rowdy boys

Discussion in 'Third Grade' started by luv2teach415, Sep 20, 2013.

  1. luv2teach415

    luv2teach415 Companion

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    Sep 20, 2013

    Hi so I need some advice. This is my first year with 3rd graders. I've been with 5th graders in the past. I'm having a difficult time with 5 of my boys. Four of them just have no self-control at all. I'm pretty sure one of them has ADHD and hasn't been evaluated yet. He's always on the move including his body parts: hands, arms, legs. The other three are the youngest in their family and seem to do as they please. In class, they go over to other tables during a lesson to talk with someone, throw erasers and pencils at each other. I've redirected them and redirected them countless times. Then I have one boy who seems to have a lot of emotional issues. I've spoken with his parents and apparently he was bullied in 1st grade in another school and these are the side effects of that. He goes in the bathroom more as his "safe haven." He's not being bullied in my class (not from what I can see and not from what he's told his parents). But he stays in the bathroom for 10-15 minutes at a time. He's constantly asking to go to the bathroom and says it's an emergency (he doesn't have a bladder issue). From what his parents and I have discussed, it seems he's so anxious that he's working himself up which causes him to have stomachaches. When things don't go his way, he says it's the worst day ever and he shuts down. I've been teaching for almost 10 years and haven't experienced a class like this one. I've tried many different classroom management strategies but none seem to work. I could use any tips or advice on what to try out with any of these kids. Does anyone have any strategies that have worked for them? Thanks so much.
     
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  3. kellzy

    kellzy Comrade

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    Sep 20, 2013

    Our stories sound similar! I was a fifth grade teacher for two years before dropping to third, and the first half of last year, I had a hard time adjusting to the fact that they are so much more immature an not independent as the fifth graders were.
    Since redirecting isn't working, all I can say is immediate positive reinforcement. When one of them does something good, shower him with praise. And do it in front of the whole class so that he gets attention for something positive rather than negative.
     
  4. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Sep 21, 2013

    Sounds like you may need to process each of the situations separately. Not sure there is one set of strategies that would work for them all. With the ones that seem to be up frequently, my first thought would be how they are interacting with your general classroom management approach, including your personal approach to discipline (e.g., sufficient consequences) ?

    With the one that's constantly on the move, what's the first behavior you think you'd like to address that is causing the most concern?

    With the child with the bathroom issues, sounds a bit more complex and possibly something beyond what you may be able to totally solve in the classroom, but I'd start with trying to figure out what's increasing his anxiety level, and trying to reduce that. Thoughts?
     
  5. luv2teach415

    luv2teach415 Companion

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    Sep 21, 2013

    For the one that is always on the go, I think the first thing I would like to address is when he sings randomly or blurts out things. For example, if we're talking about what our character is doing in the story, he can very well answer that but then he'll go into how he also has done that and then it goes into what he likes or is going to do. So he just goes into tangents or he blurts everything out without being called on. We do have the rule to raise your hand to be heard but he hardly ever follows that.

    As for the anxious boy, his parents are looking for a therapist for him because it's getting to the point where he doesn't want to go to school. He's actually making himself sick. His mom did tell me that he said he was going to the bathroom so much because another boy in the class next to us kept following him into the bathroom and bullying him. The teacher in that class said that child only left for the bathroom once. I also watched my student from my door when he left for the bathroom and no other boys were following him. I think it's all in his head, but am I missing something? Thanks for the help.
     
  6. schoolteacher

    schoolteacher Habitué

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    Sep 21, 2013

    I know it can be very difficult transitioning from one grade to another. It's such an adjustment for you, and a struggle to understand the different needs at different ages.

    First, I think the best way to change this situation is to change your mindset. Your belief that four of the students have no self-control is guiding your actions. Since you see them as having no self-control, you respond to them as if they don't; they in turn pick up on this from you, and start to believe it themselves.

    Instead, go in there knowing that they have self-control, because they do. I teach third grade also, and it's important at this developmental stage that you begin to actually teach them how to be in control of themselves and to have self awareness. What exactly does it mean to have control of your body? Are you keeping your body still? How long can you stay still? We play a game called Still as a Rock. They walk around the room until I say the words "still as a rock", and I time them with a stopwatch to see how long they can be still. Once someone moves, the round is over. They love this game, and like to see if they can beat their score next time.

    Then, when you notice they boys getting wiggly, you can say, "Who is in control of their body? Who is still as a rock?" They become more self aware.

    Also, at this age I like to plan several daily movement activities. Yesterday I had the students standing up with their hands on their heads, putting their left foot up to their right knee and balance there. We also did jumping jacks, counting by 2's 5's and 10's. We do this throughout the day, and the children respond by being more alert during instruction.
     
