Classroom Management: The "Refocus Form" - EB Academics

Grab Your Free Writing Guide

Become an EB Insider Today

Classroom Management: The “Refocus Form”

October 22, 2016 3 min read

Classroom Management: The “Refocus Form”

October 22, 2016 3 min read

As much as I would love to take credit for this brilliant idea, it was first introduced to me by the 4th grade teacher at our school. And I have to say, it is one of my favorite behavior management strategies! It’s simple and it’s effective – what more can you ask for!

Here how it works:
  • A student begins to participate in off-task behavior (talking while they’re not supposed to, passing a note in class, messing around while in group work, etc.).
  • I walk over to said students and say in a nice, quiet voice, “You know, Max, you’re off task right now, and I think you need to go fill out a Refocus Form.” 
  • Max walks over to the back of the classroom where the Refocus Forms are located, he sits at the back table, completes the refocus form, and then resumes whatever class activity he was participating in. 
    • *Of course this whole process is explicitly taught at the beginning of the year when we review all of our classroom policies and procedures. So students know exactly what they are supposed to do. 
  • At the end of the day, I go through the Refocus Forms (which I have only given out 8 this entire school year), and I either email the parents to let them know what happened, or I share the information through Class Dojo

The Refocus Form asks the students to finish three sentence starters that help them reflect on their behavior and what they could do differently in the future:

I was asked to refocus because I …
Instead, I could have …
In the future, I will …

Allowing students the opportunity to reflect on their behavior is hugely helpful for them! I even know some adults who could benefit from the Refocus Form 😉 I also love that the Refocus Form provides you with a written version of the events in the classroom from the student’s perspective because you can use these when you have parent-teacher conferences to help both the parents and the students see what type of behavior is happening in class. This way, everyone can work together to create a positive learning experience for that specific child.

Another part of the Refocus Form that I love is that because students are writing and reflecting themselves, without any prompting from their teacher, it’s possible you might get some insight into what your student is really struggling with that may have lead to that behavior (i.e., maybe they didn’t get breakfast that morning, or they’re worried about where they’re going to sleep tonight). Now that you’re aware of some of the other struggles your students face, you’re much more equipped with knowledge to help them be successful in your classroom.

CLICK HERE to grab your free refocus forms and start using this strategy in your classroom right away!

What are some of the classroom management strategies you use? We’d love to know – send us an email at or leave a comment below!

Want to save this post for later? Just pin the image below!

All posts


  • Garden Full of Knowledge October 30, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    What a fabulous concept! Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Laurie W July 24, 2017 at 7:21 pm

    Will your be using this in your new 8th grade classroom?

  • Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.



    Hi there! We're two middle school ELA teachers with a mission to share ideas, tips, and tricks for effectively teaching reading and writing in the secondary classroom. We're so happy you stopped by!

    Caitlin + Jessica

    Your 15 Free Resources Are Waiting!

    Immediately receive access to our
    Free Resource Library

    We promise we won't spam you.

    Let’s Connect

    Popular Posts

    Our Latest Posts



    • This honestly might be my favorite tip I’ve EVER come across on IG. EVER!!! 🤗🤗🤗 It’s from my friend Melissa @readingandwritinghaven ⁣
It’s meant to ensure you’re not teaching writing genres in isolation. KEY 👌🏼 ⁣
Here’s how it works:⁣
- Take a topic and put it in the middle⁣
- Brainstorm possible titles or questions related to that topic that could be addressed in different genres ⁣
- Give students choice and have them pick 1-2 genres to write ⁣
Honestly. Brilliant. ⁣
Thanks @readingandwritinghaven !! And if you aren’t a fan of Melissa yet, you definitely should be 😘♥️
    • It’s about this time of year that I always seem to think about quitting. Every year. Without fail. ⁣
And I think it’s because it’s the hardest part. ⁣
Just like how at the gym you think there’s no way in HECK you can do that last push-up or that last squat. ⁣
May is that last lunge. ⁣
But I remind myself every time, that I’ve left teaching twice only to be MISERABLE. ⁣
The grass almost always looks greener. But it’s not always greener. ⁣
Just take care of yourself, let things go, give every piece of effort, and then enjoy your summer knowing you reached deep within yourself to make it there. ⁣
And make it there happily, filled with contentment. ⁣
Happy Friday in May, friends. Love you guys 😘 📸 @carlacoulson
    • Tell me what you’re teaching right now 👇🏼 Seriously! Let’s get a catalogue of awesome content, so we can all learn from each other!⁣
I’m currently teaching a fan favorite “The Cask of Amontillado” - the irony, the foreshadowing, the evil soul of Montressor ... it is SO GOOD. ⁣
Anyhow, we’re still trucking along to the end! Keeping it interesting and engaging with great lit!⁣
Love you guys 😘 Keep up the good work!
    • When is your bedtime? Because please tell me I’m not the only one 🙋🏼‍♀️🤷🏼‍♀️ (I might even change that to 8:30 at this point 😆).⁣
Happy Monday, friends 💕 ⁣
Let’s kick this week off with a bang! I’ve got an awesome podcast episode coming out tomorrow with my friend, Holly @researchandplay and next week’s episode is going to be *JUST* what you need to hear this time of year. ⁣
Love you guys! 😘
    • My Mom’s best advice ...?⁣
Life is short. Drink the Chardonnay. Eat the carbs. Travel the world 😂😘 (Which is precisely what we’re doing in this pic from our last trip to Italy together) ♥️ Gotta love her. ⁣⁣⁣⁣
Happy Mother’s Day! I am a proud momma to my little William and two furry boys, Charlie and Huckleberry 👶🏼🐕🐕 and just want to celebrate all the women in our lives - whether you are a mom, hoping to become a mom, or don’t have the desire to be a mom. ⁣
Women are amazing!⁣
What’s your mom’s best advice?
    • Double tap if this students’ response was on point and made you laugh 😂😆 Honestly this is one of my favorite IG posts I’ve ever seen! Thanks @helloteacherlady for spreading the laughs 🤗

    Follow @ebacademics