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Simple Class Behavior Management Systems

By Brian Smith on October 28, 2013
  • Grades: PreK–K, 1–2

I strive towards shaping my class into a positive community. Here are two simple behavior management plans that will help your classroom become a community as your students work towards positive goals.


Mystery Hero

Mystery Hero EnvelopeSupplies — All you need is an envelope and one index card for each student. How easy is that?

How it Works — Write each student’s name on an index card. Put all the index cards in the envelope. You pull one name at the end of the day. If that student was a hero that day by following the rules, being kind and caring, or whatever objective you pre-set, then they earn the class a reward.


Mystery Hero Rewards

I write the reward my students are working for on the board and refer back to it throughout the day. Saying something along the lines of, “Remember, you never know if you are today’s Mystery Hero,” gets the class back on track quickly. I keep all the cards in the envelope but my class thinks that there is just the one card in there each day. If the student whose name is chosen is a hero (met whatever the criteria you set) then they earn the entire class a reward. My Mystery Hero rewards never cost me any money. 

Here is a quick list of things that the chosen student could earn the class.

  • Five extra minutes of recess

  • Five extra minutes of computer lab

  • Permission to sit with your friends at lunch

  • Ten extra minutes of centers

  • Watch the "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom" video (a favorite in my class)

  • An extra song at our dance party

When the Mystery Hero does earns the class the reward, I have everyone stand up and then have certain groups sit down (kids wearing tennis shoes, boys, kids whose name starts with a vowel) until there were only a couple of kids left. Then I show the kids the name on the card and everyone says, "Thank you _______!" and claps for them.

When the Mystery Hero isn't a hero that day I just say, "Today's Mystery Hero wasn't a hero but I know the next time their name is in this envelope they will be a hero the whole day."


Build Your Monster

All Three MonstersSupplies — A Mr. Potato Head for each group

How it Works — I saw this idea on Pinterest but tweaked it a bit. I divide my class into three table groups and name the groups after different cereals. This year I have the Apple Jacks (green box), the Froot Loops (red box), and the Frosted Flakes (blue box). Each table group has their own Mr. Potato Head to build (we call them our monsters since this year my class is Monstergarten).

I have a behavior tracking system using the colors red, yellow, green, blue, and purple. I keep a color chart on the wall and each student has a clothespin attached to the chart. They start each day with their clothespin on green. Good behavior allows students to move up to blue and then purple and students move down to yellow and then red for poor choices.

If by the end of the afternoon, every child at a particular table finishes the day on a good color, they get to add something to their monster. When any table group’s monster is complete, everyone gets to pick an item out of our classroom treasure box.

Apple Jacks' Monster - BeginningFroot Loops' Monster - MiddleFrosted Flakes' Monster - Finished

For the past two years, I have used Mystery Hero and this year I’m using Build Your Monster. With both of these behavior management plans, I see students taking responsibility for their own actions. And I hear (which makes me smile every time I hear it) students gently reminding their table group friends to make good choices.

I can’t wait to see you next week.

Comments (8)

I started this yesterday with good success. I announced the hero because he was a hero and the students earned 10 minutes on the walking track. My concern and need for input is in ideas for small rewards that are still significant. We also Follow CHAMPS, which is a set of expectations. When the whole class gets a compliment or has excellent behavior they get a spot on a BINGO type board, for 5 in a row they get rewards. I don't want the mystery hero rewards to trump the CHAMPO rewards.... soooooooo ideas for small but significant rewards are wanted.... go!

Personally my class works any number of extra minutes in computer lab or with their Book Buddy class or recess. Because it's quick and usually implemented the very next day, it is that instant gratification which makes it a big deal even if it's not. The BINGO board idea sounds awesome and you are right, those prizes should be bigger because they have to work a lot longer for them! :) Usually, I've found that the instant gratification of the Mystery Hero prizes makes it desirable, not the size.

I like the ideas you have for classroom management, especially the idea that rewards do not cost you anything. Do you ever have any issues with the "eat lunch with friends" reward? I know some kids either have very few friends, or no friends at all. Also do you ever have issues monitoring if the "friends" eat with the super hero?
Thank you,


These are great strategies and tips that can be used at any grade level. I love how easy they are to set up and implement. I love your table group names- so relatable to children! The Mystery Hero sounds like a fun idea to start in my class!

Thank you for sharing!

Monstergarten--how cute is that! What a great way to inspire kids--and a great way to use Mr. Potato Heads...You made a nice choice Mr. Smith!

Thank you! We are having a LOT of fun with our Monstergarten theme!

Hi, I used the potato head last year with the whole class working towards goals. I did find a few more at garage sales, wasn't sure why I needed so many...Now I know! Thanks for a great table group way of having fun learning to behave! I like the mystery hero also. I am assuming that when you pull a card...you don't reveal the name unless they were a hero? Sounds like something I will start in November!

You are correct. I don't reveal the name unless they were a hero. What I have found is that a lot of them will assume it's them and then that perfectly opens the door for everyone to reflect on what they could do better the next day! The kids do love building their monsters. They really work hard to get those body pieces. Each Mr. Potato Head has 11 pieces that they have to put on. Thanks for reading and for the awesome comment!

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