Help!!!

Discussion in 'First Grade' started by pinkteacher, Sep 12, 2009.

  1. pinkteacher

    pinkteacher Rookie

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    Sep 12, 2009

    I am an experienced teacher with the upper grades and this year I was given first grade. I just had my first week of school and have 31 first graders. I am feeling very overwhelmed and need advice on how to get all the students to focus. It seems the strategies I used with the upper grades for classroom management don't seem to be working well, since these students are younger and can't focus for long periods, plus there are soooo many of them. I feel worse than I did my first year of teaching and I just don't know how I will survive the year sanely. Please help with any advice. Thanks.
     
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  3. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Sep 12, 2009

    What are you doing that doesn't work? In kindergarten we do a lot of singing and dancing. Maybe you can try that to get some engery out. How long are you having them sit for? Maybe try cutting it back and slowly adding in more time.
     
  4. pinkteacher

    pinkteacher Rookie

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    Sep 12, 2009

    Well, after the students complete a task and follow my directions I reward them with a sticker. I also have a pop-si-class behavior chart where I put a popsicle stick in their pocket every time I see they are behaving and following directions. Since there are so many students in the class, it seems even after all this they are still very chatty. I think the idea of trying to have them get some energy out between lessons would be good idea. Possibly doing some exercise or simon says. Thanks for the idea.
     
  5. prek176

    prek176 Companion

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    Sep 12, 2009

    My 1st graders have some difficulty focusing as well. We do some singing, do Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes at different speeds, use funny voices when repeating phrases, answers etc. I also started using a red light/green light system. A green circle indicates they can talk quietly but red light means NO talking. They need time while working when they can talk. Seems to work pretty well. Good luck!
     
  6. pinkteacher

    pinkteacher Rookie

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    Sep 12, 2009

    Thanks a lot! I think I will implement the red light/ green light system.
     
  7. prek176

    prek176 Companion

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    Sep 12, 2009

    With the red light, I give 1 warning and then move the child away from their group. Usually 1 warning is all they need and I find that they don't like being moved. I also try not to keep the light up too long. Hopefully I will be able to increase the time.
     
  8. pinkteacher

    pinkteacher Rookie

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    Sep 12, 2009

    Thanks a lot! I will definitely try this out on Monday. I already have the Yacker Tracker red light/green light system. Do you have any tips on having them line up? It seems everytime I line them up to go to lunch or to a special they start to talk. If I am in the front of the line the students in the back start to talk and vice versa.
     
  9. prek176

    prek176 Companion

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    Sep 12, 2009

    I usually stop the line when they start talking. I wait for them to be quiet before they can move on. I sometimes will say red light and that also works. I find with 1st graders being as ego centric as they are that I can't always make a general statement. They never think I'm referring to them! So, I need to speak individually to the students. Sometimes I make a game of tiptoeing and whispering. If we are going to the Library I'll say "Don't let Mrs. So and so hear us coming!" They seem to like that kind of game.
     
  10. Lynnnn725

    Lynnnn725 Connoisseur

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    Sep 12, 2009

    As far as the line - start going to wherever you want to go a little (or a lot!) early. If they talk, start over. Turn around and start all the way over. If they are talking while lining up, I have my class sit down and we line up again. Then we walk. If they talk, we go back to the room and start again.
    I have been very consistent this year and it is clearly paying off. Of course I have half the kids you do so its a different ball game.
    I informed my parents at parent night that we are spending the majority of this time going over procedures and that we must get it right in order to have a productive year. I said, "If you're hearing 'It's so boring...' it's probably true!"
    I am not much fun right now because I believe that this time for routines and procedures is so important.
     
  11. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Enthusiast

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    Sep 13, 2009

    To get them back from a period of talking or free time we have a clap signal. When they hear me clap they must repeat my clap and then get quiet so they can listen and learn. Mostly it's the same one, but do change it up a bit sometimes just for variety. It is working well with this group of kids,but when I used it in Kinder it didn't work all that well. For lining up they have a lunch line order(ABC order) But it does change so that we can have a different leader every week. They just go back to the end of the line. It works very well that way I can see who is missing right away. I dont ever change the way we line up. When walking into and down the hallway I tell the kids we could and usually do run into the principal. He is always commenting on how well the kids are doing in the hallway. We dont go anywhere until everyone is quiet and facing the front. They know it's cutting into their free time. So it usually doesn't take them long. Key word there is usually.
     
