bitter complainer (sort of long)

Discussion in 'General Education' started by MissFroggy, Mar 1, 2008.

  1. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    Mar 1, 2008

    I have a kid in my class who complains about everything! Yesterday being leap day I had planned a couple of fun activities...

    in math we measured our leaps and created a chart and graph

    they took the "test" about how well you follow directions, and then practiced following directions by making origami leaping frogs, pretzels dipped in cinnamon and sugar or other toppings, and making clay animal figures out of sculpy. This was a big difference from our usual day, and the centers in the afternoon were so much fun, as they read and followed directions for the different activities.

    HOWEVER, another class had a dance party (for 30 minutes during recess) and his siblings class had crazy dress day. This set the kid off and he went into a rant about so many things, from the fact that other classes had parties and we don't, to the fact that they got more valentine's day candy. He had such a huge fit about the whole thing, that I sent him out of the classroom. This was right before the "fun" math experience, and he sat there sulking the whole time, sitting out. Later when I talked to him, he said he was mad because he got in trouble for just telling the "truth." I told him that it was his opinion that we never had any fun, not the truth.

    I am just so annoyed about this. I try really hard to plan engaging and meaningful activities and plan fun days for the kids. I am not a big class party type (and it is not even part of our school culture to have parties and things unless the KIDS plan it.) I want to make him sit out of anything fun that we do, but know that's not fair or reasonable... how can I drive this point home?

    On Thursday after school he complained while his mother was there about how everything is always the same and so boring. (Everything is boring.) If I hear the word boring once more I think I will burst.

    The fact is, our school is SO different from other schools, I don't know how this kid would even cope in a regular classroom. 80% of our day is hands on, small group work and games! Almost all reading and writing are HIS choice (workshop.) The only things he does that are not HIS choice or taught using games, is the weekly lit response, the weekly current events response, science or math. Seriously, these kids have so many choices, I don't know what else I could do. His dad asked if all his lessons could be taught through science since that's the only subject he likes.... puh-leeze!
     
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  3. teacherpippi

    teacherpippi Habitué

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    Mar 1, 2008

    A few things I have tried:

    ~Child may only use positive statements. If they wish to complain, they may do so in writing.

    ~To get them to recognize complaints (a lot of children don't even know they are complaining. Things that you or I might think only in our head they just SAY): I consider that a complaint. Can you state that again positively? I'll give you an example (and they I give an example of how they could say it positively).

    ~Child must state one positive about the lesson or activity. I try to ask them BEFORE they complain.
     
  4. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Mar 1, 2008

    Oh brother!

    It is not too late to ban the word "boring" from the classroom. My kids are not even allowed to say "Oh, man!" when they don't like the assignment. I feel it is disrespectful and negative, both of which are not allowed in the classroom.

    I would have a talk with him about what responses are acceptable, and if he isn't happy with what is going on in the classroom, send him to another room with paperwork for a while. You could also just smile when he complains and say, "This is what we are doing in our classroom." (similar to the child at home complaining, "How come we don't have a big screen TV/pool/ski vacation/go to bed at 9:00?" "This is how it is in OUR family." period!
     
  5. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Mar 1, 2008

    teacherpipi - the "oh brother" was addressed to the issue, not to your response. :D
     
  6. teacherpippi

    teacherpippi Habitué

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    I figured as much! No worries!

    You bring up a good point- I have a blanket rule that my students cannot sigh, groan, etc. If they do, I cheerfully ask, "Oh, do you guys want to practice more work over recess?" The only responses (other than positive ones) are "okay" in a respectful voice or no response at all. I let them know that they can practice their responses over recess. It works for quite a few of them!
     
  7. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Mar 1, 2008

    That is a great idea! I tell them they may respond with "okay" or "Yes, Mrs. _______" if they don't like the idea. I have explained to them that we want to be a positive class, using positive words. Negative words drag people down. We don't use those words. Negative words push people away from you, while positive words draw people to you.

    It is part of our overall classroom environment I am working on - that the word "boring" is offensive to me is beside the point. I never allowed that word at home either. "You're bored? I am never bored! Oh, I have a million things you could do. Let's get started!"
     
  8. Here2Learn

    Here2Learn Companion

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    Mar 1, 2008

    I don't think there is a whole lot you can do. I work with a group of "at risk" kids after school to give them extra attention. there are a few other groups, and my group complained sometimes that the other 3rd grade group had more fun (basically due to the fact that the other group has a 19 year old guy who has never worked with kids....and doesn't really care about the fact that these kids need help) he lets them play on the computer the whole time when they are supposed to be doing academics. then, when my group earns a free day or we do something special like watch a movie or have pizza....his group tells him that my group always does cool stuff, and that he's boring. my kids have come to realize that i really do care about them and that i want them to succeed. i make them do academic work instead of playing computer games all day because WHEN (not if) they go to college, they are going to have a lot of work to do, and i am trying to prepare them for that. every now and then they still complain about an activity that they don't want to do, and i say, "okay, well i can always let you work on a packet of worksheets!" and their tune changes quickly. you just have to accept the fact that every kid is not going to like everything that you do....and sometimes there will be that kid that doesn't like ANYTHING that you do, even when you let them choose what to do. i wouldn't worry about it....just keep doing what you are doing.
     
