I need to get tough! Suggestions!

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by wildcat82, Jun 23, 2008.

  1. wildcat82

    wildcat82 Rookie

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    Jun 23, 2008

    I am going to lay it on the line here and tell you that I tend to let too much slide. I am moving from 3rd to 2nd and I am determined to have a little more control over my kids. We always learn a lot and I have outstanding observations and parent reviews, but my kids push the limits and I tend to let more and more slide as the year goes on. :eek:

    Here's the question. How tough do you be on those first few days? I apparently need to tighten my rope. Other teachers say they are super tough in the beginning and then don't have much trouble after that. We have a card flipping system in 2nd grade. What types of behavior do you not worry about and give a simpe reminder for, and what do you have them flip a card for?

    I don't want to be a mean troll and like having a good relationship with my class, but I have to find a better balance. Suggestions would be very much appreciated!
     
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  3. MelissainGA

    MelissainGA Groupie

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    I will be interested in seeing the responses you receive since I also have trouble being "a mean troll". I definitely have got to be tougher this year since I have kids I don't know coming up (I looped with the kids from last year so I knew all of them going in except for 5).

    When we flipped cards I basically made them flip a card for anything that made me stop teaching or interferred with someone else being able to listen.
     
  4. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    This is just my opinion -- but I have really good classroom management in a school that isn't..well...easy to maintain control in.

    Card flipping causes more disruptions than it actually solves. Yes, I have a card chart because my admin likes to see them in the classroom. But do I use it? Not really. Every time you have to STOP and ask a child to move a card, you are taking away time from teaching. Then there are the children who argue (I wasn't doing it! He was doing it, too! It wasn't me, it was her! It isn't fair!). That takes away from teaching time too.

    Also, when all is said and done, if flipping cards worked, would you still be doing it after say, the first two weeks? If it really extinguished negative behavior, eventually, you wouldn't need it anymore.. but that isn't the case. It just sort of "monitors" and "records" bad behavior. The occassional loss of a priviledge is too far in the future (losing fun Friday or a few minutes of recess, etc.) to really matter to most students.

    I've found the Power Teaching method of "No Guff" works very well. When a student misbehaves and the entire class says "Please, stop!" it makes a huge impression! It also helps the rest of the class develop personal integrity by daring to say what needs to be said -- I have a right to my education, and you are not going to keep me from it!

    I personally have a check-sheet I use. I only fill it out if I have a problem with a child. It takes 2 seconds to check off what the problem is. It has to be signed and returned by the next morning, or I call the parent directly. I constantly thank parents for supporting me by addressing issues immediately. It really does help. (If children get a lot of these, I watch for when they do behave and call home to praise them, too.)

    And those problem children? Well, their parents get really tired of hearing from me, and usually they make their child stop just so they won't be bothered any more.

    I don't think there is an easy answer. If there were, I'd love to put it in a bottle and sell it to the teaching world. I'd be a millionaire! But I tell my kids, I am as tough and as mean as YOU make me!

    I also love Power Teaching's rule #5 -- Keep your dear teacher HAPPY! My students learn that if I'm happy, they are happy! If I'm unhappy, they are also unhappy. Since they'd rather be happy, they work very hard at keeping me happy!
     
  5. dajjranch

    dajjranch New Member

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    Jun 23, 2008

    Hi there-

    I think that you need to have a "zero-tolerance" policy for the first month or two, depending on your class. That doesn't mean that you need to be a "troll" but just that there are rules in your classroom and consequences for not following them. If the class is talking when they are supposed to be doing work, then for each minute wasted, they loose 2 minutes of recess. Make sure that the class rules and consequences are explained to the students upfront. If there are one or two students who are constantly making the class late for recess, the rest of the class will come down on them (sometimes peer pressure is good thing), or you can just have the ones causing the disruption take the consequences. Again, I can't stress enough having the rules and specific consequences planned out ahead of time, and make the consequences fit the rule breaking (not cleaning the black board for wasting time, loss of free time for wasting time would be more appropriate). Don't be mean about it, just state the rule and the consequence. After a while, the students will know what is going to happen if they break a specific rule, so they will just stop breaking rules. BE STRONG!!! It may take until the Holiday Break before you can start slacking off a little.
     
  6. MelissainGA

    MelissainGA Groupie

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    Jun 23, 2008

    What all is on your check sheet? We used a chart mark system this past year in 3rd grade. It worked well with all except the "hard core" behavior issues. I had one kid that mom thought he had a halo but I wasn't able to see it for the horns. It never did work on him. Nothing did. Everyone else a few minutes off recess or no recess and that made the impression on them.
     
