Frustrated!

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by brandi0718, Nov 3, 2011.

  1. brandi0718

    brandi0718 Comrade

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    Nov 3, 2011

    I am so fed up with the bad behavior in my classroom! I am in my 5th year of teaching 1st grade and I have NEVER had a class like I have this year. I have almost talked myself into not teaching anymore! I can not get control of my class and I have NEVER had this problem before!! I have called parents, sent notes home, given time outs, sent to the office, had silent lunch, taken all of the fun activities away (no computer, no playdoh, no painting, etc)...NOTHING seems to work!! I have very few students that do the right thing and I feel soooo bad because I am always having to fuss or get on to someone. The talking in my class is also out of control, but I feel that I have done absolutely everything possible. Does anyone have ANY ideas?! PLEASE SOMEONE HELP ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:eek:
     
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  3. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Nov 3, 2011

    Have you tried a visual with the class to show when it is appropriate to talk?

    Maybe working with the kids to spend less minutes talking each day.
     
  4. brandi0718

    brandi0718 Comrade

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    Nov 3, 2011

    I have not tried a visual....I am though to the point where it is not appropriate at any time to talk unless I have asked you something OR we are reading in my group....I feel like I am about to go insane!!!!
     
  5. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    Nov 3, 2011

    I would think it very challenging for first graders to not talk unless called upon or sitting in a reading group. Maybe it would be you can work with the class to set a goal they are able to be successful at.
     
  6. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Enthusiast

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    Nov 3, 2011

    I feel your pain. That was my class last year and my neighbors class this year. It doesn't matter what I did, say, took away, gave, or ignored my class last year drove me insane!!!! One day at the end of the year I did an experiment. When we came back in from recess. I went to the front of the class and stood where I spent all year teaching from. They knew to be quiet when I was there. It took them 20 minutes to finally realize that I was there and ready to teach. They spent those 20 minutes talking, tattling and fighting with each other. I just wanted to see how long it would take them to finally realize that I was ready to go. It was unbelievable to say the least. I have no advice but make sure that you have lots of relaxing time on the weekends. This year as a whole my class is better behaved. I have 4 high maintenance kids, 2 really low, 2 retainees, and one that is so smug I want to knock his block off at least once a day, oh and the princess who does things on her own time because she thinks the world revolves around her. They don't really tattle too much, and they definitely don't fight with each other like last year's class.
     
  7. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Nov 3, 2011

    Are they in groups? Perhpas moving them into rows for a while may help. I know it's not necessarily the best thing to do, but for now, it may curb the talking.

    Also, have you tried implementing P.A.T.?

    Focused more on rewarding students who are doing the right thing instead of punishment?

    And, it could be that things may not click into place until January.
     
  8. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Nov 3, 2011

    Wow! You have a tough situation. One idea that I got from a really good teacher who taught in Harlem. Here it is:

    Step 1: Tell the students you have a special signal that you want them to be absolutely quiet. Demonstrate signal (such as clap, clap...clap, clap,clap)

    Step 2: Tell the students you want them to make as much noise as possible and you are going to see if they can get quiet the moment you clap. Tell them the record is 2 seconds and see if they can beat it.) *I am sure they will be good at getting loud.

    Step 3: If it doesn't go well..in a positive encouraging way...repeat, repeat, repeat.....

    Step 4: when they finally get it correct, go crazy with excitement! Tell them they have set the new record and that you are so proud of them!

    Step 5: (My idea) Also, then see how long they can go without talking--make it a contest.

    I have had lots of success with this, but realize your group is very challenging. It will probably need lots of practice.

    **The PAT idea mentioned above is excellent, I would do it every hour for 5 minutes with this group. Then if they improve, you can make it less often.

    Good luck!
     
  9. WhoDatTeacher

    WhoDatTeacher Rookie

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    Nov 3, 2011

    You can reward students with some kind of ticket system where students gain tickets for: good behavior, listening to directions, handing in homework, etc. The tickets can be made on just colored paper (The school I was in used gold paper) After receiving one of these tickets, the students would write their names on them and drop them in a bin on the teacher's desk. Students can redeem these tickets at the end of the week or after they collect a certain amount in a "prize box" (box/ bin full of dollar store / cheap toys other trinkets). I used this with my first graders and once they found out I was handing out the golden tickets students were IMMEDIATELY attentive and on good behavior. I kept track on a chart how many tickets each student received and they also got a special prize when they hit milestones (25, 50, 75, etc.).

    Another option is implementing something like a "good behavior buddy system" my coop teacher for student teaching used this and it worked well in the classroom with the first graders. She purchased about 6 or 8 koosh ball animals and named them: "directions duck" "helper hippo"... etc. Every day if a student was spotted in the classroom following directions well they would be asked to take the corresponding "good behavior buddy" off of the teachers desk and have it sitting on their desk all day. During dismissal students would return their good behavior buddies to the teachers desk and it would restart the next day.

