I'm Pulling My Hair Out!

Discussion in 'Kindergarten' started by KinderKatie, Feb 22, 2007.

  1. KinderKatie

    KinderKatie Companion

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    Feb 22, 2007

    Hi all,

    I just finished student teaching in the fall and found a temporary teaching position that opened up in Kindergarten. This is my 5th week.

    My students are driving me bonkers!

    Their former teacher did not discipline them or enforce any rules whatsoever. She let them run the classroom and they got away with so much.

    I am not so lienient, so it has been tough for all of us!

    The kids NEVER stop talking!! And what is worse is that, while their former teacher didn't mind, it is my biggest pet peeve!

    I know K kids talk, and that they should. But not during carpet time or when I am giving directions. I repeat myself so much and I am constantly having to redirect. It gets old reallllllly fast.

    I certainly can not get through a book without stopping every few lines to redirect.

    This group is also just generally chatty anyway, so that makes it worse.

    I don't know what to do.

    Then I also have 2 really bad kids. One is super hyper and jumps on furniture, runs across tables, does cartwheels and breakdances, destroys things, etc- you get the picture.

    The other kid is way too young to be in K, his doctor even told his mom that but she put him in anyway. So that is not his fault, but he is too immature to handle most of what we do. I do give him more warnings before making him move his behavior clip. But when I do make him move it, he screams and cries- since that is how he gets what he wants at home. Today he cried so loud for 5 minutes and I could not teach. He also has major anger issues and will lash out physically at students and at me.

    Between these 2 kids, I don't know how I am supposed to teach. I spend most of my time redirecting and dealing with the two of them. It is a nightmare trying to get them to behave and I have no parental support.

    These 2 kids set the tone for the already talkative rest of the class. The kids take advantage of the time when I am redirecting those 2 and use it as an excuse to start talking themselves.

    If I get one side of the carpet quiet- the other side starts talking. Its like they don't even know that I am there sometimes.

    Center times is also a nightmare. No one wants to stay in their center, no one does what they are supposed to do at their center, and they make huge messes. They got to choose centers before I came, but they basically only played during center time- in the kitchen, blocks, legos, etc. The same kids went to the same center every day. This is learning to me so I am trying to initiate more educational centers, where they rotate every day, etc. But the kids aren't up for it. I spend most of the time telling the kids to get back to their center and do what they are supposed to do there.

    I used to come up with really fun centers but now I don't even waste my time and energy anymore because the kids won't do what I make up for them. So what is the use. I just have a few established centers that they must go to. But I still have the same issues as I described above. Oy!

    If you have any advice or tips for me, please let me know!
     
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  3. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Feb 22, 2007

    It is so hard to give advice when we can't observe the behavior ourselves. Here is the first thing I would do. For center time make a box with tape on the floor for each of the two "naughty" boys. Put them away from the rest of the group and away from each other. They have to stay in that box and be quiet. If not set up with another teacher or the behavior teacher for them to be removed from the classroom and sit in time out in that room.
    For the rest of the class you are going to have to be extremely strict.
    Do you have parent volunteers? Is this an all day kindergarten classroom?
     
  4. dolphinswim

    dolphinswim Companion

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    Feb 22, 2007

    I agree with the "box" I use one certain area during carpet time and one "no talking" chair during table work. When I say "would you like to stay on the carpet or move to the hard floor?" I usually get the desired behavior. Not always but I do know my kids do not like to leave the carpet.

    Are you finishing the year off? If so I would suggest YOU get your routine, rules and schedule in place right now! There is no reason a 5 yr old should dictate how a classroom is run. (I may sound harsh but I believe children should be respectful and listen.) It takes a while to get your rules and routine down but once they know it and know you will not waiver from it all is much better!

    You will get all kinds of different advice here, some you can use some you can't. Some will say reward while others say don't. Some will say clips(cards) work for behavior some say it won't! I use a green, orange, red system, I also use a time out area, no talking chair and removal from the class if that is needed.

    I guess my advice is: Start from the beginning and get a set routine for your class. You are incharge and let them know you are in charge and be consistent always! Good luck and I feel for you. It is hard work and seems like you are not making a difference, but you are.
     
  5. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Feb 22, 2007

    Have you read the book the first six weeks? It's a great book and may be helpful to you.
     
  6. KinderKatie

    KinderKatie Companion

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    Feb 22, 2007

    Hi all,

    Thanks for your replies! It is half-day kindergarten and yes I am there for the rest of the year. I did establish my new rules from day one. They know the rules by now- but just are still having trouble remembering them. Especially when they really get to talking. I am being strict- but maybe I should be more so.

    I do have a time out chair that I often use for the hyper boy. Usually it works but other times he gets mad and seemingly tries to annoy me by jumping out of the chair and flailing himself onto the floor or pushing stuff off a nearby desk/table. I think he may be trying to get a reaction from me because as soon as he does something bad- he looks at me. If I ignore him, it gets better. If I react- it gets worse.

