Help- Terrible behavior!

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by giraffe326, Aug 5, 2013.

  1. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    While I am not a new teacher (year 7) and I have had my fair share of challenging classes/kids, I'm at a complete loss with this group. It is my first year in an urban classroom. They were terrible! As in they couldn't even sit and listen to a story terrible! I constantly have to talk over them, if I try to wait them out they are never quiet. This is a brand new charter, so most of these kids don't even know each other!!!!!!
    I've went over voice level expectations and rules. I sound like a broken record because I keep repeating them. I make them repeat them to me. It doesn't help. They are still terrible.
    Any suggestions? :help:
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Teach them SLANT:


    S- Sit up

    L- Listen

    A-Ask and answer questions

    N- Nod your head

    T- Track the speaker


    Practice, practice, practice!
     
  4. Ted

    Ted Habitué

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    Sometimes you just have to keep repeating and repeating... and it's exhausting, but they will get exhausted of hearing it, too.

    What disciplinary actions do you have in place (before I make any suggestions)? Consequences? Are you going in like a lion, out like a lamb?

    I know that sometimes when I want to get the kids' attention, I will turn off the lights.

    But again...what is the school's discipline philosophy?
     
  5. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Take a few minutes to reflect on the students in your classroom and the values that they may have (or their family has). Are many of your students from low income families, are many minorities, do many have disabilities, etc?

    You may want to plan a lesson on discussing their values, what they want to learn, and then tie that to the behavior they need to demonstrate.
     
  6. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

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    I'm assuming you've already practiced? Then practiced again? Then practiced more? In my experience, Class Dojo works like a charm! Might I suggest that?

    One thing you could try...make short videos where your kids "act out" how to sit quietly, how to listen at carpet, etc. A teacher at my school tried that last year, he said it helped.
     
  7. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    I felt the exact same way at the beginning with my group last year. I think you need to come up with a clear system of consequences and rewards and start implementing them right away- consistently. Don't let anything slide in the beginning. The consequence for talking can be very simple- like putting one's head down for a minute. There just needs to be a consequence so that they know this isn't going to be tolerated. Have you ever used class dojo?
     
  8. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    Try to practice the "wrong way" to do everything.
    I take suggestions for the wrong way to line up.
    * loud
    * not facing front
    * not in a line
    * switching spots
    * arguing
    * cutting
    Then I have everyone line up except one is designed to do it the wrong way such as loud voice.
    We discuss how loud the child is, how uncomfortable it is, how rude, etc.
    Then repeat with another child showing an example of a different wrong way to line up.
    I do this LOTS and it gets old yet works.

    Mid year, we even have fun first doing things the wrong way and then the right way. It's kind of funny then.

    Good luck!
     
  9. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    I do TONS of modeling, student modeling, and student practicing of proper following of rules & procedures. I might not get to academics as quickly as others, but it pays off in the long run, and we get more learning done. Also, the minute something is done wrong, I stop whatever we are doing (even going to lunch or recess), we talk about why we had to stop, and we practice till we remember how to do it correctly. This often happens after long weekends, Christmas break, etc.

    Catch kids doing well, and complement them, give them a (yes, 1) Skittle, a sticker, etc. Don't do it for EVERY kid that does well, just do it occasionally. If one of your more ummm, challenging kids does something well, stop, pick up your phone, and call mom and brag on him/her. You'll be amazed what a change that will make.

    Lastly, come to AtoZ & vent. Y'all kept me sane my first year!
     
  10. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Oh, and one thing I totally agree with Harry Wong on - they do not enter my classroom unless "their mind is right" (a local expression). Uniforms must be worn correctly, students have to be quiet, waiting their turn in line. If they run down the breezeway (we don't have halls), they walk to the end of the breezeway & walk correctly back. As each student enters my classroom, I shake their hand or pat them on the back and tell them "Good Morning," or "We missed you yesterday!" etc.
     
  11. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    I should have been more detailed.
    I've given a lot of choices (ala Love and Logic Method)
    I've complimented good behavior
    We read Miss Nelson is Missing and did a Venn Diagram discussing behavior
    We established rules and consequences

    Thanks for the suggestions. I guess I will continue to sound like a broken record. We had to do a class wide 'time out' and put our heads down after a bathroom break. We then discussed why we had to do this and why we had a consequence. We also discussed how to do it properly, then we went back and did a mock bathroom break as practice.
    I just feel like I've done it all.
     
