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Structure procedures, rules, and routines in your elementary setting with the C.H.A.M.P.S Classroom Management plan. 

C.H.A.M.P.S (Conversation, Help, Activity, Movement, Participation, Success) is a classroom management program that aims to improve student behavior plus strengthen learner engagement through a strategic system of clearly defined expectations. 

It supports the idea that learners need to see and practice what certain behaviors look like in action so that they are active participants in successfully managing their own behaviors. 

Consequently, the program frames procedures, routines, and rules in a way that is comprehensible plus digestible for students, empowering them to make good behavioral choices.

Related: Brainstorm more ideas for running your elementary classroom like a well-oiled machine using our classroom management ideas and resources page.

C.H.A.M.P.S Classroom Management Explained

Individuals express different behaviors depending on the location, event, or situation.

In church, one listens attentively to the pastor, and then there’s a time to sing, dance, and shout for joy. 

At a baseball game, it’s acceptable to cheer, yell, whistle, and even throw a tantrum if angered by a referee’s decision. 

Staying silent is the expectation when sitting in a movie theater. And if one speaks, whispering is the norm. 

In comparison, think of the C.H.A.M.P.S Classroom Management program as a system that establishes expectations of behavior for kids depending on the activity and setting. 

Eventually, students learn how to regulate their actions depending on the situation. 

The goal of this post is to provide you with examples of the C.H.A.M.P.S Classroom Management strategy in an elementary school setting.  

C.H.A.M.P.S Classroom Management Criteria and Descriptors

Think of C.H.A.M.P.S as a rubric consisting of criteria with descriptors. 

The C.H.A.M.P.S acronym represents the criteria, and the descriptors reflect the expectations that you’ve set within each criteria. 

While the criteria doesn’t change, the descriptors vary based on the task and/or the location of the activity.  

In a sense, you’re creating a type of “lesson plan” for each activity, with clearly defined guidelines that students should follow in order to produce a successful outcome. 

C.H.A.M.P.S Criteria

C  = Conversation (How will students engage with each other during the activity?) 

H  = Help (What’s the process for seeking assistance or support?)

A  = Activity (What type of learning structure or format is it?)

M = Movement (Are learners permitted to move about the classroom?)

P  = Participation (Which behaviors demonstrate active learning?)

S  = Success (Are students successful with their behavior for this task?)

C.H.A.M.P.S Descriptors

The number and type of descriptors you decide to use depend on the activity or task. 

For example, descriptors for a school assembly will look slightly different from those of a guided reading lesson. 

For simplicity’s sake, you may want to create a set of descriptors that lend themselves well to most of your school and class activities.

Examples follow.

C.H.A.M.P.S Classroom Management Examples

Before starting each activity, you will review with learners expected behaviors using the C.H.A.M.P.S Classroom Management criteria and descriptors.

Example 1: Guided Reading Literacy Centers

C
Conversation

How will students engage with each other during the activity?
H
Help

What’s the process for seeking assistance or support?
A
Activity

What type of learning structure or format is it?
M
Movement

Are learners permitted to move about the classroom?
P
Participant

Which behaviors demonstrate active learning?
S
Success

Are students successful with their behavior for this task?
0 Silence
1 Whispering
2 Partner Talking
3 Group Talking 
4 Outside Voice
0 Nearby peer 
1 Help sign
2 Group help
3 Ask 3 before me
4 Seek teacher
0 Small group
1 Partners
2 Independent
3 Whole group
4 Centers
5 Transition
0 Stay in seat
1 Ask permission
2 Light movement
3 Get materials
4 Emergency only
0 Peer talking
1 Listening
2 Note-taking
3 On-task
4 Discussion
5 Read/write
Yes or No

Notice that the descriptors are numerical-based in the above example.

Choose 1 or 2 descriptors to guide the guided reading activity expectations for your elementary students.

