Calming Christmas Craziness

Is Christmas craziness taking over your classroom? As a veteran teacher, I’ve tried every behavior management trick and technique to calm holiday chaos that predictably arrives every year around December 1 and found limited success. These three weeks should be full of fun and learning, but for years they left me exasperated and exhausted. I decided to take back control with Reindeer in the Room, a customizable, effective behavior management plan I created based upon Elf on the Shelf.  It’s made a tremendous difference in my classroom and I’m excited to share this idea with other teachers. Follow these easy steps to introduce Reindeer in the Room to your class:

1. Purchase a small reindeer. I found mine at the Hallmark store, but they can be found anywhere.


2. Read Elf on a Shelf to introduce Reindeer in the Room. The majority of students have an elf at home and it is a perfect connection to the Reindeer in the Room. I explain that Santa sends elves to watch children at home, but Santa gives teachers an extra special helper, a reindeer. He comes down from the North Pole and gives Santa a daily behavior report. This report provides valuable information to Santa because education is very important to him. Santa expects that all children listen, participate and give their best effort.

3. Read poem to students to introduce the reindeer and show them the reindeer. Explain that the reindeer works just like the elf, watching the class carefully and then reporting to Santa each night. Each day the reindeer will give a special antler reward to one or two well-behaved students. The reindeer will also leave a hoof on the desk of misbehaved students as a symbol to “stomp out” poor behavior immediately.DSC_1521

4. Discuss behavior goals with the class and record on board. Students will write 3 individual behavior goals and record them on the Reindeer Promise sheet. The reindeer reads these goals and watches students’ progress towards them.


5. Display Reindeer Promises and Reindeer in the Room on a bulletin board. I purchased this Santa head from Hobby Lobby and then added the title, “Santa’s Watching….” as a reminder to students.


6. In order to determine gets an antler and hoof each day, I take quick notes on a Post-It throughout the day. I specifically look for students that I see going above and beyond (helping others, picking up trash on playground, etc.). I give a hoof to students who lose a star (as part of my classroom behavior plan). Antlers and hooves can easily be used with existing behavior systems. For example, antlers can be given to students who get to blue (excellent behavior) and hooves can be given for students who go to yellow or red on stoplight behavior system. There are days when no one gets a hoof.

7. Each night before I leave school, I put the antler(s) and hooves on students’ desks and move the reindeer to a new location. Students are so excited to discover the reindeer’s new location and see who earned antlers and who got hoofed. I briefly discuss this with students before we go over the schedule and take attendance in the morning. It sets the tone for the day and reminds them about their behavior goals.

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