  12. gottagoodgig

    gottagoodgig Companion

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    Sep 13, 2009

    For quiet lines, I have used a "compliment chain." Near the door, I place a sign that says "compliment chain". Every time we are walking in the hall quietly, and an adult notices us and compliments us, we add a paper link to our chain. When we got up to 20 links, we would have a little party, extra recess, etc. Its also works well for compliments from specials teachers, recess aides, etc.

    I also say "1,2,3 Eyes on me" and the students reply "1,2 Eyes on you". They are asked to drop what they are doing, fold their hands, and look at me when I'm giving instructions.

    Also, we hand out TONS of tickets to the kiddos for expected behaviors and for going above and beyond. You can get a big roll of tickets for little money. Or, we made little paws out of construction paper (we are the lynx). 1st graders LOVE to be noticed when doing well. We hand out hundreds of them, literally! Focus on what you WANT to see, not what you don't want to see. When we give a paw, usually we tell the child why. "Oh, look at Averi owning her bahavior on the carpet. She's doing a fantastic job." or "I really like how respectful Ramon is being right now. If you need a good example of what to do, look at Ramon". They eat it up!! We then track how many paws each child has received and we graph it.

    It's rare that I ask the whole class to be quiet while working. I guess I don't mind if they chat with their teams quietly. I have used "center voices" which you might use for seat work. If a child holds out their arm in front of them and their voice goes beyond their hand, they are too loud. I also sometimes set a timer and say "If you all can work silently for X mintues (usually only 3-5) then you may do Y. (Maybe begin to chat, some kiddos might get to work on the floor, go out a couple minutes early for recess, etc.)

    You do have A LOT of kids. Bless you!

    Good luck!
     
  13. NC1stGradeTeach

    NC1stGradeTeach Rookie

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    Sep 17, 2009

    I feel your pain!!!! I have 29 first graders and they seem to talk all the time!!! Your question is a great one!!!
     
  14. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    Sep 19, 2009

    I give the children prefered activity time in exchange for quick transitions. I do quick art projects, music games, freeze dancing, interesting stories, science stuff, and other stuff as the prefered activity. I try and move quickly between things. I try and give them times where I ignore safe wiggles and times where they need to be still. I say strike one two and three for behavior problems. I got moved from fifth to first, five years ago (if you have specific questions about the change send me a private message) it is a challanging experience.
     
  15. pinkteacher

    pinkteacher Rookie

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    Sep 19, 2009

    Thank you for all the great ideas, I have been trying to implement them throughout the week. I think it is important to keep the students active throughout the day and during transitions from one subject to another since they can't focus on one thing for a long period of time.
     
  16. missamie

    missamie Rookie

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    Sep 27, 2009

    Also try looking for some Dr. Jean cd's. they are educational and have lots of movement. They can be used during transition time and for some movement to get the wiggles out. Jim Gill is good too, I like his Jump Up, turn around song.

    We had to go back to the basics this week too, too much chatting. We don't move until they are quiet and ready to listen. the One two thre eyes on me - One two eyes on you works, we also count down from 5 with the numbers 3-2-1 silently using our fingers. We had a class meeting and talked about consequences if they didnt quiet down with the 54321 count and rewards when they did. They were pretty excited to be in on the planning.

    We also do some brain gym stuff. My favorite activity is hookups. Everyday after lunch recess all the children get their drinks from their waterbottles and then head to their seats quietly. They cross their legs, cross their arms - some hug themselves and some face palms away from each other, cross over their hands to clasp and then pull it in for pretzel hands I would call it, put their tongue on the roof of their mouth and close their eyes. We do this until everyone in the class has been sitting still for 1 minute (so some have been sitting longer) Then we break. It has the crossing the midline and it's a nice relax and focus activity.

    You can expect a lot of your students as long as you also give them time and opportunity to get the wiggles out. Good luck!
     
  17. prek176

    prek176 Companion

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    Sep 27, 2009

    My kids new line that they learned from the sub (a strict former teacher at our school) is "A walking line is NOT a talking line!!" Works very well. I usually have my line leader repeat this as part of their job for the week.

    Our new principal (she started last year) also has this technique for quieting the crowd during assembly but it also works in the classroom. She raises her hand as a signal for everyone to be quiet. One by one everyone raises their hand. When your hand goes up your voice is quiet-adults lead by example. Works very well.
     

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