't okay... this clears up any confusion and helps them understand.
  • At the end of the day, the Think Time sheet is sent home so they parents can read it, go over it with their child, and then sign/return it to school.

I started used Think Time back when I very first started teaching, and although I've changed the format and process a little bit- it remains a major aspect of my classroom management system.

My Think Time sheets are available for free at my Teachers Pay Teachers store. Check it out here! There are now two different styles to choose from, and three versions (boxes, primary lines, regular lines).  I hope you find it to be as helpful as I do!

What are some things you do the help your students stay accountable for the choices they make?

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