  9. jbj913

    jbj913 Rookie

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    Mar 1, 2008

    Yes, yes. I get the moans and groans too. It's typical.
    I have one kid who will even say, "I just won't do it." and one time, "That's gay." which I immediately reprimanded him for.
    Don't let the class control you, even if it's just one student.
    I tend to tell students who complain or don't want to do it or do it correctly, "Hey, it's your grade." When they realize I won't budge and will easily enter in a low grade if I have to, then they don't say much.
    I get it more in my regular courses than my Honors (surprise!), and it mostly comes from those with the low grades (SHOCKING!)
    I always tell myself, "I may not get to some of them. I may not get to most of them. As long as I get to one of them."
     
  10. blue-eyed mom

    blue-eyed mom Companion

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    I know this is frustrating. I do think there are things you can do...short of strangling this little "darling" :D

    First, I'd treat him like I do when my hypochondriacs complain all day. When it's time for recess, I put on my sweetest voice and my most concerned face and say... "oh Jimmy, you've felt bad all day. I wouldn't want you to go outside and get to feeling worse. It's better for you to stay in today and not risk getting sick. I would worry about you too much." After missing recess once they amazingly feel so much better. No complaints!!

    Next time you do something fun and it's boring...just smile sweetly and say...Oh honey, I'm so sorry you're bored. Why don't you come over here and do this [have some other work --definitely boring work] . I wouldn't want you to be bored with us.

    The other things kids know is that if they complain or whine about an assignment...I double it. If you were going to do 10 math problems, then they 20.
     
  11. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Give the kid a topic (for the following week) and ask him if he would like to come up with lesson plans for it. Tell him you would be interested in knowing his definition of fun and would love to see a fun lesson yourself. (Be very serious, not sarcastic). Invite him to work on it. If he says he will tell him that you will help him if he needs it to just ask. Let it be a cooperative (but mostly him) thing. Let him see how much work it is first hand. Likely he will say no. Tell him if he isn't willing to help you then he can't complain.
     
  12. 5thgraderocks

    5thgraderocks Companion

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    Mar 1, 2008

    I have "team teachers" make plans and present a 10-15 minute Social Studies lesson each week. I definitely would give Mr. I.M. Bored a topic, a date, and a challenge.
     
  13. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    I'd like to be in your class!!
     
  14. WaterfallLady

    WaterfallLady Enthusiast

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    Mar 2, 2008

    I have a major complainer in my class this year and his family just moved down my street...yikes. Anyways, I was looking through another teacher's behavior book and they had complaint coupons. You keep decreasing the amount of coupons available to one a week.

    The students can only complain if they have the coupon.
     
  15. Eddie

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    Mar 2, 2008

    Miss Froggy your leap day activities and lessons sound wonderful. What a turkey you have in your class!

    My cooperating teacher during my student teaching adventure always suggested there were truly boring alternatives to learn the material (read from text or Internet, take notes, take quiz). It was interesting how those 5th graders got quiet and participated in the lesson originally offered.

    Sending good thoughts and patience your way.
     
  16. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    If anyone's class is NOT boring, it is yours, Miss Froggy. I don't let anyone get away with those kinds of complaints. I would just say, "Oh, I'm sorry you are bored. Please keep it to yourself so you don't interfere with the enjoyment of the other kids who are having a great time." Then ignore him unless he participates willingly with a positive manner.
     
  17. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    He won't do truly boring work if I give it to him, so next time he does this, I'm going to say, "go be bored in the other room because the rest of us are having fun" and send him out. (We have a little room next to ours with a window that I can see into.) If he wants to join us, he can. He has a very negative attitude and I know his parents are working on it at home too, but it totally drains the class to have to hear about it all the time. This was the first time it has been in front of the whole class, so I'm glad I put a stop to it ASAP.
     
  18. terib

    terib New Member

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    Mar 2, 2008

    Isn't boredom a choice? At least that is how I define it. I would simply cut the conversation off at. You are choosing not to be involved therefore causing your own boredom. When you are ready to participate, please join us, until then, simply remove yourself (to the other room) and watch the rest of us have fun. Thank you.

    FWIW
     
  19. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Kids hate it when I tell them that being bored just means they aren't working hard enough.
     
  20. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    If he says he is bored all the time then it is time to open up his mind to the positives.

    Challenge him (required) to write 2 things he liked for EVERY lesson for an entire day. Then for homework write 10 activities he likes doing in your class besides playing.
     
  21. bluelightstar

    bluelightstar Companion

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    Mar 3, 2008

    Completely opposite of jbj, I get the "I'm bored" comments more in my AP classes than in Honors or Regular! Of course, by "I'm bored," the students often mean "I don't want to talk about The Things They Carried" or "I don't want to write an in-class essay!"

    Clamp down on their behavior. Nothing annoys me more than when I announce an assignment and there is a big sigh! That's rude!
     

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