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Kishkumen Kishkumen is offline
 
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alternative to calling admin for out-of-control class?
Old 02-11-2019, 06:38 PM
 
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I've had to call admin to assist with an out-of-control class. I've sworn not to do that again, but I had to today.

Middle school class came in five minutes late and screaming. Now, the last time they did this I sent them out in the hall and made them come in again. Three times. The kids had a blast hollering and running and shoving each other in and out of the classroom. it was a fantastic activity they all loved.

So today, they came in screaming and ignored all call-back signals. But I was expecting this and had the assignment on the board. Those who want to work don't have to wait on the disruptive students. The rest can get Fs. The problem was, 13 out of 31 students already have Ds and Fs in my art class because they choose not to work.

After a few minutes of this, I realized I was just a recess supervisor at this point. Normally I'd start booting kids to buddy rooms, but I can't kick half the class. I was able to identify one student during al the confusion. The rest of the kids were running around the classroom, having a party at the pencil sharpener, ripping up paper, sliding on the floor, throwing crayon bits at each other. So against my earlier judgement I had to e-mail the office.

I've had to call the office twice last week (for two other middle school classes). There has to be another way of fixing an out-of-control class without relying on someone else's authority.

The classes used to be under control. I had the procedures and expectations established and a good relationship with the students. But after the first quarter, students realized that I can't apply consequences for their actions (I can't identify individuals if there are more than four or five disruptions) and the class environment has gotten steadily worse since then. It's taken more and more time and effort to enforce existing procedures until now all quiet signals are completely ineffective.

I don't want to keep calling the office to intervene, yet the classes are now irreversibly out of control. Is there another tactic?


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Old 02-11-2019, 08:20 PM
 
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So today, they came in screaming and ignored all call-back signals.
1. You've posted this before and by now is well established that the call back signals are not working anymore. Whatever call back signals I don't understand why are you still using them. Do away with those.

2. I wanted to apologized bc I didn't understand completely your hearing issue in one of your previous posts. Even though you turn in your resignation letter the other day, I wanted to tell that I think you are a tremendous teacher to have lasted as long as you did. Your administration is losing a wonderful teacher and if they don't know that, I want to make sure that you know that.

3. Why were the classes late? You need to investigate this? Where were they? Do they have a legitimate excuse? It is not OK. Because everyone was late, this is something administration needs to explain or figure out what happened and then get back to you as to what happened and how they are going to handle this.

4. "But after the first quarter, students realized that I can't apply consequences for their actions (I can't identify individuals if there are more than four or five disruptions)" You don't need to identify all of them to apply consequences. Focus on the loudest most obnoxious one and begin with that one. Chances are they are repeat offenders and you will figure out every single one of them in two weeks. One each day. They are taking advantage of you which makes it even worse when you think about it.


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But I was expecting this and had the assignment on the board. Those who want to work don't have to wait on the disruptive students.
5. Great idea, however, I would make copies instead of writing it on the board. Stand by the door and hand the assignment as they enter the room. Tell them to sit, work quietly and that you will collect the work in X amount of minutes. Give them a quality written assignment that is going to take more or less that amount of time. While the students work quietly use this time to identify the ones not following the instruction and being disruptive. Focus on one at the time and write on a piece of paper.

6. Depending on who you identify as the culprit, you may have choices as to what to do with the student. If you think, the student behavior is not within the norm, you may consider sending their butts to the counseling office. They may need to modify their plan.

7. You may consider behavior contracts for some or all of the disruptive students who are failing your class and you think they may be. Create a template, state the goal, steps and every day have the student sign they did what they were suppose to do in your class.

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I don't want to keep calling the office to intervene, yet the classes are now irreversibly out of control. Is there another tactic?
8. I understand how you feel, but I don't agree with it. However, I want to know what steps or actions Adm. have taken to accommodate your hearing issue? They could begin by giving you smaller classes. We accommodate and modify for students every day, teachers have rights too. You have rights too.

9. Making them go outside and enter the room again appropriately is nothing but a reward to them. You lose valuable teaching time and they do nothing instead.

10. Have you give them assign seats yet? Have you contacted their parents? Have you set teacher/student/another teacher conference and documented?
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Old 02-11-2019, 08:30 PM
 
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The classes used to be under control. I had the procedures and expectations established and a good relationship with the students. But after the first quarter, students realized that I can't apply consequences for their actions (I can't identify individuals if there are more than four or five disruptions) and the class environment has gotten steadily worse since then.
Yep. Once you lose them, it is way harder to regain control.

