A Classroom Management System for Middle School

Having a classroom management system in middle school is so hard!! A lot of it is too “elementary” for them and they just won’t buy into it! If you want a management system to work for any grade level, there has to be buy in from the students. When I was in college I had a professor who was like Mr. Feeney to me & he told us, “a child will do anything for a Jolly Rancher.” I used this to my advantage & made it into my classroom management system! 

Jolly Rancher Wars is a weekly challenge where my 5 classes compete against each other. They have opportunities to earn points throughout the class for positive behaviors. They can also lose points as a class for being too loud or off task. At the end of the week, whatever class has the most points wins!! Then the following Monday every student in the winning class gets a Jolly Rancher. Yup, that’s literally it! (*If there is a tie I give it to both classes)

They earn points for:

  1. Coming in quietly and immediately starting on their bell ringer
  2. Perfect call & responses (They are loud, say it all together, and then immediately silent afterwards so I can give instructions)
  3. Quiet work time
  4. On task work time
  5. Positive sub report

They lose points for:

  1. Being too loud as a class
  2. Being off task

*Obviously you can tweak these, but this is what I use with my students!*

Over time I have really made this more student focused than teacher focused. What I mean by this is I now have a student leader in each class that is in charge of giving the class tallys on the white board. I am still telling the student when the class earns a point, but having the job of putting the point on the white board has somehow turned into the most wanted job!! I switch students every week. What tends to happen is if the class is on task, working well, or I just forget to give them a point for something, the student in charge of the points for the week is reminding me right away!! They are so invested. 

A question I get a lot about this system is if I take points away. The answer is yes. If the class is too loud or off task, I’ll walk over to the board and slowly (& dramatically) erase a point. They are usually so upset haha! Them knowing that I do this also makes the students responsible for each other. If they are starting to get too loud, they remind their classmates that they could lose a point.

This will be my 4th year using this classroom management system. For the first 3 years I literally just wrote my 5 classes on my white board & gave them tally marks for points. It was free, easy, & worked like a charm! This year I decided to upgrade my Jolly Rancher board by creating labels! You can access these editable labels here. The white board was a gift from our principal to our staff two years ago so I don’t have a link for that. I love that it is on a separate white board from the ones in the front so it doesn’t take up any room I need. You could put this on your wall, chalkboard, whiteboard, etc. 

If you are not allowed to give candy at your school, you could always change it up & have the students earn something else like free time, a class game, or whatever else they want to work for! They are so creative that they can help you come up with an idea. For the students that can’t have a Jolly Rancher, I give them a mint. 

This has been a game changer in my classroom management. It’s easy, the kids are motivated by it, & it can quickly be implemented!! The key is to find something that works for YOU AND YOUR STUDENTS!!!!! I have seen so many teachers tweak this to use in their classroom and that is what I love about it the most! If you teach elementary and don’t have separate classes, you could always have your students compete versus the other tables in the class. One thing I want to implement this year is to keep track of what class wins the most. Then at the end of the year that class will earn a party. 

Let me know if you have any questions about this classroom management system I use for middle school! 


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