When explaining the guided reading literacy centers to your students, your expectations may look like this…

C  = Conversation – Speak with your partner if needed.

H  = Help – Seek help from your partner or group. 

A  = Activity – You may work independently or with a partner. 

M = Movement – Remain seated in your designated “Centers” area.

P  = Participation – You should be reading, writing, and on-task. 

S  = Success – Yes! Let’s reach success!

Example 2: Transitioning from One Activity to Another

C
Conversation

How will students engage with each other during the activity?
H
Help

What’s the process for seeking assistance or support?
A
Activity

What type of learning structure or format is it?
M
Movement

Are learners permitted to move about the classroom?
P
Participant

Which behaviors demonstrate active learning?
S
Success

Are students successful with their behavior for this task?
0 Silence
1 Whispering
2 Partner Talking
3 Group Talking 
4 Outside Voice
0 Nearby peer 
1 Raise hand
2 Group help
3 Ask 3 before me
4 Seek teacher
0 Small group
1 Partners
2 Independent
3 Whole group
4 Centers
5 Transition
0 Stay in seat
1 Ask permission
2 Light movement
3 Get materials
4 Emergency only
0 Peer talking
1 Listening
2 Note-taking
3 On-task
4 Discussion
5 Read/write
Yes or No

When in the classroom and transitioning from one task to another, the teacher explains the instructions as much…

C  = Conversation – Silence

H  = Help – Help Sign or Signal

A  = Activity – Transition

M = Movement – Light Movement

P  = Participation – On-task

S  = Success – Yes! Let’s reach success!

Example 3: Attending a School Assembly

C
Conversation

How will students engage with each other during the activity?
H
Help

What’s the process for seeking assistance or support?
A
Activity

What type of learning structure or format is it?
M
Movement

Are learners permitted to move about the classroom?
P
Participant

Which behaviors demonstrate active learning?
S
Success

Are students successful with their behavior for this task?
0 Silence
1 Whispering
2 Partner Talking
3 Group Talking 
4 Outside Voice
0 Nearby peer 
1 Raise hand
2 Group help
3 Ask 3 before me
4 Seek teacher
0 Small group
1 Partners
2 Independent
3 Whole group
4 Centers
5 Transition
0 Stay in seat
1 Ask permission
2 Light movement
3 Get materials
4 Emergency only
0 Peer talking
1 Listening
2 Note-taking
3 On-task
4 Discussion
5 Read/write
Yes or No

What’s nice about the C.H.A.M.P.S Classroom Management plan is its inclusiveness of “common areas” such as playgrounds and events like school-wide assemblies.

For the example above, you’d explain to learners behavioral expectations for an assembly more or less in this way…

C  = Conversation – Remain silent unless you’re prompted to engage.

H  = Help – Seek the teacher if you need assistance.

A  = Activity – Whole Group

M = Movement – Stay seated, but show hand signal for assistance if needed

P  = Participation – Listen attentively and/or show active engagement.

S  = Success – Yes! Let’s reach success!

Example 4: Conducting Science Experiment

C
Conversation

How will students engage with each other during the activity?
H
Help

What’s the process for seeking assistance or support?
A
Activity

What type of learning structure or format is it?
M
Movement

Are learners permitted to move about the classroom?
P
Participant

Which behaviors demonstrate active learning?
S
Success

Are students successful with their behavior for this task?
0 Silence
1 Whispering
2 Partner Talking
3 Group Talking 
4 Outside Voice
0 Nearby peer 
1 Help sign
2 Group help
3 Ask 3 before me
4 Seek teacher
0 Small group
1 Partners
2 Independent
3 Whole group
4 Centers
5 Transition
0 Stay in seat
1 Ask permission
2 Light movement
3 Get materials
4 Emergency only
0 Peer talking
1 Listening
2 Note-taking
3 On-task
4 Discussion
5 Read/write
Yes or No

Before there’s a bit more interaction with this activity, the expectations for conducting a science experiment in the elementary classroom or lab might look like this…

C  = Conversation – Group Discussion

H  = Help – Ask 3 peers in your group or in close proximity to you before seeking teacher for help.