Were they “tight ship” under control or were they “not wild” under control first quarter? I ask because I have never witnessed a “tight ship” escalate to the behaviors yours are exhibiting. I’m going to have to reel in a few of mine because my ship isn’t running as tightly as I prefer. Today we sat in traditional straight rows because they couldn’t handle groups to my satisfaction.

How do these kids behave for others? Sometimes we have those groups that are a hell on wheels. We have also changed schedules for groups that are particularly ornery. Separate the ring leaders.
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Old 02-11-2019, 08:40 PM
 
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Yes, you CAN identify individuals. You can't identify EVERY individual, but you just did identify some of them here. You saw people partying at the pencil sharpener. Name one of them. You saw people throwing crayons. Write down the name of someone you saw throwing a crayon. Write it on a referral. He's going to holler not fair because he wasn't the only one. So what? Write it up. It doesn't matter if you catch all of them. Write it up, call parents, separate them from the group. One at a time.

Make them line up outside the room and do not let them enter talking. Don't let them all come in at once. You stand at the door and greet them individually and control who comes in and how.
Have them enter one at a time in an orderly fashion. If someone talks or fails to go to his seat, call him back and keep him out - before you let any more kids in.

You're right that you can't keep calling the principal in to fight your battles for you. It only makes you look bad.
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Old 02-12-2019, 02:39 AM
 
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From your posts, I've noticed that this is a recurring issue. The students have your number--they know they will not be disciplined--so they treat your class like a free-for-all.

You have mentioned before that your hearing is not acute, and that's why you can't discern who's misbehaving. So you are going to have to identify people visually. Do you know them all by sight and all by name? Get a copy of last year's yearbook so you can use the student photos.

What is the school procedure for disciplining students who can't be controlled? Demerits, referral to counselor/office, call home, what? Follow it, with no exceptions.

Can you adequately separate the students in the seating plan? Can you find more space to put more space between students?

Have students leave their backpacks in the hallway. Pick up every tool, paper, etc. and put it up out of the way before they leave the room.

Can you send a class update or mass email to all parents about the behavior in an attempt to get support/discipline at home?

Go look at Michael Linsin's Smart Classroom Management site and see whether he has anything that might help.


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disposable seating chart idea
Old 02-12-2019, 06:05 AM
 
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I got an idea this morning to use a blank seating chart to circle the location of disruption. That way, I can remember that location before my brain locks onto another disruption. Then I can look at the real seating chart to see who that student is, and I won't simply forget after a few seconds. It won't work if someone is out of their seat, but it might work enough.

The visual cues are a problem for me, and I think it's because I forget where I saw the disruption when my brain looks for another disruption. It takes too long to identify a student. This note-taking method might be a workaround.

Keeping backpacks outside would be a good thing. If they refuse to do it, then what?

I've tried to keep a tight ship, but being unable to enforce "no talking" has prevented that. I've relied on enthusiasm and keeping the lessons fun enough to keep the students' attention, hoping that I'd have a relationship with the students before any real disruption happened. It didn't work.

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Make them line up outside the room and do not let them enter talking. Don't let them all come in at once. You stand at the door and greet them individually and control who comes in and how.
Have them enter one at a time in an orderly fashion. If someone talks or fails to go to his seat, call him back and keep him out - before you let any more kids in.
I do that already, but once students are in the classroom they start getting loud. Then I'm stuck greeting students at the door. I can try to praise students who are sitting quietly, but I'm only guessing which tables are quiet.
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Old 02-12-2019, 06:28 AM
 
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Keeping backpacks outside would be a good thing. If they refuse to do it, then what?
You don't let them enter the room.

What discipline structures do you have in place? It might help us to give you concrete suggestions. Offhand, from the issues that you are having, it sounds like a complete reset is needed - changing room arrangement, stripping unnecessary material from the room, etc. to minimize distractions and opportunities to disrupt.

You are correct in that you do lose authority when you continually call in administration or send students to someone else's room.
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Old 02-12-2019, 07:27 AM
 
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need to google behavior management. There are some gurus out there who have systems. I agree that you need an entire re set.
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Old 02-12-2019, 08:28 AM
 
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I would put all the art materials away-cover the sharpener or even remove it.(You can trade me an unsharpened pencil for a sharpened one)
Assign seats with a chart. If you are not sitting in it, consequences.Perhaps post seating charts in the hall and do not enter until you know where to sit?
Have parent phone numbers on the chart beside their name.
Sit down and start sketching the still life on display.
Use the piece of paper I hand you as you walk in the door. No walking in the door until we make eye contact, greet each other respectfully, and student enters calmly.
Not in seat? I mark you absent.
Not in seat? I call parents right there in front of the class.
Sounds like a zoo when calling parent? I tell them their child is causing it.
Acting like a fool? Go stand by the phone so we can call home.

