My class is really tough so far. :(

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by DrivingPigeon, Sep 3, 2011.

  1. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Sep 3, 2011

    I had a pretty tough first few days of school.

    I have 2 students who have behaviors that are very difficult to handle. One boy has ADHD pretty badly, and he hasn't been on his meds. He wanders around the room, will not do any work, and is defiant when I try to speak with him.

    I also have a girl in my class who is new to our district. She has been from school to school, and has numerous evaluations in her file. Past teachers have written narratives about how she has been suspended from school and kicked out of class for her aggression towards other students, inability to follow directions and rules, and she is very low academically. She talks constantly, and when I tell her to stop, she laughs hysterically. She will also get up and wander around the room aimlessly in the middle of a lesson. She has not participated in any class activities.

    I am trying to set up a meeting with my principal. Of course, I will meet with parents and my school's building consultation team. Until then, what can I do to survive?! I cannot get through even the shortest lesson without these two children wandering the room and yelling at me. Not to mention the 3 Title 1 kids that need extra support, 1 other special ed student, and 3 other students going through the SPED referral process. :dizzy: I almost started crying the other day right in front of the kids because I was so frustrated. :(
     
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  3. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    Sep 3, 2011

    What type of reward/behavior system do you use in the classroom normally?

    Last year I used a ticket system. Students were rewards tickets for good behavior either on an individual basis or as a table. They put their name on the ticket then put in a jar. I picked a winner at the end of the day and on Friday anyone who had 15 tickets also got a prize.

    I had two extremely difficult students. Sometimes I literally had to sit down next to them with tickets in my hand and say, "if you finish three sentences you'll get a ticket." It might sound like a bribe but these were extreme circumstances. We're talking about students who cursed off their classmates and me on a regular basis, stood on tables, left the room without permission, etc. I took over the class in the middle of the year and it took me awhile to find the right system. If I had been using this from the beginning of the year I would have tried to "wean them" off the system of offering tickets for every little thing that they did, but we just never got to that point.
     
  4. schoolteacher

    schoolteacher Habitué

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    Sep 3, 2011

    Can you have the girl sit by herself? Tell her she can rejoin her table when she is able to stay in her seat quietly. Second graders really hate to be isolated and will work hard to get back in with the group.

    I have had a student whose behavior is similar to the boy you describe who had ADHD and was not on medication. When he would start to wander the room, I would immediately go up to him and take his hand. He knew that he would have to hold my hand until he had himself under control enough to sit down. This was very effective, because he hated to have the class watch him hold my hand while I was teaching. If he started to get up, I'd walk right towards him and he'd immediately sit down. I also made sure to send him on errands and give the class lots of movement activities to help him expend some of that energy. This was also immensely helpful to the other students.

    It is very difficult to deal with students like this, I know.

    Another strategy I used was to allow the boy to take a computer break after he completed a certain amount of work. By the end of the year, he was much much better, but still a huge challenge compared to the other students.

    The class that I had last year had many challenging students, and it definitely turned me into a better teacher.

    You have every reason to feel frustrated. Seek out all the support you can, and keep us posted on how you are doing.
     
  5. CFClassroom

    CFClassroom Connoisseur

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    Sep 4, 2011

    What expectations have you set in regards to wandering? Are they allowed to get up and get materials, use the bathroom, etc? I find that it's best to be very strict and require them to ask permission for EVERYTHING at the start of the year and then release that control as it seems appropriate.

    [​IMG]

    I also use hand signals which have been a huge part of my classroom management. I wrote about it yesterday.
     
  6. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    Sep 4, 2011

    I can hear your frustration.

    You have gotten some good advice here. I like the ticket system. Using a computer to earn special time could be something that might help. I also think that if the kids will let you hold their hand without causing a disruption, that might work. I usually SPOTLIGHT those kids. I stop, look at them and ask them point blank... "Why are you out of your seat? Second graders stay in their seats." I would then take them back to their seat. I would also try using a lot of movement in my lessons. I would ask for the two that wander to come up and help me with lessons. I would give the child a pointer and while I am teaching ask the child to point to things on my chart that we are discussing. I would allow the child to help me write on the whiteboard. Keeping these children ACTIVE in your lessons will help. It won't be a cure all. But it will certainly help.

