Worst first week ever

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by Preschool0929, Aug 23, 2014.

  1. Preschool0929

    Preschool0929 Cohort

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    Aug 23, 2014

    Hi everyone. I'm at a new school this year and teaching preschool special ed, rather than the inclusion classes that I've had in the past. I have an AM and PM, with 16 students in each. This week school started, and it was the worst first week of school I've ever had, mostly due to my PM class. Due to a staffing situation, they decided to put all students with aggressive/social-emotional concerns in my afternoon class. I've never seen students like this. I've always had 3-4 out of control students that I've worked with 1:1 to help their behavior. I've never had 16 students like this all together. I'm completely at a loss for what to do. Getting them all on the carpet together to do any type of large group/morning welcome was impossible. During centers, my usual method of rotating centers and teaching procedures turned into 10-12 students laying on the floor screaming and the rest throwing things off the shelves and trying to run into the hallway. I'm so stressed that I can even imagine going back in on Monday. Has anyone taught this type of preschool class before and have any advice? Has anyone used any type of whole class management system that has worked? Any advice is appreciated :dizzy:
     
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  3. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    Aug 23, 2014

    Wow, you have a tough class. How many aides do you have (I'm really hoping you have some). It sounds like there are too many kids in this class. Is this number typical in sped preschool?
     
  4. Preschool0929

    Preschool0929 Cohort

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    Aug 23, 2014

    I have 2 aides, although both are older women unable to get up and down from the floor, so it makes it a little tough. The other classrooms in my school have between 9-12 students. I have the highest number because I have the largest classroom.
     
  5. Froreal3

    Froreal3 Companion

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    Aug 24, 2014

    Ok, this is way too many children for a preschool self-contained classroom. 16 is enough for a gen ed preschool room (though I have had up to about 22 in gen ed). They are doing a disservice to you and those kids if they think that 16 is going to be ok.

    In my state, the children with ED and what not have 12:1:1 ratios or even 8:1:1 ratios and this is older elementary kids. So, I don't know how they expect that kind of environment to work for preschool. It's a shame. I would not teach in that environment.
     
  6. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    Aug 24, 2014

    I've often wondered why they would put or keep aides who were less agile in a classroom of younger students? I am getting older now and although I work out regularly to keep a grasp on my agility and mobility, my arthritis and age do get the better of me some days. I am glad I work with 5th grade because I don't need to be up and down on the floor (ever really) and I can sit as needed. I wouldn't last a day in a primary classroom. This is a tough situation because, technically, you DO have 2 aides. How do you address this real issue without age-ism playing a factor?
     
  7. Preschool0929

    Preschool0929 Cohort

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    Aug 24, 2014

    Well I know that this year our district has changed the job description for paraeducators in special ed. and preschool to include being able to lift 50 lbs. and get up and down from the floor. However, for paras already employed, it doesn't count. But, I think the issue with my paras is really secondary to the class that I have and trying to figure out something to help me make it through the week.
     
  8. Preschool0929

    Preschool0929 Cohort

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    I think the expectations and class size are very unrealistic, however I can't get out of my contract, and I'd probably never work again in my district if I tried to, so I just need some strategies to make it through the year until I can look for something else.
     
  9. schoolteacher

    schoolteacher Habitué

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    Aug 24, 2014

    I'd suggest doing lots of whole class directed movement activities and singing with them. Perhaps have a fun and brief activity on the rug, but explain that only those who can sit well will join in. The rest can sit at their tables watching with the aides. Build up stamina for the rug and keep activities exciting so that the others will want to join and will do their best to behave. Good luck.
     
  10. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    Aug 24, 2014

    I was thinking 12:1:3 would be better for your situation. Heck, my class is 6:1:3 and I still have difficulties. My students are older and don't run around as much!
     
  11. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    Aug 24, 2014

    Remember it is the first week, and probably the first time many of these children have been in a school situation.

    I agree with lots of music and movement and active games. Keep circle time extremely short and extend as they mature. I find anything I do in circle can pretty much be done to a song or with movements or anything else they can join in and be active participants.

    They probably need lots of sensory activities - play dough, sensory tubs and bottles, etc. Lots of fine motor with tweezers, tongs, scissors, etc. will also keep their hands busy.

    Model, model, model social skills and expectations and give them the words you expect them to use.

    Do you have a quiet corner with books, etc. if they need to get away and calm down? Or a quiet basket with things they can do to calm themselves down? Every day when we come in from being rowdy outside we wash hands and then lie down on the floor to a quiet song before we go on to do hop little bunnies and then closing circle.

