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ILuvTeaching9 08-05-2011 11:33 AM

How to make this work with departmentilization

I am wondering how I can make the Responsive Classroom Approach work in my classroom now that my grade is departmentalizing. When the kids come in, they have 15 minute before the late bell rings, and then announcements come on. After that, we go straight to special. After special, we teach out homerooms first (I teach reading/lang. arts) and then we switch and teach another group. I will have two groups. Should I have "morning meetings" with both groups, even if one is not my homeroom? I feel that it will eat up valuable time with my second group, as they will most likely lose a lot of time throughout the year already due to assemblies and early dismissals. This isn't something I want to push on my teammate who I will be flip-flopping with as her idea of classroom management is much different than mine.

Also, our school has a school-wide "clip chart" in use. How could I incorporate this to work with the RCA techniques? Thanks!

AddieJ 08-06-2011 03:28 PM

I would probably do morning meeting with my homeroom kids. When the 2nd group comes in, you could just do a greeting (could include a share during the greeting like shake hands, say good morning & tell the other person how many bro & sis you have).

The clip chart is not compatible with RC. IMHO, the clip chart is NOT respectful, relevant or realistic (the three Rs of the RCA). Is there anyway you can not do the clip chart with your students? Unfortunately, it's a school-wide system so your kids will bump heads with it sometime...grr.

ILuvTeaching9 08-06-2011 08:20 PM

I don't think I can get away with not using the clip chart, as we are supposed to be consistent throughout the school. I agree, as I think about it more, that it makes no sense at all. The children don't really get anything out of it. I think the only way to get out of it would be to have the children move their clip when they receive the consequence? I don't know. It's frustrating because this is only my second year at this particular school and I don't want to rock the boat by saying "Hey, let's get rid of your behavior management system!" It doesn't work, though. I can tell you that 5th graders really do NOT appreciate being called out to get up and move a clip in front of everyone. Even if you pull them aside and tell them, the other students still see them move it after you have spoken to them. So no, I guess it is not very respectful. Argh! I am frustrated because I don't know how to make this work.

AddieJ 08-06-2011 08:47 PM

You brought up another point, the clip chart is not developmentally appropriate. I've seen kinders throw tantrums for being told to move a clip! How can that be helpful - it only seems to cause problems. I would understand that a 5th grader would be embarrassed if they had to move a clip - I'd be embarrassed at that age too!

I'm sorry you are in that kind of situation - no, you don't want to rock the boat by telling other teachers they are "wrong" for using the clip system but explaining to them your reasons for not wanting to use it can seem like you're belittling them and you could step on toes. You don't want to burn bridges with people you see everyday. WOW - that's a lot of analogies in one paragraph!!
Maybe you could share some links to helpful RC articles and just message it as, "I found these articles helpful and I wanted to pass them along..." Help people start thinking about logical consequences and other modes of "discipline" but not in an overt, pushy kind of way...

Could you display the clip chart in your room but just not use it?? Do the students coming in to your room have some kind of chart in your room? I teach kindergarten and I have the same group all day so I don't know much about having different groups during the day.

I can see how the children could move a clip after receiving a consequence but the two really cancel each other out/you don't need both. I would think people that use the clip chart see "moving a clip" as a consequence. I wonder if children move a clip AND have another consequence? It seems like overkill to me. I have heard teachers say the clip chart is a visual reminder for THEM so they know who has had warnings. Really?? I know who in my room has had reminders and I don't want anyone who walks in to know that information so I don't display it.
SORRY for getting off on a tangent - as you can maybe see, I don't like clip charts!

I hope you can find a solution...I'll think on it too.
In the end, you have to do what you know is right for the students. Higher-ups may say everyone has to use the clip chart but if in your gut you know it's not right, then go with your gut. Keep working where you are and continue to make a POSITIVE impact on your students!!! Maybe co-workers will take notice that you have super well-behaved kiddos and will start asking questions ;) Not that RC is the answer to everything but it's definately a good start!!

ILuvTeaching9 08-07-2011 06:48 AM

This is the first year our grade will be departmentalized. I am assuming that when we flip-flop, the class will take their charts with them. So, when my kids aren't with me, they'll have to move their clips anyway. I just feel like that will breed more inconsistency and confusion for them if I do RC. The colors on the clip chart match up with a section in their planners. They can circle at the end of the day what color they were on. It's a way to let parents know what kind of day they had. I feel like if I don't use it, parents will assume their child was an angel all day, which may not have been the case. The clip chart we have goes like this:
Silver- "Soaring to new heights" (students move UP to this if they are doing an exceptional job. They get a special stamp in their planner for being on this color.)
Green- "Keep going" (students start on this color and stay on it as long as they do what they're supposed to)
Yellow- "Warning" (students move down to this if they've already received a verbal warning and continue misbehaving, but they can move back up. My team decided they would also lose 5 min. of recess as a consequence, even if they moved back up to green.)
Red- "Consequence" (This is if the misbehavior continues, or is severe like hitting or being disrespectful to a teacher they will move to it immediately. The "consequence" depends on the action, but includes loss of entire recess and a reflection sheet. It might also include an office referral, phone call home, etc. depending on how bad)

To me, this is confusing. I rarely had students move their clips last year because I felt missing 5 minutes of recess hours after you were talking too much seemed dumb. So, mine got away with a lot of little things. I think I want to get rid of the predetermined consequences. I think maybe they should move to yellow as soon as I say something to them so that they know the next step will be a consequence (i.e. time away from the group, etc.) Maybe they shouldn't be allowed to move back up and will circle and describe in their planners why they got a warning and/or consequence? It's really hard to make these two fit together.

kit1024 08-07-2011 12:26 PM

Wow. What a tough situation! I am a newbie to RC, so I definitely don't have all the answers.

As to what to do about departmentilization, I would probably only do RC with your homeroom. I teach my homeroom class all day except for 1/2 hour when I teach the other 3rd grade class Social Studies. I decided I'm not going to worry about trying RC with them (especially since it's my first year trying it out) since I only have 30 min./day and lots of curriculum to cover! They would probably be confused too, as they have the clip chart system in their homeroom.

I really don't know what to tell you about the clip chart. At my school, it is not required of every teacher, but I am the only one I know in the whole school that is going to be trying something NOT punitive. Thank goodness I can decide how to discipline in my own room, but I'm not going to have anybody else doing what I'm doing!

Would it be possible to not have the clip chart but still report out about behavior? If you need to keep track of behavior, you could do this yourself (documenting which kids had behavior problems) so that you could report to your principal or whoever needs the data? If you did this, I would just let your parents know that they will not be seeing a color circled in their agenda and that you will be in contact with them if there is a problem. Hmmm...this really is tough!

kit1024 08-07-2011 01:06 PM

I was just reading some of the older posts and I found one about departmentalizing - maybe this would help?

ILuvTeaching9 08-09-2011 02:46 PM

Thanks for the ideas and understanding. I might talk to my principal and see if I can try it out and be the guinea pig for a year. If it works and is better than the clip chart, maybe I can present some info to the staff. I think it should be the right of a teacher to choose their approach to classroom management, and I am hopeful that my principal feels the same way!

kit1024 08-09-2011 05:36 PM

That's a great idea to talk to your principal. Even though every other classroom in my school does something punitive, my principal is really supportive and actually very excited about what I am going to try. I think she really agrees with the whole view!

I really hope your principal will let you try it out! I would feel very frustrated if I couldn't decide how to run my own classroom in a way that fit with my beliefs.

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