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lily74 04-12-2013 06:13 PM

student behavior help (long, sorry)
I need help with a student in my class before I go back to school next week. He has been driving me crazy and I feel that I need some new strategies. (This is third grade)

He joined our school last year half way through the year, and had some social issues. (Did not make friends, sad all the time) This year started off ok, but the behavior seems to be deteriorating. He is very smart, but rushes through work and usually needs to go back and redo/add information to answers. Which he is obviously not happy about. He constantly calls out answers without raising his hand. He seems miserable the majority of the time and seems to want positive adult attention (parents always seem involved and helpful), but at the same time attracts negative attention by his actions.

I have found myself being very short with him, which I don't like, but the constant negative behavior is really getting under my skin. Everything he does seems like it is meant to get on my nerves. He wanders around the room when we are all on the rug listening to a story, or will be drawing on his white board when he should be listening to directions.

I have tried sticker charts etc with him , but mom says he will obsess over things like that and then one negative mark, or failure to get a sticker will have him worrying about it constantly. Then if the day is going bad, he might as well continue to misbehave as things aren't good anyway!!

I hope this makes sense! Any advice?

claudianny 04-12-2013 06:38 PM

He needs the day broken into shorter increments...such as periods or hours...then give him positive feedback at the end of that time frame. Perhaps a smiley face for each period he has without problems. Then if the happy faces outnumber the tines without one he gets the sticker. Strive for effort and improvement, not perfection. Also make sure he understands when his behavior is not acceptable and give him acceptable options.

ConnieWI 04-12-2013 07:03 PM

Breaking the Day...
The idea of breaking the day into increments is a great idea. However, I would begin with something very short...fifteen more that twenty minutes at a time. That way, the child will have a lot of success...and success breeds success.

Make a chart with your school day broken into increments...fifteen/twenty minutes in the first column. Leave a space for the smiley face or frown in the second column. The third column can be for positive one word comments or words of encouragement like "I know you can do better" when there is a frown.

The first thing you and this child will need to do is conference about the issues. Then decide together what one thing to work on first...
--slow down on work.
--raise hand to speak.
--follow directions/join class at the carpet.
State the goal for the day at the top of the chart.

This child cannot be working on all these things at the same time. Choose the one that will be easiest for him to accomplish in the fifteen/twenty minute time frame...again, look for the one that will show the most success most of the time and also make your load lighter. The child will work on this goal for one or two or three or more weeks. Then you can conference again and choose a new goal. Keep in mind that when you begin a second goal, the first one may fall apart. You may need to return to it, and at a later time, begin working on the second goal again.

While conferencing, you and this child will need to decide about rewards and consequences.

I would also let the parents know what you are doing. They may want to join you for the conference with the child so they can join in the reward and consequence part at home. That way the child will be seeing twice as much approval.

lily74 04-12-2013 07:30 PM

thanks for the replies. I like your ideas, and will definitely try to work on one goal at a time.

The problem with the chart broken down into 15 minute increments, is that IF he was to get a frown early in the day, the rest of the day would be ten times as bad. It's as if once he sees any kind of failure, he completely falls apart or rebels or becomes defensive and doesn't try anymore.

KMH 04-12-2013 09:33 PM

Okay, here's my advice, understand you have explained a few students in my class. I haven't tried this because I won't be consistent with 32 students in all. Keep a tally chart and only reward the positive behaviors. If he receives a certain amount of tally marks, he earns a small reward.

A similar idea we use at our school, we play a tick tack toe game with the misbehaving student. Each day, the student starts with the chart. If the teacher notices the target behavior, the student gets an X. If the teacher notices misbehavior, she gets to mark a spot. Of course there is a reward if the student wins the game. Because it's a game, the student doesn't get quite so upset. May be worth a try.

Lakeside 04-13-2013 01:50 AM


half way through the year, and had some social issues. (Did not make friends, sad all the time) This year started off ok, but the behavior seems to be deteriorating....

... He seems miserable the majority of the time and seems to want positive adult attention (parents always seem involved and helpful)...
The sad and miserable halfway through the year, and starting off OK then falling into the same pattern, made me wonder about seasonal affective disorder (called SAD - basically, getting depressed during the part of the year without enough sunlight).

I have no idea how you would find out for sure, as you don't want to overstep with parents. But read about it if you get a chance, or talk to the school counselor if you have one. See whether he seems to have a slightly better day if you put his seat next to a sunny window. (If anyone reading has a very bad case of this yourself, I'm not suggesting it's nothing and can be fixed this easily! But if it's mild, she may notice a little difference.) Talk his teacher from last year, and see if it was worse when he first got here, but not as bad toward the end of the school year.


...drawing on his white board when he should be listening to directions....
Not following direct unions is a separate issue, though, and I would stay on him about it. No charts, based on what you said before, but remove the temptation (in this case, no white board until after directions are given).

lily74 04-13-2013 03:43 AM

Thanks KMH
I like the idea of just rewarding positive behaviors and ignoring others. So simple!! (I hope) I could try this with a few others in my room too.