  7. luv2teach415

    luv2teach415 Companion

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    Sep 21, 2013

    Thank you so much schoolteacher! I love those ideas! My school is doing the responsive classroom approach and I think these ideas sound perfect. If someone moves during the round, do they need to sit down (meaning no longer part of the game) or does everyone just start over again??

    You have no idea how appreciative I am of all these ideas. I don't think I realized just how different 5th graders and 3rd graders are.
     
  8. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Sep 21, 2013

    I'm not an elementary teacher, so take this with a grain of salt.

    But I would be very concerned about letting an 8 year old, particularly one who had been bullied, spend 15 minutes in a bathroom alone. It seems to me that, if a bully is looking for a target, this is where he finds one.

    Is there a bathroom in the nurse's office? Could you send him there instead? Perhaps it will be a little less comfortable a refuge for him, yet at the same time a safer place to be??

    Again, I'm totally ignorant on elementary ed. But can you designate a corner of your room, perhaps with a bean bag chair facing the wall, or something, that can serve as a quiet refuge for any child who needs one?
     
  9. luv2teach415

    luv2teach415 Companion

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    Sep 21, 2013

    I have an area in my room where students can go if they need to take a break (it's not a timeout chair). It's a chair were the students can go if they feel themselves getting anxious or upset. It's part of the responsive classroom approach.

    With the bathroom, apparently this was also happening last year as well. The second grade teacher is directly across from the boys bathroom. She sees who is going in and out. She's actually been helping me with this boy in particular when he goes to the bathroom. She said that no one else for the most part is in there for that long with him. The boys that go in are in and out. He seems to just be hanging out in the stall. His mom did say this seems to all stem back to what happened in 1st grade in another school. She's actually asking me for some guidance and is looking into a therapist for him.
     
  10. schoolteacher

    schoolteacher Habitué

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    Everyone starts over. I write the time on the board, and challenge them to remain still for a longer period on the next round. They love the challenge, and they get to be very good at this game.
     
  11. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Sep 23, 2013

    So I'm seeing 2 behaviors here - 1) calling out without being called on, and 2) providing irrelevant info in addition to correct info when answering questions. With the first, I might try some prompting like this:

    You: Ask question to class.
    Child: Blurts out response.
    You: (cutting John off) John, thanks so much for answering but I haven't called on you. I'm going to watch you raise your hand for the next question I ask, and I might call on you.
    Child: (hopefully) okay.
    You: I'm about to ask a question, and I'm looking to see who will raise their hand (look at John).
    You: (Ask the question. If John raises his hand, call on him and give him praise).

    You can, of course, use the preventive prompting ("I'm going to ask a question and see who raises their hand") by itself as well.

    The general idea here is that - if the issue is impulse control - his brain isn't triggering response inhibition by itself, so you have to provide him with a reminder to do it just before. The average child may be able to self-cue behavioral expectations, but some can't. Over time, you'd hopefully be able to reduce the external prompts. You could also combine this with a reinforcement plan with points/tokens where he earns rewards for a certain number of responses made while raising his hand.

    Glad to hear they're looking for help, which is probably what would need to happen. Hopefully that happens soon and the issue goes away, but there may be some things to do in the meantime if it takes a while. First, thoughts on the issue in general - if it's a very specific problem with no underlying psychosocial issues, it may well be a quick fix by the counselor. However, if it's associated with underlying anxiety or problems with social perception it may take a while to work on those underlying issues.

    In general though, I might have a few conversations with him about his perceptions, asking him how you can help make the classroom safer. If he isn't interested in talking about his own feelings, you might ask if he has any ideas on how you could make the classroom safe for kids in general. If you implement those ideas, or help him see that those ideas are already in place, you may help him to realize that the classroom is safer than he is perceiving.

    I guess a first question is whether he's open to talking about his fears, or if he's denying them and just saying he needs to go to the bathroom? There are a few different conversations you could have if he's open to the discussion, but may require a bit more background work if he's not.

    The general idea with discussions is to help him more closely align his social perceptions with reality. If he had issues with bullying in the bathroom in the past, the general goal would be to get him to see that that was a real but isolated issue that has been solved, and that there are steps in place to prevent such things from happening again. Also that bad things do happen at times, but infrequently, so the need to avoid interaction as frequently will end up hurting more than helping.
     
  12. cateste

    cateste Companion

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    Sep 24, 2013

    yoga movement

    I have had my students start the day with the tree pose from yoga, basically stand on one leg for as long as possible (I had no idea it was a yoga pose when I first did it). The student/s standing the longest got a reward of some kind. For your kids, who might never win a reward on their own, I might try something like, "If the whole class can do tree pose for ___ time you will earn extra recess today." If your students can help the class win the extra time they might feel like class team members instead of individual attention seekers.
     

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