A  = Activity – Small Group

M = Movement – Light movement during activity and movement required to retrieve/return supplies

P  = Participation – Discuss important science-related matters with group, take notes, and stay on-task.

S  = Success – Yes! Let’s reach success!

To view detailed examples of C.H.A.M.P.S Classroom Management for various routines and procedures, check out these C.H.A.M.P.S lesson plan samples. 

C.H.A.M.P.S Classroom Management Printables & Templates

Consider creating C.H.A.M.P.S Classroom Management posters or a C.H.A.M.P.S bulletin board that you can refer to when describing guidelines for each activity or task. 

Post information in a visual place for all to see.

Keep in mind that you may want to change descriptors depending on the activity and its location.

See my C.H.A.M.P.S Classroom Management Pinterest board for ideas on presenting information visually to your elementary students. 

COMING SOON: C.H.A.M.P.S Classroom Management posters and printables for the elementary classroom!

For Which Routines/Procedures Should I Use C.H.A.M.P.S?

Essentially, you can use the C.H.A.M.P.S Classroom Management strategy for most classroom and/or school procedures.

Suggestions…

  • Arriving to class
  • Attending an assembly
  • Cleaning up
  • Collaborating with a group
  • Completing morning work
  • Distributing materials
  • Eating in the cafeteria
  • Emergency drills
  • End-of-day dismissal
  • Entering the classroom
  • Managing supplies in desks, backpacks, or cubbies
  • Participating in centers
  • Playing at recess
  • Request for water
  • Requesting/going to bathroom
  • Sharing in class party festivities
  • Submitting work
  • Taking a test/quiz
  • Transitions between classes and activities
  • Using playground equipment
  • Waiting in after-school dismissal areas (e.g. carpool, bus, etc.)
  • Walking in the hallways
  • Working with a partner

When to Start C.H.A.M.P.S Classroom Management 

Ideally, you’ll want to begin implementing the C.H.A.M.P.S Classroom Management system at the beginning of the school year.

Make it part of your first day of school checklist because classroom management is one of the 10 essential classroom systems you need in order to have a pleasant school year.

If for some reason you’re not able to begin the C.H.A.M.P.S Classroom Management plan at the start of the school year, begin when you’re able. 

Carve out time during your planning periods to create “lesson plans” that outline the expectations for students’ behavior during assigned activities and events.

Understand that implementing the C.H.A.M.P.S Classroom Management plan does take a bit of work upfront. However, doing so very much pays itself forward. 

To save time, divide the task of developing C.H.A.M.P.S lesson plans amongst your grade-level colleagues or Professional Learning Committee. When the work is shared, 

Consequences

So what happens when students don’t follow through with expectations?

The key is to be proactive with a set of positive reinforcers instead of reactive with punishments.

Positive reinforcements are actions that you do in order to motivate your elementary learners to remain consistent with appropriate behaviors.

Such actions include agreeable eye contact, a compliment, a smile, a reassuring nod, etc. Perform these consistently, as appropriate.

Regarding consequences, the types you use depend on your school’s expectations plus the needs of your students.

Whichever consequences you employ, be sure they…

  • Refrain from physical contact.
  • Correlate with the misbehavior.
  • Maintain a student’s dignity.
  • Remain mild instead of harsh.

Summary of C.H.A.M.P.S Classroom Management

Adopting simple language that kids understand, the C.H.A.M.P.S Classroom Management program promotes positive behaviors using clear and direct communication. 

Add consistency, and you’ve got an effective classroom management blueprint that serves both you and your students well. 

Though there are more elements to the C.H.A.M.P.S Classroom Management program, this post provides a good foundation from which to start.

All the best with your classroom management plan!

Reference: Safe & Civil Schools (Randy Sprick)