Looking for advice....

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by jd411, Dec 2, 2016.

  1. jd411

    jd411 New Member

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    Dec 2, 2016

    I teach all day kindergarten in a high poverty area. This year has been a tough one for us. I started the year with 33 students. Our contract states that we need to make a new section at that point, but it took over a month to get someone hired and move some students over. That teacher quit after 4 days and there were day to day subs for another month. My teaching partner and I worked our butts off during that time to make sure there was work in there for the students, cleaning the room every day, and communicating with the parents of those parents and it definitely took a toll on us. It took until mid-November to finally settle and officially start our own routines.

    On to my current problems....out of my 24 students I have 7 who are major behavior problems. There are multiple meltdowns daily of students screaming at me, destroying my classroom, outright telling me they won't do what I tell them and "you can't make me do it". Along with arguing with me they are arguing with each other constantly, shoving, kicking, scratching, and spitting on each other. Administration has been notified. Parents are spoken with daily. Other teachers in my building have been asked for advice. All anyone tells me is, "I don't know how you do it", but no solutions are offered. I realize I can't control parents, and I can't make these children perfect but I'm just looking for some tips on how to get through this year. I have little that I can hold over these students (lost recess, reminding them they won't make it to our monthly PBIS party if they don't change their behavior, calling parents....), and they don't seem to care about those things. Ignoring doesn't work either with other impressionable young minds who see this behavior and immediately start copying it.

    I'm just feeling like a complete failure (even though common sense tells me there is only so much I can do) and am seriously leaving the profession (which is devastating because this is something I have always wanted to do).

    Thanks in advance!
     
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  3. ChildWhisperer

    ChildWhisperer Groupie

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    Dec 2, 2016

    Have you a tried a behavior chart and/or a reward system?
    I'm not a fan of either of those, but if nothing else works, that's what you might have to do.
    I had a tough class this year and finally made a behavior clip chart about a month ago.
    What a difference! I think they had to visually see where they were behaviorally during the day.
    As far as rewards go, I give out a sticker (preschoolers still love stickers) at the end of the day to whoever is at the top. But I don't do it everyday. It's random so the kids end up being "good" everyday since they don't know if I'll pass out stickers that day or not!
    At this point (finally December), all I have to do now is say "alright, let's see whose clip I have to move..." and then they'll start behaving/listening/doing what they're supposed to do, and I don't have to move anyone. I actually give several warnings before I move clips.
     
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  4. jd411

    jd411 New Member

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    Dec 3, 2016

    Yes, we have had the clip chart since day 1. There is a school-wide goal having to do with the clip chart, and it is how they earn their way to the monthly party. Two of the seven had to be taken off of the clip chart though, because any time I would ask them to move their clip down it turned into a meltdown and they would try destroying the clip chart itself or other things in my classroom.

    The 7 majors are all on smiley face charts. Every time I circle and happy or sad face I discuss it with them, and they are all really smart kids so they know exactly why it is a sad face, but they still argue with me about it. If I call the office to let them take a break it usually turns into a full on meltdown of them running around my room (away from the principal) and kicking things, throwing furniture, etc. But on the other hand, if I just ignore them telling me "No, I'm not listening to you and you can't do anything about it" comments it gets all 7 of them going thinking they can tell me the same thing! :sigh:

    Every student who gets to the top of the chart gets to choose from the treasure box already, but maybe I'll do a sticker for everyone who is on green or higher as well. I definitely have enough stickers lying around!! lol
     
  5. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    Dec 3, 2016

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  6. jd411

    jd411 New Member

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    Dec 3, 2016

    In kindergarten we practice and model everything, everyday. These 7 are especially defiant and flat out won't do anything I ask them to do. It doesn't seem to matter how I handle it, they are mad no matter what. I get down to their level and try and talk with them about why they are behaving the way that they are, but they just end up screaming at me. Their parents have told me, "I don't know what to do with them either, they don't listen to me either."

    I know about explaining, and modeling, and re-explaining and modeling again and practicing.....I guess I was looking for something new since that is not working.

    I should also note that I am alone in my room, so forcing those students to stay and practice something while the rest go out to recess isn't an option. It's also not fair to punish the rest of the students for actions of those 7 by making us all stay in until they get it together.
     
  7. DressageLady

    DressageLady Comrade

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    Dec 3, 2016

    OP, I teach two half-day kinder classes and have a student who was growing into a major behavior "problem". He was disrupting other classrooms in the building (leaving my room and running up and down the hallway, pounding on doors, etc.). After many discussions with everyone involved (parents, admin., counselor), it was decided that we would move him from my afternoon class to my morning class, mostly to give my afternoon class a break and also because parents suddenly remembered that his allergy meds make him tired and cranky in the afternoon.

    Anyway! One of the behavior "things" I have been using with him is laminated card I attached to a lanyard, which he wears every day. When he is able to handle a transition or activity that had been problematic in the past, I immediately put a sticker on his lanyard. Those stickers earn him the ability to run errands for me (which gives him the ability to "legally" leave the classroom, which he really, really digs doing). They also help him track how close he is to earning the privilege of doing the milk run (he had been hijacking the daily milk run from other students, and is now earning the chocolate milk run on Fridays by keeping his hands off the milk run the rest of the week).

    The stickers give him an instant reward. They help me track his behavior, as well as schedule his rewards (I can look at the card and see that he has earned two stickers for instance, since the day started, and I know that I should give him a reward soon in order to maintain buy-in).

    OP, maybe you could make lanyards for your kiddos and see how it works for you?
     
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  8. jd411

    jd411 New Member

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    Dec 3, 2016

    I like it! I'm doing something similar with one of them who takes a coloring break with a para across the hall after she colors in so many smiley faces, but there is something special about stickers that might make it better.
     
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  9. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Dec 3, 2016

    What if you only kept it positive? For example, every time you stay in your seat and keep your hands to yourself during carpet time, you get a sticker/stamp. The frowny face isn't a bad idea, but it also doesn't sound like it's particularly productive in this situation, so it might be better to just get rid of it and only focus on the positive behavior.
     
  10. ChildWhisperer

    ChildWhisperer Groupie

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    Dec 3, 2016

    My kids don't touch the clip chart. I move the clips myself and I tell them who is moving up or down and why.
    But definitely try the stickers.
    I like to announce who's doing great ("oh look at Logan sitting so nicely on the rug!") and then put a sticker on his forehead . They love it.

    Oh and just the clarify, I use small stickers for "in the moment" rewards like the above example. I use big/good-sized stickers as end-of-the-day rewards for whoever ended up on the top of the clipchart. These are not given everyday. On Fridays, I'll usually give out dumdums or other small lollipops (or suckers as the kids call them) instead of the big stickers.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2016
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  11. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    Dec 3, 2016

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  12. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Dec 3, 2016

    I used Class Dojo with my older elementary kids my first year of teaching. I gave really small prizes when they reached 10 points - I think it was a neat sticker - but it was still quite motivating.
     

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