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Behavioural Problems
Old 07-25-2009, 05:46 PM
 
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This is my first time teaching 5th graders because before this I have always been teaching either 2nd or 3rd. I find my current class a bit of a challenge because not only they are weak academically, but some of them tend to be rebellious and disruptive during lessons as well. I have tried talking nicely, reasoning, shouting, threatening but nothing seems to work. To be fair, only 2 to 3 of them tend to behave like this consistently, and I suspect it is due to peer pressure (one of them is the ringleader and has been asking the rest to follow him in his disruptive behaviour). It has gotten so bad that I had to keep stopping my lesson to address the misbehaviour and the rest of the class has written in their journals that their learning is affected as so much time is wasted on settling down the class.

Any ideas on how to curb this problem?


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A few ideas
Old 07-25-2009, 06:21 PM
 
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I've had several kids just like this and I've found the following things work really well:
- 1 -- Pull them aside or go to their desk and talk quietly when you need to reprimand them. You're right about the peer pressure; often if kids are yelled at in front of the class they'll be disrespectful back to try to save face w/ their classmates. Pulling them aside allows them to whisper back to you and not feel quite so embarassed.
2 - I make my kids fill out a behavior sheet for recurring problems. On this sheet they must write (1) what classroom rule(s) they are repeatedly breaking (2) examples of how their breaking the rule affects them and others in the class and (3) how they are going to improve. They must get this sheet signed by their parents. They must write a good amount and convince me that they've thought about their answers. If they have to do this before recess they usually will make sure it gets done correctly so they can go play
3 -- The other teachers and I often send kids like this to each other's rooms to work independently at a desk in the back. This gets the kid out of your room for a while so you can actually teach the others. Plus the kid knows s/he is in trouble and does not want to go sit in another classroom where they aren't comfortable. We've never had any problems with the kids when they are in another classroom either. They just aren't comfortable enough to act up.

I know it's frustrating! Don't give up!
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Reverse the behavior
Old 07-25-2009, 06:34 PM
 
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There are times I look at behavior as an entire group problem. I feel strongly that I want my students to be able to stand up for themselves and their rights. This includes being able to talk to peers about disruptive behavior. (There are to many situations in society where people turn their heads when things are wrong, instead of trying to stop the problem.) One policy in the classroom is- United We Stand. When several students are acting up, I simply look at my watch and become totally silent. At first the students think its funny and try to add to the fun. ( I would never let this get out of hand) Then others are clueing in that order must be regained. Once all is quiet and students are ready to continue with their learning, I announce how much time was taken out of the lesson. That amount of time is taken from recess.
I have done this for several years and can say I have only had to do it twice per school year. The first time, is a hard lesson but, they learn quickly that they must come together and take care of one another. The second time, students get each other back on track within seconds. The peer pressure is reversed and the behavior problems tend to be curbed. More importantly it shows my students that they have a voice in their learning community.
I have found it to be very effective, now the 6th grade teacher does it as well.
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Thank you!
Old 07-25-2009, 06:35 PM
 
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I have tried pulling them aside and talking to them nicely and each time they would say they would not do it again. Then the next day they are back to the same old tricks.

Last Friday, I finally couldn't take it anymore and brought the ringleader down to see the principal. He started crying on the way there and out of pity, I decided to give him a second chance as he has promised to behave better in class. Let's see how it goes.

I will see if I can work with the next door teacher about #3...some teachers are not so comfortable with the idea of having another kid sitting at the back of their class though.
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Peer Pressure
Old 07-26-2009, 04:59 AM
 
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I will try it out tomorrow. The only thing that I think might prevent me from doing it correctly is the fact that I do not have any lesson with them right before their recess. As in, they will be going to another teacher's classroom for their lesson right before recess. So there might be a few who decided not to come back to class and stay back.


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Try PT
Old 07-26-2009, 02:40 PM
 
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Try Power Teaching (whole brain teaching) techniques! You may not be able to implement the whole sh-bang now, but you can pick what you think will work, esp. the scoreboard. They have youtube videos and a free website to help you out!

