Worst day/week every... wanted to quit... HELP!

Discussion in 'Behavior Management' started by srfjeld, Mar 14, 2010.

  1. srfjeld

    srfjeld Companion

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    Mar 14, 2010

    I am in my second year teaching first grade and last week my kids ran over me like a Mac truck, put it in reverse and did it again and again and again. I was so mad that I emptied their entire "warm fuzzy" jar (like a marble jar). It was maybe 10 fuzzies away from being full. They gasped, but then started talking again shortly afterward.

    I need to get this thing back on track. We have about 13 weeks of school left and I can't have anymore weeks like this.

    They talk, don't listen, get out of their seats and come up to me in the middle of my teaching a lesson, come up to me and paw at me when they know they are not supposed to, whine like crazy, tattle tale all day, roll their eyes, etc... sounds like typical first grade behavior, right? I know it is, what I don't know how to do is make it stop. They know the rules but choose to disobey them.

    I have a card system. I tried some power teaching techniques, I use the warm fuzzy jar for bigger rewards, I try (though I'm not very good at) the 5 positive remarks for every negative. I feel like I have too many balls in the air.

    Here's one thing I do know. Last week I had one bad day, and then another and by the 3rd day I was still pissed about the day before so I was already grumpy, then by the 4th day I was just bitter and by the 5th day I just knew it was gonna suck so I got what I put out... immense negativity. This week I'm gonna fake it til I make it... it's gonna be a GREAT week!!!

    I was being completely over-dramatic with emptying the warm fuzzy jar. Is there anyway I can rectify it? If I fill it back to where it was and explain it was just a bad week and we're starting over fresh would I lose all credibility? Or can I just try to think of fast, easy ways to get it filled back up... giving them opportunities to redeem themselves for their behavior from last week... with a much more positive attitude on my part?

    I bawled my eyes out after school on Friday b/c of the kids... I've never done that before and don't want to do it it again. I lost control and now I need to get it back. Please help.

    Thank you
     
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  3. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Mar 14, 2010

    In my opinion, if you do this you would be showing the students that you are human and you make mistakes, too. You can apologize for losing your cool and then take the students back to 1st grade boot camp. Spend however long you need to reviewing and practicing rules. I think you showed them how upset you were, realized you may have over reacted, and now you are "starting over fresh", just like you said. I am doing the same strategy with my student teacher now. He has realized he has over reacted in some situations and now he is making amends to correct the situation. I see absolutely no problem with your plan. Good luck.
     
  4. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Mar 14, 2010

    I teach 11th and 12th graders, but I try VERY hard to start each day with them as if yesterday didn't happen (if yesterday wasn't a good day). I give myself a fresh start and I let them have a fresh start. It's more than faking it, it's a wipe-cleaned and refreshed attitude. That means part of my morning routine is pumping myself up for a GREAT day. It really makes a difference.
     
  5. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Mar 14, 2010

    Yes, you need to put their "warm fuzzies" back into the jar and explain to the kids that you made a mistake because you were angry. Great opportunity to talk to them about why you were so angry. You can discuss how you were frustrated and didn't react properly. Then you can work on moving forward.

    Then you should start all over reteaching your procedures and expectations. You say that they know the rules, but you'll be surprised. Just because they knew them at one point doesn't mean much. My students are very "trained", but after we were out for our two week Christmas vacation and a week and a half of snow days, it was just like the first day of school.

    Last year my 7th graders had to be retaught some procedures the last couple of weeks of school. We'd gone to lunch exactly the same way every single day of school since the first of August. Line up quietly in single file at the top of the steps. I get my lunch, lock the door, and go out into the hall where they are standing quietly. Go downstairs and stop until everyone is down the stairs. We walk to the cafeteria. Never varied. So, one day two weeks from the end of school, I tell them to line up, and when I go out to get them, they are GONE. Where were they, you ask? Why, they had gone--yelling & running--to the cafeteria by themselves, of course. I gathered them all back up from the cafeteria, took them back upstairs, and retaught the cafeteria procedures. You'd think that since they'd done it correctly some 160 days that year, they would have known better. But, no.
     
  6. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    Mar 14, 2010

    Don't put them back. Make them earn them just the way they earned them before. Remind the children that they lost everything because of their behavior and they can lose it all again.

    And go back to square one with the rules. Start as if it is the first day of school.
     
  7. MissJill

    MissJill Cohort

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    Mar 14, 2010

    I have been watching these lectures for my grad school class. There by Lee Canter and it's about positive thinking. I think you should watch it. It's good in situations like this.
     