  12. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    My kids come in as one big group. The P does a morning meeting in the gym. I'm not a fan- I prefer them to trickle in and get started slowly. I feel like I can give individual attention instead of a giant group coming in at once.
     
  13. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    giraffe, have you tried just implimenting a behavior plan - individual or small groups. They can earn stickers towards a reward or a special treat. You would probably have to start off with short periods focusing on one specific behavior. Let the students know what you will be looking for (pick one thing). You may have to give out the reward/treat at the end of every class since they can't seem to control themselves.
     
  14. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    I would try something similar. I use "give me five". Have the kids count out loud to 5 in unison. Each number refers to something. 1=hands empty, 2 is eyes on teacher, 3 is all ears, 4 is mind clear, 5 is not moving.

    By the time they get to 5 most students are silent. Praise the ones that are. Call out the ones still talking, get a friendly challenging rapport going with them...rinse and repeat.

    I know you already no this, but getting the class under control should be priority number 1, even if you have to "lose" a few weeks just focusing on it over content.
     
  15. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    The secret student treat may also work -- for example, choose a student's name before going to the bathroom (in front of the students) and hide it. If that students follows the hallway rules, they earn the treat upon return.
     
  16. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Teaching in an urban school is so completely different than teaching in other schools, even other low SES schools. People who have never done it don't really get it. That might sound harsh, but it's true.

    It sounds like you need to continue modeling, practicing, and redoing tasks that were done incorrectly until they are done correctly. It's going to take some time, and you're going to be exasperated, but it is what it is.

    One thing that really works for me is to help my students anticipate whatever is about to happen. "In a few moments I'm going to ask everyone to get up and grab a book off the bookshelf. When we do that, we need to make sure that we are quiet and that we move quickly. When I say "banana" (or whatever word you want), I want you to quietly get up, get a textbook, and return to your seat. You'll have 30 seconds. What questions do you have before we start? Okay, banana!" I do this for almost everything, at least until my students start to really understand and internalize my expectations. I teach high schoolers, btw, but I do think that this method works for all ages.

    I also do a lot of callbacks. "Turn to page 342, please. What page?" They say, "342!" "When we go outside to practice the fire drill, we need to be quiet so that we can hear important instructions. What do we need to do while we're practicing the fire drill?" They say, "Be quiet so we can hear!"

    This student population really values interpersonal relationships and communication. (Do a little research on the habits and values of people in poverty if you have time.) They really need to talk, to move around, to know that you are listening to them, and to get feedback from you. Give them as many opportunities to do these things as you can. They will feel better, and they will act better. They might always be loud (in my experience they will probably be loud all year), but both of you will learn to adapt so that learning can happen.
     
  17. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    So, I wouldn't advise you to just "keep doing what you're doing and sound like a broken record," at least not yet. You've said you've tried a lot - could you describe what you've done in various areas such as with social skills training, group reinforcement, etc.? Basically, a description of your plan and methods. We may be able to suggest some ways to beef certain components up.

    That being said, yes - sometimes you have to keep repeating yourself, but that's once you have a solid system in place.
     
  18. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Giraffe,

    I taught for 9 years in an Urban setting. It is so different. You have to be a broken record.

    Some of the things that worked in another setting might not work here.

    The only advice I can offer is to start offering "good behavior" incentives that are tangible and immediate. "You were doing a great job listening, so you'll get to eat lunch with the teacher today." or "Here is a sticker to put on your notebook because you did a great job remembering to hang up your bookbag this morning."

    Hang in there. :hugs: There are no easy answers, and what works for one teacher in one classroom may not work in another.
     
  19. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Half the time, I feel more like a drill sergeant than a broken record, lol. But I love my kids, and I know they love me. My kids are quintessential urban, low SES kiddos. Most have little or no structure at home, so we have to provide it at school. Only after the rules, routines, & procedures are down pat am I at liberty to really begin teaching, and with each new routine/procedure, I have to take the time to explicitly teach my expectations. It's hard. It's repetitive. In time, though, I have found that my kiddos really appreciate it.

    Re: rewards - keep them small (translation: cheap), a small sticker, an M&M or Skittle, goofy stamp on their hand or in their notebook. It's also cheaper. It's amazing what they will do to earn something like that. They also LOVE to be the center of attention. Have someone model the WRONG way to do things and have the other kids critique it. Then have the same student model the CORRECT way and have the kids praise him/her.

    My kids report to school on Monday :woot:, so I'll probably be feeling like you are next week :lol:. Take a deep breath. Don't rush it. You and the kids will be alright in the end!
     
