At my wits end...wow it's a long one

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by yearroundteach, Jan 22, 2010.

  1. yearroundteach

    yearroundteach Companion

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    Jan 22, 2010

    I am posting because I simply don't know what to do anymore. I don't have any specific questions but am open to any advice anyone has. I suppose I'm more venting than anything but would happy to follow any plan that anyone has had success with in the past.

    I have two fairly difficult students in my class this year. Nothing that either one does is completely unbearable on its own. The problem is there is just never a break for me and my class. If one is having a good moment/hour/day, the other one is having one of their worst. And on a day (like today) where they're both having issues...look out! :eek:

    Student one really does want to do well. She is a major attention seeker however. It really doesn't matter to her if it is positive or negative as long as someone is paying attention to her. She is constantly shouting out about random topics that typically have nothing to do with anything we're doing in class. I've mainly broken this habit by a combination of reminders, consequences, and ignoring. However, when another adult (teacher, aid, couselor, anyone) comes in the room it starts right back up. Asking questions that she doesn't really need to ask, telling random stories, interupting the adults while they're working with others. This student also has no interest in trying on anything that she does. Her work is rushed through, she sometimes turns in completely or half blank work, doesn't correct anything when given more help and asked to fix the work, etc. She also disrupts those around her by making strange noises, talking to them, staring at their work until they react, etc. And finally this student is completely unable to control herself in specials. It does not matter if she's having a fantastic day with me...it never fails, the report from the specialists is always that she was a distraction in one way or another.

    Student two really is a sweet kid and a bit hard to figure out. He has been diagnosed with ADD and he has a bit of a "different" personality. What I mean by that is he seems very "numb" for lack of a better word. It never seems to phase him at all when he has negative or positive consequences. He speaks in a very monotone voice and cannot seem to stop even when someone demonstrates how to speak with expression (actually read/repeat with expression during reading group) He cannot focus for more than a few seconds without crossing his eyes, putting his fingers in/around his mouth or nose, tapping his pencil, zoning out, etc. His behavior is not quite as much of a disruption (except for when some of those behaviors are causing nose) but is exhausting to me because I cannot leave him to his own devices for even a few minutes if I want anything to be accomplished. If he goes anywhere near student one his behavior escalates to disruptive talking, uncontrollable laughing (at nothing), making noises on purposes with his hands, nose, mouth and objects, etc.

    The first student is on her own behavior chart that is different from the rest of the class. If she earns a certain amount of points she gets a prize chosen from a list that she made. She earns the points by staying on task without more than 3 warnings for a block of time. We have yet to ever make it to the reward even though I've lowered the expectations for the # of points needed once already. I constantly try to give her as much positive attention as possible. However it really doesn't seem to work. No amount of attention is ever enough so she seems to revert to the negative behaviors to get even more. Her parents are midly supportive but are quick to defend her behavior in most cases. I'm getting the feeling the additional chart is annoying them because it clearly points out each misbehavior throughout the day which I'm sure is overwhelming (it also has good behaviors on it as well).

    The second student is more challanging to me. Most of his behaviors trully are caused by the ADD. He is not taking any medication but his doctor has suggested diet pop in the mornings before school. I think I can see a difference on the days he actually drinks it but it doesn't seem like they're even doing that method consistently. His parents acknowledge notes sent home about behavior and have spoken to me when I've requested. They're always polite but they seem to be resigned to "he has ADD so this is how he behaves". I have placed velcro on his desk for a stimulus to rub while he did his work but he just picked it off. A cardboard divider doesn't seem to help because he's more distracted by his own body, pencil, and his own thoughts than he is with anyone or anything around him. I break his work down into pieces...sometimes that works and sometimes he can't even compelete one thing.

