Okay, they're eating me alive.

Discussion in 'General Education' started by FourSquare, Apr 27, 2010.

  1. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Apr 27, 2010

    I would like some classroom management tips before I get into my own room. Since I am only assisting in someone else's class at the moment, I've taken this year to explore and figure things out.

    #1 One thing I really struggle with is meeting everyone's needs in an orderly fashion. I work with 24 third graders and they all seem to want something at the same time.

    This is a pretty typical 45 seconds on an average morning:

    Student A: "Miss, can you sharpen my pencil?"
    (Student B wanders around with no real purpose.)
    Student C: "Miss, I forgot my homework"
    Student D: "I NEED HELP"
    Student E: "What are you looking at? I could punch you in your face!" (To Student B)
    Student B: "MISSSSSSSSSSS.....E IS TALKING."
    Student F: "How do you spell (insert word here)?
    Student G: (Knocks chair over) "Oops!"
    Student H: "I can't see!"
    Student I: "Can I help you pass out papers?"
    (Student J wanders around)
    Student K: "Can you sharpen my pencil?"
    Student L: "I'M NOT DOING THIS."
    Student M: "What are we supposed to do?"
    Student N: "I need help!"

    Pretend the other 10 are waving their hands frantically for an unknown reason.

    Now what is this madness? We have a morning routine. Walk through the door, put your coat/homework away, do bellwork problems. I've modeled expected behavior, I offer rewards for good behavior, and at desperate moments I've just plain begged them to pu-leeeeeeaze sit down! I've spoken with the ringleaders and discussed how they are special role models in our class. I've talked about how we're all a team and everybody needs to do their part so we can learn. Our TWO PROBLEM bellwork in the morning takes almost a whole period from the time we come in to the time we correct it together! :eek:

    We still can't do basic anything. Bathroom line, subject transitions, arrival, dismissal, centers, specials-Nada. This is worrisome at this point in the year. However, I'm trying different things so I can come in with some tools next fall. The only thing that's worked so far is refusing to acknowledge kids not in their seats. This has cut down on the mob a little bit.

    #2 Lately some just blatantly refuse to do whatever we're doing. They fear no consequence, and don't seem to care about our rewards system. What do I do with the kid who just says "No?" I don't mean like go home and reflect on how I can better engage this student, cause of course I do that, but I mean in the moment. Right then. Do I let them go? Administer consequences? Pull-out for a discussion? Reward the well-behaved kids and ignore this one?

    :yawn:
     
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  3. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Well, I think in regard to #1, occasionally I experience that in my own class. If they are not following the rules, then we stop until they are. If they are all up and at my desk asking things/needing things, I just simply say, "If you are not in your desk with your hand up and waiting patiently, I do not hear you." That usually gets them back in their seat.

    As far as saying "no" to a teacher, that is blatant disrespect and disregard for the teacher's authority, and calls for an immediate discipline form which goes home to the parents, and to our disciplinarian (and in their file) and is 3 minus points for conduct. A certain number of minus conduct points mean the disciplinarian will get involved. The parents, in general (and really in any case I have encountered) takes this extremely seriously.
     
  4. ami6880

    ami6880 Companion

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    Apr 27, 2010

    I think that you really just have to set your expectations with them. Sometimes a good old heart to heart talk helps. It is getting towards the end of the school year and my kids are starting to act out a bit as well. If they do not follow your expectations make them all sit down and then have them try again. You can keep having them sit down and try again until they do it to your satisfaction. This is a last resort in my classroom, but every once in a while especially at the beginning of the year I do it.

    Also, if you threaten concequences you MUST follow through. If you threaten, but do not hold them accountable for their actions they will not care about what you tell them is their concequence. Setting up a good rewards system for expected behavior is also great, I don't like to use a lot of external rewards myself because I want them to find the internal motivation on their own, but from time to time I will use external rewards.

    As for the pencil problem, I have been there...it is annoying. Also having them get up in the middle of class to loudly sharpen pencils is annoying as well, so what I do is allow each student to have 2 pencils at a time. I keep all other pencils and have 2 cups: one is filled with sharpened pencils and the other the students fill with their un-sharpend pencils, which they can trade for a sharpened pencil. This works really well. I spend a few minutes every day sharpening pencils, but overall it solves the problem :)

    Hopefully this helped a bit!
     
  5. Securis

    Securis Cohort

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    Apr 27, 2010

    Someone else will have a better piece of advice but this is what I do for lower grades. I call out, "1, 2, 3, Eyes on me!" and then I might say to everyone, "Are we talking or are we listening?" It's rhetorical but some answer anyways. I also try to establish early on that students should not to call my name or just blurt out any kind of question or statement to me nor should they get up and approach me, "Let's practice raising our hand and waiting patiently at our seat." Or, "Did I call on you?" I also use the finger over the lips gesture and the palm down lowering meaning put your hand down. Once everyone is quiet and attentive, I begin addressing issues as best I can. I have one thing that you may not have, "The activity will not start until you are ready.", i.e. class is quiet and attentive.

