Small group management

Discussion in 'Behavior Management' started by Bored of Ed, Oct 11, 2013.

  1. Bored of Ed

    Bored of Ed Enthusiast

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    Oct 11, 2013

    Couldn't decide whether to put this in special ed or here, but it's mainly a behavior problem so here we go.

    I do pull-out special ed intervention and see each of my students for about 45 minutes a day, usually in pairs with an occasional threesome. Behavior management can be a struggle because you have more room for friction and distractions than 1:1 but you lack the group dynamic that many standard classroom behavior management tactics rely upon. Taking larger groups is not an option because there are not enough kids at any given level, and the admin prefers more individual services - pairs are the biggest compromise they'll allow in order to get more kids helped in total.

    So first, I could use any general advice on how to deal with this unusual dynamic.

    Next issue is that I am running into a lot of... behavior... regarding the grouping. (We just started these groups this week due to holdups in the service approvals) The kids in question are 7th grade boys, mostly 12 years old. They are being oppositional, defiant, noisy, and obnoxious regarding the groupings. I'm hearing a lot of "I am NOT being with him! I refuse to come to resource if it has to be together with him! I can't!" etc. etc.... For now I have just been shutting down the obnoxious comments as much as I can, but I really want to try to resolve this in a more complete way. I think some of it stems from feeling embarrassed - some are embarrassed for the other kid to see their weaknesses, some are embarrassed because they feel that being grouped together with someone will make others think they're as "dumb" or "slow" or whatever as he is. That is probably part of the picture. Another part of it is just that they simply don't get along so great. One of the kids in particular can be annoying because of poor social skills, so I can see why his partner is upset about being grouped together, but I just can't see any other way to do it due to the other kids all being on vastly different levels. Another factor is probably just plain old fashioned work avoidance, trying to create a scene.

    Any suggestions of how to deal with this? All I can think of so far is having a private conversation with each of them about the reasons these groups will help them, addressing their concerns and vulnerabilities in private, and setting down my expectations for respectful behavior henceforth. But that seems a little weak for addressing what appears to be a huge issue to them - there was a LOT of unhappy noise today when I test-drove the partnerships in action! :unsure:
     
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  3. Bored of Ed

    Bored of Ed Enthusiast

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    Oct 14, 2013

    Bump? I've been tossing ideas around my head all weekend and still dreading tomorrow :( I've been doing small groups for several years now but never had it this bad this early - total rebellion from the first minute. (I also had more threesomes, which was a different interesting dynamic... the pairs thing is coming from the administration and they are very firm about it, they believe individual needs won't be addressed as well in larger groups, but the way things are looking I don't see how anyone's needs are going to be addressed in pairs either...)
     
  4. Ms.SLS

    Ms.SLS Cohort

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    Oct 14, 2013

    What if you had them write down 2-3 people they CAN work with, and then you get to pick from their list? Or visa versa, you give them 1-2 choices that work for you, and they get to pick.
     
  5. Bored of Ed

    Bored of Ed Enthusiast

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    Oct 14, 2013

    I can't. It's a small school, I only have about 3-4 kids per grade on my caseload. And I have to work the groupings around their needs and schedules. It's as rough on me as it is for them!
     
  6. Joyful!

    Joyful! Habitué

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    Oct 14, 2013

    Can you do 3 in one group and 1 individually? Then, you could rotate so each person could have a chance to meet with you separately as well as having a chance to practice their new behaviors on one another when they are in the 3 group.
     
  7. Bored of Ed

    Bored of Ed Enthusiast

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    Oct 14, 2013

    I actually thought of something like that, but admin is insisting on no more than 2 per group. Also, rotating is a problem because then they miss only some of whatever class they're missing. I need to pull them out for either all of a class or none of it. Siiiigh. Putting together my groups and schedule was a real brain bender, I really think I did the best I could and now I just need to deal with the kids' behavior over it.
     

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