New Class...SUGGESTIONS PLEASE!!!

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by lullabelle72, Oct 19, 2011.

  1. lullabelle72

    lullabelle72 Rookie

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    Oct 19, 2011

    Hello!

    As some of you know, I am a brand-new 5th grade teacher. I am an add on, so I got kids from 4 different classrooms.
    It's been a bit challenging... I have a very diverse class-- one girl with a lot of attitude, telling me she doesn't need to listen to me- calling me racist...etc. Tried to ignore comments, because I know she is very upset about moving classes. I tried to talk with her a little one-on-one, seemed to work a bit... but, I'm not sure. Any suggestions?

    I also have a boy-- a very, very, busy boy. He is bright, extremely talented in math, a leader (all the kids follow his lead), and BUSY. He is constantly out of his seat & over chatting with someone. Or turned, to chat with someone.

    I asked his previous teacher what she did, she said she hadn't found anything that worked yet.

    :-/ Any thoughts?? Please and thank you!
     
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  3. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Oct 19, 2011

    Fun stuff! Overall, I think it would definitely be helpful to focus on building community and relationships - through teambuilding, discussion, etc. So, in addition to a normal game plan of being firm up front and setting high expectations, acknowledge that this is a bit different of a situation, and that the kids do have a right to be frustrated. I'd help them focus on expressing that frustration in a more healthy way than overt noncompliance, though.

    I also think you should keep separate your general class strategy and your individual strategies. So, you may have a really successful overall plan, but have some kids that don't respond to it, such as the 2 kids you mentioned. For those kids, I'd problem-solve a bit separately from what's happening on a class level - and possibly create a separate thread here if you notice a specific child isn't responding to your general classroom plan.

    I'm also guessing you have a general classroom management plan also in place? Do you feel like that's being successful?
     
  4. lullabelle72

    lullabelle72 Rookie

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    Oct 19, 2011

    I have been trying. I got the kids on Monday. We played some games-- and did some get to know you stuff. Came up with our classroom expectations together...that kind of stuff. Yesterday, all teacher's had a MAP meeting. All of the kids were in the gym for the day doing activities. Today I got my kids again... however, they switched our special time because of an assembly. My class was GREAT (they were earning marbles for our jar-- which we are working towards a class pet) and nobody had any clips taken away. (We have charts at our desk-- as well as 5 clips. At the end of the day I go around & see how many clips they have left & highlight their chart. When it is all filled in, they get to trade in for a perk and start over again. They helped to come up with 4 perks they'd really like.)

    After the assembly... I lost them. They completely checked out. We had lunch and after recess we were doing our math lesson. I was interrupted so many times (report card day...and my kids are from 4 different classes-- so 4 different kids came into the room at 4 different times to give me report cards... and the Special Ed teacher came in to give out her progress reports. So I really lost them. The few who were on task I rewarded with CANE bucks (our schools incentive) and candy.

    I would like to be able to have more time for community builders... I plan on doing the Pretzel Activity every Friday (Give a pretzel to someone who was kind to you, take one away from someone who hurt your feelings or was mean to you.)

    ...But the week I've had I've spent one full day with them. Today was crazy, tomorrow is picture day, and we don't have school this Friday. :-/ I'm stressed. haha.
     
  5. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    Oct 19, 2011

    I would advise only doing the positive part of the pretzel activity, I can envision the negative aspect going to all sorts of places you do not want it.

    Well, you got the kids on a rotten week. When I got my class that I was moved to it was the day of Halloween not one of the better days to start working with the kids.

    I would continue with playing the games and team building work. I also would also work on discussing the feelings about the change, maybe have a frustration box for the children. I would work on building a strong personal relationship with the two children you wrote about.
     
  6. HollaPino

    HollaPino Rookie

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    Oct 19, 2011

    Your schedule sounds confusing from an outsider's perspective. I would be lost, too.

    However, in terms of your classroom, don't try to fit so many things all at once. Pace yourself. It sounds like you have a handful bunch. Make sure you establish the line of communication between yourself and the administration. That way, they already know the possible behavioral problems you might have and they will be more understanding when you bring up a problem about the child to them. The same can be said for the parents. Perhaps you might want to also throw your own "Meet the Teacher" night or something to explain your expectations to your parents.

