Behavior strategiest for specific groups of kids

Discussion in 'General Education' started by giraffe326, Sep 8, 2014.

  1. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Sep 8, 2014

    I was warned before taking this job that the behavior of this group is terrible. They got 3 subs fired last year, threw chairs and destroyed property in 4th, etc..

    Well, they are rough. Only a handful are severe (and most of them are in the other homeroom, so I have them all afternoon :down:)
    I've narrowed almost all behavior down to just a few groups of kids. I'm looking for some ways to help these kids. 95% of my behavior comes from these groups.

    Group 1- age- I have several kids in each class that are already 13 in sixth grade. They should be in 8th. They are all behavior problems and they are all on a 3rd or 4th grade academic level. I understand why they act out (academic frustration especially because they were retained twice), but I don't really know how to fix it. I get a lot of insubordinate behavior from these kids. They refuse to do anything. Again, I know it is frustration. Any ideas?

    Group 2- my SpEd kids. I have 5 all in one group. Two are fine. One is not medicated at the moment, and is on a behavior plan. We are working on documenting her so she is transferred to a non-inclusion program. The other two are constantly yelling out. In the middle of everything. Loud. Immature. I'm not a stranger to this behavior in general, nor from SpEd kids, but they are setting my other kids off. A behavior plan is only in place for the one student. The other two problems do not have one.

    Group 3- school of choice kids. In Michigan, you can basically take your kid to almost any school/district provided that there is room and you transport them. I do not work in an urban district, but it borders the urban districts. I have quite a few kids from the urban district. I'm dealing with a lot of eye rolling and general disrespect. Of the three groups, this is the group I am least concerned about. I more want to nip the behavior from this group, but nothing has worked so far.


    Otherwise, there is one particular child I would like some direction for. She is a member of all three of these groups. She will turn 14 in February, she is SpEd, and she is here on school of choice. She is extremely immature. She has a terrible attitude and is non-compliant most of the time. She is also very sexually mature and has already gotten in trouble this year for pretending to give a pencil a blow job (not in my room!). She talks (and giggles) the whole class period. I moved her to the back corner and the behavior is still continuing even though she is surrounded by great kids. They seem annoyed. No one is giving her attention, yet everything is funny. She will scream 'what?' if I look at her or say her name (in a tone that is an obvious cue). She even refused to touch her paper today since I had touched it. I can't figure her out, which means I can't figure out a way to solve the problems!


    In my homeroom, I mostly only have two behavior problems, sometimes a third. One is severe and he belongs to group 1. One belongs to group 3 and I already spoke to her mom. Behavior has slightly improved. The third is just an extreme talker. Overall, while a difficult group, I am used to having class make-ups like this. I have a few minor problems out of some group 3 kids (mainly eye rolling), but in time, it will improve. The other teacher actually has problems with more kids than I do, but she has them in the afternoon.

    The other homeroom is just terrible. Well, there are 7-8 kids that bring all 33 down. I've nipped several behaviors, but the ones belonging to the first two groups are just not getting anywhere. It doesn't help that I have them for the last 2 hours of the day. When my SpEd kids are pulled out for resource, it is a lot more similar to my homeroom. Rougher, but I could manage a lot better. Unfortunately, that isn't a possible solution. I have more trouble with this group than the other teacher, but I think that is more time of day. They were even disciplined in PE today.

    Any help is appreciated :)
     
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  3. lilia123

    lilia123 Companion

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    Referring to the 14 year old you were talking about. I used to have several Emotional Disturbed children mixed in with my Autism class ( I really can't explain the logic behind that decision). One thing I learned when dealing with these children is know when the reward for their behavior is getting a reaction out of you. I obviously don't know everything about her but I would place her front row and center and stand right by her the whole time. If she gives rude comments calmly but firmly state the consequences and do not show any sign that she is upsetting you. When she does things that are distracting reward or compliment the other children immediately for ignoring her and remaining on task. It won't happen over night but just like with younger children when they are no longer getting attention for their poor behavior it usually will decrease. I wish you luck, I used to work in a very rough area of Baltimore City and I know how stressful these children can be.
     