Also, try to give the ring leader some personal responsibilites. As much as you don't want to bribe him to behave, you may need to have him something special to earn (cleaning the boards at the end of the day, etc.) in order to turn your relationship into a more favorible one!
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Power Teaching
Old 07-27-2009, 09:51 PM
 
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I wish I had known about Power Teaching before! I watched some of the videos and they do look extremely exciting and interesting. I will be trying some of the steps out tomorrow and see how well it is received by my class. The only thing that worries me is that there are some pupils in my class who are quite subdued (as opposed to those who are boisterous) and they might be too shy to act out the gestures.

I will be trying out the Class! Yes! and Teach! Okay! first as I have always faced problem getting their attention and getting them to sustain their attention during my teaching. From now on, I will try to keep my teaching simple and sweet.
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Good luck Worldangel!
Old 07-28-2009, 06:03 AM
 
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I find Power Teaching to be very helpful - i hope it works for you.

Sometimes the 'nice' thing to do is to be stern. Always follow through on a threatened consequence - that is how you teach YOURSELF to only threaten realistic consequences.

My first year of teaching I had a terribly disruptive student. I tried various classroom management options, and none were successful. I tried a parent conference and ended up being blamed for the issues I was having (you will find that parents of disruptive students are often part of the problem, not the solution). I didn't have any luck until one day the student was crawling in the back of the classroom (5th grade!!!!!) while everyone else was working. I took a picture of her and the whole class. I never had to use my "proof" because she improved considerably after that.


Here's my tough love advice: decide to take 50% of the blame for the classroom problems you are having (an effective teacher has to be able to manage the class), work VERY hard to find better management solutions for the remaining part of this year, and start next year off with a thorough behavior plan in place.
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Update...
Old 07-28-2009, 02:20 PM
 
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How did it go?
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Old 07-28-2009, 04:00 PM
 
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Try to head off the trouble before it starts. Never underestimate a carefully planned out seating arrangement and keep students busy and engaged.

Teach the expectations and assume nothing. Teach and practice your procedures and rules.

When the problems arrive, and they will, the class is just trying to establish the pecking order and seeing where the limits are. One or two ringleaders will start and others will soon join in if they are not quickly dealt with.

If you have taught and established your class procedures and expectations then you can deal with interruptions in a business like manner. Restate the rule or procedure that is not being followed. Reteach what is expected to the whole class if necessary or if it is just one or two speak to them privately and give clear explanation of the consequences that will follow if they continue disrupting your lesson.

Once the whole class sees that you will hit problems head on and not allow disruptions than everyone is put at ease. Most kids like an orderly classroom. The ones causing the problems might not understand the expectations or may clearly understand them but are testing you. Either way kids expect to be called on inappropriate behavior.


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Here's an update...
Old 07-29-2009, 05:06 AM
 
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Today I tried parts of the Power Teaching with my kids. I managed to go through the Class! Yes! procedure and the scoreboard with them. Due to the H1N1 flu thing and my school has been rather cautious in its approach, the pupils are not allowed to talk or be very near to one another, so I had to scrap the Teach!Okay! part. But I did show them some simple gestures during the Maths class and I could tell that most of the students were quite enthusiastic (though some were saying it was silly and refused to follow through - which just made me add 1 mark to the Teacher's side *evil grin*). I told them that if the Teacher's score is higher than the Pupils' scores, they would have to do extra homework.

And today being the first day, I decided to show them that I meant it so they ended up with 3 extra pages of homework. Although I need an advice on this boy who kept talking back and saying he doesn't mind the extra homework. To be fair, he is quite a smart one and finishes his homework quite fast...so how do I deal with this type of student?
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Please Stop
Old 07-29-2009, 05:21 AM
 
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There's a method that goes with PT for kids like him. If, the students can say "Please Stop", before you you comment on him, they get a point on the board. The idea is that they control him rather than you. Eventuall, group mantality wins over. Hopefully.