    It all starts with structured procedures that you will practice daily and consistently.

    #2 - Ignore them as best as you can and focus praise on someone who is doing what they are supposed to. That doesn't always work but it's a starting place before draping tons of negatives on the obstinate students.

    I hope that helps some.
     
  6. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    Apr 27, 2010

    Ok, I have a pretty standard answer that I like to give... I know that your problems aren't directly related to Literacy, but the method that the sisters use to get kids into the routines of the Daily Five are incredible, so I would check that book out if possible.

    The other recommendation I would add is to have a job list that rotates.... I've used a pocket chart where each student has a job, and it changes every day. One of my jobs is pencil sharpener, and that person sharpens pencils at the beginning or the end of the day. I also have someone (or two people) who pass out papers, so that no one asks me if they can pass out papers.
     
  7. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Apr 27, 2010

    Oh, and another thing, if it takes a while to get the kids settled and quiet in their seats to practice what they should be doing, you might want to say, "This is taking up X amount of my time. I will start counting minutes of lost recess if you continue taking away my time." This, of course, is a last resort. Usually just the threat is enough to get my kids settled, and rarely do I ever have to resort to that (I think twice in the entire school year). I believe in both positive and negative consequences. I use both. But I think it is the combo of both that works well (IMHO and experience).
     
  8. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Apr 27, 2010

    My kids have their own pencil sharpners, so that's not really a problem in my class. They cannot sharpen pencils when I am speaking or teaching (or when anyone else is, for that matter). I also pull sticks to have someone pass out papers, or else everyone offers to do it.
     
  9. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Apr 27, 2010

    You have a bell routine and model expected behavior - both are good methods. Next thing to do is include input with VIP, guided practice, teach your partner (and discriminate error), and lots of practice until kids get it right. It is not the routine you are really teaching - they already know how to enter the room - rather your commitment to rules and routines by spending valuable class time teaching your priorities.
     
  10. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    You'd think, right!? However, I stopped doing lunch detention because it became desirable. The handful of kids who got it regularly decided it was cool to spend time with me and have one on one time, and they started asking to stay in. Madness!

    Now I do a Lunch with Me type-reward but they can't think long-term so it doesn't register that behavior on Monday affects their lunch reward on Thursday. I guess I can start eating with them every day. I will miss hiding in my car for 20 minutes though. :lol: It's so quiet in there. :love:

    I've also tried some cool call and response things from Whole Brain Teaching. This helps cause they're moving around more. I seriously think a lot of it is them not relating to the work and being forced to sit and do worksheets. They looove learning games.

    Jobs are interesting. I don't want to step on my teacher's toes by introducing yet another thing, but I am for sure gonna organize something when I get my own classroom. I'm so surprised at the things they wanna do that I've been spending a ton of time on.

    Keep the advice coming! I am taking notes.
     
  11. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

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    Apr 27, 2010

    I would suggest a classroom set of shock collars.


    They're great for discipline and learning names.....


    "I wonder who this is...." YEOW "Oh....that's who they are"






    P.S. - I teach high school for a reason. Those ankle biters scare me.
     
  12. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Apr 27, 2010

    lol. Ok, well my kids don't want lunch with me! So that works for me.

    As far as moving around, I find that works for my kids. They almost always have the freedom to work where they want (which is usually motivation enough to keep working if they move). Some want to sit on the floor, others at the big table. No one likes to be confined in a seat all day, so I find this helps my kids (because when they are comfortable, they work).
     
  13. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    Apr 27, 2010

    I'm with you, Muttling!

    A couple of suggestions: Take a look at Power Teaching - register on the website and download tons of good information. Also, take a look at the new book Teach Like a Champion by Doug Lemov - very good, practical, concrete techniques for both management and teaching.
     
  14. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    :rofl: No, no! That's kindergarten! I worked in a K room for 45 minutes once and ran away. My kids are a lot better in comparison. Remember that cartoon Recess where all the kinders wore tribal make-up and attacked in groups?

    [​IMG]

    ^That is real. :p

    Anyway, these posts have been so helpful. I hope I am good at this one day!
     
