Having a bad day? Go to Australia. An Easy Clasroom Management Tool

Need an easy management tool for the elementary classroom?  This blog post details how to use Australian Flags along with the book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day as a classroom management strategy.
This idea goes along with the book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day and comes from one of my college professors.  In his room, he had a table reserved as "Australia".  If one of his students was having a bad day they could go work at the Australia table for a few minutes until they were feeling better.
Need an easy management tool for the elementary classroom?  This blog post details how to use Australian Flags along with the book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day as a classroom management strategy.
I've never quite had room to make a whole Australia table (in fact last year I didn't even have counter space and ended up putting them on my whiteboard), so I use little Australian flags.  We always read the Alexander book on the first week of school and then I talk to my students about the flags.  We brainstorm reasons to use the flags, how to put it on their desks, when to put it back, etc. (We do not live in Australia we discuss, so constant flag usage is not an option).  They know that they are having a bad morning/recess/feeling sad/having some sort of other undisclosed mental emergency, they can go get an Australian flag and put it on their desk.  They may NOT give fiendish stares to another student who may be causing their Australia emergency, they may just put the flag on their desk, take a few deep breaths, and know that I know something is up.
Need an easy management tool for the elementary classroom?  This blog post details how to use Australian Flags along with the book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day as a classroom management strategy.
This gives them an immediate way to show me they're upset, and is a great reminder for me to check in with them when I have a chance.  Two seconds after recess ends is NEVER the best time for mental check-ins, so this gives them the power to show me they might need a little extra love while not needing to wave their cute little arms in my face while I usher 29 other little kidlets in from the playground.

I've also found this to be a great tool to tell parents about at conferences.  If a parent happens to mention that their child is feeling upset or frustrated with a classmate and feels as if I should be noticing said frustration, I tell them all about the flags and ask their child if they've been using them.  I'm not a mind reader, but I can see a flag if you slap one on your desk.      
Need an easy management tool for the elementary classroom?  This blog post details how to use Australian Flags along with the book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day as a classroom management strategy.
This simple strategy has always worked really well in my classroom, although there have been a few times I've had some fiendish stare-ers who needed a reminder or two on appropriate flag usage. These work especially well for shy students who might not want to talk about exactly what is bothering them immediately, or for students who need time to process before talking about something that is bothering them.

If you are short on time and don't want to make your own flags/poster, check out my TpT product that includes 8 different posters and 3 different styles of flags.  Just print and go!
Need an easy management tool for the elementary classroom?  This blog post details how to use Australian Flags along with the book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day as a classroom management strategy.
Need an easy management tool for the elementary classroom?  This blog post details how to use Australian Flags along with the book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day as a classroom management strategy.
I hope you can use this idea in your classroom.  Let me know if you give it a try!
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15 comments

  1. I like this! I'm using a stop sign as something similar with just one student, but I like that any student can use this!

    Do you have a few kids that seem to 'live' in Australia? I might have to find some cheap sand timers or something to go along!

    Excited to follow you!

    Jenny
    Luckeyfrog's Lilypad

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  2. I have definitely had a few little cuties who wanted to move to Australia permanently :), but I try to give some disclaimers about this when I introduce the flags at the beginning of the year. If someone needs a perma-flag then we usually have some one-on-one chats and they're good to go.

    Thanks for following me! I'm following you too.
    Katie

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  3. This is a great idea! Thanks for sharing.
    Following you! I'm a brand new blogger as of....today!

    Diane

    schoolhousetreasures.blogspot.com

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  4. I'm your newest follower and I love this Australia flag idea! My kiddos love the Alexander stories, but I've never thought of this. Such a great idea! :)

    Rachel
    A-B-Seymour

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  5. Katie, I forgot to mention that I use this book at the beginning of the year and tie it into part of my classroom behavior and setting rules for the year. After reading the book, we discuss what kinds of things that might happen in a classroom that would make for a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day at school. Then we talk about the opposite - what we need to do to have a wonderful, great year in 3rd grade.

    Diane
    schoolhousetreasures

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  7. haha I wasnt sure what to think about naughty kids getting sent to Australia but I assume it is to do with the book. :) I guess most of us Australians are here because we were naughty in the first place (convicts) ......funny, not offensive

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  8. Where can I get this?

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  9. I might make an American table for my Aussie class lol

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  10. Love this! I have a little corner in my room that is not used for anything, so I am in the process of turning it into Australia! I am making a eucalyptus tree to attach to the wall, posting pictures of Australian animals, as well as calm down techniques and the zones of regulation. I am making a glitter water bottle timer that I will float mini koalas and kangaroos in. When they need a break, they can go to Australia to calm down. They shake the bottle when they get there, and when the glitter settles they can rejoin the class.

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    1. Awesome idea! I would absolutely LOVE to have an Australia table. I'm sure your kids will love that glitter water bottle too!
      Thanks for sharing!

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