Regardless of the kind of weather April has delivered to you thus far, springtime is here—and our students can feel it in their bones. If you’re looking for a simple classroom management strategy, one to reenergize your students (and their parents) and carry them into the home stretch of the school year, we may have just the thing for you: “brag” phone calls. This is an idea we gleaned from Donna Kelley, a teacher from Westminster, Colorado.
Brag Phone Calls, a classroom management strategy to take you into June
Most teachers have a classroom telephone, but even if you don’t, a cell phone will do just as well. The idea is to use the telephone as an incentive for high scores, excellent behavior or a job well done.
Here’s what Kelley has done with the activity: “At the beginning of the semester, I discuss what high quality, standard, and substandard work looks like in each subject area," she explains. "I establish with my class what level and quality of work earns a brag call. I explain to them that when work is exceptional and exceeds the standard, I'd like them to share with their parents their excitement about a job well done.”
Kelley has made it common practice to return excellent assignments with “brag call!” written on them. Then, at an appointed time during the day, she gives the student time to use the phone and report the good news to his or her parents. The rewards of brag calls are huge, especially when you consider how little it takes to make them happen. They’re also great for connecting you with parents. Instead of having the student make the phone call, you might first speak to the parent to let them know that their son or daughter has a special announcement!
We all know that parental involvement positively impacts our students’ academic achievement. We also know that making this happen is often easier said than done. Brag phone calls are a simple way to strengthen the parent-teacher-student triad, reinvent your classroom management strategy, and create effective lines of communication between home and school.
We know that coming up with ways to motivate students and keep them focused in class is no easy task; that's precisely why we put together our guide, Classroom Management Tips for Elementary Teachers, a quick refresher for teachers to inject a little energy into their day. Also, be sure to stop by our resource library where you'll find free downloadables, podcasts and webinars on-demand.