    I also use a lot of Dr. Jean's kinder strategies. This works especially well on older students that have attention problems. I say things like....
    "Ok, boys and girls... I know you are SMART. SMART people are always doing smart things. Then, I will say, "SMART people raise their hands." When kids start yelling out answers or talking while I am.... I just say, "Wow. Look how SMART you are. Smart people are raising their hands and sit without talking." Suddenly everybody is sitting SMART and raising their hands. It really works. Also, your best friend right now might be a puppet. Kids LOVE puppets. Second graders still love them. I would use a puppet to help me teach and to hold their attention. My puppet would help me when I took the kids places and watch for me as to who knows how to walk quietly or sit quietly. Kids will do things for a puppet that they would never do for me. Try it!
     
  7. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Sep 4, 2011

    Thanks for the advice, everyone. I'll try a few of your ideas, and keep you posted. :)
     
  8. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Sep 4, 2011

    Love it! Thanks for the tip - so simple, but something I forget to do!
     
  9. crunchytxmama

    crunchytxmama Companion

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    Sep 4, 2011

    I have a very small class, but it's a REALLY special group. I have 8 students, and 7 qualify for Title I. 1 has an IEP (but we're in a private school and it basically means nothing), and one needs an IEP. I have two that I think are dyslexic. Also, 6 of them are ELL's.

    Alllllll that to say that I looped with this group, and I made the decision to go with the classroom management plan on smartclassroommanagement.com . He does not like behavior plans or treating one student differently from another when it comes to behavior.

    I have been back in school for three weeks and my classroom is 180 degrees from how it was last year. It is calm, peaceful, and the students are respectful. They CAN follow rules...even the one that I have that has been diagnosed ODD/ADHD/LD. It's harder for them, but they really can do it. Those kids, even more than the others, need very black and white rules and consequences. I've found too that the rest of my class sees if the others are allowed to wander around or bend the rules, and then they also start to test the boundaries.

    Now, I might permit the students to stand at their desks to do work, or I might send the ADD one on little errands to burn off energy. As much as possible, I try to have them up and moving, and we do a lot of brain breaks. I try to help them be successful, but I have the SAME expectations that they will follow the rules. You break a rule, you get a consequence, period.
     
  10. missapril81

    missapril81 Companion

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    Sep 4, 2011

    Your class sounds like mine. I have a student who is very impulsive and all over the place, and is not on meds. I have another student whose parents are inconsistent with this meds and all school year he hasn't been on them. I was the Special Ed teacher last year before I took over this class this year. For the most part I know most of the kids because I was in charge of their class after school program last year. I have two on IEPs, about 3 being referred and about 7 in Title 1 services. If you ever need a to talk you can feel free to email me on my personal email account, purplerose27@hotmail.com.
     
  11. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    Sep 4, 2011

    I agree. Being consistent and fair is important. There does need to be consistent consequences. I did have a dtudent for two years though that yelled and cursed at me, or any adult because of severe anger issues. When he was in the "mad" there was little that anyone could do other than remove him from the group until he was able to get his actions under control. It was a difficult situation. But clear, consistent reinforcement helped.. He became much better, and he knew that I liked him. He also knew that I was not going to argue with him. I would never win that. When he pushed the limits and refused to do his assignments, I would say, that is your choice. You understand that I will have to give you a failing grade. He knew that he would not pass to go to the next grade if he got failing grades, so he grudgingly did the assignments. Most days that worked. But on occasion, he would have a temper tantrum and scream at me. It was really quite scary for the other children. I would then call the office to have him removed, and he would spend some time with the sped teachers usually tearing their classroom apart. It was a long two years. But I knew that he had made progress and the amount of temper tantrums decreased. We finally had him moved to a different class because he began to bully the kids when he realized that he could no longer bully me. I refused to fight with him. Trying to get him to do school work was his trigger usually. When I calmly told him his choices, and would not enter a discussion about what he should be doing, he changed his behaviors. He was an extreme kid. But, I liked him. It taught me a lot about kids, power struggles, and anger issues that some kids carry with them into the public school setting. Consistent is good. But praise, and giving these kids a voice also goes a long way. Giving choices so that it is not MY WAY also provides some kids with an "out" so that they do not have to act out in negative ways. Respect between student and teacher should be mutual.

    All kids deserve a classroom where they feel safe and where the same expectations are for every single child. I do not believe in rewarding negative behaviors. I do believe in recognizing when a student does something positive and AVERTING behaviors that are disruptive to the rest of the class.
     
  12. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Sep 4, 2011

    Do any prior teachers have recommendations for how to deal with them? If other kids aren't allowed to wander the room, I wouldn't allow them either. Sorry it's been rough for you. I hope it gets easier.
     
  13. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Sep 5, 2011

    One of the students is new to the district. I thought about trying to contact her former teacher(s)-she has been to many different schools-about what worked for them. The one without meds was on meds pretty consistently last year, so his teacher didn't have to deal with these behaviors.
     

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