Out of control kids in Kindergarten!!

Discussion in 'Behavior Management' started by mrsrooney, Oct 14, 2011.

  1. mrsrooney

    mrsrooney Rookie

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    Oct 14, 2011

    Oh my goodness, where to start?? I teach in a tiny fly-in community in northern Canada. I have a class of 14. The majority of my class are fairly typical 5 year olds and respond very well to praise, consequences, and simple positive reinforcements. I have 4 children, however, who are making my ability to teach almost impossible. Out of 5 blocks, I have an assistant 2-3 times per day, usually 1st and 5th period which are primarily arrival and departure times. During instructional time I try to limit large group activities and use centres and small groups as much as I can. Even so, I encounter the following obstacles daily:

    At most times 2-4 students circle around the classroom like caged lions, swiping things off shelves, climbing on the cubbies, locking themselves in the bathroom (apparently we are NOT allowed to take the lock off), start pulling activities off shelves, climb under tables, leave the room without permission, open cupboards...

    I usually end up ignoring them for as long as I can with frequent calls to come and join us, trying to get them interested in what we are reading, playing, talking about. They are often loud and disruptive. I often have to get up from my small or large group to speak to them.

    These 4 have undiagnosed development disabilities and cognitive delays. All of them have speech delays and none seem to understand simple cause and effect or consequences to actions. 1 is angry and can be violent. Parents are uninvolved and unwilling to come to classroom to observe their behaviour or to even sign ieps.

    Even if 1 or 2 out of the four do join in group activities, they constantly interrupt, call out, insist on touching others or pulling ouy my pointers, books, drawing on my easel, standing in front of a book I am reading aloud...They seem oblivious to the fact that they are doing the opposite of what the others are doing although at times they will conform when they see others getting a sticker as a reward for behaviour (this is rare and sporadic)

    Their behaviour is such that my assistants could not take them to another space in the school in more than groups of two but with inclusive schooling, we are really advised against this anyway.

    I feel as if I am teaching NO ONE effectively. It is a daily struggle just to follow simple routines and I feel like I am herding cats all day long. I often feel like crying.

    Any ideas? We have tried simple behaviour charts but they don't seem to understand the concept at all. We have tried immediate and frequent rewards but they don't seem to be interested on a consistent basis. They won't take my hand and join us, sit in my lap or beside me, they don't take pleasure in sharing an activity or reward with a friend.

    Thanks in advance:)
     
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  3. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Oct 14, 2011

    Sounds like quite a challenge! So, the first decision would be rather to intervene on the "group level" (i.e., with all 4 at the same time) or "individual level" (i.e., create separate interventions for each child). The decision really is based on whether there is a common cause for the problems, or on the other hand whether there might be a common solution.

    Common causes might be a system of rewards/consequences in the classroom that are ineffective, curriculum that isn't differentiated enough, etc. Individual causes, of course, would be things like speech delays, emotional issues stemming from outside the classroom, etc.

    Based on that, we may be able to brainstorm some ideas that could be helpful, probably starting with a few more follow-up questions to get more information. Also, a heads up that if you think individual plans would be better, it may be better to start off with one or two kids, as brainstorming 4 separate intervention plans can be a lot on a discussion forum, and a lot to implement in a classroom! In such a situation, hopefully gaining some improvement with one will alleviate some stress, and open up some of your resources for dealing with the others.

    One final side note - even if the issues are individual rather than group, individual issues can compound when they're in the same confined physical space. In other words, there very well may be separate individual issues needing attention, but group dynamics that are also influencing behavior.
     
  4. mrsrooney

    mrsrooney Rookie

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    Oct 14, 2011

    Well, obviously I deal with each child as an individual. They have shared behaviours but they vary widely between the children. Every intervention we have implemented has been tailored for the individual child.

    The majority of students are adjusting very well to being in the structured environment of kindergarten for the first time and we use a school wide mandated EBS approach to behaviour management as well as other techniques such as stickers, verbal praise, one on one time with the teacher... I have really worked to ensure that consequences are predictable and correlated with the behaviour.