  7. MsX

    MsX Companion

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    Jun 23, 2008

    I don't think you ever have to be a "mean troll." I consider myself strict, but not mean! I DO think you need to decide what works for you and then be consistent! Think about what behaviors you're ok with and which you are not. Once you know what is not ok with you, then express this to your kids and then be consistent about it. I teach first, so my general policy is I give one reminder and then a consequence (like a card flip) if the behavior continues. There are, of course, some behaviors that would be an immediate consequence too (like deliberately breaking a rule).

    I think, most importantly, you have to decide what works in your classroom. Which behavior is ok and which isnt? Once that is clear to you, you will be able to make it clear to your students, and then you can set clear limits.
     
  8. MJH

    MJH Companion

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    Jun 23, 2008

    Tough?

    I tend to be considered a tough teacher but not mean. What I do and believe is that the classroom is not just mine but it's also my student's. We work in there together so I make them feel a part of the room and to take responsiblity also, this includes their actions. I follow the Responsive Classroom Approach which encourages building a community of learners. We create Hopes and Dreams, rules and procedures together. We take the time each day to listen and share during Morning Meeting. We have class meeting when problems occus and decide how to solve them, of course the more serious problems I will decide on but give the class an opportunity for input.

    Building this community within the classroom takes time and structure. I use the book "The First Six Weeks" by Paula Denton to help me establish classroom rules and procedures. There is a book study group on this forum for the book I mentioned.

    One all teachers must do is be fair and consistent.
     
  9. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    It is in the form of a "Dear Mom" letter. I was:
    __ playing in the hall
    __ out of my seat

    etc etc

    When I'm at work, I see if I can find the complete file. It really covers most every thing, and is quick and easy to use. Since the child signs it, it is hard for the parent to say "My darling didn't do that!"

    But of course, there are always those parents with blinders on. You could show them a video of their child misbehaving, and they'd say "Well, someone must have provoked him!" or something equally as silly.
     
  10. wildcat82

    wildcat82 Rookie

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    Jun 23, 2008

    These are fabulous suggestions and pieces of support. I think there are quite a few others looking at this topic and getting good tips as well so keep them coming! Thank you so much!
     
  11. MelissainGA

    MelissainGA Groupie

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    Jun 23, 2008

    Rainstorm,

    I would love to see the rest of your letter. I want to try something different with my group this next year and I think that would be great.
     
  12. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Jun 24, 2008

    It is true you need to start out, not so much tough, but . . . I would describe it as a little bit "distant." Not too gushy.

    Welcome them, but get right to the business of school. As soon as they find their seats, have them quiet down and tell them you have 2 rules for today: ask permission to speak or get out of your seat. Or something like that. Then follow through.

    I really do a lot of observing and reinforcing my expectations the first 2 weeks. I like to get to know the kids and try to figure out what motivates them, then I can use that motivation to get them to get in the groove of following directions and getting along with others.
     
  13. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    I looked at school and found my check list. Here is what it says. I send a lot of these home at the beginning of the year, but by the 2nd month, I don't need to use them very often. If a student acts up, I just point to where I keep a stack of these, and they know to go get one and bring it to me. They also know that if it isn't signed and returned by the next day I WILL call home and they will be in BIG TROUBLE for not giving the note to Mom (or Dad or Grandma, or whomever they live with.) I would also note that on the "other" line, I often write things like "I have a lot of extra work to do at home because I asked to use the bathroom 7 times today and missed a lot of instruction." That really deals with the problem! I have very few repeat offenders on that one!



    Behavior Report for _______________________
    Date ______________________

    I had to “flip a card” on the behavior chart because:

    ___ I was talking when I should have been listening.

    ___ I was talking when I should have been working.

    ___ I was not listening or not paying attention during instruction.

    ___ I was not following the directions.

    ___ I was out of my seat.

    ___ I was playing when I should have been working or listening.

    ___ I was misusing my supplies.

    ___ I was making noises during class.

    ___ I asked to use the restroom, and didn’t come back in a timely manner.

    ___ I asked to get a drink of water, and didn’t come back in a timely manner.

    ___ I was playing in the bathroom or hallway.

    ___ I did not keep my hands, feet, and body to my self.

    ___ I was rummaging through my desk or pencil box when I was supposed to be listening.

    ___ I didn’t use my inside voice and was too loud during centers time or small group instruction.

    ___ Other _____________________________________________________

    __________________________________________________________


    Please help me to make a better choice next time, so that I can get the most out of my education. Thank you.

    Signed ___________________________________________ (Student)

    Please sign and return:

    Parent Signature: ______________________________________________
     
  14. MrsPatten

    MrsPatten Comrade

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    Jun 24, 2008

    I consider myself as a teacher with good classroom management skills. When I was doing a field experience in college I was placed in a classroom with NO classroom management. It was so bad that my university supervisor figured it would make me leave education. But it really taught me how important management is and I work hard at that. Last year at the end of the year I could honestly say "My kids may walk around with their fingers in their noses but they're going to behave while doing it." (I had some immature kids last year.)

