Marble Jars

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by jen12, Apr 28, 2014.

  1. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    Has anyone just dumped out a marble jar entirely as a melodramatic show to indicate that you're not pleased?

    I have a group of first graders that has been a nightmare since spring break three weeks ago. They came back and have no response to attention getting techniques that we've used since September. Out of 21 kids, about six are wonderful and about six more are outrageous. The rest fall in the middle. The clip chat doesn't phase them anymore. The same group of boys spends recess inside every day with no change in behavior. Today, the librarian nearly kicked everyone out of library. They lined up outside quietly, then ran inside and climbed all over each other on the rug. No response at all to her calls for attention. She had to literally yell to be heard over them. Then a few of them dumped books on the floor. She and I agreed that next week we'd skip library time. I made them write letters of apology to her as soon as we got back to the classroom.

    I have a clip chart and a table point system. In March, I instituted a marble jar to encourage classroom cooperation and to try to keep the chatter down during work time, for my six noisemakers in particular. It worked for a few weeks, but lately, as soon as I put marbles in, the good behavior stops. It's like they've done what they came for and feel like after they're rewarded, they can do what they want. I actually stand there and plunk the marbles out of the "earned" jar and back into the storage box one by one to catch their attention.

    After their behavior in library today, which was basically a repeat of the way they acted in the classroom last Friday, I'm considering dumping out all of the marbles tomorrow and telling them I'm taking it home. I may have to just work on rewarding the cooperative kids, since consequences don't work with the badly behaved ones.

    I'd be fibbing if I said this wasn't affecting my confidence. I've never had such difficulty with classroom management. I honestly don't know what other steps to take when parents couldn't care less about what's going on in school.
     
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  3. Joyful!

    Joyful! Habitué

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    Apr 28, 2014

    No. But it sounds like you may need to do it!

    This sounds like a tough group to win over. On my team, we have tried seating the 6 wonderful together, the 6 not so wonderful together and the 6 worst together in tables. Sometimes this takes some of the wind out of their sails.

    Maybe giving a really cool privilege for clip risers might help. Like let them play with nerf balls in the back of the room while the clip droppers practice sitting up straight and tall for a few minutes. Sometimes hearing the fun and missing it is enough to motivate the most compliant of the worst group to try do do better and you win them over one or two at time.

    Just don't give up on being consistent. Eventually it will pay off.
     
  4. Loveslabs

    Loveslabs Companion

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    Apr 28, 2014

    I would go back to the first day of school and retrain them. I would model the expectation and make them practice it over and over. I would be very clear as to what is unacceptable, and then make them practice it the right way over and over and over. Every time someone breaks a rule I would stop and immediately review and practice the expectation.

    I did this one year and within thirty minutes they were begging to do work instead of practice the routines over and over. :lol:

    Don't give them an inch because they sound like the type that will take a mile!!
     
  5. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Once marbles are earned you shouldn't take them back...just don't award any more until behavior improves.:2cents:
     
  6. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Would it help to make the marble jar easier to fill? Have they filled it yet? Maybe using a smaller container or larger marbles and then praising the heck out of the group when they got there would help.

    I also second all the other suggestions others have provided.

    I would take back a marble I just gave, but not more, just my opinion.

    Good luck. At least summer is close.
     
  7. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    Apr 28, 2014

    But sometimes an in your face approach like taking them back might get that bunches attention.
     
  8. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    :agreed: I have never taken marbles out. It sounds like a group you need to be super generous with when they are behaving so they earn the rewards quicker and start forming better habits.
     
  9. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Also you could try spelling out exactly what they can do to earn the marbles. Sometimes I'll say - "If everyone walks quietly to the library I'll put 5 marbles in the jar" or I'll pick a secret 'worker' and if they are on task the whole class earns 10 marbles. You may need to bribe them with it for a while. I've also done it where I count the number of kids that are following directions and we put that many marbles in the jar. They have to buy into it quickly so you need to reward them with it soon or it won't last. It sounds like they have already given up on their reward.
     
  10. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I find it de-motivating to take back something that's already been earned.:2cents:
     
  11. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    I agree that this could be demotivating, but have also experienced what the OP says about the class getting loud again as soon as the marble goes in the jar. Sometimes taking away whatever kind of point they've received is the only thing that can make a difference to the group. For those that wouldn't take a marble back out, how would you handle this?
     
