Crazy Class-HELP!

Discussion in 'Behavior Management' started by Lmb5713, Sep 23, 2011.

  1. Lmb5713

    Lmb5713 Rookie

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    Sep 23, 2011

    OK, so this is my first year teaching 8th grade social studies. Out of 6 classes, five of them are running like well-oiled machines and require very little redirecting, but I have one class that I am at a complete loss with. This class of about 30 has a large chunk of behavior issues. Students blurt out, poke other students, etc., etc.... which is common in middle school, but I can deal with these students on an individual level. My biggest problem is that they will not stop talking while I am giving instruction or need to regroup after partner work. It's like half the class completely disregards the fact that I am there. Here is what I have done so far:
    -Instituted new seating charts
    -Proximity while giving instruction
    -Cold-calls
    -Using a hangman system of rewards (I choose a class reward and put letters up when they are doing what they should be)
    -Individual conferences
    -Re-enforcing the rules (Our school has an SER-Safety, Ethics, Respect-acronym for PBS and I developed rules around them. When the students were misbehaving, I would ask them how they were not demonstrating one of the sub-rules for this as a class and asking how to redirect
    -Teaching and using nonverbal cues for behavior.
    -Using give me 5 (I raise my hand for student attention, and when I drop all five fingers, students should be quiet and attentive)
    -and more basic management...

    I don't know what else to try. Anybody have any ideas? Am I completely missing something? I hate going to work dreading this class, especially because I adore the kids on a personal level :(
     
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  3. SpecSub

    SpecSub Comrade

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    Sep 25, 2011

    I see some great ideas in your post, but I don't really see any consequences for the kids who are not doing what they know to do. In 8th grade, they should know how to behave.

    One example of a consequence would be that those students who don't show you the courtesy of listening to you after partner work, don't get to work with partners next time.

    Also, look at your PBS. Are there levels of consequences there? You probably need to institute some of them.

    I know you love the kids, but they are being very disrespectful to you, affecting your teaching time and impacting the learning of others. Be firm and fair and institute consequences.
     
  4. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Sep 25, 2011

    Hey there - Sounds like you've been trying some good things, and experiencing mostly success with other classes. My first thought would be to not jump into what to DO right now, but why the problems are happening. If all of your classes were behaving that way, I'd definitely suggest some general classroom levels interventions/prevention strategies to try first. Because your other classes are doing well, and you've tried some strategies, I'd say it would be important to dig deeper as to the "why" in the situation.

    Some questions that come to my mind:

    1. Is it the last class of the day, last class before lunch, or first class of the day?

    2. Do all the kids equally talk, or some more than others? A few in particular, or most?

    3. Is there a child or two that seems to get things going?

    4. Is the behavior particularly defiant, or just talkative? In other words, do they seem to be talking to purposely disrupt, or are they just chatty?

    5. Does the disruption occur throughout the period, at select times, or progressively get worse?

    6. Does it seem to occur during certain types of instruction (e.g., whole group instruction vs. independent seatwork), or with varying levels of difficulty (e.g., during more difficult work)?

    7. How do they respond when you redirect them? Are they quiet for a while, then go back to disruption?

    8. Have they responded even to a small degree to any of your strategies, such as the reinforcement idea, or have all o f the strategies experienced total failure?
     
  5. Milsey

    Milsey Habitué

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    Sep 25, 2011

    I would send some of the worst offenders to a buddy teacher. Maybe then they will learn.
    I like group work because it allows them to talk while working , but they need to be quiet when you are speaking.
     
  6. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Sep 25, 2011

    Why unload them on a colleague? This sends the message that you can't handle them. And it's really not fair to the other teacher who has his/her own students to manage.

    Use consequences...work not completed because of excess talking becomes homework, make up lost time after school, calls home to parents of repeat offenders...
     
  7. Lmb5713

    Lmb5713 Rookie

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    Sep 26, 2011

    Thank you all for your ideas. Here are some clarifications from questions you may have had.

    SpecSub, I have pulled certain kids from partner/group work like you mentioned. I have also been following our PBS steps (1. Individual conference, 2. Referral Form to notify home-and I always call, too, 3. Detention with teacher where I work on behavior reflection and goal setting, 4. Detention, office referral) which are the steps my school has told us to take.

    EdEd, This class is right after lunch, most all of the kids are chatty (not necessarily to be disrespectful), but there are about 8 that are particularly disruptive, the disruption occurs throughout the class and with all types of instruction, and they will respond to redirection for about a minute. Some of my strategies have had a response, but not necessarily for the whole class. The re-inforcement helped a few students, but not all. The students liked the rewards system I had, but some students didn't care and would try to wreck the class. If you can offer anything based on my answers, please do!!! :)

    As far as sending students to a buddy teacher, I don't really think that would work with my teaching style. Also, school policy will not let us send them out of our room unless it is a major issue, since they don't want students missing out on instruction.

    One more thing: I'm planning on sitting down with the students to make our own class rules/consequences list. I'm wondering if that, maybe with some buy-in, they will be more willing to do what they need to do and be more accepting of the consequences. Also, I have our counselor in my class today going over one of the 8th Grade Testing preps, so I will see how this class does for him today.
    Sorry that was so long! Thank you guys for everything-I can always count on these forums for excellent advice!
     