  8. srfjeld

    srfjeld Companion

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    Mar 15, 2010

    Thank you for all of your ideas... the first thing I did today was go in with a better attitude. I went in thinking, "today is gonna be great!" It had it's moments but overall, it was good. Tomorrow will be even better. I also began giving out "you've been caught being good" raffle tickets and on Friday I will draw 5 students' names to draw from the treasure chest. We went through all the rules again, and I'll continue to do it the rest of this week, as well as the week after next when we return from spring break. I went back and forth about refilling the jar and decided against it. I didn't want them to think they could act anyway they wanted and get away with it in the end. I am going to be giving them bigger and better chances to get it filled up faster. The tickets are a more immediate reward. It's my second year so I'm still working at this behavior management thing. I feel like if you don't have that, you might as well not even teach... it's hard, but I won't give up! :)
     
  9. MarieClarie

    MarieClarie Rookie

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    Mar 17, 2010

    SrFjeld ~ I have certainly had weeks like the one you have described and have to give myself little mini "pep-talks" almost daily sometimes. Best of luck to you in the behavior management department. I do find myself having to review rules often. Also being persistent/repetitive is important. If you plan on giving a consequence, and even hint at it, follow through is needed, even if you feel bad about whatever the consequence was and don't really want it to end up happening.

    Wishing you all the best!
    Marie
    afterschoolclubideas.com
     
  10. beatlebug731

    beatlebug731 Comrade

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    Mar 18, 2010

    Maybe instead of taking away all of the warm fuzzies, you could do a little bit of response cost and take away one or two fuzzies each time the entire class misbehaves. Just keep smiling. smiling, smiling (in the style of Dorie the fish from finding Nemo)
     
  11. srfjeld

    srfjeld Companion

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    Mar 18, 2010

    beatlebug... that is what I was doing, taking away a little at a time, and I had done that throughout the day last Friday and then I got so upset after many attempts to get them to listen and just emptied the whole thing... not my finest moment. :( But, I'm having a much better week this week!!! And they're doing a great job of getting that jar filled back up! ;)
     
  12. SwOcean Gal

    SwOcean Gal Devotee

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    Mar 25, 2010

    Did you send the monster children to me for the day??? lol whew- I think so. I am sorry, I am going through the same exact thing this week, lots of staying after school and talking to parents. Tomorrow, we are in boot camp- I am laying down the law! I am not going to have another day like today- I came home crying (It was not all that bad today, but just overwhelming and I am not feeling well so it seemed worst then it was, but still I am going to drill them tomorrow). Not going to happen again!
    I think I am going to steal your warm fuzzies idea. I sure need some warm fuzzies in first grade- what do you do when it is full? Tell me more about it please! I am so tired and I cannot even think anymore.
    I am going to catch those buggers being good if it is the last thing I do. But if they misbehave they are not getting away. It is good to hear others are struggling with the same thing and that all of you care so much too and support everyone. I work with the best team and they supported me a lot too especially today, embarrassing but good. Thanks!
     
  13. srfjeld

    srfjeld Companion

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    Mar 26, 2010

    SwOcean gal,

    The warm fuzzy jar is just a big jar I got from Ikea (though anything would work) and I use cotton balls at the warm fuzzies. I explained to the kids at the beginning of the year that when children follow directions or do things the right way without being asked I get a warm fuzzy feeling in my heart. Sometimes, when they are all doing a good job I'll put my hand over my heart and tap it a few times and they respond with big smiles b/c they know it means I'm feeling good about their behavior and they're about to get a warm fuzzy added to their jar. I've also told the kids that if another teacher gives them a compliment out in the hall, at recess, lunchroom, or other class that counts as a warm fuzzy, too. The other teachers know about this. I have a treasure chest in my room and once the jar is filled they all get to choose from it. I told them that toward the end of the year, if they get if filled they would get a pizza party.
    They also understand that I can take them away, just as easily (though, dumping a whole jar as I immaturely did, is not acceptable). The second grade teacher uses a mason jar and fills hers with marbles. She borrowed my idea and did her own thing. Last Friday, they were able to watch Charlotte's Web. Try it out, they just might respond well to it! You could even do it for an extra recess or something. I'm interested to know what you think.
     
  14. SwOcean Gal

    SwOcean Gal Devotee

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    Mar 26, 2010

    Well, today I went in and instituted the warm fuzzies jar! I love your name for it the best, but I just called it the kindness jar and filled it with little kindness balls- pom poms. We had a teacher come in after I explained it and it was perfect because she complimented the class and that earned us our second kindness ball of the day! (She knew all about my rough day yesterday, so she knew that compliment meant a lot although she did not know about our kindness jar- but then we told her and she said she was going to start that too! So your warm fuzzies jar idea is spreading!) Our first was earned for sitting and listening and completing morning work. I told them we would be working towards a big classroom reward when we fill the jar, which we would have to brainstorm a list of ideas. But then I told them as soon as we get half way through we will get another whole class reward, not as big as filling the whole jar, but we would come up with some ideas for that too.

    It was a great discussion and so wonderful because later as we were working one little boy said to me, "wow! look at _____, he is making a good choice!" So we got a warm fuzzy for that too (That boy also pulled a token for himself).

    We also began the day writing our class rules in our journals- for the second time this week. They obviously did not get it the first time. I posted a copy of the rules back in the classroom- prominently displayed!

