How Do I Turn Them Around?

Discussion in 'First Grade' started by cindyw625, Aug 30, 2007.

  1. cindyw625

    cindyw625 Rookie

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    Aug 30, 2007

    I need help! Help me, please! I need to turn some first graders around soon, and I mean very soon! Let me explain my situation.

    I started to work at elementary school three weeks ago. The school happened to hire an interim who did a terrible job. She didn't have lesson plans and just "winged it." They let her go as of last Friday. They stuck me in the classroom: a class that is full of average to difficult children. I have one or two ESE children and a few ESOL students as well. The ESE student interrupts all the time. He and I worked out a deal: he has poker chips (4 a day) to cash in to me to bother me for something.

    The problem is that this week was our first week of school and next week we will start doing guided reading, science, and everything else and I don't think they're ready for it yet. I have put my foot down and pulled warning signs all day long for two days and will continue to do it. I have arranged desks 2-3 times so the personalities will be compatible. I will be the interim for this class until the middle of the school year - December. I need to turn this class around so they all can listen at the same time and do good in school.

    Any suggestions?
     
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  3. teacherpippi

    teacherpippi Habitué

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    Aug 30, 2007

    It sounds like you're going in the right direction. You've done a lot of proactive things.

    Have you practiced classroom routines with them? Even if it took 1-2 days to learn, the time you have them until December will go MUCH more smoothly.

    What about doing some group bonding things to have them learn more about each other?

    Have you talked about the classroom rules and had your toughest students act out the correct way (maybe even taking digital photos)?
     
  4. cindyw625

    cindyw625 Rookie

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    Aug 30, 2007

    We've practiced rules many times - even routines and procedures. We still don't have it down yet. I have to have them (all mumbling and complaining) to repeat lining up or coming to the door correctly because they all talk over one another and get real loud. I have them stop walking if someone gets out of line or is talking in line.

    Today I had an ice breaker for them to help them build their friendship bond: make silly faces at one another and try not to laugh. Some didn't think it was funny at all. I have a lot of other activities to help them build their friendships.

    Here's another question:
    My ESE student was difficult to get ready today - to pack up and get him out the door. My guess he has ADHD and hasn't been tested for it yet. He wouldn't listen to me after I asked him many times to line up at the door so we can go out (all the others were waiting to go out and go home). I counted backwards from five firmly to have him take his backpack and line up and that still didn't work. I ended up taking his hand and making him walk with me (crying) until we got out there. I had to explain to his mother that he had a hard time coming packing up. What should I do if this happens again that might work better?
     
  5. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Sep 1, 2007

    First of all, don't panic! These sound like very normal first graders. You have to think of them as old kindergarteners because they really aren't first graders yet. They will get there!

    Be patient and keep working with them. I'm sorry to say, I give out a Skittle here or there for good behavior (I know this is not politically correct and I am contributing to the obesity of America), or an M/M. One. Kids shape up fast when they see someone getting a tiny candy!

    Here are two other concrete suggestions. You might call the kids by name to line up one or two at a time, according to who is "ready." This year I will have stopping stations in the hallway. I got some bright sparkly stars to put at certain points in the hallway. The line leader is responsible for stopping at the stopping station until I cue him to continue. That way I can walk at the back or middle of the line and see what is going on. I would not stop them everytime someone talks. They are going to talk in line some of the time.

    #2 suggestion that worked really well for me with students who had a hard time doing the morning unpacking and afternoon pack up routine. I would make the student a list of what needed to be done (use pictures and words). The student would look at the check list and do the jobs. I let the student have a special pen or marker that was kept at my desk with the checklist, and it was rewarding to the student to check off with that marker. If the student got off task, I would just say, "How is it going with the checklist" or "Where are you on the checklist?" It worked well for a few students, and they eventually work themselves out of the list. I had one girl who would use the list, work herself out, then a home crisis would come up and she would be out in space again, and we would go back to the list.
     
  6. cindyw625

    cindyw625 Rookie

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    Sep 1, 2007

    Thank you Bonneb, that second suggestion is a "winner" and I think I will use that idea, for all my students since homework and other items are not making it into their backpacks.

    The line idea is great - I might have to use chalk since we have outside hallways. Plus, they have two types of lines: red and yellow, that lead them around the hallways, cafeteria, and to rooms. These lines have stopping points which are blue lines. I think I am going to have to establish a stopping station outside in the hallways though because we just keep walking until I say "freeze."

    Here's another question that I already tried to work on with one student that has already become a big problem in the first two weeks. So far, I've talked to the Intern Asst. Principal who said she'll be peeking in on Tuesday in the morning to see his behavior. I also have separated him entirely from any other students. He tends to have foul talk going on and is verbally offensive with the students. One girl put two pieces of paper in my tattle box saying that he called her a jerk and a horror. He is like this with everyone, including me. He is very impulsive and loud and can't understand after time and time again of being reminded to raise his hand to be called on. Positive reinformcement is a tough one on this one because (I'd hate to say it) almost 90% of his behavior is like this at all times. Thankfully, he is not the physically angry type that impose harm to any of us. Still . . . I already had a letter from one student's parent requesting their child not to be seated with this student and another girl the class telling me her father said for her not to sit near this student. Is there any further action I take to work on this student's language skills?
     