  8. OnTaskNow.com

    OnTaskNow.com New Member

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    Oct 2, 2011

    Are you calling home? Ever call home while class is in session? Amazing how quiet the class can get when they hear you talking to a parent about a behavior issue while the class is in session. They are wondering will they be next. Call parent's place of work. Put student on the phone with parent (just block your cell pone number before you call :) )

    David
     
  9. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Oct 14, 2011

    Sorry for not responding in so long! Was on the forum for a bit, and lost track of this one! Have things improved at all? I think that's a great idea about the group meeting and getting buy-in into the process. How did that go?
     
  10. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Oct 15, 2011

    Regarding buddy teacher:
    when i was student teaching, I had some very challenging students who were non-responsive to most of my efforts. I was very lucky that 2 teachers offered to help me. They had perfect control of their classrooms (have been teaching for a long time), had different styles, but classroom management was never an issue.

    Following my master teacher's advice I did the following:
    -arranged to have the student in the other teacher's class, for 1 class (for one day)
    - prepared assignments for the student. He was basically following the same activities we were doing in class, but now he was to do it independently.
    - informed the student, that although I would LOVE to have him in my classroom, his constant disruptions made instruction difficult and interfered with the other students' education. I also told him, that due to his disrespect and ignorance of my directions, I choose not to have him in my classroom, for this one day. I closed the conversation stating that i was looking forward to seeing him the following day.

    My master teacher said to keep it positive, don't make it sound like I can't handle him, and unloading him to someone else, but to make him want to come back to my classroom, where we read stories, engage in discussions, and participate in partner work. In this other classroom he's sitting quietly, facing the wall, and either working, or not, but either way way he's practicing self control.

    This worked, but sometimes i had to have the student visit the other teacher again, and my master teacher said i can send him there for 2 days, even the whole week if i want to. He was cool about it, the other teachers were very helpful and didn't mind at all. I think the principal went along with it, because in her mind this was a situation that was being handled without any reasons for concern.
     
  11. Lmb5713

    Lmb5713 Rookie

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    Oct 17, 2011

    New Reports...

    EdEd, things have improved a bit in class. For the last week and a half, the class was doing really well and responded well when I would get on to them. Now, instead of it being a whole class thing, it is more like 4 or 5 problem students, which is great. Today, however, I had two students I had to talk to in the hall for their disruptions, both saying I was picking on them and they were getting in trouble when other students aren't. I KNOW I am not doing this, as neither of those boys have been written up like 3 others in my class, and I have had a good relationship with these 2 up until now. I don't know how to prove this to them, and I don't know how to go about dealing with the situation (calling home, etc....) How would you handle it?

    Also, after speaking to our administration, there is NO way I can send kids to another classroom. They don't want them out of my room unless it is major, and then it is direct to the office for discipline. I would like it, but it's out of the question.

    So, in general, class is getting better, but I'm at a loss with these two boys... so if anyone could help me, that would be great. Thanks
     
  12. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Oct 18, 2011

    Good to hear things have gotten better!

    With the two boys, what happened with the situation? What did they do, how did you approach it, and why do you think they are saying they're being picked on (i.e., do you think they really feel like that, or are saying that to try to get out of consequence)?
     
  13. TulipsGirl

    TulipsGirl Cohort

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    Oct 18, 2011

    Really? Students are listening to your conversations as you to talk to the parents of other students? Those phone calls are not the concern of ANYONE in that class except for the student who misbehaved.
    I am shocked to hear that this is accepted where you work.

    Make calls from home, or during your break, when no students are present (except for the student whose' parents you are calling, if you prefer).

    Tell your students that you do not hesitate to call home as necessary, whether you are concerned or proud of their behavior, and then follow through. They'll get the message, and they'll respect you for it.
     
  14. Lmb5713

    Lmb5713 Rookie

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    Oct 18, 2011

    I think it is to avoid consequence. I know from grade level meetings they are doing the same to other teachers. They are both part of LEAG, a Hispanic group aimed at keeping Hispanic students headed in the right direction at our school, and I spoke with their teacher today. She informed me that this has been the case with them through 6, 7, and 8th grade, and that the disrespect has also followed through middle school.

    I spoke with both boys about behavior/feelings/etc., and nothing really changed. Today I pinpointed the continual disruptors, and, at the advice of my AP had Form 2 Office Referrals ready. I let them know that being disruptive would result in a referral since it has been continuous. The other disruptive students were angels! One of the two boys mentioned above became very disrespectful when I approached him about his behavior, and I sent him to my AP. I'm also keeping in very close contact with mom, who is very supportive.

    At first, I was very concerned about them thinking I was being unfair and admittedly let it get to me. After using my resources and talking to supportive people in the school (and students talking to me!) I've realized that it is not personal, and I need to be far stricter with the disruptive students, regardless of the power struggle they try to start.

    The class is still a work in progress, but it's coming along. I just really hope my observation this week doesn't happen to be in this class!
     
  15. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Oct 19, 2011

    Yeah, I think that makes good sense to not take it personally - I would still continue to maintain your close relationships with the boys, and continue having those conversations about their behavior in a calm and supportive manner, not letting their responses get to you. Once they realize it won't get them out of anything, they should calm down with it. The real loss would be if you decided to become more strict at the expense of your relationships with them - not saying to NOT be strict, but there is a difference between strictly enforcing policies and being strict/cold/impersonal with your interactions, the latter which would be unfortunate :).

    Sounds like things keep progressing, though, which is great!
     

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