On the scoreboard game you put a separate box under the frowny face. It's like a guff box. If you tell a student to do something and they talk back to you. You state that's guff and walk to the scoreboard game to make a mark in the box. The rest of the class has to tell the offender to please stop. If they do then you don't place the mark. If the class says nothing, then you explain that by saying nothing you are thinking it's okay to talk back to the teacher. The guff points count the same as a frowny. I suppose if there was a major problem in the classroom with talking back then you could have a seperate consequence for the guff counter(box).
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Procedures and Expecations
Old 07-29-2009, 05:24 AM
 
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I have set up the rules and expectations on the very first day I met them. We have five rules in the class, but it seems that now everyday the students are trying to their hardest to break at least one.

More and more have not been doing their homework (which is rule number one in the class) and a lot have been talking without putting up their hand and waiting for permission. So today, for students who have repeatedly not been doing their work properly, I decided to call their parents. The parents have agreed to talk to their children about it tonight, so let's see how it goes tomorrow.
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Old 07-29-2009, 05:30 AM
 
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I have mentioned that to them as well. But the thing is the whole class started shouting "Please Stop" at different time and it became really noisy. How to get the class to signal him to stop without saying it out loud?
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Old 07-29-2009, 06:44 PM
 
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If two kids say "Please Stop," there is no need for anyone else to say it. The others can simply raise their hands (making a "stop sign" gesture). That is how they SHOW the misbehaving kid they also want him to stop. There is no need for them to repeatedly yell it/say it. I hope that I don't offend you, but you may need to consider having the principal come in and observe. (Esp. if you have a good prince) He/she may set up times for your to observe some more seasoned teachers. I don't like asking for help, but I also know that I can't solve every problem on my own. Remember, you can do this!

Have you gone to the Power Teaching website? (I think it is still powerteachers.net). They have handbooks/books that you can download for free that explain what to do step by step, instead of flying by youtube alone. There is even a book for teaching power teaching on the first day of school.....you could adapt this surely!

Good Luck! I am rooting for you and will check back!

PS...good call calling the parents. I would request a parent meeting with your little ringleader's parents (I would request both-if applicable- show up) I would also meet with your grade level chairperson/couselor/principal---you need someone on your side! It is easy to get defensive/hurt during parent meetings.....but you know that already, I am sure!
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Old 07-30-2009, 12:12 AM
 
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Today was much better. I taught them to put their finger to their mouth as a signal that their friends should stop disturbing the lesson because the rest would like to learn. I also varied my Class! Yes! and they really enjoyed that. They were much more attentive as compared to yesterday; I think they are starting to get used to the routine.

Today the ringleader was much better in terms of behaviour and all those whom I called yesterday turned in their homework. I also think they got scolded by their parents, which is why they were much tamer in class today. I also mentioned it to the rest of the class that I would hesitate to call their parents if they are up to some sort of mischief.

Today the class got another 2 extra pages of homework, but I might consider introducing the Independents section soon cos it is always the same two boys who are causing the rest of the class to be doing extra work...
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Sounds Like
Old 07-31-2009, 12:21 PM
 
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It is getting better! Remember that your two boys are only wanting the attention of the classroom. Try to figure out a way for them to get zero attention. (Please stop, continue teaching, use THEIR time to talk with them). Good Job!
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Old 08-01-2009, 06:48 PM
 
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I forgot to talk about what happened in the class on Friday. So on Friday the class is still under quarantine and all that, so I am still unable to launch the Teach! Okay! method. But what happened was when I did the Class! Yes!, a senior teacher walked past and told me to stop getting the pupils to answer in chorus because it is noisy and it disturbs the next door teacher's lesson. So now I am in a dilemma...if the pupils answering in chorus is already considered noisy (they were not even using their loud voice, just normal voice), what would happen once I introduced the Teach! Okay!?

Another thing was I find that it is becoming increasingly difficult to 'threaten' them with the extra homework as more and more are saying that they do not mind the extra homework or would just turn in the homework undone the next day.

The good thing was I was having my first observation with my supervisor on Friday for an hour, and the kids behaved beautifully. I was sooo impressed with their behaviour. But needless to say, after the observation, they were like monkeys on the loose for a while. However, they still aced their spelling test after that. I think it helps for me to keep looking out for the good things within them, then I won't feel so irritated with them all the time.
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