    Praise, praise, praise effort towards a goal, calming down, following a rule, etc. but be very specific. Not - good job - but, I like the way you cleaned up the toys, etc.

    I find putting the same music on during certain parts of the day help the auditory learners. The same song for cleaning up and they have to be finished by the end of the song. That way it is the song instead of me nagging them to clean up.

    Assign aides to the busiest kids to shadow them and be specific with your expectations of them.

    Be reflective of your day. Do you have too many transitions? Do you need to shorten circle and start with fewer centers until they are ready? Are you giving attention to the positive behaviors and ignoring as much of the junk behaviors as possible? What are they doing well that you can build on? What are they interested in that may help them want to sit down and do a task? Are you spending time every day down with the kids, speaking to each of them, bonding with them, so they want to please you? What are the worst times of day and how can you help them?

    Let us know how it goes.
     
  12. mrgrinch09

    mrgrinch09 Comrade

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    Aug 24, 2014

    I had an entire year like that last year.

    Some suggestions for you:

    Don't do any whole group activities for right now. Do small group activities with 3 to 5 kids at a time. If you can get a small group engaged the other might join in if they see the others enjoying themselves.

    Just let them play in centers until you can get to know their personalities better, and they can get to know you. Don't worry about rotating centers. If a child is playing nicely in the block area, then let her stay there a long as she likes.

    You will probably have to take baby steps with this group.

    You will probably have to lower your expectations in regards with what you want to accomplish with this group. Very small accomplishment are going to seem huge with this group.

    I had a little boy that started with me when he was 3 years old. He would do nothing but hit the other children. We had to take the utensils out of dramatic play because he wouldn't stop using them to stab the other kids. He had to sit in a chair away from everyone else for circle time, because he couldn't sit next to someone without hitting them. When he left us to go to kindergarten, he couldn't write his name, didn't know any letters of the alphabet, couldn't hold a pencil correctly, struggled to count past 10, and couldn't identify any numbers. However, he did learn not to hit the other children, and he was able to sit at a circle time without touching anyone else. I feel like we performed miracles with this child to get him where he ended up with us.

    Good Luck
    Try to keep your sanity.
     
  13. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Aug 24, 2014

    When my son was in a PreK Handicap room, there were always therapists of all types in and out of the room, which helped with the numbers issue. There would be occupational therapists, speech therapists, and physical therapists, and most of them were there multiple times a week. I would advise reading the IEP's just to make sure that there are no students who may be entitled to their own aide, especially if some are more physically delayed or in the autism spectrum. I don't know if these are all your districts kids or if some are tuition students from other districts, as that could impact the amount of help you may be entitled to. When all is said and done, you need to investigate what the state mandates, and compare that to student safety - and that is all students, not just the ones escaping. If all hands are on deck for the one in the hall, what is happening in the room? Know the state regs, and then see if you may qualify for more help. In NJ, we can't have that many in one class, even with two aides.
     
  14. wyvern

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    Aug 24, 2014

    Yes, I've had those. Many times. There's more than just a post of advice to be had here. You need support. Ask for it. Start simple. Use well loved ACTIVE activities: songs, movement, dance. Keep everything short and simple. You might have to toss everything you've done in the past out and start over. Build on successes! There's so much to said to start you off, but asking for help is first.
     
  15. wyvern

    wyvern Companion

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    Aug 24, 2014

    You did! Sometimes just that alone is huge growth and progress!:hugs:
     
  16. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Aug 25, 2014

    Very good advice here! The year I had escapees we put an alarm on the door. That helped us make sure everyone stayed safe/
     
  17. Froreal3

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    In that case, I'd try breaking up the class into much smaller groups. They sometimes feed into each other's behaviors. Perhaps have the aides bring them to separate areas of the room or even one group outside the room (if aides are allowed to be w/out your supervision). Engage them in lots movement activities. Try some role playing to talk about behaviors too. Are they 3 year olds or 4 year olds?
     
  18. StarsofTommorow

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    Aug 25, 2014

    I can relate!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It's hard managing the students the first few weeks. That's the WHOLE focus.
     
  19. Preschool0929

    Preschool0929 Cohort

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    Aug 31, 2014

    Thanks for the advice everyone. Last week was our first full week of school. It was rough. I was observed by about every behavior specialist in our district and have about 10 new behavior plans to put in place starting next week. They also made recommendations for at least 2 extra aides, but it was denied. Here's hoping that this week goes a little better!
     

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