Is it me, or is it them? Unhappy Kiddos

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by LovetoteachPREK, Mar 30, 2011.

  1. LovetoteachPREK

    LovetoteachPREK Companion

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    Mar 30, 2011

    This is my first post here - but I've been reading all your advice all year long. I am having a problem with one of my classes. They come three days a week, all day. We are in an elementary school and have lunch, recess, specials and such just like the big kids. We have lots of time for free play and I rotate the toys and activities frequently. They go outside three times a day. We do an art project daily, play lots of group games and sing fun songs like Dr. Jean - probably the same things all of you do too! I don't do worksheets - we do story retells, HWT, rhyming games, etc. and I feel like most everything we are doing is developmentally appropriate.

    Anyway, this group just seems so UNHAPPY. They complain all the time, many criers, many fights, headaches, stomach aches, don't want to go to specials, don't want to go to snack, is it time to go home yet? etc. etc.

    I have been doing a lot of PBIS all year, lots of focus on being kind, how to be a good friend, etc. I try different transitions and try to mix things up, but still so much complaining. They just don't seem very happy - what am I doing wrong?
     
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  3. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Mar 30, 2011

    I don't think you are doing anything wrong!

    You might try having a class/morning meeting with the students to see what they want to learn and then incorporating this into their day. The class meeting might also let you find out why they are unhappy.
     
  4. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Mar 30, 2011

    How many of them are complaining? Is there usually one or two that leads in complaints? Sometimes I've found that complaining can be a source of power that some kids enjoy - a sort of "polite" or peaceful protest - not really informed by substance, just designed to give them the power of rebellion. Could this be possible?

    I really like mopar's idea about the class meeting...
     
  5. lilkidteach

    lilkidteach Rookie

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    Mar 30, 2011

    You know it sounds like they might be tired. All of my four and five year olds that are in my class have a two hour nap. If they were home they might be napping in the afternoon or they at least have some down time to just sit and relax. I doubt you could have a nap time or even want it but you might need some quiet time or something after lunch and recess to help them recharge their batteries.
     
  6. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Mar 30, 2011

    Reading bigger books during a "non sleeping nap" works well here. We build up to it, but we really like Magic Tree House books when can make an image in our heads. We begin "making pictures" with music that is particularly imagae provoking (my husband is a musician, as is my own brother and sister in law). Once we can play "I Spy" but with music, we move on to easy short stories that I don't show the picture to, like obscure nursery rhymes. Then we decide what we think we will see in the picture, then I turn it around. Then we move to Chapter books.

    I also like the morning meeting discussion of what they want out of their day. That is really the cornerstone of my program.
     
  7. LovetoteachPREK

    LovetoteachPREK Companion

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    Mar 30, 2011

    Love the idea of bringing it up in morning meeting. We do a morning meeting and it would be very easy to add in the element of planning the day. I will definitely try it.

    We do have a rest time, but it is only about 40 minutes. Most days we listen to music, sometimes we have a movie day (Clifford, Sesame Street, something from PBS.) I do think some of it is tiredness. Only about three or four sleep during rest time, and they are not the complainers.

    It is definitely two or three instigators who then get the whole bunch going. It is so frustrating when you go to do something fun (like singing Dr. Jean's Peanut Butter song) and somebody says "I hate that song" and then hardly anyone is doing the actions. I want to say "You're five! We're singing about underwear! How is this not fun?"
     
  8. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    I definitely like others ideas of considering all the variables - interest in activities and tiredness. If it's just 2 or 3 kids that get things started, you could probably start with them and not necessarily need to do a entire classwide intervention. What do you see as their motivation for complaining? Do you sense that they are genuinely bored and uninterested, or do you sense it's for other purposes?
     
  9. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    Good advise. Part of it can be this time of year with 5 year olds - ready to take the next step and start being "bored" so you have to challenge them with new and different things. It seems like you do a lot - I wonder if there are too many transitions in the day? I find if I do "projects" which are inspired by their ideas it gets them excited about coming to school to do them.
     
