Girl behavior question

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by DrivingPigeon, Sep 23, 2013.

  1. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Sep 23, 2013

    There is a group of 4 girls in my class who were together in first grade, and they are pretty close. (It seems like first grade is the year that kids form really close friendships.)

    I have a total of 13 girls in my class, and these 4 are together all. The. Time. They seem to have a difficult time making decisions independently. For example, they were playing a math game in pairs the other day. I did not pair any of them up together, and the next thing I know, 3 of them are standing together in a corner, partners in tow. They wanted to find a spot in the classroom where all of them could still be close together and work with their partners.

    Per school rule, students have to line up in "line order." Almost every time we line up, one of them just HAS to tell the other one something. They rarely make decisions without "consulting" with one-another. I even see them make faces at one-another during lessons. For example, if I'm explaining a game, one of them will turn around and look at another one and make a "This is boring" look.

    They are all good kids, and this issue is more or less just annoying than it is disruptive. They aren't mean to other girls in the class, but they certainly do not have any intentions of letting other girls into their circle.

    How would you approach this situation if you were me? I would like to nip this behavior now, because I feel that it could become a bigger issue in the future.
     
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  3. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Sep 23, 2013

    I think it might be great to purposefully pair them with others for some activities. Not all activities, though, because friendships are important and as you said they're not necessarily disruptive. :)
     
  4. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Sep 23, 2013

    I would make a few things clear to all the students (especially your girls). I would make sure that they know that they need to spread out when working with a partner. Two groups should not be close together. I would also make sure that they know that when you line up, they need to stay in the line order. Then have a consequence for when they don't follow those rules just as you would for any other student.
     
  5. Securis

    Securis Cohort

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    Sep 23, 2013

    You may have to use get-to-know-you games/activities) to get them form friendships with others. It'll be slow but if you're concerned about how they might treat others then the better they know their classmates the less likely they'll mistreat any of them. And they can still have their little circle for as long as it lasts.
     
  6. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Sep 23, 2013

    I've noticed that girls tend to become "cliquey" much younger than boys do. The best thing to do is just encourage them to branch out. Require them to have different partners (and assign them work spaces, if necessary). Have them seated at the four corners of the classroom. You can't force them to become friends with other students, and you certainly can't force them to stop being friends with each other, but you can take steps to keep them separated from each other during academic times. You might even pull the four of them aside and explain yourself to them... "you four girls are really good friends, and that's great to see! I really want you to be comfortable working with other students though. Sometimes when you are together, you get so excited about what you are talking about that your classmates can feel left out. You are more than welcome to sit together and lunch and to play at recess, but I think you should find other places to work during class." Something like that.
     
  7. live

    live Companion

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    Sep 23, 2013

    I really like this direct approach, while also keeping it positive. It's definitely a teachable moment. You can have your really close friends, but still include and work with others. These girls might not even be aware or know that they should include others more or do anything different than what they have been.

    It sounds like they're a good group of girls and might respond well to this.
     
  8. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    Sep 23, 2013

    I always assign groups for group work. I have 3 or 4 girls in 5th grade where if I'm not watching them like hawks, when I put them in groups they will simply not go to their assigned group and instead will sit together like that was the group I assigned.

    I also have assigned seats and sometimes they'll walk in and just sit next to a friend instead of their assigned seats. Like I won't notice.

    It drives me crazy!!! Honestly, I never let them work together. They can hang out during recesses and lunch, but not in my classroom. I would not allow them to even work "near" each other.
     
  9. thirdgradebuzz

    thirdgradebuzz Comrade

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    Sep 23, 2013

    I've had groups of girls like this before. I agree with assigning them to work with others sometimes, but not all the time. That way that can branch out but still be with each other.
     
  10. Melanie Therese

    Melanie Therese Rookie

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    Sep 27, 2013

    I agree with starting with the direct approach suggested up-thread.

    I would then suggest, depending on how many kids to a group, different combinations of assigning them. I'd never make the four of them their own group, but I wouldn't always separate them into four different groups.

    Good luck!
     
  11. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Sep 27, 2013

    I wonder if next year you could request that they were split up. Their tight friendship seems a little unhealthy. Like maybe they have had too much time together and should learn how to work with others.
     
  12. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    I completely agree. I'm surprised they all ended up together, since we have 5 second-grade teachers.

    Thanks for the ideas, everyone!
     
  13. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Sep 27, 2013

    Oh yes, with 5 teachers that´s enough to spread them out.
     
  14. comaba

    comaba Cohort

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    Sep 28, 2013

    I have the most success when I appeal to a student's conscience. My students are older, but I've used the same approach when I taught younger grades.

    This year, I've had students blurt out, "Can I work with so-and-so?" when they've already been assigned a partner. I privately ask them to think about how they would feel if their partner did the same, and that I'll talk to them later after they've had time to think. Usually, they're a bit remorseful and don't do it again.

    To the student who says he wouldn't mind because he knows his partner wants to work with a friend, I say that if I were the partner, my feelings would be very hurt, and since I know that he is a kind person who wouldn't want to hurt another's feelings, I know I can count on him not to do that again. Maybe I've been lucky, but it's working.
     

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