    I have used both of these methods successfully in a first grade classroom.
     
  10. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Nov 4, 2011

    Tough indeed! So, a few questions:

    1. Can you describe your current management plan? Not just individual consequences/rewards, but your overall system.

    2. What's your demeanor now - quiet, calm, & patient? More confrontational and demanding? Not saying either is right or wrong - but, honestly, how would you describe your own behavior with the kids?

    3. What makes this group different from years past? You mentioned the last 4 years have been great, but this tough. What would you identify as the difference?
     
  11. brandi0718

    brandi0718 Comrade

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    Nov 4, 2011

    I have never heard of PAT? Or maybe I have and just don't remember?

    In my classroom my students sit in groups...we have tables and each table is a color for example- pink table, green table, etc. I have managed to find a few individual desks and I have 4 students that do not sit with a group. I use the color system with my students- I have purple, green, yellow, and red...Every student starts off on green...they are able to move their clip up to purple if they are caught doing something good...for example working hard on their work, reading silently, walking in line nicely, etc. If they move their clip up to purple they get to play on our big playground (it is new) for 15 minutes in the afternoon...If they are on green they are allowed to play on it for 5 minutes, and if they are on yellow they have to sit out....

    I feel like I am calm and patient....not quiet, but I am not loud...just kind of normal tone....however I have gotten to the point where I am demanding stuff because I have so many students that just look at me like I am speaking a different language...

    I have NEVER had children just write their name on a test and hand it back in...but now I do! I just can't figure these children out....Yesterday we went on a field trip and when we got back one of the students did a roll across my floor and then stood up and threw a pencil...I talk to this particular child's mother EVERY day!!!!!!!! I email her every afternoon to tell her about his day because he would change his color on his folder every time it was on something other than green or purple....I have another child that just stares at me....I asked him if he would be sweet for me and he told me he would be good in 10 days....well that was 2 days ago so I have 8 to go to see if he is telling me the truth!

    My heart breaks for the 2 or 3 students in my class that are truly trying to learn....If I were one of their parents I would be so angry about the way the class is....

    I can not pinpoint what is different with this class....I do feel like it has nothing to do with me...I have had several other teachers deal with the children I am having trouble with and they have had the same problems....
     
  12. brandi0718

    brandi0718 Comrade

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    Nov 4, 2011

    I have had to take all of my crayons and fun stuff up....We do centers every day...I have had to take the children off of the computers during the technology time because they will just yell as if they are needing to talk to the computer....I have had to redo my wordbuilding center and make it mostly handwriting because they would not use the playdoh properly...they don't use the stamps to do their work...it just realllllly doesn't make sense!!!
     
  13. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Nov 4, 2011

    My second year of teaching I had a BTSA mentor (in CA we have to go through a two year BTSA program for our clear credential). Anyways, my mentor was a first grade teacher who has been teaching for AGES. She used to be a special ed teacher. She had worked with all types of kids, in very difficult situations. That year she was my mentor, she had the class from hell. They almost sound like your class. She couldn't do any fun activities, she also had to modify workshop activities, and so on. Instead of mentoring me, I ended up being her listening ear and trying to help her out! Nothing worked. But she survived the year and had a much better class the following year. Sometimes, all you can do is just do your best, not give up, and stay firm, fair and consistent.
     
  14. Christina1213

    Christina1213 Rookie

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    Nov 6, 2011

    It is sad how students do not even respect their real teacher as well. I know that for substitute teachers they never respect them at all, but this is common since they are not their real teachers and they think they can take advantage of them. This is something that gets me upset too because I can never get through a lesson without stopping because of behavior issues. Do you have a behavior chart set up in your classroom?
     
  15. Christina1213

    Christina1213 Rookie

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    Nov 6, 2011

    I noticed first graders and kindergarteners are the worse when it comes to classroom behavior. They need to be told how to behave somehow before it is too late.
     
  16. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Nov 6, 2011

    I taught kinder for three years and yes, while it's SUPER tough in the beginning, by December/January, I would have the best class ever! By the end of the year, THEY can run my classroom while I sit back and monitor them. Really! :) I just think you need to really be on the ball, strict, stern, caring, loving, creative, etc. to get your class to be where you want them to be. Some years takes more/longer work and time. So be it.
     
  17. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Nov 6, 2011

    I had a year just like this, except I wanted to quit in September.

    My boss and gave me great advice: never quit after one bad year. Try one more year, it is very likely to be better.

    The one and only thing I can say is that Love and Logic saved my sanity and my career. Get the book, better yet, get the tapes and view it! It should be available through your district, the public library, or you could get an inter-library or inter-district loan. Jim Faye gives concrete examples on what to say and how to get your kids in charge of their own behavior and consequences, thereby relieving YOU of all that stress.