  20. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    I was thinking- am I doing the right thing when they are so off task and talking? (I had them put their heads down and think about how they were behaving. After a minute I told them to think about why we cannot behave that way. After another minute, I told them to think about how to behave properly. We got up and 'practiced' the procedure again.)
     
  21. kayina

    kayina Rookie

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    What grade is this? That would give us some perspective to help!
     
  22. schoolteacher

    schoolteacher Habitué

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    I also teach 3rd grade in an urban school. You have received good suggestions.

    I would suggest that one procedure that might help is to have the students put their heads down when they come into class from a bathroom break, from lunch, or from a specialist class. I have my students do this daily. I do not consider it a consequence. It is simply a way to help them to settle down and make the transition back to learning. It is very effective, especially after lunch or recess. It lasts for maybe twenty or thirty seconds. We also practice extensively what "heads down" means. Both forearms touching the desk, cheek resting on a forearm, mouths closed.

    I would not give choices at this point. How do you have them seated? If you have them grouped in tables, try putting them in rows. This should reduce talking. I always seat boy girl if possible.

    Take a look at this video. It will give you an idea of how to approach the beginning of the year. You might find other good videos on this site as well.

    https://www.teachingchannel.org/videos/setting-classroom-tone

    When they are off task and talking, do you mean the majority of the class is doing this? If so, then stop the class and go over the procedure again. Have a student model the correct way to do it. Personally I do not have anyone model the wrong way. I want them only to focus on the right way. Then ask the class what they observed the student doing. When they all practice it, walk around and mention a few names of people, narrating what they are doing correctly. "Rayshawn is writing the answers quietly. Najay has her pencil out and is ready to work." If someone starts to go off task, walk over to them. This should put them back on task. If not, a quiet, "I noticed you haven't started yet" might get them to work. Or, "Did you need some help with that?"

    Assume that if they are not behaving correctly it is because they need to have the behavior modeled and need to practice it again. The focus should always be on what you want them to do. When you see people doing the right thing, be sure to highlight this for the class.

    Best of luck. Don't be afraid to have them practice procedures until they get it right. They can and will if you insist.
     
  23. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    How long have you had your class? With everything being brand new, it may take a little longer to get established routines going. When I taught in an urban school, I did nothing truly academic the first week. It was all procedures and practice. It took that long to get them really understanding how things were going to work (4th and 5th graders). Hang in there, it will come together!
     
  24. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    We only have tables. P doesn't like desks. There are 4 per table, boys and girls are kitty-corner each other.

    Yes- it got worse as the day progressed.
    I've been praising the kids following directions a lot. I'll work on having people model it.


    As for the choices, it is the Love and Logic method- you give them two choices like "Would you rather do an ice breaker or listen to a story?" We will get to both, but the theory is that if you let them make small, menial choices, you 'bank' 'power' when it comes to a situation where you make the decision. It is supposed to make them more agreeable. It worked like a charm with my rural/suburban 2nd graders last year.
     
  25. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    I would consider finding the "leaders" in the classroom. The ones that can drive the misbehavior. I would start pulling them aside 1 to 1 and building a rapport with them. Try to get them to believe they are important to the class, you need their leadership, you need them to help set the example..etc.

    When one of them behaves well, call them on it, "Timmy can do it, thank you Timmy", "can you do it Sharon?, can you do as well as Timmy?"

    If you can get them to put their heads down, I would try "give me five".
     
  26. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    If the whole class is loud and misbehaving, I am not sure love and logic would work well in this example. I always thought love and logic was more 1 to 1, more strategic.
     
  27. schoolteacher

    schoolteacher Habitué

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    Until the class is under control, I would offer no choices. What everyone needs to understand is that you are in charge of the classroom. Once this is established, you can offer more choices. Right now that approach is being seen as a weakness, and others are stepping in to fill in the void. Everyone wants you to be the leader and take charge. When they see that you are, they will be more comfortable with being given choices.
     
  28. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Oh- it was the very first day of a brand new school. I expected it to be tougher than I was used to, but I thought they'd be a lot more shy/nervous than they were.
    My day sounded better than a few other teachers' days...
     
  29. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Alright. No more choices. I actually veered away from that after lunch and was planning on keeping them busy tomorrow.
    We did not adopt physical textbooks since we will have 1:1 laptops/netbooks. However, we don't have them yet :tired:

    I plan on beginning some assessments tomorrow. In addition, I've made some copies of worksheets to see where they are in terms of working independently. I've anticipated that most of my kids will be working at a 1st/2nd grade level. There are a few lower than that- one couldn't spell his own last name (and it was a very easy last name).
     
