Help! Kindergarten Behavior Management

Discussion in 'Kindergarten' started by missd123, Sep 18, 2010.

  1. missd123

    missd123 New Member

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    Sep 18, 2010

    I am totally overwhelmed with my kindergarten class! This is my first year teaching in an elementary school. I taught in a 3 year old class for a year before this.
    I have never experienced such a hard time teaching as my first day teaching Kindergarten. I've only taught for 2 days now, and it seems impossible to get them to all listen at the same time. Any attention getters I've been trying to use (hitting a gong, using a rain stick, clapping patterns that they should follow, singing certain songs, etc.) don't work, or work only the first time I try them. If they pay attention for two seconds, they then go back to doing what they were doing before. Many kids listen, but at least half are off in their own worlds, playing or chatting with their friends while I'm talking.
    I also have two kids who are in need of extra help, one in particular who at times has violent temper tantrums and runs away.
    The positive side is that I have another teacher in the classroom with me, so we have each other for extra help, but even then, if she's focusing on helping one student pay attention, and I'm trying to do instruction, the rest of them are all over the place!
    I'm at a total loss! Any advice is very much appreciated, but the school I'm in is a very progressive school, so behavior management plans like cards, tickets, sticker charts, etc. are out of the question.
     
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  3. SophieLou

    SophieLou Rookie

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    Sep 18, 2010

    Sounds like a rough start to the year... I am sure it will get better!! Not sure about the behavior expectations at your school or what behavior management system they have in place but I have always found that logical consequences are effective. If they don't listen they I stop teaching, I remind them that if they continue to talk/play then we will have to do our lesson during their developmental/play centers in the afternoon. If they do not complete their work then they must complete their work at this time also. At first there are a few tears and it takes some students several days to get it.. but eventually they do and they realize I mean what I say. Stick to your guns and be CONSISTENT!!! Good luck for a successful first year in K!!!
     
  4. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Sep 18, 2010

    When I teach my quiet signal, I also teach them to quietly wait for me to start talking.

    Immediately after giving a quiet signal, I say "Practice sitting quietly waiting for the teacher to say something."

    Then I pause 3-5 seconds - where they have to sit and focus on me without me talking. Then I start talking in a very quiet voice.

    Talking in a very quiet voice is counter-intuitive and often very difficult to do. But it requires them to be very quiet in order to focus on you.

    I don't use "123 eyes on me" as a quiet signal because I don't think it works very well. I have multiple signals I teach that I use in varied situations:

    I say "copy my hands(s)" and hold up one or both hands in with alternating numbers of fingers displayed. They have to mirror what I do. I use both hands if I also want them to put down their pencils, crayons, math manipulatives etc. They like it because it's actually challenging especially with both hands. This one is good because it requires them to look at you. The only problem is that they can still talk while doing it.

    I say "Yo Yo" and the kids respond with "What's up?" First I say it in a teacher voice a few times. Once I have them paying attention, I whisper it. finally I "lip sync" the words and they do the same. Very good for times when there's a lot of activity and/or noise because it gets their attention and effectively interrupts any conversations they may be having. Disadvantage are that it uses voices and the kids don't actually have to look at you or put down anything in their hands.

    "If you can hear me...." followed by touch your forehead, touch your chin etc. I always finish with "do this..." followed by a hand signal or gesture they need to copy. Often, I will raise both hands and wiggle my fingers in order to get them to put down objects and then fold my hands in front of me in order to get them to do so as well. The disadvantage of this quiet signal is that it's not a real good attention getter - you can easily run out of physical things for them to do before they are quiet. However, it does work very well after clapping patterns and "Yo Yo ..."

    Two more things about quiet signals:

    There should be some motivation for them to not have you giving quiet signals every two minutes. Whatever class incentive you have should be tied to being able to go X amount of time without having to make them get quiet. They have to learn that quiet signals mean they have to be quiet for a good period of time after you give the signal.