    Inside the classroom, you need to come up with your own routine and procedures. One of the most useful tool is a cue to call the kids' attention (Hand signal, clapping, bell, chimes). Use that to "practice" your routines as many times as required until they know what is expected of them. Once they know the routine then their learning and your teaching will be smoother and easier. Hope that helps.
     
  7. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    Oct 20, 2011

    Routine, routine, routine... You seem to have too much time for kids to be able to get up and walk over to their friends and talk. Follow a strict workshop routine for all your subject areas. The kids should have an assigned task during the workshop time that should consume them. Yes, there is always time for partner work, buddy sharing, and group assignments. But your workshop expectations have not been set and therefore the kids are going to continue to do whatever they like. Friend, you need to give the kids expectations. Model those expectations. Practice those expectations and yes, GRADE those expectations. If you expect their notebooks to look a certain way, be prepared to have an example and give them a notebook grade. If you expect certain behaviors during independent reading, grade them on their progress. If you expect certain problems to be worked out in math in a certain way... MODEL, MODEL, MODEL, and then MONITOR, MONITOR, MONITOR actively. These are key concepts that I am giving here. If you do not take the time to model what your expectations are, practice those expectations, and monitor your classroom expectations... do not expect to see a change in attitudes. Good luck and take control of your class. DO NOT let two students intimidate you or take control of your class. Those are YOUR four walls and YOUR domain. I would also consider asking the parents of these students to come in for a conference WITH the child and discuss these behaviors. Let the parents and the child know your expectations together. GOOD LUCK! YOU CAN DO IT!
     
  8. worrywart

    worrywart Companion

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    Oct 20, 2011

    I definitely agree that you should talk to the parents of both of these students, or honestly all of the students. At this point, I would just introduce myself and let them know that if they have questions or concerns to let you know.

    Get them on your side, and then if you need them because of behavior etc. during the year, they will be more likely to be supportive.

    Give it a few weeks to gel the class together. It takes time! Keep modelling and having high expectations, ignore the comments from the girl and she will probably lose interest soon. She is trying to get a reaction. Good luck.
     
  9. lullabelle72

    lullabelle72 Rookie

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    Oct 20, 2011

    I've been trying to model and practice everything, but as I mentioned... this week has been really crazy.

    Day 1-- they all moved into my room-- and had left stuff in their classrooms, etc. But we did some first day stuff, we practiced lining up, practiced hand signals I wanted them to use while I'm giving lessons or helping others-- so I know what they need. Practiced our morning procedure.

    Day 2-- I had to be in a MAP Data meeting all day. Kids were not in my classroom.

    Day 3-- Specials got bumped up. 1 hour presentation. Came back to the class-- had to go to lunch, recess, then came back up for our Math lesson-- also report card day. Since I didn't do their report cards-- I had 5 different interruptions.

    Day 4-- Today was the last day in the week. ALSO, picture day. The rooms they were using to take pictures were right outside my classroom... so ALL day, we had little kids peeking in the window-- also it was loud, and I had lots of admin coming in to use my phone.

    I love the idea of the frustration box. I think they'd like that.
    What do I do with it when they have put a frustration in?
    I've seen conflict journals, where the student writes a conflict/concern to the teacher-- and the teacher writes back. Is it like that? (I like the idea of the box better though, because my kids are so INVOLVED with each other, they would read what everyone wrote and then pick fights.)

    When working, they are doing okay. But there are certain ones that when they finish... they are just not staying in their seat & doing the other work I have told them to do. I said if they finish early-- they may read a book at their seat or do one of a few things I put on the board.

    ...Should I be grading them on this part as well?

    I have paperclips at their desks that I take away when they're not following directions-- and there is a chart at their desk that I fill in w/ how many they had left. When they fill up the whole chart they can trade in for a perk as I mentioned. Also we have a class marble jar, and I'm awarding CANE Bucks when I see students modeling behavior I want in my class-- and I point it out.

    I had all the students write me a letter to take home this weekend-- telling me about themselves. I told them all I'd write back. Of course the one boy I mentioned never turned his in. Should I write him a letter to keep him included-- telling him I wanted to hear from him, or should I not write to him-- make him write to me, and then write back?