  30. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    I'd guess that not much thinking went on in about how to behave in their minds when you asked them to do that- especially the ones who are probably causing the most trouble. They still might not even know what good behavior looks like.

    It seems like this was only one day? Maybe you need to give it some more time too.

    I tend to stay away from whole class "put your head down" and single out the kids who need praise and the kids who need redirection. Of course by "single out" I don't mean in a negative or embarrassing way. But I ask them to "reset" meaning put their head down. That way they know I'm talking to them about their behavior. With the whole class, the kid who was the problem might have his head down thinking, "well it wasn't me she's talking about it was that other kid." They know their behavior is being corrected. In the beginning of last year I might have had 5, 6, 7 or 8 kids all resetting at the same time. As the year progressed all I'd have to do is ask one kid to reset and suddenly the rest of the room did what they needed to do. A reset has no other consequence. However failing to reset or having many resets in one day carried consequences. Failing to reset was a big consequence- automatic note home and behavior reflection. In September there were A LOT of notes home. By October, there were hardly any because everyone reset the right way the first time.
     
  31. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    I agree, no choices yet. Be prepared to shut down any activity the moment is goes off track to practice the way it should be done. A few years ago, a really good friend of mine sent me a note down the hallway on the first day of school, before the first bell even rang, asking what she had gotten herself into. When I passed by her room for our restroom break an hour into the day, it looked like pure chaos. Three weeks later, her room was one of the smoothest running rooms I've ever seen. She has the ability to make every child feel valued and respected, and that went a long way in establishing her classroom environment.
     
  32. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Wow! Sounds like a tough group. Hope these suggestions might help a bit. They've helped me when I have had tough groups.

    1. Make sure you have a clear signal to get their attention.
    2. I know this is really hard, but the more you can not talk over them the better,
    3. Don't allow them to talk out. You may need to have a consequence each time they do this just so that you can teach.
    4. Try to use as few verbal warnings as possible.
    5. Fred Jones' Tools For Teaching is a strong discipline program that could really help in a tough tough situation like you have.

    Wow, I will pray for you. Good luck.
     
  33. jlj

    jlj Devotee

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    I had a tough group of first graders. I had them stand and repeat after me our class rules and repeat and repeat until everyone was standing correctly and repeating all rules correctly. Then they would sit and we would begin where we had left off. When lining up if there was talking, running, pushing, etc. every one had to sit back down, wait a minute and try again. We would do it over and over until done correctly. No choices given until they show they can follow rules, respect the teacher and each other and their classroom. Then give few choices at a time, just be sure you will be okay with their choice. Actually their choice, especially at the beginning was be a part of our class family or don't. Being part of the class meant following rules, etc., not being a part of the class meant their desk moved away from the others. They had to do the work but could not participate in any way with classmates. When a desk had to be moved they were told that after 15-20 minutes if they were ready to cooperate and be part of our class they could move their desk back. If behavior continued a note was sent home explaining to parent and the child spent the next day with desk away from others. Parent had to sign and return the note. This happened only one time all year! It's hard to be tough on them especially at the beginning of the year. We get excited, nervous, overwhelmed, anxious about how things are going to go, etc., and we have to remember that they do to. However, it's much better to be tough first then ease up later. Hang in there. I know I have a tough group coming this year too so I'm talking to myself here too. :)
    Unfortunately as things continue to spiral down hill in this world and parents are more and more afraid and/or just refuse to discipline their children, teachers are going to need to be ever so united in prayer!
     
  34. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    I think these ideas are excellent. I will be stealing them when school starts.:)
     
  35. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Giraffe, I'm hoping today went better for you!
     
  36. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    Yes I'm looking forward to hearing how things went today!
     
  37. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Well, I was late today. I had an emergency dental appointment ;) (aka interview elsewhere).

    However, it DID go somewhat better. It took us 20 minutes to get to the bathroom for a bathroom break. I kept making them sit down and start over. It helped a little bit.
     
  38. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    I'm glad it went a tad better. Stay consistent. You are an awesome teacher!!
     
  39. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Stay consistent! It`s only been 2 days! There are plenty more days to get everything running smoothly.
     
  40. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    Hopefully tomorrow will be even better!
     
  41. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    Glad to hear today went a bit better. And glad you made it to your interview :).
     

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