Classroom Management Compliment Chain

I was looking for a new way to manage my fifth grade behaviors this year and my coteacher and I came up with creating this “Compliment Chain” to motivate the class.  I wasn’t sure if it seemed too young for them, but I figured I’d try it, and it wasn’t at all!

compliment chain classroom management

It’s so simple to create and is a visual representation of all the great behaviors the students have been exhibited throughout the year.  

compliment chain exampleBefore school started, I cut a bunch of different colored pieces of construction paper into 1 inch wide strips. I placed the construction paper strips and a marker in a little basket (from the dollar store!) at the front of the room.  When the class as a whole is caught doing something well, they earn a link for the chain.  

I’ve done marble jars in the past, but what I LOVE about the chain instead of the jar is that I write WHY they earned the compliment on the link and the date.  That way, when we earn the class reward, we can look back and reflect on all the positive things they did to earn their reward! Pretty cool and the students really like it as well. :)  

In my class, once the chain hits the radiator/book shelf, they earn their celebration.  Since our curriculum is SO jam packed and we don’t really have time to waste this year, I keep their celebrations mostly academic.  Unfortunately, gone are the days when they can just go outside and play for a half hour! :(  

The first celebration they earned was about two and half weeks into school.  We got to have our reading class outside because it was such a beautiful day! Before we went back inside, I gave the class the last few (literally three) minutes to run around and go on the playground. They students LOVED it and honestly their behavior was so fabulous the next day because they couldn’t wait to earn their next celebration! playground celebrationWhen the weather is not so great, I plan to come up with other academic celebrations they might like such as class time to blog (we use – so great!!), play scrabble in groups, social studies learning games, etc. 

If students aren’t behaving well, I never remove the links on the chain.  That defeats the whole purpose! But what I DO do is keep the number 30 written on the board.  30 represents the number of minutes they have for their celebration once they earn it.  If the whole class needs a reminder about behavior, I’ll remove a minute.  Once they see me do that, they get right back on task. :)


Our school is departmentalized, hence why I have two different chain links.  They love having a friendly competition with the other class to see who can reach the bottom first! Great motivator! Once we get a couple of full length chains, I plan to use them as garland to decorate our room.

Share some of the classroom management strategies you use in your class! I’d love to hear them. :)

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