  4. roxy1

    roxy1 Rookie

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    Sep 8, 2014

    Just an idea, could you give them group projects? I have worked with upper elementary with a wide range of abilities and behavioral needs. It seemed to get them more excited about learning and put some accountability on them as well. Maybe even let them pick their own groups with your guidance. And check out this book if you haven't already, Reaching all by Creating Tribes Learning Communities. I've heard it has some good ideas for cooperative learning.
    Did the students help create the rules of the class? Sort of like a class contract? I have found it helps to refer back to it when a student is not following it. Is there a way you could meet with them outside of class and talk to them individually or in a smaller group? Maybe give us an example of one of your lessons/classes and what transpired as you taught?
    I hope this was of some help. My husband is out at the gym with the kids and I'm on the job hunt. Always like to come to this forum to get some motivation and support. It's a very slow time for teaching jobs and having to look outside of the field is challenging and difficult.
     
  5. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    Have you read Love and Logic? I'm thinking the group 3 kids need to know you are invested and get invested in school. The technique they use where you mention casually "I noticed you...." Without saying they are good at something, just that you noticed might work.

    Group 1- what interventions have they been in, what's the plan? You don't get retained twice for no reason, it seems unlikely they are going to perform at grade level without something else going on. I tHink they would benefit from the above and some modified work that they can master and start seeing that they can meet so e expectations.

    Group 2-what's the motivation? Attention seeking? Can't control it? Do you use PAT, or could you? Maybe give them 5 poker chips and each time they blurt they have to give you one and then they have to have a chip left to "pay" for PAT time. You could use it for the whole class and adjust how many chips they get depending on their needs.
     
  6. daisycakes

    daisycakes Companion

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    I agree with a lot of what Tasha has written. Love & Logic's "I notice" to build a relationship is surprisingly effective.

    I'm confused why you have so many kids with high-level needs with no support. If you have a child that has been retained 2 times in your class, I think you should have a meeting with all involved parties to discuss what the plan is and what has worked/what hasn't worked. I also think you need to involve parents in this meeting. At my last school, we made parents of "high flyers" come in for meetings before school and had transition meetings between grades to discuss that student and their behavior.

    If they are the bad class, that means something to them. Don't let them feel that way/get satisfaction from it. Start thinking of them as sweet and shower those who do what you say with praise. Soon they might want to start pleasing you.

    I would call every parent in your class right away and just say hi, introduce yourself, see if they have any concerns/questions. That way, when you call them later to complain about eye rolling and whatever, you already have a little bit of a relationship. If a parent cares enough to put their child in a far-away school, they care enough to be responsive when you call.
     
  7. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Sep 8, 2014

    Today was the fifth day of school, and our first day was a half day.

    She was in the front of the room, but she was front and center and acted as if she was performing. I moved some people around before school, putting her in the back corner surrounded by good kids. It was better today, marginally. The problem is that I have 6-8 kids that all need to be front and center, and they cannot sit next to each other.

    Good advice about the reaction. I need to be more mindful of that.

    As for my district, I'm not in the best area, but it is far from the worst. Part of the problem, I think, is that we are so small. 700-750 students K-12. (My graduating class was almost 500! We were closer to 600 as freshman, but some dropped out and others went to the alternative high school.) Since we are small, I feel we lack in support staff to work with these kids. :(
     
  8. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    They will be working together quite a bit in social studies. Math, not so much. I have to follow the text to a tee.

    I am hesitant to do groups in social studies, but our curriculum makes it hard not to. These kids do not do well at all with less structured activities. Their homeroom teacher and I were just discussing it. My back-to-school group activity was a huge disaster. My non homeroom (the class with the SpEd kids) didn't even finish. I stopped it in the middle because no one was on task and they were completely out of control. However, I will check the book out. Thanks for the tip.