I just don't want him to get hung up and obsess over this stuff like he has before. We were going to try to have him go to see his last year's teacher as a reward for having a good day/part of day, but then he would get SUPER upset when he didn't get to go.

We'll see how he is when he gets back, hopefully the weather will be better, maybe the SAD is also an issue (my FIL has this so I know how it can affect people, just never thought of it with him).

teacherwriter 04-13-2013 03:45 AM

You've gotten a lot of good suggestions here. I love the small-chunk approach; I'm going to try that one too.


(parents always seem involved and helpful)
Are they really? I mean, we see what we see at school, but do we really know what goes on at home? Perhaps they ignore the child at home or criticize heavily, and he's desperately looking for attention and affirmation. I have several students like that. That doesn't make his behavior any more likeable, of course!

Is it possible that this child is very intelligent and is actually bored in class? Obviously, he must build the stamina to manage his behavior, follow directions, do the work correctly, etc. However, immature kids who are smart and certain they know everything just dash through stuff and look for ways to entertain themselves because they already know everything. :rolleyes: Have you looked at previous records? Now, I'm NOT suggesting that you reward his lousy behavior with the super-advanced work he "should" have. (As one of my moms suggested. :rolleyes:) It would just give you a little more ammunition to persuade him to try--you know, the "I know you can do better than this" approach.

tangolily 04-13-2013 07:25 AM

I feel for you
I second the reward the good behavior but don't point out the negative approach. I also agree with sitting down with him to decide on which single behavior to work on. Anything you can do like that to build an individual relationship with him will help. If he begins to feel that you are looking out for him and not just displeased with him, he may listen better to you and try a little harder.

I love the tic tac toe idea! I might try tweeking it by putting an X on his board when you notice a positive behavior, and having him then put an O on it, also. That way he is noticing that you have acknowledged his efforts and will feel rewarded by getting to play the game. He will get to "play" every time he does something noteworthy.

Have you considered whether this child might be on the asperger's spectrum or have obsessive compulsive disorder? If so, he might really benefit from getting counseling outside of school, if parent's can afford it.

knitting987! 04-14-2013 09:14 AM

As I cleaned this morning, I thought about this. One thing that worked for me when I subbed a first grade was to talk with the class without the troubling student in the class. It really worked and helped! I'll never forget that. I didn't say anything negative about said student. I told the class he is learning and it is their job to react correctly and we really went over what this looked like. When said student does x, they are to react a cerain way. Practice the situations with the class so they are your helpers and can get the student to act correctly. Team or table ponts work well too for some kids. The good kids get the poor behaving kids to act correctly for the pont. That was magic in some situations too. Just thought I'd share. You may want to try this. Don't punish the child to get him out. In my case the child had to go to the office to take his adhd med. and I used the time to talk to the class and we planned out their day as to how they were going to react. That was one of the best teaching moments I've had.

lily74 04-14-2013 08:19 PM

thanks again
for all the suggestions.

He is a super smart student, but the work produced does not reflect this. I think there may be times when he might be bored like PP said, but since we are a testing year, I expect questions to be answered a certain way, and he rarely does this! Very frustrating!! We just completed a unit reading various books on the same theme. I asked each group to have read 4 books by the end of the week, and compare..he had read all 8 - but the quality of the work was average. he sees it as quantity vs quality, where it should be the other way around.

As for the suggestion that he has Asperger's or OCD, I don't think so. I have another student with OCD/ODD and you can really tell!!

I will try some of these suggestions when we get back.

ragtimecwgrl 04-15-2013 05:31 PM

A different approach
I hope that you have had success today with some of the ideas.
Let me throw out one experience that I had. We had a similar situation last year with a very bright boy with lots negative behavior issues (parents admitted that he was treated as the "3rd" adult in their home).
After lots of frustrations for both of us, I saw something (maybe Kagan?) about a stopwatch. I hung a stopwatch by my desk and when he would begin to unfairly usurp my time or class time I would walk over and pick up the watch and start the timer - when he finished I would make a point of clicking it off. No emotion. When the day got near to the end I explained that he had used xxx amount of instructional time and I needed him to "pay it back". He sat for the allocated time watching others play at recess, then we talked about how useless it felt. I explained with LOTS of true empathy that I knew just how he felt. We did this for several days, and by the next week he would correct as soon as he saw me go for the watch. If he wanted to argue with me (which was one of his fun activities!), I would say, "oh, hang on..." and I'd scramble to get the watch. Then I would listen to whatever he had to say while I murmured, "hmmm or I see".
I can honestly say that I ended the year liking him for the truly gifted child that he was, once he stopped hijacking the class. I think that we both gained a lot of respect for each other once he figured out that someone was in charge, and it was not him!! Good luck and try not to lose your sense of humor!

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