Acting like a CHAMPion!

CHAMPS is my all time favorite classroom management tool.  Misbehavior generally stems from a fear of not knowing what to expect or know how to act. My students are still trying to figure which shoes to wear, which friends to hang with and how to talk to the opposite sex. I don’t want my space to add to their day to day uncertainty. We are already teaching how to act on stage, CHAMPS teaches them how to act in our rooms.

It saved my life my first year teaching and it still does.   I had a huge problem with admin not understanding my expectations for students  during acting warm- ups or during games, my lessons were so different from any other room. The admin couldn’t evaluate or predict the behavior- why was it ok for students to yell about Princeton Preppy’s poops in circle?! CHAMPS gave me a way to talk to them about what was happening.  Before CHAMPS, it was impossible to transition or have classroom consistency from one day -Physical Warm Ups to Direct Instruction to Group Work  to the next day’s lesson: Physical Warm-ups to Group Work to Performance. By nature our class projects are constantly evolving, CHAMPS helps with instructional consistency and structure.


CHAMPS is an acronym to teach and instruct students how to act during ALL class procedures defined by the teacher.

CHAMPS stands for:

Conversation -

How loud are the students during the activity?


How do you want the students to get assistance during the activity?


This is the type or the name of the procedure.


Where do you want the students to be during the activity? Standing in a circle? Sitting in desks?


How will you know if the students are participating? What will they produce at the end of the activity?


What do the students need to complete the activity?

How to implement:

From day one, I have the CHAMPS row  projected on all my activity slides. It’s almost subliminal messages to the students right now. While we discuss the expectations for campus, the class and for the activity I’m using the idea of CHAMPS. Not until the beginning of the third week, do I introduce and let the kids in the method we will be using every day all day in my class. I wait this long for several reasons. One- rosters are never solidified until the third week of the semester and this initial introduction is so important I need as many warm bodies in the room. Two- I’ve found the more I use subliminal commercials about information before the unit or lesson, there’s less shell shock and  more buy in.

You must model the appropriate ways and let the students PERFORM the CHAMP expectations to the class. I make this up to be a huge deal! By this time in the semester, we have played several theatre and name games, stumbled through improv performances and held an entertaining Stand Up Comedy Show. It’s now time to ACT!

How to sustain:

Generally during group or independent  activities, I have a “To Do list” or the rubric projected on the wall. So why not, add the specific CHAMP row to the bottom of the slide?

Middle Schoolers need several more reminders about their actions, so I add the row on the top of worksheets.   I add the row to introduction slides for notes. Sometimes the kids fill out the row for a specifically tedious task.

After any break, I do a mini lesson on behavior and expectations. Review and reteach behavior. I put a copy of CHAMPS in their folders in the initial packet. So they’re never without instructions or an excuse.

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