    Rules are school wide. We have no freedom there. They have to repeat them and recite the school pledge daily.

    To be very honest, this class is borderline out of control. We have went over procedures and routines several times. I even typed up a guide, read it with them twice, and quizzed them on it. Overall, they did well on the quizzes, so I know that they know the routines. However, they will not follow them. We've practiced during recess even. Recess was up and they still hadn't done it correctly. When they come in, they are supposed to begin working on their warm up silently. The warm up is in a plastic folder in their desk. Half the class is working, some are trying to leave the room (I seriously stop almost 10 every day), people are turned around talking, it is chaos. My homeroom does is perfectly. And my homeroom has practiced far fewer times. There are 33 of them and one of me. I'm usually torn between being essentially a bouncer :)lol:) by keeping them in the room, and trying to contain the severe non-medicated kid. I give reminders, I praise who is doing it correctly, and it is still chaos. It never gets better.

    This is just so frustrating because I taught for 6 years with no real classroom management problems. My first year wasn't perfect, and I had a lot of kids who were far from perfect, but I'm amazed at the behavior issues I've seen since moving back here, in multiple district. It is mind boggling.
     
  9. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    I was looking for my Love and Logic book over the weekend. (Still haven't found it.) I figured it was time to reread.

    Group 1- only one child has a behavior plan. To my knowledge anyway. The other teacher and I requested a meeting to create one, and they were like she already has one :tired: You'd think they'd give us that information. I'm assuming, based on their current levels, the retentions were purely academic. It may have even been beneficial at one point. However now that they are older, it is creating a disaster. We have 65 kids in 6th grade. 7th grade has 42. There was talk about lifting them, but they didn't get their ducks in a row. It would have made a lot of sense. We have a K-6 school and a 7-12 school. This would have been the perfect time. It would have made our class sizes slightly smaller, and boosted the low 7th grade numbers at the same time.

    Group 2- one is on a behavior plan. We are a PBS school. It doesn't really help though. They are not motivated. I think the behaviors are purely attention seeking. Compared to my former 5th graders, this whole grade level is incredibly immature. And extremely sexual. Sort of a recipe for disaster.
     
  10. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Oh, I was making phone calls the second day. There was no time to make positive ones :tired: I have been sneaking in a few positive ones, but I am making 3-5 calls a day, as well as several emails. Plus the only phone is in the office or in the teacher's lounge. Makes phone calls difficult :crosseyed

    As far as a lack of support. We are super small. Our SpEd teacher is worthless. They would like to get rid of him, but he has already sued the district once. We've asked for a para, but we were denied.
     
  11. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Oh- punishment is limited at the moment. We have an ISS, but they beg to go there. He is not very effective and he lacks follow through.
    We are not supposed to take away recess.
    Other than that, there isn't a lot that I can do. It is so frustrating.
     
  12. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    Oh my goodness. :hugs:

    I don't have advice but, I just wanted to pop in and say I'm so sorry it's so rough. You have such an admirable attitude. I love that you are being very proactive in identifying the issues and figuring out solutions. Many in your shoes would have a hard time maintaining such a productive outlook. (probably myself included.)

    It boggles my mind that kids can be retained TWICE in other areas. I have NEVER heard of that before. Clearly it is a recipe for disaster...kids should not be 14 in sixth grade! Ridiculous!
     
  13. ktdclark

    ktdclark Comrade

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    I am exhausted even thinking about how you handle all this!

    Kuddos to you for being so positive and proactive...kids are lucky to have you!
     
  14. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    That sounds incredibly tough. I am sorry for those kids only being in 6th grade and pretty much already 2 or 3 years behind. (most of my class was 11 in 6th grade) That's really going to put a dampener on their future lives and it's going to be hard for them to recover from that.

    Anyway, the only thing I have to maybe offer is based on what you said when you said her name, as an obvious cue. I find that it sometimes works better to avoid cues that can be ambiguous like that and clearly state that she needs to stop the behavior she is doing or else -input clear consequence here-. And then follow through if she continues.