    ALSO my class is having a lot of trouble w/ lines. We all have to have a line order. We have tried a couple. The one I like best is ABC order by first name-- but still, they're just dragging to get in line. We have been late to everything because i KNOW they know how to get in their line. But they're not staying where they should be in line (it's a school policy that they be in a specific order & stay that way-- and be at voice level 0 in the hallway)

    ...how do I enforce this?
    Like I said, I've just sat down & told them when they're ready to go they'll show me by getting in the right order & being at level 0. Because the first 5- minutes...even in this 5th grade class, it is a lot of pushing, shoving, certain kids going and talking w/ all the other kids... etc.

    Our transitions are taking forever. My kindergartner's and third graders I had in daycare and summer camp...would kick all their butts at getting in line.

    Administration yells at the kids a lot in the hall if they're talking, or not on the multicolored tile... and I've found it to be a little effective. BUT I HATEEEE yelling all the time. It hurts my throat-- and I feel horrible for the ones that are doing their job, even if i am rewarding them.

    *sigh*

    I do love my job though. I actually have duty-free lunch, but I eat with the kids. I talk w/ them out on the playground. I enjoy them, a lot! I loved reading their letters to me & can't wait to write to them.

    I just want everything to be successful... and with me not having a lot of my stuff yet, I don't have a whole lot for the kids to do aside from seat work. And when I did allow them out of their seats, they didn't follow the rules I had told them-- for our classroom library, so I had to send them all back to their seats. I really don't want to suck. So I'm trying so hard to enforce the rules, while being consistent with my procedures.

    One part of our morning is to take out everythign we need for the day, and put our backpacks into buckets. (So they're not going through them all day). Still... they're telling me they don't have things.

    Do I let them get those things, or do I tell them they go without, because they didn't follow our procedure?

    Okay, ::end vent::
     
  10. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Oct 20, 2011

    I have a strict policy of when and when students can't get out of their seats. If not, they will be running all over the place. I would begin with practicing the procedures and clearly know how the class is run. If they choose to follow or break rules, something positive or negative needs to happen. If you want to give them one warning first, that is fine, but after that they should lose points, a privilege or even a note home. Students need to know exactly what their boundaries are. Where those boundaries are need to be set up so you can teach and they can learn.
     
  11. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Oct 20, 2011

    It is a bit of trial and error too. If the children are misehaving going to the classroom library (I've had that before) then send only 6 students at a time to the classroom library. Let them know what they can and can't do when they go. If they misbehave, send them back to their seats and they'll have to go either at the end or another day. If 6 doesn't work, then try 4 students the next time. Ask yourself ahead of time, what am I going to do if they don't follow my directions and be prepared for either choice they make. You'll need a procedure for nearly everything in your classroom. It is worth the time for them to learn them, as it will make your life a lot easier later.
     
  12. lullabelle72

    lullabelle72 Rookie

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    Oct 20, 2011

    What is your policy about getting up?

    I could definitely reward those who sit in their seats the whole time w/ cane bucks-- because I do have other reward systems in place...whereas some of the other classes ONLY use Cane Bucks.

    What would be something good to take away, or another consequence for getting out of their seat?

    I am hoping next week will be better. Aside from early release day on Wednesday (for PT conferences) , the rest of the week will be normal. With that will hopefully come better procedure practices. Because, like I said...this week was so hectic, the only day that was normal was day 1-- and it wasn't normal because the resource room stuff still hadn't been moved out of my room, and all the kids were bringing their stuff in & such. But it was our best practice day (and our best day so far).

    Go figure!

    I also want to mention, that I really enjoy all of my students. They all have great qualities. I just want my year to be really successful and nip this stuff in the bud before it gets worse. But I want to make sure I have appropriate methods/strategies/procedures in place to deal with it.

    (Like I said, when I asked the previous teacher about this boy, she said...nothing worked.) I'm not letting that get me down. I want something to work! He's so smart-- I want to see him flourish.
     
  13. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    Oct 20, 2011

    I have certain times where motion is not ok when I am doing direct instruction, when we are testing, when I have sent them to a place due to them not finishing their work, or during Language Arts workshop when they stay in one place, during team work only the Go Getter is allowed away from their seat. When they are working on things that do not fall into those the children are allowed to move around just so long as they are doing their work. They can pick work areas almost anywhere for individual work time.