    Two of these students are repeating kindergarten and their behaviour has only improved slightly since last September which can also be attributed to their age (6). Last year they were in a small group most of the time and did a lot of worksheets and were not part of the class for very much of the morning. I have a different teaching style in which I try to utilize multi-level centre activities, small group, and a lot of hands on work. We do a lot of movement and while there is a skeletal structure to our day and consistent routines, I try to vary my teaching approaches as much as I can to reach everyone. These kids don't even seem to enjoy dancing, singing, active games, being read to or crafts for the most part.

    I definitely think they play off eachother. Possibly if only one child was wandering the room, the others wouldn't follow. But the minute I get a couple sitting down and attempt to engage them, they are inevitabely distracted by the others.
     
  5. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Oct 15, 2011

    It definitely sounds like you've already done quite a bit to help them! First, sorry if I implied that you hadn't used individual strategies - my main point of my last post was just to get a sense of whether you thought the problem had a common denominator or whether they were caused by separate issues. Sounds like there is some group influence, but that the kids bring their own separate issues.

    So, would it be helpful to start with one of the kids and brainstorm ideas for that one to start, just to keep things separate and simple? If so, maybe you could give a little backstory to the child - academic development, behaviors of concern, possible causes, personality, etc.?
     
  6. snapples

    snapples Rookie

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    Oct 23, 2011

    I aided in a Kinder class a couple years ago and we had an extremely difficult student who had anger issues. He would throw chairs, hit me and the teacher, and scream and cry at the top of his lungs when he would be disciplined.
    My teacher started an incentive chart and worked with his parents to continue the incentives at home. That combined with positive reinforcement for any tiny thing he would do right started to get him to improve his behavior. It took a couple weeks and still had extreme issues, but it was a small step to the right path.
    I know you said the incentive charts haven't made an impact but do you think the parents would be willing to get involved to work together to figure something out? These can't be new issues for them, especially since 2 of them are repeating.
    Also, could you designate a small area in the classroom where if these students feel that they need to take a break they can go there so they are not wandering around the room causing trouble?
    It sounds like you are doing a lot, and I can imagine how frustrating this is. These kids are lucky to have a teacher like you who really wants the best for her class, instead of wanting to wash her hands of these difficult students. Good luck!
     
  7. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    Oct 29, 2011

    I would wonder if one was more of an instigator. If one was more aware of the actions than the other children. If there is one who is more aware I would start focusing on changing that child's behavior. If you can stop the instigator it simplifies the actions of the others.

    What kinds of actions are the children doing?

    I have done charts to keep track of the child's actions which is sent home at the end of the day. I have just started a thing where I have the child mark the specific action I want stopped themselves-I just tell the child to tally, it is working well; but she/he is one of the 2nd graders in my multi-aged room. With first graders who are really off I have found giving them choices works very well a lot of the time. For example: you may sit on the rug calmly or you may sit in a chair. You may do the writing now or you may do it at recess. Usually they pick and stick to the one that conforms to what the rest of the class is doing. I have put the difficult ones as leaders of all sorts of things. I have made them helpers to others which can work especially the older ones you have. I have given the kids timers have them set it as the time limit they have before being done (I do tell them the outer limit of the time). I am considering giving a child who is older a couple poker chips as his/her escape time maybe two or three a day where he/she is allowed to take a time out to do her own thing for five minutes (she/he always wants to escape and she/he is very bright). If she/he does more than the poker chips then he/she has to pay back the time. I have done reward things like extra recess for the class, popcorn party, and freeze dance. I do a lot of exercise and up and moving time for the class.
     
  8. mom2sands

    mom2sands Comrade

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    Nov 28, 2011

    Sounds like my classroom. I have 18 students, 1 with diagnosed ADHD, one with possible mild autism, one bossy know-it-all, and another who has listening and academic deficiencies along with some very young and immature just-turned 5-year olds. Makes it difficult for those who are in a ready to learn mode. So much time is spent on these kids that I feel as if I'm only half-teaching/half-disciplining! I only have some help in the morning, but not every day. A child study is in the process for one student. I feel as if I'm at my wit's end. If this was my first teaching experience, I would have already walked out the door. This is only my 4th year, but by far the worst-behaved class I've had thus far! Counting down the days to Christmas break!
     

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