Words of encouragement, wisdom, and advice welcome.

Discussion in 'General Education Archives' started by ChristyF, Jul 7, 2007.

  1. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Jul 7, 2007

    I'm going through some paperwork for next year, trying to get ready. My class (5th grade) isn't huge (20) but I have 6 girls and 14 boys. Now, if I'm going to be overloaded with one or the other, I prefer boys to girls (girls are just more hormonal, catty, etc). I know, though, that this is going to be one of the most challenging classes I've ever had. There are 5 boys coming up that I absolutely did not want in my class due to personal history with them (playground, hall, cafeteria, etc). I have 4 of them. I have been blessed with some amazing classes in the past. I am working hard on building excitement and enthusiasm for next year. I'm trying to go past the history with the kids and start with a clean slate. I'm looking at short-term positive incentives because long-term doesn't work with this group. I'm looking at tightening up areas that I have let slide in the past due to the groups I had (structure, time, etc). I'm also working on ways to deal with my stress better than I have in the past. I know I have a lot of changes to make from my regular routine, to my seating (which has always been in groups, that won't work to start with.)
    So, I am a sponge, fill me! :) I am looking for anything and everything that you have to offer (short of duct taping them in their desks!) :D
     
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  3. OtterMom

    OtterMom Comrade

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    Jul 7, 2007

    I think you need PRAYER! So I will - pray, that is.

    :angel:
     
  4. srh

    srh Devotee

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    Jul 8, 2007

    I don't normally think this way, but hey....there's always a first time!! How about having your principal (or VP?) making a walk-in appearance the first couple of days of school? Of course, that might mean 'fessing up to him/her that you anticipate problems, but you could always claim the "14 boys" thing as a good reason to get them started on the right track. I know our principal would play along well; he'd likely make a big deal of chatting to the class but then to me (for their ears) about my expectations in the class being "just right," and that he "knows" this class is going to be able to meet them.

    I guess it goes without saying that you will need to have some very "active" things going on in the classroom to keep those guy occupied. I learned (even in Kinder) that my rowdy ones always behave better when they are engrossed in a hands-on project or something of particular interest to them. This may be a year you have to work time and a half ALL the time!! I think you're smart to be planning for it now--that will help your attitude be prepared and your tolerance level built up! And prayer helps too! :-D

    WOO-HOO! THIS WAS MY 1,000TH POST! :-D
     
  5. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    Jul 8, 2007

    It's inevitable we get some students who have been through difficult times and taken their frustrations out on the staff.

    In my second year of teaching, I had the opposite of you- 4 boys and 10 girls. It was challenging in many ways, but I got to know the group and worked with their personalities. Then last year, I had an even split- 10 boys, 10 girls. This coming year, I have 8 boys and 9 girls (I think).

    I guess I try not to be judgmental. Some students have stayed true to their reputations in three years of teaching while others have changed for the better. Hopefully you'll have that "spark" in you that'll encourage the students to be stronger students and considerate individuals. :)

    Just reiterate with the kids what you expect from them from the very beginning.
     
  6. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    Jul 8, 2007

    I teach PreK and I had very unbalanced classes this year:
    AM: 15 boys, 5 girls. 10 IEPs. 4 ESL kids. 13 of my kids didn't turn 5 until between April and July.

    PM: 14 girls, 6 boys. 1 IEP. 1 ESL kid. only 1 of these kids had yet to turn five as of January.

    The difference was night and day. At age 4/5, I'd MUCH rather have the girl-heavy class. Boys are so much more active and take so much more to control the group. Girls are better at sittting and paying attention for longer periods...at this age, at least.
    Kim
     
  7. Mable

    Mable Enthusiast

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    Jul 8, 2007

    Maybe you'll get through to some of them this year. I'm sure we can all relate....sometimes the hard ones for others aren't the hard ones for you.

    Remember to take care of yourself during the year- with a tough class we forget to tend to our own health because we're so consumed with the kiddos. Maybe schedule a day each month to pamper yourself.
     
  8. ~~Pam~~

    ~~Pam~~ Companion

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    Jul 8, 2007

    Keep them busy with classroom jobs. I would keep a very firm hand on the class even if that is not normally your style. I would also offer incentives for good behavior. In the past, I have used some of Terry Alderman's behavior management strategies that affect the class as a whole and have had success with my "challenging" students behaving well in my class while remaining hellions in other classes (can't always expect a complete makeover). Good luck!
     
  9. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Jul 8, 2007

    Thanks for the advice. I knew it would take an attitude shift this year. I've been very blessed with my classes in the past. Several of the kids came from the class next door and I've already had words with a couple of them for behavior in the hall. I'm sure they weren't any more excited to see my name than I was to see their name! :) In the past, those that have struggled and had problems have become very special to me, and I know that will most likely happen this year. I am having a repeater. The child I had last year with severe asthma failed and will be in my class again (I volunteered becaues honestly he wouldn't do well with the other two). I battled social services with him all last year and it made for a very emotional year. I know that is waiting for me, too. I'll survive, I have no doubt, it's just surviving with my sanity and no more gray hairs that I'm pushing for! :D
     
  10. hescollin

    hescollin Fanatic

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    Jul 8, 2007

    I just read that putting a carpet square under the desk and letting them wear only socks helps relieve stress.

