Traffic Lights

Age Range: 5 - 11
By: Loz

I have just bought a wonderful light from a famous Scandanavian furniture shop.

It looks like a set of traffic lights and works in the same way. If like my school you are using the assertive discipline method this is ideal for you. The light starts on green and the children's objective is for it not to change from that for the whole lesson. If the noise level or behaviour degrades then you can turn on the amber light. When the children see this happen it encourages them to behave more appropriately. The light can go back to green.

If heaven forbid they do not improve the red light goes on as well and you can issue one of your consequences (punishment is a harsh word).

Using this method you have not had to raise your voice and if the children have a sequence of all green lessons then a reward can be given, be it golden time or certificates.

A visitor has suggested an alternative to this suggestion...

I like the traffic light idea but isn't using an actual lamp a waste of electricity? It is easier to have the traffic light colours on the wall with all the children's names stuck on with bluetac. They all start on green and individually move down to amber then red if they are not behaving. That way you are not punishing the whole class if individuals are at fault.

Another suggestion from a visitor... I have made my own traffic signal chart using paper plates. I cut out a red, yellow and green circle, big enough to fit into the middle. On the green, I put a smiley face, on the yellow a frown and on the red, a sad face. I write students names on clothes pins and put them around the rim of the green "light". If behavior is not acceptable, I have the student move their individual clothes pin to yellow and then red. Yellow is a warning, Red loses a privilege (ie. 1/2 recess) and after that I contact parents.


Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.


this is actually not a very good strategy because there is no room for the child to do good or to improve. The traffic light starts on green, and it can change to orange or red, both of which are worst. The child can only do worst in any situation. He is not being reinforced at any moment, there is only space for punishment.