    On the first day of school once everyone is present and accounted for, the other teachers I work with give the kids busy work while they sort supplies. The past two years in my room we set the supplies aside and went to the circle and talked about the rules and why we have the rules. I bet I spend 30 minutes talking about that. It really sets the tone for the day (and the year) because they know I mean business. I do that for the first week of school.

    I did have a letter from the first of the year that I made my first graders copy and get signed. It was something like:
    Dear Mom/Dad,
    Today I had trouble following the rules. Our classroom rules are:
    1. Respect others
    2. Do your best
    3. Listen the first time.
    I know these rules are here so I can learn and be safe. I will try to do better tomorrow.

    Love,
    XXXXXX


    I probably won't do that this year because I finally got around the making a behavior checklist at the end of last year and it was alot easier than having to supervise this child copying a paragraph. Also, even though I've done it, it's against my principles to make a child do work as a punishment--especially writing since in first grade they're just starting to really write. I don't want to sour them on the whole thing.
     
  15. MelissainGA

    MelissainGA Groupie

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    Jun 24, 2008

    Rainstorm,

    THANK YOU :) this is awesome and I can work on making sure that they are aware of EXACTLY the type of things that will get them "on the hot seat" and maybe that will help end some things before they begin (I watched this group during an assembly right before testing and am not going to hold my breath over behavior being good from the beginning. I think I saw 15 out of 180 that were doing what they were actually supposed to be).
    Thank you again for this it will be very helpful.

    Melissa
     
  16. queenie

    queenie Groupie

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    Jun 24, 2008

    One thing that really helped me is when my principal told me to demonstrate the 'wrong' way to do something, the 'not quite right' way, and the 'right' way. We often reprimand kids who are blatantly doing things 'wrong,' and praise kids who are doing things 'right.' Those things are easy to spot. But the problem areas are where the kids are pushing the limits just enough to get on your nerves, but not enough to really warrant punishment. They do just enough to bug you, but leave room for explaining away their behavior. For example, say you tell the class to put their Science books away and get ready for the Spelling Test. Let's say it's October and they've had a Spelling Test every week since August. You give them a couple minutes and one student is piddling around in his desk. He's the only one not ready. It's obvious that he should have been ready. Every single other person in the class is ready. But you start to rationalize: "Maybe he's having a bad day. It's not really that big a deal. I'll just wait a couple more minutes for him." That is behavior that is not necessarily wrong, but not quite right, either. Or say a student gets up to sharpen his pencil and walks really slowly and keeps sharpening and sharpening and sharpening his pencil. There's not a time limit on the pencil sharpener. There's not a pencil sharpener alarm. So it's not really wrong for him to do it. But something just plucks at you and says that he's trying to get away with something--trying to push the limits and push your buttons. What do you do? It's not wrong. It's not right. It's kind of 'not quite right.'

    So my principal suggested I tell the kids that there is a right way, a wrong way, and a not quite right way. The only good choice with good consequences is the right way. Since then I can see a difference in the way I handle even my own children at home and in the way they act. I used to let things slide rather than cause a big uproar over two of them picking at each other in the grocery store line. Now I handle things on the spot--nip them in the bud, so to speak.

    I believe that you should start out very tough. You can always ease up, but once you've lost 'em, they're gone.
     
  17. wildcat82

    wildcat82 Rookie

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    Jun 24, 2008

    Man I could not agree more with that! Once they test you and see how far you will go...it's a mad house it you are not tighter up front.

    I appreciate how you shared about what you do the very first day of school to set up the more "I mean business" type of tone, and not just sort supplies. If there are others who would also like to share what they do on the first day to set the tone, I would love to hear them! Thanks a bundle!
     
  18. MissV

    MissV Companion

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    Jun 24, 2008

    I focus most of my beginning of the school year conversation around "being impressive."

    -----incentive charts-----
    Incentive charts are AWESOME, when you want to see impressive behavior. I even mention the word "sticker" and all of my 3rd grade students are smiling with their hands folded on their desks! (5 stickers = prize)

    ---firm procedures---
    Strict procedures at the beginning, means strict procedure all year. Don't let anyone get away with anything. Seemingly 'catch' everything. and COMPLIMENT COMPLIMENT COMPLIMENT when they are doing everything right :) and maybe give them a "class incentive" like a marble in a party jar.

    ---strong morning routine---
    My first year I had a LOUD class, the biggest most helpful thing I did the NEXT YEAR was change my whole morning time routine. By greeting each child when they walked in the door, having a good solid morning work activities that were ready when they walked in the door, and allowing no "morning chat," until morning Meeting time with ME, the children were dead quiet...and wallah I've had great years ever since.
     

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