I'm losing my mind... and almost a third of the class cannot give me their attention

Discussion in 'Behavior Management' started by Backroads, Mar 8, 2017.

  1. Backroads

    Backroads Fanatic

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    Mar 8, 2017

    Perhaps it's spring in the air with kids getting antsier, but a minor issue that's popped up here and there throughout the year has become to a crazy head: I have nine students, almost a third of my class, who cannot give me their attention when I ask for it. And yes, I'm using "cannot" instead of "won't". This is more or less my group of kids with emotional/mental issues, and everything thing I've tried has failed. These kids will approach me to talk when I'm in the middle of signaling, interrupt me when I'm giving my message, and truly look at me blankly when I ask if they knew I called for attention.

    Truth be told, they only way I can get their attention is to physically touch them, and I hate having to go around to nine students asking for attention.

    I have tried:

    Various noisemakers including the chime where I ask them to raise their hand when they hear the chime finish.

    I have tried turning off the lights.

    I've tried waiting.

    Nothing is working for these kids.

    Any other ideas?
     
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  3. tomato

    tomato New Member

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    Mar 10, 2017

    Here's something you might try:
    1. Continue speaking when Gary is interrupting.
    2. Ask, "Gary, what did I say?"
    3. If Gary can't answer, ask the class, "Who can tell Gary what I just said?"
    4. After Suzy raises her hand, you call on Suzy, and Suzy correctly tells Gary what you just said, say, "See? Suzy was listening!"
     
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  4. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Mar 10, 2017

    One time I tried graphing our transition times. So every time I rang my chimes for their attention, I also started a stop watch. When everyone was quiet, I paused the stop watch until the next time. At the end of the day we graphed our total waiting time for the day, with a goal of decreasing it the next day. It was super motivating! When we got it as low as we thought it could go (because there will just have to be waiting time in our day) we celebrated with some free time, since we had so much more time in our day now that we weren't waiting around for everyone to be quiet.

    ETA: I'm pretty sure I got this idea from someone on this board, years ago. Fantastic PD happens here!
     
  5. Backroads

    Backroads Fanatic

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    Mar 10, 2017

    Sadly, I have tried both of these. The same kids are still oblivious.
     
  6. Luv2TeachInTX

    Luv2TeachInTX Comrade

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    Mar 11, 2017

    Have you tried:

    Giving table points? I have my groups in teams and the team with the most points gets a small prize at the end of the day. You can give points for who is working the quietest, ready to transition the quickest, etc.

    Individual stamp charts? I started the year using stickers but had to change to stamps due to kids stealing others' stickers. Once they fill up their chart with 20 stamps they can choose from the treasure box or have a happy visit with the teacher of their choice.

    Class Dojo? It's especially motivating if parents are connected and get the daily reports as well as the text to parent feature. My class gets it together when they hear students getting or losing points. You can even use it on your phone while walking in the hallways, at assemblies, etc.

    Fun Friday? I connect this to Dojo. The students who have 70% positive behaviors for the week can participate.

    Blurt Beans? For younger kiddos (I teach 1st) I give students a bean when I'm about to start a lesson. If they talk out of turn, they have to return their bean to the Blurt Bean jar and return to their seats. If they keep them, it goes into another jar for class prizes such as extra recess, movie day or a popcorn party.

    Negative reinforcement: I have a clip chart that is based on social skills. If I notice a student is not following instructions or paying attention they get one warning to change their behavior. If it continues, they move their clip to the social skill they are not showing. Each clip move is a 5 minute loss of recess time (our kids do laps so they are still moving).

    I have more things I do as well, but I hope some of the ideas help your class some. :)
     
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  7. rpan

    rpan Cohort

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    Mar 20, 2017

    When it comes to behaviour management I tend to go the positive route because it builds relationships with students which in turn is a proactive behaviour management tool (I'm a middle school teacher). So here is my take on it, I would give the students who can give you their attention in a specified amount of time (say a minute) a slip of paper where they write their name. That slip goes into a box. You can do this at the end of the day or week, which ever suits, and it can be a lucky draw for a prize. You have to be really positive about it encouraging those 9 kids so that you can give them a slip. Also, if any of those 9 kids do manage to do something positive, you have to encourage them and give them lots of praise, even ring their parents for positive reinforcement at home. I find that really helps build relationships and shows the kids you are not out to get them or pick on them.
    I also prefer to get other students to regulate behaviour because kids may not want to listen to their teachers but they do listen to their peers. So I use a whole class reward to get other students to regulate 'naughty' kids behaviours. E.g. If I can have the whole class quiet within 2 minutes of ringing a bell for X times this week, then we can have a high level reward. E.g. Watching 30 minutes of a movie, or Playing a game or even a pizza party. I've found using this method that the other kids will tell the kids who can't settle fast enough to shush, be quiet, missus is waiting for you etc. I don't have to say a word it's fantastic.
     