  15. hac711

    hac711 Companion

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    Apr 27, 2010

    So I do the pencil exchange, it works. Also they are only allowed to sharpen their own pencils during work session or lunch.
    I am old school. Are they being sweet, adorable, little terrors? I write a 1 on the board. First time I did that, a kid stopped and said what's that for? I said that's how much time I have been waiting for you, now that's the time we are going to spend during recess working. Leave it on the board. Change accordingly to their behavior. One time I had 10 whole minutes deducted from their recess. That NEVER happened again. Just takes one time.
    Also, at least for me, I start off the year as a no nonsense, tough as nails lady. As the year progresses, I loosen up, but the kids all know in the back of their heads, how it can be. Plus start of the year with Here are your math books, open to page 3 and begin. No talking. Boom. You start the year no nonsense, no games, no getting to know you exercises. After the first week, do a getting to know you exercise. I also never go over the rules. They are up on a poster. If one of my children breaks one, I call them out and have them read it outloud. I don't know how your school is, but where I teach it is a lovely community. ALL my kids invite me to their b-day parties and I see them in the park on the weekends and we play football or baseball. So I don't know what type of relationship you have with your kids. But this way works for me. I feel children get mob mentality and that they only need a strong leader, you, to guide them in the correct habits. Good Luck!
     
  16. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    1. No one sharpens their own pencils...EVER! I don't sharpen pencils during the day, either. I have two baskets. One says "Dull" and the other says "Sharp." Whenever a student needs a pencil, s/he drops the dull pencil in the dull basket and grabs a sharp one from the sharp basket.

    2. No one asks if they can pass out papers, feed the class pet fish, or anything else. I have a "Helper of the Day." The helper of the day is the line leader, feeds the fish, passes out papers, and is my personal assistant for the entire day.

    3. Need help? Well, if a student needs help, they must abide by the "Ask Three Before Me" system. They need to consult with 1-3 classmates until they figure out the answer to whatever question they may have.

    4. Lunch Bunch. Students who turn in their homework for the entire month & complete their classwork get a ticket for Lunch Bunch. Lunch Bunch includes lunch in the classroom with me, along with a video and sundae bar! It's the best thing EVER in their minds! I normally only have 1-2 (at most) students who don't attend.

    5. Falling out of your chair, eh? Well, if you fall out of your chair in my class, you lose it for the whole day. You can stand, kneel, or sit on the floor for the rest of the day. Fortunately, this only happens once each school year (at the most). One person loses their chair and that's the first and last time for the entire school year. I know this may sound mean, but it works! In my entire teaching career (5 years) this has only happened 3 times.

    I spend the first couple months of the school year going over routines and rewarding the students for following the classroom routines properly. For example: "Wow, look at ______ completing his work so quietly. Here's a ticket to the Treasure Chest." Or I might say, "I LOVE the way ______ needed a sharp pencil and put his dull pencil in the dull basket and grabbed a sharp pencil from the sharp basket. Here's a smelly sticker for you, _____"

    As the school year goes on, I reward less and my class runs like a well oiled machine.

    Good luck and remember: The time and effort you spend during the first few weeks/months of the school year will save you a lot of heartache during the rest of the school year!!! :2cents:
     
  17. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    I completely agree with YoungTeacherGuy. I teach grade 3 as well, and have avoided many of the behaviors you are describing by following the methods outlined already. I praise, praise, praise the ones on task. I also have a class wide incentive program with a marble jar. When students are on task they earn marbles. If I am counting down from 20 to get everyone in place by 0, if they are ready before I get to 0 they get as many marbles as the number I stop on. I really worked this at the beginning of the year, starting counting back ridiculously high and slow so that they would be rewarded. Now they motor when I start counting. I also have class jobs so that things are taken care of and I don't have 22 constant volunteers (it's so hard when they all want to help!!). As for the falling out of chairs, I think YoungTeacherGuy's suggestion of standing/kneeling/lying on the floor would quickly become appealing with my group. I have 1 girl that is constantly rocking in her chair so it's always banging on the floor. I reminded her a few times to stop and then I asked her what I could do to help her remember. She didn't come up with anything, and the rocking has stopped as far as I can tell.
     
  18. Grover

    Grover Cohort

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    I suppose all of the above is good advice in the context in which it is given. I wouldn't know, really, because I never had these kinds of problems despite teaching in a ghetto school. It seems to me that the pattern that emerges from the OP and the various advice to bribe or punish is that these kids feel no internal motivation to behave 'well' or to do the work they're being told to do. I don't think this is particularly MsDipple's problem, it's rampant in the school system.
    Regardless of what parents, administrators or teachers feel is in the long term interest of students, young children only perceive things in a very short time frame. If it's boring, it's boring. If it's irrelevant, it's irrelevant. It's really so much easier to work in a program that kids find interesting and meaningful on their own terms.
    Of course, I recognize that few teachers are working schools where this is any kind of serious option, so I'm not criticizing anyone. I'm just saying, when kids actually want to accomplish something, they generally don't let their behavior interfere with it.
     
