Classroom Management: The "Refocus Form" - EB Academics

Classroom Management: The “Refocus Form”

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!

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Then, pick the date you’re going to teach it in your classroom, and sit back while you watch as your students show up to your classroom pumped about what the day holds…and gush about your class to their parents on the car ride home!

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