You need a little public humiliation for the clowns.
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Old 02-12-2019, 04:42 PM
 
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Do you know them all by sight and all by name? Get a copy of last year's yearbook so you can use the student photos.
The grading program has their photos on display. I'm gradually learning their names, but with 900 students, it does take a while. A lot of students have similar haircuts, so it's really tough to tell them apart sometimes.

Quote:
What discipline structures do you have in place? It might help us to give you concrete suggestions. Offhand, from the issues that you are having, it sounds like a complete reset is needed - changing room arrangement
I use the PBIS in place, where students get a phone call or e-mail home. But with no phones in the classrooms, I'm limited to after school do to this. The grade program can send an e-mail to parents through the program, but I have to do it one student at a time. Students can also get a lunch detention, but that requires a lot of form filling, and it goes through the office. It generally takes 30 minutes per student. This also goes to the PBIS numbers, which made the school look bad. Admin has complained that I'm doing too many of those, so I'm limited to an e-mail home which is usually ignored by parents. But the PBIS data looks a lot better, and that's what counts, I guess.

Phone calls home are a nightmare because i have to collect notes and evidence, write stuff down, haul everything to the conference room, and then make the phone call if the parent chooses to answer the telephone. It takes about ten minutes for a 30-second phone call. Teachers have requested classroom telephones for years.

The students are seated at six heavy metal tables, so they're all facing each other. I'd rather them be in rows, but then material distribution would be much, much harder. . At present, I have a cup of sharpened pencils and paper in the center of each table.

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You can trade me an unsharpened pencil for a sharpened one
I already do that.
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Assign seats with a chart. If you are not sitting in it, consequences.
I've always used a seating chart. What consequences would be appropriate?
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Have parent phone numbers on the chart beside their name.
That would work if there were telephones in the classrooms. We're prohibited from using cell phones for parent contact, so all phone calls must be done after school using the conference room in the office.
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Sit down and start sketching the still life on display.
I used to have them draw designs on the LCD projector while I checked attendance on the chart, but over half the students refused to work, and I spent more time cleaning up crumpled paper.
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No walking in the door until we make eye contact, greet each other respectfully, and student enters calmly.
I high-five every students and greet them while I look them in the eye.
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Not in seat? I mark you absent.
Attendance is only taken at the beginning of the school day, so being marked absent in Art class has no effect.
Quote:
Not in seat? I call parents right there in front of the class.
Sounds like a zoo when calling parent? I tell them their child is causing it.
Acting like a fool? Go stand by the phone so we can call home.
Even when I had a classroom with a phone this didn't work. If the phone number is blocked, out of date, or leads to a gas station, then the student simply laughs at me in front of the class.

I agree a reset needs to be done. Admin have been assisting me in classes when possible, so now would be a good time to practice procedures for 40 minutes. The problem is, what happens when students refuse to practice procedures? I've tried resets every year but found them counter-productive.

Last year I was told to "practice procedures until they get it right" but things only got worse. It turns out I was losing support of the "good" students while entertaining the disruptive students. The supportive students felt I was punishing them and kept asking "why not just have the bad students practice?" The bad students felt empowered because they could just clown around lining up and sitting down without having to work. After that, admin told me to stop practicing procedures because "it was just a game to them".



Last edited by Kishkumen; 02-12-2019 at 05:20 PM..
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Old 02-12-2019, 05:30 PM
 
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I agree with your post below this, so will delete everything I typed and leave it at this:

I feel for you, but honestly, I don't see things getting better for you.
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Thanks for the replies
Old 02-12-2019, 05:36 PM
 
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Thanks for the suggestions, all, but I'm just here to vent, honestly. I don't enjoy shooting down everyone's attempt to help, but I've yet to find something that I haven't tried.

I don't believe my problem has a solution, so I will be leaving the teaching profession at the end of this year.

