Urban Elementary Classroom Management Tips?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Luv2TeachInTX, Apr 26, 2015.

  1. Luv2TeachInTX

    Luv2TeachInTX Comrade

    Aug 4, 2012
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    Apr 26, 2015

    I'm looking for some advice. I teach 2nd grade in an urban school (with about 90% free and reduced lunch) with many students who live in extreme poverty, lack social skills and are generally very low academically. I have a very large class as well-22 students, many with behavior problems.

    It is a daily struggle to keep my class quiet and there are some students where it seems virtually impossible to get them to sit still or stay in their seats. I'm convinced half of my class is ADHD. Not even kidding.

    Here are some things I do:

    Class Dojo. This helps as long as they know I'm giving or taking away points. Walk away from the smart board or don't have my app pulled up on my phone? Forget about it.

    Dojo top student of the day. The student with the most points gets a prize from the treasure box.

    Lunch bunch on Fridays. Students that have a behavior percentage of 90% or higher get to come.

    Table points. Kind of like Dojo, but it's group based and encourages cooperation. Daily table winner gets treats.

    Brain breaks, wiggle breaks and lots of group work where they are given chances to socialize.

    The only negative consequences I have is to either take time off of recess or give silent lunch. I only take away a student's whole recess very, very sparingly because I believe kids need to play. Especially these kids because I think many of them don't get to play outside very much because it's unsafe.

    What else can I be doing? I get so aggravated with them. It's the same students all the time. Every single day. My P passed by my class the other day at a particularly bad moment when I was raising my voice and it was a big wake up call for me. :eek:

    Any suggestions or ideas would be so appreciated! Thanks!
  3. JJdog

    JJdog Rookie

    Apr 17, 2015
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    Apr 27, 2015

    I don't have any suggestions to offer, but I am interested to see what kind of responses you get.

    I am going to be teaching 2nd grade next year in a large urban district myself.
  4. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

    Jan 15, 2007
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    Apr 27, 2015

    What kind of specific issues are you seeing? We might be able to narrow down some ideas accordingly... I know it's tough. I've taught mostly urban high school for over 20 years. Hang in there!
  5. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

    Aug 25, 2011
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    Apr 27, 2015

    Do you do in-class time-outs? Where they still do the work but may have to do it independently and miss out on fun group activities??
  6. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

    Feb 21, 2012
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    Apr 27, 2015

    I feel for you. I'm in an affluent school now, but I loved my 10 years in a very low SES school. These kids need routine. You establish routines that offer comfort and predictability. The students also crave novelty and these work against each other.

    Getting mad and raising your voice will work against you, but firm limits and reasonable consequences can offer steadiness to their chaotic world. Give simple directions - never more than 3 steps at a time.

    If you have a particularly difficult student, giving that child a heads-up about the day can help. For example, you can tell Charles that you're planning an art activity for after lunch and ask him how he plans to behave. Get him to commit to certain limits and offer a non-punitive time out where he can rest up in order to behave some more.

    Here is blog with some good ideas I use.
  7. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

    Oct 22, 2003
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    Apr 27, 2015

    I like the ideas you are using. Like TB said structure and routine are your friend with these kids. It souds like you are being proactive and positive. Good luck. The rewards from these kids are immense. If THEY KNOW you care that is half the battle
  8. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

    Jul 20, 2012
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    Apr 27, 2015

    If it's the same students all the time, I'd try to figure out what motivates those students in particular. It might not be a class-wide reward or consequence. You might have to come up with something specific for individual students.

    I've tried the following in the past: sticker chart to earn a basketball, a student's own "office" (which was really a desk away from other students, but the student agreed it helped him focus and keep his hands to himself - made it positive by calling it an office), chart to earn free time... basically anything that will help an individual student.

    Also, are you doing any sort of character development or social skills instruction in your classroom? Even a brief 10-20 weekly meeting with your class? You might try to incorporate something where you can teach them appropriate behaviors and reasons for them. It's possible that they truly aren't aware of what is considered appropriate and why it's necessary to behave that way at school.

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