    The other boy has major emotional issues so it is really hard to discipline him and be the strict teacher because he melts down and screams/cries or lashes out and hits/kicks/screeches. He has never made it to the time-out chair (which is a shame because I try to tell him he really needs a cool down and I call it the chill out chair to him but he refuses) because he will first lash out and end up in the principal's. He is just a whole other story I guess.

    I also agree children should be respectful and listen, I have never seen a group of K kids so... bad..? No they aren't bad. (Just the two). By bad I mean, poorly trained? As you can see- I can't even describe it! Their first teacher was also a first-year teacher (I don't even think she student taught...) and she totally did not give one flip what they did. So they ran the room. Now it is REALLY hard to break all the bad habits she let them develop.

    It is hard because I want to do all these fun things- but then don't because I know this group can't handle it.
     
  7. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Feb 22, 2007

    I don't understand why the ED kid doesn't have an aide. He really needs to have someone working with him besides you. You are there to teach all the children not just him. He should have an IEP and behavior plan.
     
  8. KinderKatie

    KinderKatie Companion

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    Feb 22, 2007

    I agree, he should have some sort of behavior plan or IEP. It is not right that I have to spend so much time dealing with him, but I don't know what to do about it. The Vice Principal suggested that every 5-10 minutes I give him a check on the board for good behavior and then for every so many checks he gets a prize (on my own dime I am sure). Thats even MORE time spent on just him! Besides, I can reward him until I am blue in the face- I reward/praise him all the time! He of course loves it but he still does the same bad behaviors and when it comes to correcting it- that is when he loses it and forgets all the good stuff that day. Even a simple, "move your clip please for talking on the carpet" will send him in to a frenzy.
     
  9. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Feb 22, 2007

    I am going to try to find something I used two years ago. If I can find it I'll send it to you. Basically it is a check sheet on a clip board to keep track of his behaviors. So than you can chart it and have documention to show someone.
    Also have some other things if I can find them.
     
  10. AMK

    AMK Aficionado

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    Feb 22, 2007

    I had a child who last year who would lash out, scream, cry, kick and so on. He spent a lot of time in a chair calming down. I eventually would have to get the principal and the guidance counselor in to help me and him. He had a lot of anger.
    Could you maybe make a different spot for him instead of the time out chair? Maybe a bean bag chair, or something with pillows. The child I had would sit in the closest until he calmed down. I didn't put him in there he just put himself in there!
     
  11. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Feb 22, 2007


    Kind of makes you wonder what he's so angry about, doesn't it??
     
  12. AMK

    AMK Aficionado

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    Feb 22, 2007

    If you had a few days I could explain to you all his problems with his family. It was so sad!
     
  13. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Feb 22, 2007

    It's frightening... the abiltiy that we as adults have to mess up a child's entire life.
     
  14. KinderKatie

    KinderKatie Companion

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    Feb 22, 2007

    Well this little guy (he is tiny!) has a good family so I really do wonder what makes him so angry. I know he is probably upset over his parents splitting, although his whole life was then living together on and off so he should be used to that. I think he is just spoiled rotten and used to getting what he wants. His mom still carries him on her hip!

    I would really love to try that checklist, if you can find it JamieMarie.
     
  15. hp123

    hp123 Comrade

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    Feb 22, 2007

    I just had a child in my class last year who went through a separation. Though he may seem "spoiled" he is probably upset by the choices his parents are making, and how they are disrupting his life. Kids show their frustration by acting out. Be very firm, loving, and constant with him. Let him know that school is a stabilty in his life. It may be the ONLY thing that is consistant.

    As teachers, I think we need to forget about our personal opinions on families. Children don't choose their parents, or the environments that they come from....so fucos on HELPING him when you have him, not on judging whether he is spoiled or not.

    This worked with the child I was speaking of before. I just focused on him...and didn't make judgements based on what I saw from his family.
     
  16. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Feb 23, 2007

    I just thought of something for the hyper hard to sit still kid, talk to your OT or Special ed teacher. See if you can get a weighted vest for him to wear during circle and work time. That might help to calm him down. Also a wiggle seat might work.
    As for the explosive child. a bean bag or weighted blanket might be best for him. This sounds silly but, while your teaching circle sit on the floor with him between your legs. That is what the teacher did last year with my little guy. It worked great for him. I know it can be hard but it might be easier than redirecting him every minute.
     
  17. forkids

    forkids Cohort

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    Feb 23, 2007

    Do you have a school counselor or some other resource person you could refer these two boys to for help with their behavior problems? You need support - do whatever you can to get it. As a new teacher, you may not know all the resources available. Talk to other teachers, the principal, anyone who can steer you to what help is available in dealing with these boys.
    You mentioned once that the kids are forgetting your rules - they aren't forgetting - they're testing you. You are still new to the class and it takes a while - keep being very firm - take away all priveleges if you have to to get their attention and respect. Above all, remember the first year is very hard, especially when you take over from someone else. Don't let it get you down - one of the things I like best about teaching is the fact that you get to start fresh every year. Hang in there, May is coming soon.
     