    A pieces of fuzzy material on the under side of the desk that they can feel with their hands is calming.

    Maybe a carpet square under your desk would help relax you.

    Keep a bottle of water handy. You'll need it.

    You have such wonderful ideas and help all of us. I know you will do great.

    Awards. Baseball cards is a new idea that I plan to try this year, gumballs,
     
  11. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    Jul 8, 2007

    A quick question: if there are 3 sections, why is yours so off-balance on gender?

    I will try to come up with some good ideas for you!
     
  12. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Jul 8, 2007

    Actually Missy the other two are close to the same split. they both have maybe 2 more girls than me. It's just a boy-heavy group. Hescollin, I hadn't even thought of baseball cards! Thanks for the suggestion. I have some hotwheels type cars but because of behavior issues with a couple of the boys coming up I'm pulling those for now. I am a volunteer instructor with Wildlife and Fisheries and get a ton of things related to fishing and hunting. Those have always been popular (key chains, orange vests, etc). I will be pulling all of those into the prize bucket, too.
     
  13. loves2teach

    loves2teach Enthusiast

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    Jul 8, 2007

    I know how you feel- this year I had 15 girls and 10 boys most of the year. Fifth grade girls are so catty sometimes!

    Year before last I had 17 boys and 10 girls. Besides the three Michaels, they weren't so bad.

    Just keep the "troublemakers" on your corners (I like to keep mine on the edges so when I walk around they are always on an edge so I can cue if they need it), and start the year out with firm rules. You will do great!
     
  14. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Jul 8, 2007

    Last year we did gender separate classes...so I had 27 sixth grade boys. Fun! :)

    In case you're wondering, we dropped that idea for this coming year. Good ol' traditional classroom!

    Good luck...you have great ideas already, and now some good advice from other posters.
     
  15. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Jul 8, 2007

    I always have very small classes - I would welcome larger ones, though. Usually.

    The incoming 3rd grade class is everyone's nightmare. There were only 6 boys in 2nd grade this year - and they were uncontrollable (by that teacher). They even hired a behavior specialist to come in one day a week and work with them. Really serious problems (psychological, learning problems, family situations, everything).

    Well, for some reason, I volunteered to move to third grade to take them this year. And I am so excited by the change! Even though I know the kids were aghast when they heard that they would have me since they already know how tough and consistent I am.

    There will be 7 boys and 1 girl (poor thing - but she visited for a day and was fine with it). Two of the kids are being required by the principal to get evaluations, individual and family counseling, and one is being required to have tutoring (not reading).

    I love change - and I have taught 3rd grade in the past. And we all have the advantage of seeing how they acted last year. I'm going to be starting Morning Meeting and Everyday Math Calendar, changing my LA practices to include more shared reading, using the brain gym activities, adding in character education. I am looking forward to the challenge.
     
  16. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Jul 8, 2007

    I know how you feel. I taught some of the kids in Summer School in June that I will have next year and was just flabbergasted at their behavior. Mine was the opposite - more boys, but when they're younger I think it's the energy level and roughhousing stuff they will get into that impedes the learning process. I've never had so many kids that just won't listen. I think their previous teacher really let them get away with a lot and it's hard to retrain that mindset.

    Anyway, I have just been reading a lot, online and books on classroom management theories. I think it's good that we at least expect it and maybe will at least feel more prepared when the time comes.

    I agree with Upsadaisy about change being good. At least we know it won't be boring! ;)
     
  17. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    Jul 8, 2007

    Wow... 7 boys and 1 girl. That's new. But I know they'll benefit in all. Also, it's commendable to take on a challenge. I kind of did last year by working with some students who really needed the love and assistance.
     
  18. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Jul 8, 2007

    Thanks for all the advice and help! I feel better already! :)
     
  19. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    Jul 9, 2007

    One thing I have done in the past, particularly if I have a group that needs to "pull together" and help each other and not bicker, is to let them come up with a class name or mascot. For example, one class chose to be the Rangers (don't really know where that came from) and one chose to be the Buckeyes (I do know where they got that!)

    We make a big banner and hang it outside over the door, call our class by the name, etc.

    I don't know if this would work for fifth, but fourth graders can really get into it.
     
  20. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Jul 9, 2007

    That's a great idea, Missy! Thanks! :)
     
  21. brigidy

    brigidy Comrade

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    Jul 9, 2007

    I will offer prayer also! Your class sounds exactly like the one I survived last year. Your right, it will be different... the whole atmosphere will change in the classroom. Just keep the classes structured, follow through.... and "don't let them see you sweat!":)
     

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