  12. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    If they are getting loud right after earning a marble, then maybe the marble jar isn't effective anymore???
     
  13. live

    live Companion

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    I never take back a marble. Once it's earned, it's earned.

    Instead of being more generous, I think it should be more meaningful. For instance, my kids only get a marble if they go above & beyond what they should be doing (not merely doing what they're already expected to do). If they ever get a compliment as a class, or they go out of the way to help one another, or are exceptionally productive...they get a marble. It's a big source of pride when they get one; in that way, it is effective for my kids.
     
  14. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    Apparently these kids don't care if they get a marble... they might care if they lose their marbles. :)
     
  15. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    This is exactly the point I'm trying to make here.

    As far as taking them away....I do it if I have to call for attention four or five times and there is still a buzz of talking, which is what has been happening lately. It's become the only thing that snaps them to attention.

    In terms of rewarding them, I toss in two or three at a time. The jar is pretty small, and they got it about 1/3 full and lost all motivation to fill it any further. I've even challenged them by setting a timer for ten minutes and telling them they'd get ten marbles if they made it through the ten minutes with nobody getting out of their seat and everyone working quietly with nothing over a whisper voice. They make it about three minutes.

    It's very unfair to the kids who want it filled that such a large portion of their class is thwarting their efforts. I think it's time to retire the marble jar and up the motivation for getting to the top of the clip chart. I've been giving out tickets, but I may have to come up with a certificate to take home or a special pencil.
     
  16. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Instead of marbles, have you considered or tried Class Dojo? You can set it as individual rewards (but also as a class reward) It might be more motivating and more fair to all the students, and might be time to try something new.
     
  17. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    What are the consequences for undesired behavior?
     
  18. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    This is where my class is at with the marble jar as well. But in the beginning I was super generous so they would buy into it and it was helpful way for me to reward them as I trained them.

    At this point it doesn't sound like the marble jar is motivating anymore and there needs to be specific consequences for those who don't follow directions. This way the kids who are listening aren't losing their reward because of others' actions.
     
  19. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Try setting the timer for 2 minutes and then rewarding them with 2 marbles. Set them up for success and slowly work your way to 10 minutes.
     
  20. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    I think this is really good advice. :)

    BTW - I guess I'm the mean teacher because I do take out marbles sometimes. It really gets their attention when I do, so I'd hate to give that up. When I do, I usually say something like "You can earn it right back if you..."
     
  21. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Connoisseur

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    I use class Dojo. I will tell you it works great for kids who have parents who check it. I have many parents who aren't checking it anymore and I can tell you they could give a rat's behind if I give them a good point or a bad point. I actually have it set up for individuals and a groups and nothing seems to be working at this point. What is working how ever is taking away centers. So maybe taking away things that they like would be a help.
     
  22. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Consequences...it's not EVERYONE making the noise.... nail the ones who are.

    Class meeting

    Individual rewards for ones who are doing the right thing
     
  23. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    This.

    Don't let a few ruin it for everyone else. Give consequences to the ones who are not behaving and put marbles in the jar when everyone is on task. If it takes everyone to earn the marbles then don't take them out for a few.
     
  24. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    I have an individual reward system and full class reward system. In the beginning of the year I made it clear that when they earn individual points, they can't lose them (unless they spend them on a prize of course.) The full class reward system is a pom-pom jar. I also made it clear that when the class isn't following directions they can lose pom-poms. So I can take pom-poms away anytime I feel like it, yet continue to reward those who may be doing the right thing by giving out the individual rewards. Usually all it takes is me walking near the jar for the class to calm down if they're rowdy. But I have on occasion dumped the entire thing out (maybe once or twice a year) if there was an especially bad report at lunch or prep or bad behavior on a field trip. Again, I made it clear at the beginning of the year that this was a possible consequence, so I don't feel bad following through with that.
     
  25. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    I went with my gut and my experience with my class and dumped the marble jar. I told them it wasn't fair for some of them to continually ruin it for the rest of the class. They really didn't seem to care about the loss.