  18. mrs.oz

    mrs.oz Companion

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    Feb 24, 2007

    First of all, what is your behavior plan. I teach pre-K in a public school. I may be able to help you if you will let me know specifically what you are using and how you are handling it. I will try to give you constructive feedback based on what works for me. Even the rowdy class can become a very settled and constructive class.
     
  19. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Feb 24, 2007

    I have a student who is similar to the hyper boy you described. I did an SST and we came up with the plan to send this child to an upper grade classroom as soon as this student began to misbehave to the point where I cannot teach the class. I will not allow that behavior to interrupt our classroom. So, as soon as it starts, I send her out. I've only done it twice. Now, this student behaves very well. This student is scared of those 5th and 6th graders. Just an idea.

    I also have another student who is VERY immature. This student was on a half day schedule, and then mom decides to put him on a full day schedule. OY! But, he's actually come around. One thing that helped was NOT allowing him to do centers with the other kids. I made him sit in his desk with worksheets and playdoh to work with (for fine motor skills). I told him that as soon as he could show me that he could behave and follow the rules, that he could join my kids. So, after two weeks, I buddied him up with a student. They do workshop together.

    For centers, I would start back from scratch. When I frist start centers, I do it for only 15-20 minutes for about a month. Then, I increase the time to 40 minutes, and now it's up to 60 minutes. I walk around and watch them. I stop the whole class if I need to remind them of rules or quiet them down. I use 123 eyes on me to get thier attention. I also have my kids choose their centers, but they are all academic. If you would like, I have some info on my site about how I do centers (and we call it workshop) http://www.aesd.edu/to/wienold/workshop.htm I've taught kinder for two years and this method of doing workshop/centers has been very successful. It is VERY hard to get them to learn how to do centers, but eventually it all falls into place. It just takes LOTS of time and patience.

    Good luck. I hope things improve. You said that you've only taught for 5 weeks. Well, I know that when school starts, it takes those kiddos from August to December to learn all those rules, procedures, and to do centers properly. And since the teacher before you didn't really teach those things or enfoce the rules and consequences, you are starting from scratch. So, it will take while to get them behaving how they should. Good luck!
     
  20. KinderKatie

    KinderKatie Companion

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    Feb 27, 2007

    Thanks everyone for your help!

    I do not think having the emotional child in my lap during centers would work. First of all, he acts like a baby because he is treated like a baby at home. He needs to learn to be a big boy in school. Second of all, he goes to the Title 1 group and I know that para would not want him in her lap! Also, like I stated before I do not think he is emotional because of his parents breaking up because they have been that way since he was born so it is the norm for it. I think his mom was being extra babying to him the last few weeks and letting him have whatever he wants. He is now with dad and I have already seen an improvement.

    I really like the weighted vest idea for my hyper boy. I will see if I can get one. He isn't just hyper though- he is down right defiant! ;)

    The ISS/SBI room is right next to mine and the teacher in there is very supportive. That is where I send either child when they get out of hand. Also, the other teachers around me know how these 2 boys are and are willing to help.

    Luckily, I have lots of support. I just feel like I am failing them but I have to remember they do have issues that I need to work through with them.

    I did realize one thing about the talkativeness in my room. My room is not meant for Kindergarten, it is not in the pod. And it is very small for a K class. So they are all crampled on top of eachother, even during centers. So they have to compete with the volume level of who is next to them. When I started, they were all cramped in only 3 small tables, for 20 kids! So I requested another table and that has helped some.

    The VP walks in and says to me, before I had a 4th table, "There is a marked difference between the students in this room and the students in the other K room." He wasn't being critical of me, since I just started then, but maybe of the previous teacher. I don't know. But I told him that the kids in the other room sit 4 to a table, the tables are spread out, and they have room to breath during table work and centers. K kids are gonna chat, when you cramp them together it can get really bad! I don't want to always have to tell them to be quiet. It just isn't fair that these kids aren't in the pod. There are 4 giant K rooms out there but only 1 K class. I think the rest are first grade.
     
  21. tracieann

    tracieann Rookie

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    Feb 28, 2007

    My class welcomed a child from another preschool last year. He was the scapegoat for his old classmates and got blamed for everything even when he wasn't there. We did see the behavior they experienced, but were able to help him make real progress for the rest of the year. He was diagnosed with ADD and medicated, but I feel his behavior was more ODD. He was so defiant! He actually had a major meltdown one day, kicking, screaming, swinging fists and swearing "F*** ou and your d*** happy jar!" It was a real eye opener. I've never seen such anger from a 5 year old!
     

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