How long does it take?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by K-5_teacherguy, Aug 30, 2017.

  1. K-5_teacherguy

    K-5_teacherguy Companion

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    Aug 30, 2017

    This is my first year teaching 1st grade, after two years in 5th, so it's been a big adjustment so far. For the most part, I have really enjoyed the change and I love my class so far. We're only on our 8th day of school and they've already made a ton of progress as a class. However, I have a couple of boys who CANNOT sit still in the carpet area. It's not really disruptive, but bothers me because I know they aren't getting much out of what we are doing when they're moving around like that (and I truly don't think they can help it).

    I have a huge, multi-colored carpet with different squares for each kid. They all have assigned squares. We have modeled and practiced over and over how to sit correctly on the carpet, and in the squares. I praise the kids doing it right all the time, and I really try not to keep them on the carpet any longer than 10 minutes. But these two boys just struggle to sit still. So for any primary teacher, will this just improve over time? Or is there something else I could do to help these two? The majority of my kids have it down, but I really need something to help these last two kids out, so it is easier for them to focus when I'm teaching. Thanks in advance for any insight or ideas!
     
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  3. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Is there some kind of fidget, or way for them to keep their bodies "physically active" while sitting at the carpet? For example, I'll often have special cushions on chairs, or "rubber bands" around the legs of the desk that allow kids to be moving while stationary at their desk if that's a need of theirs.
     
  4. mrsammieb

    mrsammieb Devotee

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    Just tell them they must sit for 5 minutes, then 7 minutes, then 10 minutes, then 15 minutes criss cross applesauce. REWARD the bejesus out of them! Move their clip if they cannot meet the expectation. They can do it!
     
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  5. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Are you sure they aren't getting anything out of it? Jonathan Mooney, who had a disability, discussed how he actually could only pay attention when he was moving. I doodle and always have. I have to move when listening.

    Now, if they are playing around with others, that is different, but if they just have the wiggles, they may need to move because controlling their movement will take their concentration away from what you are saying.
     
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  6. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Yup, they need to build stamina. Keep things short and sweet and do lots to keep them engaged Say their names a lot and try to include them in what you are doing - "I need a responsible grade 1 who can come hold this picture for me." They will get better, but it does take some time. Also, they might need to sit right up front at your feet.
     
  7. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    It's not fair to the boys to make them sit on a carpet square and expect them to not fidget. It may be too uncomfortable and they may have too much energy to realistically sit. I recommend getting a few of these for your classroom: http://www.orientaltrading.com/web/...zCh3c6QmYEAQYASABEgI7m_D_BwE&categoryId=90000

    I had a ADHD boy who used this through second grade and third grade and it really helped him to focus. It can still sit on the floor like a carpet square but it will allow for the boys to wiggle a bit. I would just place them near the back of the group so the movement won't distract others. If they can't handle it, they are back on the carpet square.

    I'd also recommend some moving activities BEFORE you do any activity on the carpet squares. Acknowledge to the kiddos that they have energy and you really need them to focus during carpet time. So to help them focus you're going to do a "brain break" (real term) and get them moving a bit. That may help cut down on wiggles during carpet time.
     
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  8. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Can you put them in the back square, or let them sit in a chair? Sometimes it looks like they aren't paying attention because they are fidgeting, but really they are listening to everything. Also, lectures at that age should be kept short.
     
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  9. DAH

    DAH Companion

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    [QUOTE="mrsammieb,
    • they must sit for 5 minutes,
    • then 7 minutes, then 10 minutes,
    • then 15 minutes
    • They can do it![/QUOTE]
    I hope no one takes this wrong, but children are like doggies. They MUST BE TRAINED! Someone mentioned in another post that they have to be "moving around" while they listen, and that's fine at home, but the American educational system works differently. Student's are expected to SIT and listen, and that's a "LEARNED BEHAVIOR."

    If parent's don't make kids do something like this at home, then it will be difficult and sometimes IMPOSSIBLE for little Johnny to do. He hasn't been trained yet.

    MrsAmmieb's advice is BASIC TRAINING. This is where we start.
    (Shame on Mommy for not preparing him ahead of time)
     
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  10. K-5_teacherguy

    K-5_teacherguy Companion

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    Sep 3, 2017

    Thanks everyone for the input. I have been keeping lessons on the carpet short, and I'm always sure to keep them up and moving before and after carpet time. After talking to my team more about this, I think part of the problem is what I am hoping to see from them so early in the year. By the end of the year in 5th grade, my kids could sit criss cross on the carpet and stay fully engaged for 15-20 minutes. Obviously, 1st graders aren't there yet and I need to remember that these kids have never even been at school for a full day before this year. It sounds like what I am seeing is pretty normal for beginning of the year first graders (and like I said, it's only a couple of them really struggling).

    With that said, I like the idea of the sensory seats. My only concern is that if one or two kids have them, then everyone will want them. Any ideas on how to approach that with the class, if I did decide to buy a few, so it doesn't seem unfair or like I'm targeting a select few?
     
  11. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    Primary kids' muscles can literally ache without some movement. At the same time, movement is part of their brain's learning process; so much of what they do involves movement. Your post reminded me of Raffi's song, "I'm gonna shake, shake, shake my sillies out and wiggle my waggles away." I agree with your team, the restlessness could disappear with time, especially as their muscles adjust to the sitting and their brains adjust to the requirement, but on the other hand, I agree with the above, too, that some students move more than others. They probably are very focused; if we could invent a machine to peer into their brains, we'd be amazed at how focused they and the other students are. Their brains are zip-zapping along at a tremendous rate of progress. I'd be cautious not to over-focus on these two students, such as calling on them too often to help settle them. This could condition them to wiggle in order to get called on. If it does become a problem that needs adjusted, perhaps some individualized practice sessions would help, but again, I agree that a student who over-concentrates on sitting still might not be concentrating on the lesson at hand. I'd say, if it's not disruptive, let it go for now.
     
  12. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Sep 3, 2017

    The general rule is that children can listen attentively for the same number of minutes as their age. 5 year old = 5 minutes, 10 year old = 10 minutes, and so on. Any talking after that and they probably aren't hearing you.

    Perhaps you could tape a square on the ground and let them stand and listen? I'm struggling with this in upper elementary too. I have two kids who for the life of them cannot listen without talking during a lesson. I think, as they get older, praise-praise-praise seems too babyish for them, but obviously it's a skill they need to learn so it's my next step.

    Try to set super small goals. Set a timer for 60 seconds. When it goes off, give them a sticker if they've been seated. Do this throughout a very short lesson. The next day, up it to 2 minutes. Keep repeating and keep reinforcing with positive language. Yes, it's more work for you initially, but even stopping every 60 seconds to put a sticker on a chart, a star on a whiteboard, or a marble in a jar will yield more instructional time if you're not being constantly interrupted.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2017
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