    It's not that the student doesn't know what she's doing that's wrong, or that your calling her name is a cue for her to stop, but when given an ambiguous signal like that, they'll purposefully act confused to deflect your attention towards clarifying and to attempt to pull you into an argument. If you're clear from the start, there's no room for argument or a "What!?".
     
  15. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I can't add much more in the way of advice. You certainly have your hands full. What I can offer is a virtual :hugs: and someone to vent to if you ever need it.
     
  16. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    So today, my tough kid in my homeroom wouldn't sit in his seat. He never does anything, but I can usually get him in his seat. He even said 'you can't make me.' I sent him to the ISS room with a ISS pass. He ripped it up and threw it in the garbage on his way out. I pulled it out of the trash. I had a kid presenting, so I was waiting to walk it down. Before I get a chance (maybe 2 minutes go by), he is back with a blank pass asking me to fill it out. If you could have seen me! Whew! I stomped to the ISS room (2 doors down) with the torn up pass. I had to go back to supervising, but the dean was ripping him a new one as I walked back down the hall.

    A kid in my homeroom broke his leg in gym today. Two boys got in a shoving match (fight, I supposed). A kid got pushed, knocked a different kid who wasn't paying any attention, he went flying and broke his leg. Ambulance and all. Plus my kids had to be returned to me early, so my planning period was cut short. (Not trying to be insensitive, but I need the mental break from them!)

    In my non homeroom, they were chaos as always. I decided that I was going to teach, write the notes, and if they listened fine. After about 10 minutes, I get whining that they don't have all the notes (because they didn't start taking them until 8 minutes in!). Eventually they were all quiet. They actually listened for a few minutes before going back to chaos. Hopefully I will send a message. Despite the chaos, my 5-10 best kids finished their assignment in class and understood. I'm quite proud of them!

    Out of both classes, I had very few do their Monday homework. Less than half. And my homeroom should have been done or almost done. I kept getting 'we were busy' and 'I had practice'. They're grades are going to be terrible. At this moment, I don't even care. I'm trying to get my point across.
     
  17. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    One more thing- I have 30 kids and the other room has 33. They enrolled two new students yesterday. One was brand new, the other was originally on my class roster. His mom was going to home school him, so he was taken off my roster.
    Now, as his mother enrolled him again, she requested the other teacher. THEY APPROVED THE REQUEST! :dizzy: They put him in the other room, the more difficult room, that has more students! WHY????? He was originally on my roster anyway. We have each class for 120 instructional minutes a day. So now the tough group has 34 and I have 31. I'm so irritated. I wanted kids moved from the tough group to my group to make my class larger, and the tough one smaller. No we are going the other way :tired:

    Of course, I shouldn't be surprised. This is a school that stopped suspending a violent student (throwing chairs and stuff) because his dad would get fired if he missed work. I'm sorry, but that is NOT the school's problem. Control your kid.
     
  18. willow129

    willow129 Comrade

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    Oh my gawwwd....this is nuts. I cannot believe people are expected to teach in such crazy conditions. this is absolutely NUTS. I really hope they do something to help you and ASAP.
     
  19. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    OP, I have no advice but I want say that I have been where you are every year of my career (overage kids, tons of SPED kids in a class with no support and general behavior problems). I know how frustrating it is to deal with this day-in and day-out; who wants to go to work when you know that this is waiting for you? So as others have said, it's great that you are trying to see the positive by looking for solutions. I wish you the best.

    In regards to your three groups, I have found that group one (overage in MS) is the hardest to deal with. My district will only retain a K-8 student twice (unless it is a truancy issue) because once a child is 16, we want to get them out of MS. So when a MS student has already been retained twice, many of them will just act a fool all year long because they know they will be passed on no matter what. It's hard with these kids because many can't see the "end" (HS graduation), they see their MS years as a waste of time and they already know that they will be passed on at the end of the year as long as they show up enough. It is frustrating beyond belief.
     
