Make the useless bickering stop!

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by minnie, Mar 9, 2016.

  1. minnie

    minnie Cohort

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    Mar 9, 2016

    I actually have a great class except for the fact that they bicker with each other over ridiculous things..."My pencil is taller than yours! No it's not! Yes it is"....or...."I was the first one at the rug! No I was first!"....and my favorite...."I was playing with that! You have more blocks than me!"

    Just stupid stuff. I try to let them solve problems like this on their own and I have modeled kind behavior but it's gotten bad. They argue like brothers and sisters. It's almost like they are sick of each other. I have a very small class. I hate to have them give me a star (our behavior system, they start out with three at the beginning of the day) for such small things. But, they're driving me crazy!! Any suggestions?
     
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  3. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Mar 9, 2016

    If your school wouldn't mind, I find a nice break, like a coloring/art period or some game time, can help kick the negativity. I've used coloring hours on occasion when the room and the kids have the fighting energy.
     
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  4. phillyteacher

    phillyteacher Comrade

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    Mar 11, 2016

    Can you sit them down as a class and just tell them that it's a problem and then ask them to discuss how they might be able to solve it?
     
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  5. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Mar 12, 2016

    I second the class meeting idea. They'll have some good suggestions.

    Sometimes it's helpful to point out that adults don't act that way. (Well, actually some adults do, but that's besides the point!) For example, I might say to the class, "Imagine if I was going to the photocopier and I got there at the exact same second as the principal. What would we do? Could you imagine if Mrs. Principal and I started arguing 'I got here first. No! I did!' back and forth? Wouldn't that look and sound silly?" The students usually realize how ridiculous and unacceptable it would be and it helps them see that it's actually impolite behavior.

    Also, praise the ones who aren't bickering.

    "I like how Johnny got his pencil out and got right to work!"
    "Susie is sitting quietly and looks ready to get started. Who else can show me they are as ready as Susie?"
    "Class, if you're not sure what you should be doing right now, Timmy is showing us the right way."
    "Wow! Bill and Johnny are sure playing nicely in the sand center! I like how they are sharing the shovels."
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2016
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  6. minnie

    minnie Cohort

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    Mar 13, 2016

    I've done all of the above. I praise those who get along. I even have a "kindness box" where they earn smileys when I see them working together and getting along. If they earn a certain number of smileys, they get a small surprise (30 minute educational cartoon, extra playtime) but it still persists. I feel like unless they are doing seat work, they argue. I don't know how to respond when they say, "Mrs. Z, he has three blocks and I only have two...Mrs. Z, she took that puzzle piece out oft hand." I just want to say, "hmmm...that's too bad" and leave it at that. We also talk about what we could do to instead of arguing. We talk about the problem and what we could do to solve them. They are just driving me nuts with this!

    However, I haven't tried explaining how it would look if adults argued like Miss Scrimmage mentioned. I'll try that!

    Thank you for your replies!
     
  7. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Mar 13, 2016

    I always say, "Hmm... that's too bad. What are you going to do to solve that?" "What can you do about that?" Or I'll ask, "What would you like me to do about it?" (in a kind tone, like you actually want to know how you can help :) ).

    The power of a stare can do wonders. Sometimes they just want to be heard. So by listening and not responding, they usually go and solve it on their own. I do that on recess duty a lot.

    And every so often I'll say, "Are you venting or would you like my opinion?" But that's only for chronic tattlers.

    This makes me sound like I don't help children solve problems. I DO!! And once they are equipped they need that gradual release of responsibility to try things out on their own. I do help, but I also think some kids become dependent on adults to fix things when they need to try it on their own. Some kids have so little unstructured, non supervised time that they are not developing these skills.
     
  8. minnie

    minnie Cohort

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    Mar 13, 2016

    Thank you MissScrimmage. Those are great responses. I agree with kids needing unstructured play time. My students are fortunate enough to have 45 minutes a day of that which is why I really need to nip this in the bud!
     
  9. showmelady

    showmelady Companion

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    Mar 28, 2016

    Are they doing this arguing about "stupid" stuff during the learning time, or is it during free time or recess?

    If it is at times when they should be concentrating on their lesson, why not just tell them to stop talking, and if the don't, give them some consequences?

    You are the BOSS. Make them stop! If you don't put your foot down and control this issue they will just keep it up, partly because they are getting a reaction out of you.
     
  10. minnie

    minnie Cohort

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    It's only during free time. They are quiet and work very well at their table. I have a very small class so they tend to bicker like brother and sister.
     
  11. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I tend to have mine attempt to verbalize the issue. With the block issue I would say something like "Good counting, what problem do you have?"

    Phrases like "I don't get it" and "that's not fair" don't fly. Tell me the real problem.
     
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  12. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    Jun 18, 2016

    ,
     
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