  19. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    I've noticed a lot of you specify time for tasks. Like counting down or saying "Do this in 5 minutes." We have never specified when things need to be done, so maybe I could bring in a timer or something. I guess saying "Finish your bellwork!" could mean in 30 minutes or 3 minutes. :dunno:

    I tried this today and made a kid cry. :eek: He was refusing to do work and I said "X, I expect you to finish this in 5 minutes. If it is not done I will need to call your Mother." I gestured to the clock and walked away. We've been having a lot of trouble with him lately. It killed me to watch him upset but after I ignored his little tantrum he....got to work! :woot: Maybe I need to stop babying them. :whistle:
     
  20. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Oh yes! Specifying a time limit really helps. Like, "You have ten seconds to take out your journals." Otherwise, they will take their time, but if they know you expect them to do it within a certain amount of time, they will try. It is effective.
     
  21. hac711

    hac711 Companion

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    Apr 29, 2010

    youngteacherguy, rockin' idea with the ice cream bar...I am def. going to do it next year! I also take their chairs away...it works like a charm...
    To those who think it will be a game, it might be a game to them for 10 minutes, but then, they will want to sit, and you don't let them. Nips that in the bud!
     
  22. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    You said you were assisting in another classroom, things will be different when it's your room. You will be able to set, and enforce your expecations from day 1. They will also view you as the one authority. I set my expecations at the beginning of the year and we do a lot of practice. If we have a morning like you described, where they have "forgotten" our expectations, then I tell them I simply need to help them learn them again. We do that by spending some recess time practicing the procedure.
    In the past my quiet signal was to hold my hand up and wait. Very effective - unless they don't see you. I still use that, but have added a clap signal. I do the first part of "Shave an a haircut" and they do the "two bits" part. It's funny because if I do it in the hall or cafeteria, other kids answer when I start. They all pick up on the signal to get quiet. :)
    I've posted it on here before, but I have a music box that I use as needed. I'll wind it up on Monday, and every time I have to wait teach because of them (talking, delaying, etc) I open the box. I close it as soon as they are on task. On Friday afternoon if there is music still in the box they get extra free time, if not, we go on with the class. I love the music box because I can control it. I can wind it a little if they are working hard, or I can make sure there is no music on Friday. They love it because they are working for something positive, not losing something. If they don't get the extra time, I don't make a big deal out of it, we lift the lid, realize there is no music, close the box, and move on with our day. It quickly reaches the point that I just have to walk in the general direction of the box and they get quiet.
    Good luck!!
     
  23. chicagoturtle

    chicagoturtle Fanatic

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    I teach the "babies" and always have and we don't ever baby them- You're in school- you're a big boy or girl and this is what we expect. In the past few years, I've witnessed many times when my three year olds can walk down the hall far better than the fourth graders. Of course I also have different expectations for each of my 40 children because I also believe fair and equal are not the same.
     
  24. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    These are really good suggestions.
    I had 5th grade, and though they had my class rules memorized to a T, I still made the mistake of not formally reviewing the rules every 2 days. I didn't think I would need to after 2 weeks.

    But I have learned, formally review the rules and procedures every 2 days (or multiple times a week, every week) especially if they are from rougher home environments with little structure.

    The most frustrating part of the job for me was getting them to get along with each other. They'd start calling each other the most horrible names and threatening to harm each other. This was my biggest difficulty. I haven't figured out how to tackle that.
     
  25. Bumble

    Bumble Groupie

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    I always start off my day with giving tickets (token system) to the children who get to school on time. Lateness is getting way out of hand. Then I say, "which group wants a star? You need to show me you want a star." I place pencils at each group before school starts. No one can touch my sharpener. I protect it..lol

    My morning:

    ME: Sit down and start your morning work. Group 1-2-3-4-5 hang your things up.

    We start instruction 10 minutes after we get into class.
     
  26. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    At that age, the parents are pretty much responsible for the kids being late, don't you think?
     
  27. Grover

    Grover Cohort

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    If we can punish teachers for kids that can't read, why can't we punish kids for parents that don't get places on time?
     
  28. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I never said or implied that we (we being not me, but teachers in general) can't. It was a simple question. In addition, the poster did not say she is punishing the students, but giving rewards to those who come on time. Personally, I would not punish any of my 1st graders who came in late because it is not their fault at that age. This is just a statement simply saying what I would not do, not saying that teachers should not do it (but if someone were to ask my opinion, I would say, IMHO, I do not think it is a good idea-maybe call mom and dad and discuss the issue).
     
  29. Grover

    Grover Cohort

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    Oy. It was joke... I'm guessing that the lack of NCLB in Mexico may have lead to you missing the reference.
     
  30. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    I think I might use this next year. This sound absolutely great, because you wouldn't have to say a single thing! Just let the music play, and the students would catch on pretty quickly. I also like that you can control, because in the first few weeks of school especially you want them to earn that reward to keep the incentive going.
     

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