    Then I also began a super simple token economy today. I have 30 kids so each kid was assigned a number 1-30 and each token (really it is a poker chip) has a number (3 chips per number) and the students can pull a token and put it in the bag as they are asked/told to do it. Then when there is a special job or favor that a teacher needs (Hand out/collect papers, run an errand, sit in the author's chair, be the line leaders- whatever! lead calendar...), we will pull out of the bag and select that student. On the bag is the list of names with the corresponding number just in case someone forgets.

    Also, I am going to be sending home good notes periodically- if I get five minutes at the end of the day I can write out some quick notes to send home about so and so having an excellent day. It is really incredibly draining to be focused on those negatives and it just about killed me yesterday. That is why I got myself back in gear and started these three (I only really started 2 today, no time for the good notes! It was not a priority after yesterday) new things today. I also switched the seats of two students, which worked wonders! I had revamped the seating plan exactly one week ago and that one swap was really bothering me, it was necessary.
     
  15. srfjeld

    srfjeld Companion

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    Mar 27, 2010

    I LOVE this! I wish I could take credit for the "warm fuzzy" jar but I think I found it here on this website... or some website. And I know Jo does the marbles on Super Nanny. I use anything and everything I can find! My main problem which I need work harder on is consistency.

    One thing I forgot to mention the other day is I play the "me/you" or "teacher/student" points game on the board throughout the day. Normally, the kids wouldn't win anything... they just don't want you to win. Sometimes they might get stickers (my kids LOVE stickers). But, now I use it to add to the jar... for every 5 pts they get, that's one warm fuzzy... for every 10 pts I get, that's a fuzzy for me... so, they're constantly looking at the board throughout the day to see how many they get, versus how many I get. It's neat to see some of the kids pick up on the math, too. If I have 10 pts, and they have 30 (I use tally marks) some of the kids already know they're getting 4 warm fuzzies, not 6... and then I show them how they would figure that out.

    I also love that you are having mini goals, very smart! I think my kids gave up on the jar (before my freak out day) b/c it was taking so long to fill and they never saw any incentive.

    Reposting those rules was yet another great idea! I had to do that myself. And, talking about them every single day! We've been on spring break all week (so sad it's coming to an end) and I'm going to be sure to be all over those rules next week! Here's to a great end of the year! We have 12 wks left... they are going to fly!
     
  16. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Mar 27, 2010

    I've done the warm fuzzies jar method in the past. Worked REALLY well.

    One thing I did just a bit different thorugh was I added colored tape around the jar. Every time they reached a certain color, they got a small reward (extra recess, extra fun friday time, color on the grond outside with chalk, etc). Then, once the whole jar was filled, they got a BIG reward.

    That way, it didn't feel like it was taking forever to earn a special surprise.

    I know some teachers do this but the effectiveness wears off because it was taking too long to earn the special reward that the teacher spoke so highly of. Like, this one class started this at the beginning of the year and they are only about 1/2 of the way up the big jar.
     
  17. SwOcean Gal

    SwOcean Gal Devotee

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    Mar 27, 2010

    My jar is tiny- it is small. However, I am also using tiny pom poms, so I might do the different colored tape and let them know because I was sort of afraid of that when I saw the three little pom poms in there at the end of the day. lol. It looked like we would never get there to me. so imagine the kids seeing it! I am going to try that. Thanks! That should hopefully keep their interest.

    What other whole class rewards have you used or thought of?
    I was thinking extra recess too, a related craft/art activity, 7 minutes or so of play dough or shaving cream, free choice of the workshops, read with a buddy of your choice, help create file folder activities- cut out the pieces, teacher provided snack maybe goldfish and juice or something, and if at all possible I would love having a picnic lunch outside, but it is probably not realistic at my school- it would never fly.
     
  18. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Mar 27, 2010

    Here's something else I notice. IF you go in like you are excited to be in school and you have a sing song voice and a spring to your step and a super smile for every kid that walks in the door, it is infectious. You need them to be motivated to get back into thinking school is fun and it is an exciting place to be. Your own attitude affects theirs. It looks as though, from your comments, that you fully recognized this. Kudos. Now take it a step further and become Mary Poppins for a few weeks. Watch the change. Use exaggerated movements and expression, exclaims, humor, and your voice is a powerful tool. I love that you are trying to get everything back on track using positive reinforcements. That's spectacular. At the same time, check how you set tone for the day, for transitions, for certain periods of the day, and for the end of the day. Add attitude in with your visual tracking reinforcements and rewards. I can tell you have a super awesome attitude but like I said, step it up and become supper peppy.

    I have a question about the jar. I've seen this a number of times on this forum but I always wondered one important part...

    How do you know when it is full exactly? I know it needs to reach the top but that could mean different things to different people considering the objects you are placing in the jar. How do you know when you just need 1-2 more?

    There was something I either read on here or thought of it based on something from here.

    Put up a grid 1-100. Have students draw a number. Their goal is to make a bingo pattern (10 in a row) in any direction. Once they do this, that is when you get the prize.

    As far as rewards....

    Read Outside
    Cooking Activity
    Good Times Party (dance and kick around some balloons (you blow up the night before)
    Wear Our Hats in Class Day
    Make and Wear crowns all day reflecting their goal and tell other staff to comment on it
     

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