Help! Start over? Horrid class management

Discussion in 'Behavior Management' started by Fibonacci, Sep 14, 2014.

  1. Fibonacci

    Fibonacci Rookie

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    Sep 14, 2014

    I am going into my 4th week of school on Tuesday this week. I need help. I never thought I'd be bad at classroom management. I read 'First Days of School', I took the Love and Logic course... I used to be top notch at classroom management. When I did my intern work in 3rd grade the kids wouldn't pick up a pencil or move without permission and I always got get evals on the relationship and trust the students had with me. Did my gen ed student teaching in 2nd grade and same thing. My supervisors told me I had better management than my cooperating teacher. That I was preventative vs reactive.

    Now I am teaching middle school!!! I never thought my first year would be teaching middle school special education math! My classes are not managed. Middle school is hard because they aren't mine all day where I can make logical consequences and threats (although I'd never call them that out loud). I need help.

    We have school wide rules: listen, be respectful, come prepared, remain seated, and keep hands and feet to self, and we are supposed to give out tickets and call parents and then refer to office, but I'm in trouble. My students talk when they want, are sarcastically rude to each other, move when they want, interrupt, don't pay attention... Etc. I've become reactive.

    I hope I can start over. I need ideas. I teach 6 periods a day and they are all different. My two higher math classes are better but not good enough and the low classes are a wreck. Harry Wong would say I'm done for... Lol
     
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  3. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Sep 14, 2014

    Middle school is definitely different and lot would say much harder than elementary. I've never taught elementary, so I can't compare, but have experience with middle, and they're not easy.

    What did you do in 2nd and 3rd grade that was preventative and worked so well? Can you revisit those strategies, change them up a bit, but implement them?
     
  4. Fibonacci

    Fibonacci Rookie

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    Behavior chart (clip system). Recess loss. Got them to police each other, "listen. If someone near you isn't listening, please ask them to listen so that you can hear me." Very little extrinsic reward. Once in a while of say things like, "I'm looking for the first group who has their books put away and is showing me they are quite and ready." Then hand out (1) jelly beans or let them get a gumbal out of the gumball machine. Again, police each other. Let them rival for point per table and at the end of the day get a reward. I think loss of recess is huge for elementary. Also, in 3rd grade, they had a card pull system. Index card in their spot with their name on it. When they got their card moved twice try lost recess, when they had a perfect day, they got an apple sticker. Once they had 20 they could choose from the prize tub or have a can of soda in class.
     
  5. Fibonacci

    Fibonacci Rookie

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    Sep 14, 2014

    Can I do a sticker system in 6th, 7th, 8th? Special ed math classes? (Basically low level middle school math class)
     
  6. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Sep 14, 2014

    I think by the time some kids get to middle school, they lack the appreciation for intrinsic reward (it's still there in elementary ages).
    So don't be put off that they have the 'what's in it for me' attitude, but work it it. Obviously don't reward them like that all the time, because then they get used to that even more, but use it to your advantage.

    In the other thread you asked about free time (and I responded), I would use that. They WILL police each other, because this is a whole class incentive and they rely on each other to earn it. I would keep up with the positive statements, and if they sit in table, you could still use table points. I didn't like that myself, because then there are too many incentives to keep track of.

    If the students are struggling with behavior, and are sitting in groups / pairs, I would move the seats back into rows.

    Give out tickets whenever you can, that is preventative.
    Call home as much as you must, it usually works. Most students have someone at home who will hold the kids accountable. The few students who are unsupportive....well, at least you find out who they are.
     
  7. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Sep 14, 2014

    Sticker system? Sure. Sometimes things that seem elementary work well with lower / special ed classes.
    My students are the ones who have been expelled from school, they didn't fit in, or tried to act out to fit in, no positive attention at home or at school, and my P said she encourages stickers because these kids never got them.

    Before she even said this I implemented a system with stamps. It was purely for academic reasons (if you're done with the warm up by the time you should be, you get a stamp and that means full credit, if you get done late, you still get most of the credit). You wouldn't believe how my gang-banger / violent students work for this stamp. It's amazing.
     
  8. Fibonacci

    Fibonacci Rookie

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    Maybe I'll start with my younger class that has all 6th graders, and then one if my better behaved classes and see if they buy into the system. Basically if they get their card punched or stamped or stickered 20 times (that'd be 20 days) they will get to pick a reward.

    They get to use the computers when they are done with their work, so I'll have to take that away from them and have a worksheet they must do when done with classroom assignments/ activity. My students have unique challenges. Some with ED, ODD and maybe a third can't keep up in regular class because of ADHD/ ADD. They are also grouped together by ability not grade. So squirrely 6th graders get mixed in with 'I think I'm too cool' 8th graders. It's definitely a little different in here.

    Thanks though. I will start giving out tickets like crazy.
     
  9. ZebraStripes

    ZebraStripes Rookie

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    Sep 14, 2014

    I teach middle school in a high poverty area.

    Consistency is the most important thing I can give them, so whatever I tell them I'm going to do (good or bad consequences), I follow through with. If it's time to call home, sometimes I'll do it while we're still in class if the students are busy working. This helps the students know you mean business.

    I also have really elementary/ cheesy rewards. Last year I gave out raffle tickets to students going above and beyond (being a good citizen, helping others, cleaning messes that weren't theirs). I taught 6th, 7th, and 8th and all three grades loved it.

    Ditto what Linguist said about rows. Sometimes the class needs to start out that way. It's easier to tell who is paying attention when they are facing you.