    I'm going to go back to a huge focus on the clip chart. I created a chart to keep track of where their clips end up on the chart. Each day at the end of the day I'll indicate where they end up that day. If they get five days on the highest level, they get a "Star Student" certificate and a treat. I started it off today by rewarding the four students who have continually risen above the rest of the group and told them they could all decide if they wanted the reward. We spent a long time talking about good behaviors and then they wrote about them in their journals. By the end of the day, a few of them who had gotten to a low level managed to work themselves back up by making an extra effort without prompting from me. A few were still on "warning" but most were at or above where they started the day.

    It remains to be seen how long it sticks. This is a tough group.
     
  26. LovetoteachPREK

    LovetoteachPREK Companion

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    I can't believe that no one has pointed out that clips, charts, treats and trinkets are not really effective classroom management. They work for awhile, but as you are seeing, they start to "fade out." Children want bigger and bigger rewards as time goes by and some days they just don't feel like earning a reward, so they don't behave. If their clip is on the bottom, what's the point of trying to be good? Read "Punished by Rewards" by Alfie Kohn for more on this subject.

    It is a little late in the year, but the best classroom behavior comes from creating a sense of community and establishing routines and firm and logical consequences. You come into the room crazy and running around - Go back out and try it again. You talked during instruction - You will hear it again while others get to do something else. Like someone else suggested, have a class meeting to discuss the problems and get the kids' ideas on how to solve them. Often kids can come up with great consequences!

    Individual behavior problems may sometimes require the use of a chart, but for an entire classroom it often tends to be a lot of work for the teacher and it doesn't create the best results.

    Lastly, the kids who lose recess the most are often the kids who need it the most. They are first graders, they need a chance to run around and yell and play with their friends. If they don't get an appropriate time to do this, they will find an inappropriate time to do it. Missing recess is just adding fuel to the fire.
     
  27. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    I think most teachers here use a combination of these strategies. I use a marble jar for whole class reward, but there are definitely logical consequences and a sense of community in our room as well.
     
  28. Loveslabs

    Loveslabs Companion

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    Not everybody has the ability to do as they please when it comes to discipline. For example, I don't have a choice but to use a clip chart. It is mandated. Anyway, I rarely have any behavior problems because I train my students well. I am also consistent and fair.

    In April I had 2 students move their clip to yellow. In March I had one student move to yellow and one move to red. The child on red was because he lost his mind and punched his best friend at lunch. I had 0 clip moves in February and January.

    The only incentive is if you stay green all month you get to have a cookie and milk with the principal in the cafeteria. Trust me that is huge in my building! If you stay green all year you get a free pass to a local, small water park. So, clip charts can work.:D
     
  29. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    That's a pretty good prize! We have a school wide ticket incentive. At 100, they get a popsicle party. They ALL want that.

    I have found that kids who act out, act out. No amount of incentives can work if they are the kind of kid who sees bad ideas as something they want to try. I've even had kids grin at me while they're defying directions. Those are few and far between, but they are out there.
     
  30. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    I've never had this problem. Actually, this year it's pretty much the opposite. My students care less and less about their prizes but their behavior is impeccable.
     
  31. missrebecca

    missrebecca Comrade

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    I agree that meaningful consequences need to be the focus. I'm a new teacher, and I started midyear with a very rough crowd -- kids hitting/kicking/throwing objects, shouting out during class, walking around, just horrible behavior. The only thing that worked for me was trying new strategies, throwing out what didn't work, and practicing appropriate behavior over and over and over.

    If your students can't line up and enter specials in an acceptable way, they need to practice. Have them leave the specials classroom, line up quietly, and re-enter. If they do it wrong, REPEAT! They will get sick of it and eventually behave to avoid the boring repetition. Don't let them off the hook until they're 100% behaving appropriately. It may take some time, but it's really an investment for the future. If there are one or two kids who can't behave, send them to another classroom during specials. Same with any fun activity -- centers, games, etc.

    Same with repeating rules -- as soon as they break rules in class, launch into a classwide repetition of every single rule. You can also have them write the rules in their notebooks. Or give them a behavior report form to fill out send home with their parents. The best trick I've found so far is having a student call their parents in the middle of class to tell them about their misbehavior.

    Do you have any behavior interventions in place for the repeat offenders? One thing that works for mine is having a chart on their desks to earn points. If they get X points, they get a prize at the end of the day. I save it for the end of the day because after they get a reward, they tend to stop caring about good behavior and go wild again.
     

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