Behavior Essays I gave students this list of the behavior essay topics (inspired by Alan Giuliani, Delta ’94) at the beginning of the year. Students kept this list in their three-ring binder. If they reached their red card and I assigned them an essay, I told them thy number of the topic they had to write about. I tried to match the topic to the behavior that led to them having to change a card. The essay was due the next day. It had to be written on notebook paper and address the topic. It had to be one page long, from the topic line of the notebook paper to the bottom line of the notebook paper. Poor quality essays were not accepted. If the essay was not turned in the next day, the student owed me 2 pages the following day. If the 2 pages were not turned in the following day, the amount due was doubled. When the amount of pages due grew too huge, I notified the parents and scheduled the student for detention to complete the pages assigned to him/her.
Essay 1: Explain why you are too bright to waste your time with distracting, unimportant matters. Explain how the education you get in this class will result in your future success.
Essay 2: Write an essay on how you are college-bound, career-bound and success-bound. Write about how you will never be sidetracked by someone messing with you because you have far too much to accomplish.
Essay 3: Write 10 nice things you could say to someone instead of “shut-up.” Explain how you disrespect yourself when you tell someone else to “shut-up.”
Essay 4: Write an essay about the good qualities of the person you put-down today. Explain how you actually make yourself into a smaller person when you try to make someone else feel small.
Essay 5: Explain why you are too talented and special to ever let yourself down by not having your supplies. Create a plan for how you will get the supplies you need in the future. If you have difficulty getting the supplies, what should you do?
Essay 6: Define excellence. Describe someone who you think is excellent at what they do. Explain how hard work and excellence are connected. Create a plan for how you will show more excellence in this class.
Essay 7: Abraham Lincoln once said, “I do not think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.” What did he mean by this? How will you make sure that you get wiser every day?
Essay 8: Figure out how many minutes every week you spend in this class. Explain why each of those minutes is far too precious to waste. Make a list of at least 15 things you need to learn during next week’s precious minutes.
*Note: These essay topics are appropriate for students in upper elementary grades and beyond