    Just make sure whatever changes you make you stick with for awhile to really know if they're working or not.
     
  10. Ms.Blank

    Ms.Blank Companion

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    Sep 14, 2014

    I plan on using a ticket system like this teacher does: http://leisureteacher.blogspot.com/2013/08/leisure-bucks.html

    I remember my teacher in 5th grade did a raffle system like zebrastripes mentioned. I loved it. I saved those tickets like crazy! I'm sure the middle schoolers would love it, too.

    Good luck with your classes!
     
  11. Fibonacci

    Fibonacci Rookie

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    Sep 15, 2014

    Thanks for the ideas!

    I have a very diverse population too. Many students have parents who speak Spanish, we have migrant workers, and rural living students and then I teach special ed math. :) I've been talking with them a lot and they have lots to tell me about just how much English their parents can speak.

    I like the raffle. What do you give as prizes? Do you let them keep their tickets? How often do you do a raffle?

    I just bought a star hole punch. I think I'm going to do my card stamp system too. 20 stamps (20 days without being told twice/discipline) till a can of soda in class or small prize. maybe.
     
  12. heatherberm

    heatherberm Cohort

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    Sep 15, 2014

    Fibonacci, my one suggestion with any system would be to start small. Based on what you've described earlier in the thread, 20 days with no second chances/discipline seems like it might be very difficult for a lot of your students to achieve. My experience is that it's best to start low and then push it up. If kids have a hard time earning something - or worse, they never do - they'll decide it's beyond them and quit trying.

    Good luck! Keep us updated!
     
  13. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Sep 15, 2014

    I would also suggest to keep the time between rewards shorter. For example if you have free time, some suggest that with elementary grades they could redeem the earned free time every day, and not wait until Friday, as they might lose the desire to earn it.
    I've found that in middle school / high school kids are mature enough to earn free time and redeem it Fridays.
    Depending on your kiddos' maturity, you might want to redeem their rewards once a week, or maybe even more often. I wouldn't go for 20 days, not even 10 days.
     
  14. daisycakes

    daisycakes Companion

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    Sep 16, 2014

    I taught ms in a high poverty school for years and we also had an unusually high rate of sped students.

    It is important to start your class strong. I highly, highly recommend making them line up quietly to enter the room. Then you can greet each one and look them I'm the eye to send a psychological signal that you are in charge. Then they need to sit down without talking. If even one person whispers, make them all go back outside and line up again. Our sped math teacher would have them doing this the whole period at the beginning of the year. Don't worry about teaching because management comes before teaching. After they have entered the room properly, have a problem on the board for them to do silently. If they talk, give them a warning on whatever system you use, leading up to taking away recess. Walk around the room while they work silently to make yourself known and check that they are all on task.

    From there, class will be easier. I found that if I could get a class to line up, no matter what kids and what time a day, and enter silently, I could teach them.
     
  15. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Sep 16, 2014

    Will you take a look at my charting/graphing idea in Driving Pigeon's thread? I'm on my phone so it's a little hard to copy and paste, but I promise it works!
     
  16. ZebraStripes

    ZebraStripes Rookie

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    Sep 17, 2014

    I gave them the choice between a jolly rancher, an eraser cap, or a pen grip.

    I know some schools are very strict about not giving out food rewards and you also have to watch out for allergies, but the pencil grips were like gold to them! You can get them at the dollar store, I think they come 10 to a package.

    I drew names on Friday and kept the tickets that weren't pulled in. About once a quarter I'd wipe them all out and start fresh. It was super easy to keep track of, cheap, and I got a lot of buy in. Oh, and ALL of my students were ELL.
     
  17. MrsRed

    MrsRed Rookie

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    Sep 17, 2014

    I just want to mention that you should be careful with giving soda as a reward. As a parent, I wouldn't be happy if my child's teacher gave soda as a reward (especially in elementary such as your student teaching) and I would think for students with ADD/ADHD the sugar and caffeine wouldn't help.
     
  18. TíaJulia

    TíaJulia New Member

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    Sep 19, 2014

    Middle School is so hard! Kudos for surviving so far ;)

    I use stickers and pencils a lot in my classes as a reward and it works really well - and I teach high school!

    I also have a points system (class gets points for being on task, paying attention, being respectful to each other, keeping the room neat and clean, and if everyone scores above 80% on a test - loses points for breaking rules, etc.)... if they get a certain number of points by the end of the quarter the whole class gets a reward (movie day, pizza party, etc.)... This works really well with a lot of groups because it's no longer cool to act up if you're losing the pizza party for the whole class!

    Best of luck!
     
  19. mrs.whatsit

    mrs.whatsit Rookie

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    Sep 22, 2014

    Reward System

    Hi! I had the same problems in my first year of teaching middle school. It is frustrating and overwhelming, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. I too read (and learned a lot) from Love and Logic as well as Teach like a Champion and Teach like Your Hair is on Fire... All great books with good tactics but I found they lacked one thing - a system to engage students.

    I started using http://whyliveschool.com/ in my classroom. It is a free app for teachers (and also grade teams) that helps you digitally track class and individual points, send home weekly reports to parents about behavior and academics, and then keeps a bank account for each student so you can give them rewards based on points they have earned.

    It changed my classroom. I created a behavior rubric based on our schools rules so that I gave consistent and fair points to my students. I was clear about my expectations and students started to really respond. My behavior problems practically ended and we had a joyful rest of the year.

    The website also has really helpful resources like Printable Reward cards: http://whyliveschool.com/rewards-cards to start your class store and best practice classroom management approaches for you and your colleagues.
     

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