At my wit's end

Discussion in 'Fourth Grade' started by smannes, Sep 18, 2007.

  1. smannes

    smannes Companion

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    Sep 18, 2007

    My class doesn't want to do anything. They're so low level wise. I gave them an assignment today to write definitions of some spelling words and after an HOUR, they were still on #2, #3. I know that part of that problem is that these 4th graders really don't know how to use a dictionary. Morning work, which should take 15-20 minutes, also takes them an hour. Their behavior is horrible. I have individual behavior system and a group one and neither phase them. The don't know how to work quietly. They don't know how to work together. They're flat out MEAN to one another. So much so that I had the assistant principal come talk to them and he was brutally honest with them. They just don't get it. We can NEVER get through what we need to in a day. I'm supposed to teach reading for an hour a day and same with math. I barely can get to math because once I start they don't understand the things they should've learned in 3rd grade or sooner so I can't move on to the material we need to cover. I think part of the problem is that I have 26 kids and at least half of them have behavior issues. I just don't know what to do. I'm so frustrated!
     
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  3. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    Sep 18, 2007

    How many of them are on an AIP (Academic Improvement Plan)/IEP (for ESE)? Do you have a broad range, or is it more where they need the extra help?
     
  4. cmw

    cmw Groupie

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    Sep 18, 2007

    With the individual rewards, could you do something if they finish acitvities within a specified time then they get a stamp or token? Or could you set a timer for bellwork and those that finished (or came really close) get a fruit snack or starburst or something? One thing I tried when I taught at a school with very rowdy kids was having a stick jar with numbers on it. The numbers coorepsonded to their names in my book. (I taught 250 students so I didn't have individual names on sticks). At the end of class I'd pull 2-3 sticks. If I did not have to give more than a warning that student was able to pick out of the treasure box. Does the work need to be shorter? Maybe they really do not have that long of an attention span. For spelling words you could let them choose 3 or 5. DO they respond to fun activities like trivia or games? COuld you reward them with extra recesss or free time at the end of the week? Every time they complete an acitivty they could get 2 min or 5 min. You could keep track on the board. (Those that did not finish can finish while everyone else has freetime:) ).
     
  5. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Sep 18, 2007

    Meet them where they are. Many times, behavior problems and academics go hand in hand--when students can't do the work, they misbehave to take the attention away from the fact they don't understand. Really take a look at what you are teaching, and make sure it is engaging for the students. Low level students tend to be very hands on. For instance, we are learning multiplication in math, and I have several students that would be completely lost if I didn't let them use manipulatives--but give them counters and let them make the arrays, and they get every answer right. I'm taking a gander that if they are as low as you think, then they probably haven't felt success before, so it's much easier to just not do the work. Give them something they can be successful at, then go from there. Make sure you model, model, model, and then model some more.
    Also, be sure to praise the good behavior that you are seeing. You may ask your ap to come observe the behavior for a while--it's not to say you can't handle it, but sometimes a fresh eye can provide a different perspective.
     
  6. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Sep 18, 2007

    You might have to change up your activities to make it seem as though they are having more fun than learning the let them relax and and feel good about participating before you hit them with the book work. Definately model, model, model.

    As far as behavior goes, once you watch what activities are causing more disruptions and you minimize that when possible, you need to look at your classroom set up. Is the class arranged for optimal behavior from those particular students? What's triggering them the most? My main point is to analyze and excercise preventive maintence. It may also be that these particular groups of students can't sit next to one another or that they can't really handle independence. You may need to walk them through it and make it as simple as possible for them to feel success. Then walk around carefully and frequently and don't allow small mishaps to continue. NIP IT IN THE BUD. Kids feed off of each other. Stop potential behaviors, not just bad ones. Use some kind of positive reinforcement system, encourage the tiniest success and find some way that makes them feel important. Can they do a classroom job? Is Johnny wonderful at drawing? Can you enlist his help?

    Honestly, it's a lot of work. It takes time and it is frustrating. With some work you can get a handle on it.
     
  7. Mrs.Rhinochunks

    Mrs.Rhinochunks Companion

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    Sep 18, 2007

    Wow!!!
     
  8. stac4742

    stac4742 Rookie

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    Sep 18, 2007

    First of all take a deep breath, relax, and remember do not take it personally. I would have to agree with taking a look at your classroom set-up how the students are grouped. Is there a buddy teacher you have that during recess, one of you takes both classes and the other conducts a "study hall" for those who did not finish class work or were misbehaving?
    I also like to praise those students who are doing what I've asked. Call parents--if you call and ask them what they feel would work for getting their child on task and motivated, may be worth trying. Also call parents in to observe their child, this always seemed to work for me, even if they had to sneak through the back to catch their child misbehaving, but I always stayed optimistic with my parents. Use them!! These are their children we have to work as partners to help their child/our student become successful, it truly takes a village with some of our students.
     
  9. physicaledteach

    physicaledteach New Member

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    Sep 18, 2007

    toughen up have consequences that matter to them such as
    no recess or no rewards or motivate out of wanting to do something everyone deserving can do (board game time, TV time, recess time, treats, extra time for choice of activitiy.)
     

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