    Finally, ignoring the quiet signal altogether should be one of the more serious offenses in your classroom. To me, it falls under "disrespect" and I have actually sent strongly worded letters/emails to parents and even referred kids to the vp for it. They can easily lose their recess for ignoring the quiet signal and know that doing so will instantly turn me into a very mean and grumpy teacher.
     
  5. vannapk

    vannapk Groupie

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    Sep 18, 2010

    You're in luck, I don't believe in any of the gimmicks like sticker charts or prize boxes either :) Here is a link to my classroom management page where you may find some helpful ideas. Since you have previous teaching experience, although in a different grade, think about the differences between the two situations and see if you can find things that you are doing the "3 year old way" that need to be tweaked for the kindergarteners you are working with now. I once had to work with different grade levels at a private school teaching enrichment classes. The way I talked and the words I used with my kinder class didn't work AT ALL in 2nd grade or up, I had to find all new words and a whole new tone because those 2nd graders ate me up!
    You might also find my page for new teachers helpful.
    Good luck!
     
  6. halpey1

    halpey1 Groupie

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    Sep 18, 2010

    Yikes. Sorry for the rough start. I will say this - the first week or so in kindergarten is ALWAYS rough. It only gets better each year as you understand what to expect.

    I teach my quiet signal (chimes) with a game. We play this game a LOT. A LOT! We'll play it many times the first few MONTHS of school. I also teach, when you hear the chimes, your voice goes off and BOTH hands go on your head, and finally you look at the teacher.
     
  7. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Sep 18, 2010

    I basically do things like vanna does. It's more work for the teacher to use natural consequences, but I think it's best for students and worth it in the long run. I'm using the Responsive Classroom approach this year (google it-their website has tons of resources!), and after only 3 weeks I'm amazed at how my students are doing.

    As for getting their attention, I use this visual:

    http://www.primaryclassroomresources.co.uk/acatalog/ctp4337.jpg

    We talk almost every day about what it means to be a "5 Star Listener". I say "Give me 5." to get their attention. Most of them understand and follow it pretty well.
     
  8. treehugger

    treehugger Rookie

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    Sep 18, 2010

    I LOVE the idea of having them put both hands on their head, because often when I ask them to "freeze" I still see students playing with manipulatives, working, or just not freezing! Asking them to put hands on their head sounds like exactly what I need, thanks for the suggestion!
     
  9. TeacherC

    TeacherC Connoisseur

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    Sep 18, 2010

    I have a little bell, like the one you ring at a store counter or something. Whenever the kids hear the bell, they stop what they are doing and put their finger on their nose...it is an excellent visual for me to see who was listening, and when most of the kids see others doing it, they stop and do it too.
    I also use the quiet voice thing. If I whisper, the kids instinctively whisper back and it gets very quiet. It is like a game to them as long as you don't do it all the time...
    And I agree, the first few weeks of kindergarten are so hard! As many have said, by June we have blocked out those first few weeks of school...otherwise we would never come back!
     
  10. MzMooreTeaches

    MzMooreTeaches Cohort

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    Sep 22, 2010

    I agree with SophieLou. This is also my first year in kindergarten.. i actually have a combination class. prek/kindergarten. We use several natural consequences.

    1. if they choose to talk when i'm talking they either have silent breakfast/lunch.
    2. if they are talking during group etc... i will send them to a chair and once i finish my group and the rest of the class are in work centers i call them back and they have to sit through the group again until they are able to get it the first time. ( i used this the 1st time today.)

    3. I let them know if they take away from my instructional time by talking when im talking or not working when it is time to work.. then I will get my time back by having them work during their outside time. And most importantly I stress that they made that choice not me.

    It's still a work in progress I'm finding that I'm getting stricter and stricter by the day with my expectations.. i apologize that I didn't start off that way... but I'm noticing i better get a grip on it now versus 2mos down the line.
     

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