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Two Kids pushing my buttons
Old 08-27-2017, 12:08 PM
 
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Hello All!

I am a new sixth grade teacher and it's a self contained classroom. I've been told that my classroom management is great, however, I don't feel this way. Yes, for the most part I have a good handle on my kids. I thrive off of structure and I prefer a calm classroom environment. However, I'm teaching sixth grade and just like any other sixth graders, my class is chatty. I know they are kids and they love to interact at this age. I do let them chat here and there, as long as it does not get too loud. When I need them to focus during instruction, they are able to focus. Aside from two students that is. These two boys are giving me a hard time. They constantly shoutout, get out of their seats, and look to distract other kids from learning. I sometimes find myself focusing on them a little too much which takes away time from my other students. I tried everything with these two. I had a talk with them, moved their seats, and even called one of their parents. The parents seemed to side with me but the kid came back the next day same if not worse. I get a I don't care attitude from them. They are two of my few low students too. I want to help them the best I can but they don't put in any effort. They don't do classwork or homework. When other students are working they are inside their desks and mess with their mechanical pencils.

I really want to help these two boys but their behavior makes it challenging. I know every teacher has at least one of these kids in their class. What works for you guys? Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!

P.S. I apologize in advance for grammatical errors


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if it's possible
Old 08-27-2017, 02:42 PM
 
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This may seem impractical as it won't get into the root of the matter but could you deliver your instruction in a way so that one boy is in another teacher's room while the other stays. And then get that other boy back giving more one on one instruction after? Next time, switch them. The only problem is drumming up some excuse for either of the 2 young gents to be out while you're delivering your instruction. I'm wondering if you had talked with them together and separately because they seem to be distracting each other. There's nothing wrong with doing things over like calling their parents again. Also you could make an example out of one of them. And if they're doing this on a regular basis or almost daily then time to utilize your behaviour plan. Besides that, could you use an EA? Be persistent.
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Next Step
Old 08-27-2017, 03:20 PM
 
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At this point, after calling the parents, I would probably try to talk to last year's teachers. I'm sure this behavior is not new.

I don't know what your discipline plan looks like, but if I have a kid disrupting more than twice, the kid is out in the hallway (or sitting by me) filling out a reflection sheet. After I get three of these sheets, I contact papers. IF there is no improvement, I would probably contact other teachers on my team, guidance, and even the vice principal. IF THE STUDENT is still disruptive, then the next disruption is an office referral or even an office visit. (Sometimes I will talk to the principal beforehand and give him a head's up.)

Students who get called down to the office might get a warning. The next write up is probably going to be a silent lunch or after school detention. Parents also get a call from the VP. If these boys are frequent fliers, then they will probably also be getting in trouble in their specials and at lunch. Oh, the bus is a big one also. I'm sure it is not just you who is dealing with this.

Also, I would be getting a lot stricter with them. I would have them face their desks to the wall until they do a certain task. Then, they can move. I phrase this like they can "have their own office" to concentrate. if they continue to not do their work, it should be affecting their grades. I find that many of our parents "don't care" until the kid is getting Ds and Fs. While they are acting up, I would ignore them as much as possible. Another option is to arrange to send one to a "buddy" teacher with an assignment. That teacher can sit them in a desk and basically ignore them. If they disrupt that class, they go directly to the office. These two need to knock it off or it is going to be a very long year.
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My Management
Old 08-27-2017, 03:40 PM
 
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Thank you to the both of you for your advice.

This is what my management plan looks like; I have a notebook where I write students inappropriate classroom behavior. I record they name, date, time and what they did to get their name in the book. If a students name is in the book twice in same week, then it's a reflection form ( behavior form). They are to complete it abs get it signed by parents. I'll call the parents too to follow up. One of the students got the form and it's the reason why I called the parents in the first place. This same student wants to do the right thing I can see it but the other boy brings him to his side. They are best friends and he has an influence on him. When I talked to his mom, she seemed supportive and sided with me. I'm thinking of sending home positive or negative notes home at the end of the day to the parents. I can tell them how his behavior was throughout the day and this way we can work together to help him. Will this work?

As for the influencer, I have no idea what to do with him. His behavior has continued from Grade to grade from what I heard. I know his fourth grade teacher used to isolate him when he acted out. I need to talk to his fifth grade teacher and ask what worked for her. I like your idea of sending them out of the classroom during instruction.
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Include the positives
Old 08-27-2017, 05:30 PM
 
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Peer pressure. A buy-in so everyone gets a chance too but this would also mean awarding them with the positives. What worked for me with my 7th graders was using class dojo. This could help prevent their problem behaviours from infecting others. Be ready to dole out rewards. To make it more interesting, make a competition out of it. This could be as simple as awarding student with the most point for positive behaviour with a school supply. Based on my experience, the more attention you bring to the negative, the more they act out. To help minimize the stress, I try to look for the positives too. This kept me sane. Without saying much, create a separate goal for the two young gents or just one of them to be on your side more, your "influencer" so the other follows. This may only be a temporary solution because you still have to get to the root of the matter and create discipline. Furthermore, could you enlist the parents help and begin by asking them to stop their child from watching any TV or minimize the time that they could be on the internet at home, stop them from playing their Xbox or suspend any cellphone privileges until they start growing up some more. Stop awarding bad behaviours and focus on the good.


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Sure. You will get there.
Old 08-29-2017, 12:40 PM
 
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I really think that you just have to fine what works with you and your students. I've taught basically every grade level (except K) and many subjects. In each situation, I had to handle things a bit differently. In one private school I taught at, just gently saying, "Okay, let's settle down" would work wonders. At my current school, we have a completely different population. I've had students who were very troubled and I had to call administrators or other teachers for assistance.

I had two boys my first year that really tested me. From the first second the leader bounced through the door, the leader of them was out of control. Now, if a brand new student entered my room like that, I would stop the student and say, "We come in the room quietly and orderly. Give it another try!" At the time though, I wasn't quite as confident and assertive. Now, I know that some students will test me every single day. I have to ENFORCE my rules through action. If I say, "Raise your hand" and they don't, then the first time they break the rule, there is a warning. Then, a consequence. My first year, I let things slide and then slide out of control easily. I didn't enforce my rules and then wondered why my classes were talking over me. I guess what I am trying to say is that classroom management does not come easily to me. I really had to learn through trial and error how to make it look effortless. Also, I still find some of those wild boys challenging at times. I still have classes that I have to "step up" a bit.

At my school, I tend to avoid trying to contact parents. I just don't find it that effective with our students. The parents might act "supportive", but it is very rare that parent contact results in a complete change at school. Now, at your school, you might have a different experience. Don't be afraid to talk to your coworkers about what they do. I still get good ideas from mine, but many of us have completely different styles.
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