    I find the most effective way to get to the goal of them following the guidelines I set is any time errors start to show up we get to practice again and again and again till everyone toes the line and does what I expect. The students might view my practice as torture after a while; depending on how long it takes.
     
  14. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Oct 20, 2011

    Let's see... cane bucks, clips, marble jar, candy, Friday store? And you are thinking of adding to this list? Incentives have a place in management but this looks like management based on finding the right "product" to satisfy picky consumers.

    Out-of-seat is a structure issue. So is line-up. So is talking. If structure is not in place or done quick and sloppy it is unlikely any incentive or consequence will save the teacher.

    What to do when finished with assignments is part of structure. It's the teacher's rules and procedures package which is taught the first weeks of school. When the teacher is teaching R&Ps the students are forming their opinion of the person in front of them. They are asking themselves, "Is discipline important in this class or just lip service?"

    The things you speak to are most often handled with structure. The leftovers like motivating the unmotivated, getting kids to hustle during transitions, meet your standard of work excellence and showing up on time with homework fall more in the area of incentives.
     
  15. lullabelle72

    lullabelle72 Rookie

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    Oct 21, 2011

    And that is what I'm asking. How do I get the structure? I have told them the rules about getting up/getting in line/etc. I'm not rewarding them for those things currently. I'm doing a lot of waiting. We don't go somewhere until we are in line. So they have been late for a few things.

    That is what I'm trying to get help with.

    All of my team is just rewarding positive behavior... being that we are a pbis school. It seems as though, they won't do anything unless they are getting rewarded.

    I have a class marble jar I put marbles in when we are working well, or if we are awarded "tickets"-- that are given to us from someone observing us. They each have a personal incentive system which are their clips.

    However, where I need help is with the line and the talking and the getting up. It has been so chaotic the past week-- and the help my team has given me is all rewards based. I want to know what the right thing or the best practice is...

    to get them in line order, and quickly.
    to keep them from getting up out of their seats.
    to stop them from talking during lessons.
    to make sure they're getting everything they need from their bags in the morning..and coming ready to work.

    What is the best thing to do?
     
  16. TripleTeach

    TripleTeach Rookie

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    Oct 21, 2011

    These are 5th graders, right? They have been lining up for how many years now? Explicitly teach how you want them to line up. (No talking, facing forward, whatever your expectations are.) Practice it....they now know your expectations. The next time they line up incorrectly, it is unacceptable. Make it clear that they will spend their recess time practicing lining up, then follow through. It won't take them long to figure out that they need to line up quietly. Be consistent in your expectations EVERY time.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2011
  17. lullabelle72

    lullabelle72 Rookie

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    Oct 21, 2011

    Yes, 5th grade.
    I'm not allowed to let them miss their recess. I can only take up to 5 minutes away (and they have to be outside for it).

    If I have them practice lining up, what am I to be doing during that time? They know how I want them in line, I've gone over it every time. I don't let them in the hall until they are in the right order and quiet.

    What about the talking during lessons? Or getting up?

    I have never worked with students this challenging before & like I said, my team isn't able to offer any help. It is only a few students, but once those few students go to another student... Everyone gets distracted.

    The one boy in particular was moved from one room to mine because they thought the dynamic might be better. This is why I'm trying to nip it now.
     
  18. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    Oct 21, 2011

    I might pick one student to model the behavior you expect. Then have another student follow the first child's lead then have a few kids try, then ask if the whole class thinks they can follow the lead of those students. If during the practice they are not doing it start over. If you can not do it during recess do it during class because if they are not trained to follow your expectations now you will lose a lot more time as the school year goes on. You basically will give up a few hours of curriculum now or give up weeks of it as the year goes on. I also do a lot of having the class come up with their own solutions to problems and their own recognition of what the problems are during class meetings.

    If you have severe behavior issues you should meet with the principal, you are coming in late in the year and the admin will know that is going to cause the situation to be more challenging than it might be from the beginning of the year. Ask them for suggestions on how to deal with those few kids.

    I try and keep rewards very simple. I give away no goodies. I do have the whole class earn extra recess for several days of quality behavior. I give stars for team work. I give opportunities to do sharing, extra choice time, or whole class games when the class is moving well and getting lots of work done. I used to give tangible rewards however I felt they caused strife between those who did win and those who did not. Whole class rewards build unity and also cause the kids to be more apt to manage each other.
     