  7. Pattie

    Pattie Companion

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    Sep 2, 2007

    One thing that works for this kind of class is team points or table points where they are competing as a table against the other tables to win something. I have little jars and the tables with pom poms called "warm fuzzies". I use them for lining up, "Oh the green table really looks ready to go, come get a warm fuzzy and line up". Boy do the other tables get it together FAST! You can use it for cleaning up materials, having materials out fast, working quietly as a team. I used to just do tally marks on the board with team 1, team 2 team 3 listed etc. Rewards could be as simple as playing games in the classroom at recess or extra computer time or lunch with the teacher. I make them go to 20 points. It takes forever! This will help you a LOT! Do table points. Peer pressure works great! And I agree with the post about the little m & ms. I couldn't live without my "gummy bear jar". Instantaneous gratification works for 6 year olds. "Johnny, you are working so quietly, go get a gummy bear". It is magic! he he :woot::lol:
     
  8. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    Sep 2, 2007

    We cut out red octagons for "stop" signs and posted those as stopping stations in our halls. Kids already know what that sign means, so it's meaningful to them.
    Kim
     
  9. cindyw625

    cindyw625 Rookie

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    Sep 2, 2007

    The table points are great and I do use them, maybe not as much as I should though. I started off with stamps, I do like the fuzzies though because fuzzies (or maybe even poker chips that I have) can be earned anywhere anytime. Thanks for the tip!

    No one has answered what to the with the foul languaged one! I need help with him, please! I am about to go insane with this class!
     
  10. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Sep 2, 2007

    Ok, here is what I would do. I would have him come eat lunch with me, maybe even bring in something special to have together. Then tell him your concern - he is using words that are unkind and make people feel bad. Tell him that it is very important that the classroom be a place full of positive words, and ask him what he thinks. Discuss with him specific words he has used that are negative or damaging to others. Brainstorm with him what words he could use to encourage others. And reassure him that you won't allow anyone to use negative words toward him either.

    Then, you will have to discuss consequences with him, for using unkind words and kind words. Maybe you could think up a chart and give him a sticker when he uses kind words. ??? In my opinion, it is ok to help him this way. You will help other kids in other ways. You might also have a class discussion after meeting with him - you could get his input ahead of time then talk to the class about using kind words.

    Last year we had in the works to make a book called "We Use Kind Words," with photos of the kids encouraging each other. (We had a real problem with jealousy and negative talk.)We brainstormed what kind words we could use - thank you, excuse me, you go first, good for you! etc. We did not get the book made, but talking about making the book brought about a lot of change. Good luck!
     
  11. cindyw625

    cindyw625 Rookie

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    Sep 3, 2007

    Thanks everyone. Feeling so discouraged right now in this position. I feel so overwhelmed to be in there when I can't get them to listen to me . . . I do appreciate everything you all have put in here.
     
  12. checov

    checov New Member

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    Sep 7, 2007

    When I have disruptive students, I tell the class that when I am interrupted I will have to start again at the beginning. ANd I mean the beginning, I say everything from that lesson or activity again. Once this happens several times, the students start to monitor each other so that I don't have to. You would be surprised how well this works because they really don't want to hear me say the same thing 4 or 5 times.
     
  13. cindyw625

    cindyw625 Rookie

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    Sep 8, 2007

    Wow, I think I will try that one! Thanks.
     
  14. Eddie

    Eddie Companion

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    Sep 9, 2007

    kindness - sensitivity training

    Consider doing a lesson on kind words - I heard about this lesson being done in K/1 and having a very positive effect on the classroom.

    It has to do with how an apple bruises on the inside when it isn't treated well - just like we get hurt on the inside when unkind words are spoken to us. Check it out at http://www.lessonplanspage.com/OKindness-SensitivtyTrainingIdeaK-9.htm

    Keep reciting this to yourself --- "This situation won't last forever." All your efforts are getting to your students.. maybe not at the pace you want --- but keep up the fight --- you'll get through to them.
     
  15. hope037

    hope037 Rookie

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    Sep 11, 2007

    I'm with you. As a first year teacher, I was not prepared for the frustrations of new first graders. They really are just old kindergartners. The challenge is how to set high expectations without expecting too much too soon! (Don't ask me what the answer is because I haven't found it yet!)

    My grade level team is very experienced and effective and I've learned that you do the best you can, expect proper behavior, but be good natured about the learning curve. I had a bad day today, but after talking with my team, I realized that I have a very young, immature group that will need more time and consistency.

    I'm told that everyone is always amazed to find that by December, the kids are like a different, older, more mature group of kids. The thing is...can I hang in there?
     
  16. Pattie

    Pattie Companion

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    Sep 12, 2007

    Another thing I thought of. When I was being watched by principals when they do their assessment of the teacher thing, my first few years I always got marked down on one thing. It was my biggest management bugaboo. I didn't wait for 100% compliance before moving on with my lesson. I would just talk over the kids or not wait for them to all get their stuff out, or I'd transition before I got all the eyes on me, those types of things. Watch yourself to see if you are waiting for all eyes on you. You are boss. Wait till you get it. Be stern if you have to, and remember to say, "I really like the way Suzy is looking right at me, that's what I really like for students to do!" Do it till you are going to scratch your eyeballs out, it will become 2nd nature. My bad days I always look on my superstar chart, where I have kids put their names when I've called them out for good behavior. There are no names on it. The good days I have about 5 names. It's manageable. Learn to wait for them to do exactly what you say you want. Then praise those who did it. Over and over like a broken record. It does work as I've had to learn. :whistle:
     

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