A wise teacher once told me that you need to have a 'bag of tricks' to deal with certain classes. So, in this post, I'd like to share with you one of my favorite tricks that you might want to add to your management bag if you wish. Free download included. This 'Secret Agents' strategy worked well for me when subbing in different classes.
The 'Secret Agents Behavior Strategy' is so easy to use and implement with your usual behavior management routine. It works well because of the mystery factor added in, plus it gives students the opportunity to be the ones responsible for observing ideal classroom behavior. As a sub, you can step in to any class and introduce this idea quickly with nothing else but the badges provided in the free download and an explanation with your expectations for the day.
This one particular class, who I will call my 'Cherished Challengers', proved to be super difficult to manage some days. I only saw them once a week, so maintaining a consistency was difficult too. I figured that I needed a special trick to go with my usual management routine. That's when I first introduced 'Secret Agents.' I adapted this idea from the popular 'Mystery Student' strategy. But, instead of picking a mystery student to 'keep an eye on' I changed it to be picking Secret Agents to look out for positive behavior by their peers. Then, the Secret Agents get to choose one-two students each at the end of the day to receive bonus stickers/points/tokens/raffle tickets or something that suits the reward system.
I've experienced positive results using this Secret Agents strategy in multiple classes. Some of the ones with more challenging behaviors loved the responsibility of being a Secret Agent, and it also helped remind them about what is appropriate classroom behavior.
So how does it work?
1. Download my free'Secret Agent Badge Cards' HERE, print, laminate, and cut.
2. At the start of the day, secretly give the badges to two - four students of your choice. You may wish to do this by putting into a book or into their desk.
3. If it is the first time you are introducing this strategy, explain and discuss your expectations.
4. Instruct students to quietly check to see if they have the 'Secret Agent' badge at the start of the day, and if they do, like any brilliant agent, they must keep it a secret from the rest of the class.
5. Remind the class for behavior or special goals that the Secret Agents will be looking for throughout the day. By addressing your expectations and goals, you are quickly reinforcing to the 'Secret Agents' what they must look for in their peers to help with making their choices, and the rest of the class is clear about what behavior the 'Secret Agents' are seeking.
6. Every now and again throughout the day, make a comment such as 'Secret Agents, I hope you are looking out to see which students are focusing on this task.' Or, 'I need my Secret Agents to spy out the best listeners during our class discussion.'
7. At the end of the day, instruct the daily Secret Agents to reveal their identities. Each agent will be required to name one or two of their peers to receive points/tokens/raffle tickets for positive behavior. Each Secret Agent is required to give the reason for their peer choice.
8. Secret Agents must hand in their badge after the reveal of their choices. Ready to rinse and repeat tomorrow with a new selection of Secret Agents.
Some important notes:
Secret Agents is something that can be quickly introduced any time of the year if other strategies aren't working as well as you hoped and it is also just as easy to remove if it doesn't suit your class. I hope this is a strategy that may be a fun addition to your classroom management strategy bag.'
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If you like the Mystery Theme, you may wish to try this fun free 'Print & Go' math mystery Activity:
You may also like this Mystery Record and Rank Chart to increase student motivation:
A 21st century School Teacher, Mother, and Wife.
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