  19. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Oct 22, 2011

    Discipline is mostly about the art of "meaning business". This is not "being mean". That's different.

    If you approach line-up as a procedure it may not have much impact nor importance for students. Covering procedures generally leads to announcements and insufficient practice to mastery. If you approach each procedure (or rule) as a "lesson", taught as carefully as any academic lesson, the procedure takes on new meaning.

    Kids watch what you do in class. Things that the teacher spends time on, is thorough, follows through or emphasizes sends message these are priorities. Things done in a hurry or seem background say to students, "Let's get through this so we can get to the important stuff."

    Too much of a good thing. Mismanagement is what causes a lot of educators to avoid rewards. A well-managed incentive program should find teachers using it less and less.

    If this works for you, use it. Again, however, one should see a reduction in marbles, tickets and clips over time. Goal is cooperation. Cooperation is freely given.

    Consider: take a look at Wong's Fist Days of School and Jones' Tools For Teaching, Both address the issues you are facing.
     
  20. lullabelle72

    lullabelle72 Rookie

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    Oct 22, 2011

    Thank you so much for your help! I picked up Wong's
    Book! I'm eager to look through it!
     
  21. FourSquare

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    Oct 23, 2011

    Stick with your inclination to not yell. Transitions were/are still sometimes a struggle for me too. They made me the most frustrated, and I showed it. When I got this new class, I let nothing faze me. Try this:

    1. Class attention signal. Do not speak until they are silent and looking at you. "Class, the expectation is that your eyes are on me and your voice is at a level 0. If you choose not to meet expectations, I need to take your clip away." (or whatever your consequence is.) Narrate a couple people meeting expectations. "Johnny has his eyes on me. Laura is at a level 0" and administer consequences. Repeat process until they are silent.

    2. "I'm noticing you do (insert something here) really well when lining up, (I know it's hard to find something positive when it's ugly. Try to though!) but I think we have some things to work on. When you line up, I need you to walk to your spot, face the door, and keep your voice at a level 0.

    3. Model. "The expectation is that you look like this." Sit in a student desk. Quietly push your chair in and walk to the line. Show them exactly what you want.

    4. Some kids will likely stop paying attention. Re-state expectations. "The expectation is that your voice is at a zero and your eyes are on me. Since you chose not to meet expectations I need to take your clip away." Administer consequences.

    5. Choose 2 or 3 students to model lining up. Call them by groups/tables/gender. Don't pick this time to call them all at once because they will screw it up. Promise.

    6. When they line up all crazy, IMMEDIATELY send them back. Don't wait until they're quiet. Stay super calm. "I need you to go back to your seat. That did not meet expectations." Reward ANYBODY who did anything right. "Suzy was at a 0. Clip up for Suzy. Martin walked instead of running. Clip up for Martin."

    7. Be a robot. Have no facial expression. "The expectation was that you walked to your spot in line, faced the door, and kept your voice at a zero. I KNOW you can do an awesome job. Two marbles for us if you can show me how to do it right!" Let's try.

    8. Try again. Hopefully it is better. Don't settle though. If it's not right, DO IT AGAIN. This time give consequences. "We will try one more time. The expectation is that you walk to your spot in line, put your eyes forward, and keep your voice at a zero. Those who choose not to meet expectations will have their clips moved."

    9. Try a third time. Narrate 2-3 people doing awesome, and give consequences to those who aren't. When they get the lining up down add a timer to the mix. Start challenging them to beat themselves. "Yesterday we lined up safely in 1 minute. Let's see if we can do it in 30 seconds."

    Hopefully that helps with transitions. When I first started teaching I'd just yell at kids all the time and look really frustrated. They know at that point that you are not in control. Your rewards and consequences have to be consistent and very matter-of-fact. It can't be like "Well Martin has his hands up so whatever he'll get a reward and the rest of you need to shape up." There's so much emotion in that statement and tone of voice.

    It's so hard to do. I definitely not perfect. No-one is. But if you stay neutral most of the time, the times that you lose your mind will be really effective because you will not have a history of yelling. So the kids will be really taken aback.
     

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