    Please please, check it out. PM me if you would like. bonne
     
  18. brandi0718

    brandi0718 Comrade

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    Nov 6, 2011

    I will certainly check that out!!! I have been ready to quit...My health is soooo much more important than teaching....and I feel like if I have any more years like this I will end up having a heart attack, stroke, or nervous breakdown!!!!
     
  19. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Nov 7, 2011

    Sorry for my delay, and thanks for your responses to my questions! There definitely seems to be a group dynamic that has developed over the years, and is causing some pretty intense group and individual behavior patterns. A few thoughts:

    1. Study the group dynamics - I know you can't pinpoint what's different now, but try. When things get worse, write down what happens from start to finish, and see what seems to get the ball rolling - look for particular activities, particular kids, particular responses from you, etc. Anything that might be a pattern. The more you know, the more you can address strategically and build a plan around. If you can think of any of these patterns or notice any in the coming days, post your thoughts! We may be able to help brainstorm some responses.

    2. Consider a more intricate group behavior management system. The card system is inherently problematic because you only have 4 or so stops in between a great day and a bad day. Because of this, you are forced between a couple of bad options: either be consistent and "pull/flip a card" for every single infraction (which leaves the child on the worst color by 8:20), or only pull cards for the big things (which is inconsistent and lets kids get away with things). Consider a system with more "ammunition," or units reinforcement and punishment built in. The basic process for this is: identify resources you have in your classroom that can serve as reinforcement such as recess, free time, student-selected seating, etc. (or create some if you don't have enough), then break that resource into tiny increments (such as minutes), then create a system for adding/taking away those increments for good/bad group behavior. For example, designate the last 30 minutes of each day as preferred learning time, with a lot of really fun activities to chose between. Make 20 marks on the board, and everytime you "catch" the group being on-task, add a mark - every time you catch them being off-task, take one away. You also might want to consider such a reinforcement system on an individual level.

    The whole reinforcement/punishment thing is also only one part of the process. What happens, for example, if a child is insubordinate and refuses to accept a consequence? What is your time out procedure, if any? You may want to pick up a book on classroom management and just make mental notes of what you already do and don't do. Sometimes there are things you've done before or learned in college, but have forgotten. A good first start is "Building Classroom Discipline" by CM Charles - it's an overview of a bunch of different systems, and is sort of like a menu. After reading through those different systems, you'll be given additional book/reference options to learn more about those systems. That will allow you to see what works well for you, then you can pick up a book on whatever system you chose.

    3. Start your day off with 20 minutes of teambuilding activities that are fun - not academically related. You may be more likely to get good behavior out of them during this time, set a positive tone for the day, and start building community and individual relationships between kids and the group as a whole. This would be a good start to "reseting the vibe" that exists now. Right now, there are group norms which permit bad behavior, and give social status/power to those who misbehave. Teambuilding can help establish new norms, group values, and peer expectations. I'd find a good book on facilitating teambuilding, and slowly build in more processing into the mix. In other words, just play the games at first, but as you develop good behavior during that time and can expect them to participate in discussion about what they just did, "debriefing" can help them connect the activities/games they just did with important group values.

    4. Don't accept giving up. I've read a few of the other posts here - it's not that I disagree that sometimes there are just bad years, and that you can't fix every problem. But, I do think there are always additional things to try. At the same time, I agree that you should maintain your health - do things to relieve stress, depersonalize the situation, etc. - but quitting won't be good for your health either, because you'll then be an unemployed teacher who quit mid-year because the job was too tough, and in this economy that can be a stressful situation to be in :).

    5. Realize that the process of changing behavior (on a group or individual level) can be a slow process - like putting together a puzzle piece-by-piece. Learn to recognize small steps of improvement and value those, be nimble in your problem-solving (e.g., don't get continue to use unproductive strategies), and continue to post here on this forum (and otherwise seek advice/feedback). For example, you may find some ideas here helpful - try them for a week or two, and come back and share an update. What worked? What didn't? Did using those strategies generate new ideas for other strategies? Did you learn something about the behavior patterns of the group - certain kids that tend to start things off, etc?

    In other words, learn to see this as an excited challenge to learn how to deal with a difficult task. Accept that you'll experience a lot of failures, but learn how to process those failures in a productive way - as learning experiences that tell you what works and what doesn't. Think of yourself like a cancer researcher that has spent years and years working on a cure - cancer isn't your fault, and it's a naturally close-to-impossible task - but potentially a fun one to work your way through the process and figure out little things that work.

    Let us know what you think!
     
  20. brandi0718

    brandi0718 Comrade

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    Nov 7, 2011

    Thanks for the suggestions! I will certainly look into some books and keep y'all updated!!! Today was an okay day today....Maybe just maybe things are getting better slowly!! :)
     

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