  8. 4SquareRubric

    4SquareRubric Rookie

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    Mar 21, 2017

    Check out Ross Greene's work. He has a book Lost at School and a website livesinthebalance that are really helpful. We've used his techniques at my school and they were really helpful.
     
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  9. rpan

    rpan Cohort

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    Mar 24, 2017

    I agree that Ross Greene is very helpful. The process is respectful and by modelling respect, you get it back. And it gets to the core of the problem by involving all parties.
     
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  10. L. MacKay

    L. MacKay New Member

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    Mar 25, 2017

    As much as the 'motiviational' strategies are great for many kids, sounds like some of these kids are not able to meet the behaviour expectation of 'paying attention'. I also like the Collaborative Problem Solving approach as mentioned previously. You may want to check out Think:Kids.org (Stuart Ablon is a former business partner of Ross Greene). Look for the Thinking Skills inventory and then, with a student in mind, use the check list to see if you can identify lagging skills. The mantra is "kids do well if they can' so there may be skill development needed. Having said that, as a busy classroom teacher is it is not always easy to do this with so many kids. I am assuming you have done an review of the student's records and spoken to parents. Have they seen a family doctor? You can offer to provide an observation letter to describe what the behaviours look like in a classroom setting. Parents may or may not see the same things in the home environment. Have you gone through the School Team process? Seeking help from your Special Education Resource Teacher and Principal may help. It may also lead to a School Resource Team meeting with parents.
     
  11. L. MacKay

    L. MacKay New Member

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    Mar 25, 2017

    Just joined - hope this reply post works! I love your classroom management ideas and have seen variations of these strategies work really well in some classrooms. It sounds like you have a primary classroom. Do you have any suggestions for older students, in grades 7/8?
     
  12. L. MacKay

    L. MacKay New Member

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    Mar 25, 2017

    Yes! Based on respect and empathy! Have you explored Think:Kids.org by Stuart Ablon, a former business partner of Ross Greene? I love the Thinking Skills inventory because it let's us look at behaviours as a result of a lagging skill, and there for take a teaching approach rather than a disciplinary one. "Kids do well if they can".
     
  13. L. MacKay

    L. MacKay New Member

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    Mar 25, 2017

    Yes! Based on respect and empathy! Have you explored Think:Kids.org by Stuart Ablon, a former business partner of Ross Greene? I love the Thinking Skills inventory because it lets us look at behaviours as a result of a lagging skill, and therefore take a teaching approach rather than a disciplinary one. "Kids do well if they can".
     
  14. rpan

    rpan Cohort

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    Mar 29, 2017

    I play games such as Kahoots with my grades 8/9 students as a reward for working efficiently and productively. It's fantastic because the kids encourage each other to stay in task so we can play. I set an expectation at the start e.g we have to write 5 slides or do up to question 10 and go thru the answers then we can play Kahoots. It takes no time at all - couple of minutes - yet kids love it. I put the winners on a leaderboard for a major prize at the end of the term.
     
  15. lhebert

    lhebert Rookie

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    Apr 8, 2017

    I will ALWAYS PRAISE THE BEHAVIOR THAT I WANT TO SEE!!! When you have 5 children sitting, listening and focused with the other 5 engaging in poor choices, guess what? Those 5 children who are sitting, listening and focused are going to get the kudos! Each of them gets to come up and put a marble in the 'marble jar' or earns 5 extra minutes at recess. Once the other half of the class sees the tremendous amount of attention you are giving their peers I would bet most of them will attempt to model that same behavior for you. Its a lot of praising and following through on your part but the children will be looking for more opportunities to earn your praise. Just be sure to 'catch ' them in these moments or setup more intentional scenarios for individual children. It really does work! I have a classroom of 18 and I am constantly seeing children looking to catch my eye as they are sharing, using materials appropriately, helping a peer, transitioning when asked and you name it. Some children have to work a little harder to earn some of that praise as you want ALL of the children to make progress. But there have been some who have earned my praise for being in the vicinity of Morning Meeting. It really works!!
    I hope this is helpful to someone :)
     

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