    Today was a particullarly bad day because they were both having an off afternoon. I ended up sending them both out of the room (to another room) and a note home because of their constant disruption while other groups were performing puppet shows they've worked all week on (these two unfortunately had already had to have been removed from their groups because of their disruptions to their group and refusal to cooperate. Student one for attention. Student two for a combination of attention and his ADD). Overall I guess I was just venting but again, if you see something I'm missing or a way to tweak what I'm doing please, please, please share. I have such a fantastic class this year otherwise and if I could just help these two gain control of themselves it would be such a peaceful, productive remainder of the year! :blush:
     
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  3. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Jan 22, 2010

    Student one may have ADHD and not be diagnosed. We can't do that job but it is something to keep in mind that the student may not simply just be wanting attention but genuinely having trouble with these things. I'm about to fall asleep at the moment and can't tackle this quite yet but I will pick back up with this tomorrow. I wanted to make sure I responded so the post gets bumped and so I can find the post again.
     
  4. halpey1

    halpey1 Groupie

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    Jan 22, 2010

    Does your school have a SAT or similar team? Perhaps you need to document these behaviors to show the frequency of them... I know at my school, the squeaky wheel gets the grease... perhaps part of your escalation plan should be getting administration involved. If they end up in the principal's office enough, I guarantee you something will change. I feel your pain, I've been there before and it's FRUSTRATING.
     
  5. HeatherY

    HeatherY Habitué

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    Jan 23, 2010

    I agree that you need back up. Is the counselor and the admin aware? I have 2 difficult kids and they both had home problems for awhile. It took getting sent to the principal and being put in counseling and now I am seeing the behaviors get better. I think you have two pretty extreme cases, but I think it would be easier if you had some support from the admin.
     
  6. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Jan 23, 2010

    Student two may have more than ADD. He exhibits some behaviors found in children on the spectrum.

    You could consider giving student one a specific number of passes (post it flags or something) that would each entitle her to one call-out or change of subject or something. When they are used up, she must refrain for the rest of the day. If you don't want to allow any interruptions, then allow her a set number of passes for participation. Commend her when she uses them appropriately.
     
  7. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Jan 23, 2010

    Consider RT (Responsibility Training) with PAT (Preferred Activity Time).
    In RT the incentive is the peer group. Since it seems both want relationship using the peer group to bring about behavior mods does several things: 1) gets the teacher out of being the enforcer 2) does away with tangibles like stars, rubber spiders, tokens etc. Instead the target students' most often shape up due to the need to be liked and popular with peers.

    PAT is time for whole class to do a preferred activity. The targets can earn the class (not just themselves) extra or "bonus" time by doing whatever behavior the teacher deems necessary to work on, say raising hand before speaking. If the target does not perform no time is lost for PAT. It's reward all the way. Since the class wants PAT they will likely tell the targets to cool it. This system of management is based upon a simple human social characteristic - one of the most powerful incentives in any classroom is relationship.
     
  8. kellyrosebud

    kellyrosebud Rookie

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    Jan 24, 2010


    What kind of things did she put on her list?
     
  9. loveoforganic

    loveoforganic Rookie

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    Jan 24, 2010

    I volunteered for a couple months with an occupational therapist in a psychiatric hospital, and she worked primarily with youth with SEVERE ADHD, who also tend to have sensation seeking behavior. One thing that seemed to work that the kids liked were the use of sensory objects (e.g. a rubber ball filled with marbles immersed in goo, a ball filled with air that had tentacle-like extensions, etc.). They're given the balls on the condition that they play with them quietly, eventually working toward getting them to both be quiet and pay attention. There are other objects that can be used as well to satisfy that sensation seeking such as weighted blankets, but those probably aren't as socially acceptable, unless your a K teacher maybe.
     
  10. yearroundteach

    yearroundteach Companion

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    Jan 24, 2010

    Thank you everyone for the suggestions. I'm taking notes of all the different ideas so I can look over all of them later and come up with a modified plan.

    She chose alot of things that, per our school rules, I just can't give her (extra recess, game time, no homework, etc.). What we ended up with was sit on floor during work time (which I'm very sceptical if she can handle but I'll give it if she earns and chooses it), an "above and beyond" reward (which is a system I already have in place in my room), a trip to the treasure box, run an errand for the teacher, a positive note home (which I do anyway on a good day but I'm ok with her letting think some of them are rewards) and I can't seem to remember the last two right now without the list in front of me.
     

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