  10. LovetoteachPREK

    LovetoteachPREK Companion

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    Mar 31, 2011

    scmom, I was kind of wondering if they were getting bored. And yes, we do have a lot of transitions and unfortunately part of that is being in the elementary school and following their schedule. We also have to wash our hands after every recess which means first coming back to the room to take off coats, mittens, etc. and then lining up again to go to the hall to wash and then lining up again to go back to the room. We do this 3 times a day - and it gets old for me too - but I don't know how to remedy it.

    I would love to hear more about how you do projects. I've read about projects and such, but have a hard time invisioning how it would work in the classroom.
     
  11. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    Mar 31, 2011

    Well, at least the coat and mitten thing will be over soon which will help. Sounds like a little bit of winter blahs, too. The other thing I wondered is if you have spent time building relationships with them - talking to them individually, showing you care or if you, as a new teacher, felt you had to be managing them and being the authority figure all the time? I think that makes a difference - they are with you many hours a day and want to be with a person they feel cares for them (but don't go over the line and have them think of you as one of their friends or they will try to roll over you).

    I think WaProvider is more of an authority on projects - I am new to the concept. Basically, I do not preset themes in advance. I do a mixture of what I think we need to do, but I try to incorporate their interests into most of our activities. For example, I have a lot of girls this year and some are excited about an upcoming local fairy festival and the whole class really like leprechauns, so I think in a couple of weeks I am going to try to do a fairy unit. I will have the kids come up with ideas but I think we will be writing letters to the fairy, making plans to build a fairy garden and houses and then make them, make fairy dolls, etc. etc. There is a book out there about fairies caring for Monarch butterflies which we will be raising soon so they two units should meld together. At the same time, you incorporate a lot of "learning" activities - counting, measuring, fine motor, etc. into what you do. Wish me luck - I haven't done such a girly project ever. This is the first time in my whole preschool career I have more girls than boys - it is a bit of a culture shock considering I have 3 boys myself and wasn't a girly girl so it is a stretch.
     
  12. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Mar 31, 2011

    scmom....I totally know what you mean about having a switch from all boy classes/home to all girl! My own children are in my classrooms and right as I was learning how to relate to my own daughter in her toddlerhood, the classroom (that all my children share with me) turned into ALL girls with one lone boy! I was quaking in my boots!

    The bug/fairy lesson/project could be Sooooooooo awesome. Leave yourself some wiggle room so it could go fairy/plant or fairy/bug and you should have a ball. As you say, not all girls are girly girls and with your few boys they can combine into an alternate. Have fun!!

    And thanks for mentioning me love of projects!

    Lovetoteach, I would be happy to give you tips on your projects. But I would imagine that being excited spring is coming (if you are in mittens still) and trying to come up with a "what we know" chart for spring would help your excitement. Announce you are tired of winter too, and want to know what we can remember from springs past (perhaps you are loosing faith it is coming). Then after that...make a no whining sign and draw a big read "no" symbol through it. Be ready for the whining to increase, but just respond by pointing at the circle?

    Just made it up.....it may not be the best, and it may not work. Other ideas? Anyone?

    Just try and make it boring to not "be on the team" and make the team in charge of your ideas.....that is the first step of the project idea. How you collect the ideas is sort of up to you (since you are the one in the class that can plan) and how they work with the items is sorta up to them. Be excited!

    Some help? At all?
     
  13. LovetoteachPREK

    LovetoteachPREK Companion

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    Mar 31, 2011

    Love the "No Whining" sign idea!

    I think the coming of Spring would be great for a project. I have some fun ideas already, planting, a field trip to the nature center, visiting baby animals but I think I will ask them what else they would like to include and see where we go from there.

    Today (with my easier group) I tried asking them what they wanted to do. I was prepared to get outlandish requests like going to the zoo or something, but it turned out so sweet. Some requested songs, a couple requested extra playtime with a certain toy, things like that. We made a list and checked them off as we did them. Can't remember who suggested that but GREAT IDEA! Thank you! We'll see how it works with the crabby set next week!
     
  14. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Mar 31, 2011

    "grumpy people will scare away spring you know"
     

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