In my classroom, I’m a big believer in positive reinforcement. Give a kid a reason to do the right thing and more than likely he will. Most of the time, anyway. To that end, one of the Jedi mind tricks I employ is a weekly competition for Table Points. The three tables of my seating configuration try to rack up as many points as possible for good behavior, being kind, keeping their work space tidy, etc.
A popular Table Points award is going just outside the classroom door and using sidewalk chalk. I usually give the winning group about five or ten minutes while everyone else continues working on something mundane. One time however, when a group of kids went out to decorate the sidewalk, a sweet little girl wrote ASS as big as you please. Yeah.
So now, we have a ritual before engaging in the use of sidewalk chalk. I line up the winners and have them make a little pledge.
Me: Raise your right hand and repeat after me: (various hands go up)
I, state your name,
Kids: I, state your name,
M: Do hereby solemnly promise,
K: Do hair spray sodomy promise,
M: That I will not,
K: That I will not,
M: Write bad words,
K: Write bad words,
M: On the sidewalk.
K: On the sidewalk.
Okay, yes, sometimes I do say things just to amuse myself.