Practice Cards are the second level in the Whole Brain Teaching classroom management system. While the Scoreboard is meant to address group behavior, Practice Cards allow you to focus on individual behavior. It’s up to you to decide when to introduce Practice Cards with your students, but put it off as long as possible. One year you may be able to rely on the Scoreboard until January. The next year…you may need them by Thanksgiving! That’s probably the earliest I would ever use them, though. It’s a long school year and you don’t want to run out of strategies by February!
- Use card pocket holders (similar to the kind used in the back of library books) or purchase a plastic pocket chart from Carson Dellosa, which is what I have in my classroom. Each student should have their own pocket holder.
- You will also need copy paper in the following colors – white, purple and green.
Practice Cards (White)
Practice Cards are white and you will need one for each of your classroom rules. Practice Cards address individual behavior. If a student is not following one of your rules, identify specifically which rule they need to practice by placing that card in the student’s pocket. Don’t make a big fuss – just pop the card into the holder and keep on teaching. At recess, the student practices that specific rule and gesture for 2 minutes. There’s no scolding, only rehearsing. Click on the link below for a set of Practice Cards. I’ve used my variation on WBT’s 5 Classroom Rules. However, you can open the link in Microsoft Word and edit it to match your own classroom rules.
- White Practice Cards – Rule 1
- White Practice Cards – Rule 2
- White Practice Cards – Rule 3
- White Practice Cards – Rule 4
- White Practice Cards – Rule 5
Any day a student receives a white Practice Card, the student takes home a Practice Note. This explains exactly which rule the student needed to practice, with a recommendation for additional practice at home. Parents are asked to sign and return the note the next day. I teach our rules with gestures to the students and their families at my school’s Open House, which occurs a few days before the first day of school. That way parents can support their child’s practice by knowing the gestures that accompany each rule. This document is also editable.
Praise Cards (Purple)
At the other end of the behavior continuum, sometimes you want to affirm a student’s excellent behavior. That’s where the purple Praise Cards come into play. Use them when a student is doing an exceptional job of following a specific classroom rule. Be sure to print them on purple paper to further distinguish them from Practice Cards.
- Purple Praise Cards – Rule 1
- Purple Praise Cards – Rule 2
- Purple Praise Cards – Rule 3
- Purple Praise Cards – Rule 4
- Purple Praise Cards – Rule 5
A Praise Note also goes home with the student to be signed and returned the next day. What parent wouldn’t want to receive a note from the teacher about how well their child is doing in school?
Prompt Cards (Green)
I named green practice cards Prompt Cards to distinguish them from the other two and because…well, I just like the alliteration. Use these Prompt Cards (printed on green paper) when you want a student to monitor their ability to follow a specific rule. For example, every time a student remembers to raise their hand for permission to speak, they would put a tally mark on their green card. You can work out with each student the number of tally marks that would result in a star on the Super Improver Wall.
- Green Prompt Cards – Rule 1
- Green Prompt Cards – Rule 2
- Green Prompt Cards – Rule 3
- Green Prompt Cards – Rule 4
- Green Prompt Cards – Rule 5
Of course, you can also watch this video by Coach B to learn more about how to use Practice Cards of all varieties with your students.
While you won’t need these resources at the start of a new school year, a wise teacher always has a plan in place for dealing with future issues that may arise. Go ahead and prepare your Practice, Praise and Prompt Cards. You’ll be glad to have these strategies in your “back pocket” later in the year, and they will enable you and your students to stay focused on learning!