  20. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    ICAM and this is what really angers me about my district; we have a clear Code of Conduct but students are never punished according to it unless they attack (and hurt) a teacher (which then becomes a Union issue) or if they attack another student with an "external weapon" during a fight.

    Our Admin can't even suspend without district approval. My P had a girl throw a chair at her, curse her out and then threaten to bring her "people" up to the school to "deal with" our P. This happened in the office in front of others but the district said my Admin couldn't suspend the girl because the chair did not hit anyone, thus no one was hurt. :rolleyes:
     
  21. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Not always true. I teach in a school choice district and many of our kids take a MTA bus to get to school because they live on another side of town. Yet, when I call their parents, there is no useful response.
     
  22. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    When I taught MS, I had many overage students (15 in 7th grade, 16 in 8th grade). Many of my co-workers wanted these kids to keep repeating the 7th or 8th grade because the student had not passed the academic requirements to move on and these teachers believe a child should just not pass a class because they are overage.

    I understand the principles of this, but when you have 16 y/o in classes with 13 y/o, you are asking for problems - especially a lot of sexual activity going on.
     
  23. bewlove

    bewlove Companion

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    Sep 13, 2014

    I hate to sounds generic in my response, and I know it's easier said than done.

    I am a fourth grade teacher (so a few years difference here), but I have a couple of kids that have been driving me up the wall!!! I team teach. Anyway, I talked with our academic specialist and asked her to come observe to just kind of tell me how I'm doing. She noticed that the distraction that these few kids are, and she had some suggestions for me. I've tried some of them, so far with great results!

    -Her first suggestion was awesome. She suggested having an individual conference with those students, one at a time. She suggested building them up first so that they feel liked (because then they're more likely to please). She told me to tell them positive things: they're bossy? They have leadership skills. They're constantly wiggling? They have great energy. They are disrespectful? Tell them they have strong opinions and stand by their beliefs. Don't refer back to the misbehavior, just say, "I enjoy having you in my class. You're a good kid, you're smart, and I see the way that you stick by your beliefs. That's awesome, and it makes me proud to have such a smart, strong student in my classroom."

    Once you've done that and told them what a smart and good kid they are, then start channeling in on the misbehavior. You could say, "With all that being said, I also notice (insert behavior here)." I would say this pretty gently. Kids are a whole lot more sheepish when it's just you and them. Ask them why they think that behavior could be distracting, and have THEM justify it, don't just tell them why. After you've talked about that, try letting them know that you want to go to a nonverbal reprimand. Say, "So-and-so, I love these qualities that I see in you, but I want you to start channeling them towards GOOD things in my class. In the future, it I come by and just quietly tap your desk or your shoulder, that is just my reminder to settle down and focus. It won't be that I'm reprimanding you, it's just a little reminder to focus, okay?"

    -Now with these older kids, I think there is a distinct possibility that everything you say could go in one ear and out the other, lol!!! My academic specialist's advice after trying that was this:

    -Don't be afraid to call home, and you'll learn pretty quick if it's going to be effective with that student.
    -Make a behavior plan and stick to it. (You may already have a behavior plan-I do. But she told me that because I use a clip chart, and I try NOT to put people on red unless I have to, because I want red to be a big scary thing that doesn't happen often since it's either calling home or the principal.). She said to try using my red a little more.
    -Try to strategically place them, which I'm sure you do. She suggested proximity to where you'll be most of the time.
    -Move their desks completely away from everyone else.
    -Always give them an incentive to improve. And make them know that you want them to improve! Like, "Hey, I had to make a phone call home about your behavior. I would love to make a positive phone call home! But I need you to act correctly in here for the rest of the week. If you do, I would be so happy to call/write a note to mom and let her know how great you've been."


    Anyway, I'm a first year teacher so I don't know if this is great advice or anything, haha! But I did try the first step that I listed, and I have noticed major improvements, and it's not as distracting to my lesson when I don't have to stop and get onto them. And they know that I care, so they seem to be trying harder.
     

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