How to Implement House Groups & Improve School Culture
House Systems in elementary schools can be extremely useful for building community and teaching cooperation. Elementary-age students, especially, love to be a part of houses. You can really take the fun up a notch with special chants or cheers, silly names and games, and bright colors or patterns. But for elementary students, you may have to structure your house group activities a little differently than for older students. Try these ideas:
8 Ways to Make House Systems in Elementary Schools Effective
1) Use Hybrid Digital/Physical House Group Management
Consider using a combination of physical and digital house groups management. Elementary students may still need tangible items to understand what group they are in or how many points their house has earned. PBIS Rewards allows you to digitally manage your PBIS initiative, which will make everything easier for your staff. However, young students may need to see, touch, or hold physical representations of their houses to drive home the idea of house groups.
2) Display House Members in Common Areas of the School
Add student pictures to a schoolwide bulletin board to show which students belong to which house groups. Publicly display the house groups totals so that students can always see how many points their group has earned. The House Leader Board in PBIS Rewards can be displayed on a monitor in your school’s common area so students can easily see their house’s progress.
3) Have Mixed Grade Levels in Each House Group
Randomly select the students from each grade level for every group. Have the older students in the group mentor and lead the younger students. With PBIS Rewards, the system can randomly assign students into houses for you.
4) Have House Groups’ Names Already Selected
Consider choosing the names for the house groups instead of having the students choose the name. Elementary students may struggle with producing ideas and gaining consensus with choosing a name for their house group.
5) Use Anonymous Voting
Elementary students may have difficulty with making different choices from their friends. Allow students to anonymously vote on group names, activities, t-shirts, etc. to eliminate the temptation to select the same choices as their friends.
6) Layer the Learning
Help reinforce your behavior matrix by naming the house groups to reflect the schoolwide expectations. Have each group lead the school community in activities that reflect the specific expectation they are named after.
7) Acknowledge the Winning House Often
Younger students are learning how to be acknowledged and how to acknowledge others. Identify and celebrate the house group that earns the most points frequently. Highlight the house that has the most points for the day, week, month, grading period, and year. This will give more groups an opportunity for recognition and help motivate students.
8) Highlight a House of the Month
Highlight a house each month. Have everyone in the school wear that group’s colors on a certain day of the week. Have that group share ways to live out the expectation they represent at school and at home during morning announcements or school-wide assemblies.
There’s No Place Like… House Groups in PBIS Rewards
PBIS Rewards’ newest feature, House Groups, allows you to create, recognize, and manage house groups in your school.
The software allows you to randomly assign students to houses, enabling you to create mixed-grade groups. Once these groups are established, staff members can use PBIS Rewards to recognize and award points to everyone in a house at once. This can be especially helpful when your school holds schoolwide events like pep assemblies or field days.
For elementary students, being part of a house can help to build a positive connection to their school. Having mixed-grade groups allows older students to form leadership skills and gain experience in mentoring. Younger students benefit from the experience and encouragement of students in higher grades. When it comes to building a stronger school culture, you can’t go wrong with implementing house groups in PBIS Rewards!
PBIS Rewards’ house groups feature is INCLUDED in the base cost of the software, so every school using the software can incorporate a house group system. We’d love to tell you more and walk you through all of the features available in PBIS Rewards. Contact us today!