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Honestly, if I were in your situation, I would be gone, yesterday! I don't even know how you go to work each day!
I almost walked out of my classroom yesterday. The fine for breaking a teaching contract is the only thing keeping me there. I'm the 4th art teacher in four years. The rest have quit due to student behavior, and the previous teacher was a long-term sub hired after the third one quit at the beginning of the year. The Art position is known as the "Defense Against the Dark Arts" class because we have a different teacher every year. I thought about staying a second year just to kick the curse in the nuts but it's not worth it.

The best classes are K-4 and two of the 6th grade classes. Seventh grade actually wasn't too bad until recently, but 5th and 8th were out of control since the first day of school.

Others have suggested class meetings. How does one start a ten minute class discussion if the class refuses to stop shouting? It seems that if they chose to sit quietly that long, then a meeting wouldn't be necessary.
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Old 02-12-2019, 06:33 PM
 
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Maybe try a tangible reward system (I know some are opposed to what they see as bribery, but honestly when it comes to survival t tactics, this usually works). I wouldn't do a class reward or raffle type system, though, because you want to reinforce desired behavior immediately and you want as many as possible to buy in.
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Old 02-12-2019, 06:39 PM
 
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I was an Art teacher for many years. One year I had to take over for a sub mid-year for middle school students. The school had little consequences and the students had taken over the art classes. I took control and so can you.
1. Stop teaching. Make (or obtain) a sample of something cool that they can make by tracing for a composition, etc. Different patterns, zentangle, I used to also have them make artistic skill backgrounds and then trace cartoon characters on them (they love that even in middle school). It has to be something that looks "cool" to them. Address each table with instructions and do not try to teach in front of class till this is taken care of. I did it and so can you. Have that sample to show them a good one.

2. Stay so, so calm. Act like you've seen it all before. Do not freak out and quietly address people that are disruptive close to them and discreetly-then walk away. Address your tables again with instructions.

3. It will be embarrassing and you will feel bad for the students that are behaving. Quietly thank them for their work in class. Do not make a show of it, but let them know.

4. BUY CANDY. If you do not want to-find a cheap place where it is on sale. They even like peppermints and butterscotches. While the students are working give the students that are working a piece of candy discreetly (don't worry the disruptive students will see). DO NOT HOLD IT OVER THE STUDENTS' HEADS that are misbehaving. If they ask for one say calmly and nicely-it is for students that are seated, quiet, and working and walk away! Lock the candy up and then say that everyone that works till the end of class will get another candy. Do not let someone snatch it from you etc. Have a plan for storage and do not play with the candy or barter with individual kids with it-a nerve will be hit.

5. Take a list of students names to where the phone is and call home. You have to and it will help somewhat. Get a google voice number if that is allowed to use in the classroom. Find a way to make calling home easier and more efficient.

6. Do not let them see you sweat and buy a lot of candy. Address behaviors directly, quietly,and discreetly then walk away even if it is continuing. Build the relationships with the kids that are working first then the misbehaviors.

7. DO NOT GIVE THEM ANY REASON TO GET UP. All supplies on table, no one gets up. I gave them all their supplies in ziploc bags. I put dollar store pencil sharpeners in ziploc bags and the shavings went in there.
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Old 02-12-2019, 07:44 PM
 
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Artlady you hit it spot on. It's amazing what a piece of candy can do. Your whole post was excellent.

Kishkumen, I'm so sorry this is happening to you.
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Old 02-13-2019, 12:04 PM
 
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Excellent advice. I have been trying to tell her the same but you did such a great job at summarizing it with "stop teaching." Yes, you do have to give them an activity but you should not attempt to instruct because it is only another opportunity for them to disrupt at this point. Right now your only option is to provide activities that they have the ability to complete with minimal help and give you time to put your ducks in row during each class. I was unable to give you more ideas as to the type of activities bc I am not an art teacher, but I think mandalas and zentangles would be a great idea. I totally agree don't allow them to get out of their seat at all. They must raise their hand if they need anything. Even then, you get whatever they need to them.

I know that you have resigned already. I still think you are a great teacher and we are not giving up on you.
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Old 02-14-2019, 02:58 AM
 
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I would like to send you a PM to ask you a question, but I see you posted using guest status. Are you a PT member? If so, please PM me. Thanks.
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partial success
Old 02-15-2019, 06:06 PM
 
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First, thanks for the the support here. I was ready to just abandon this forum, as it seems all I do is complain and then shoot down ideas from those of you trying to help.

Visual cues don't really work, because I'll hear loud talking coming from a table full of students working diligently without their mouths moving. I'll also see a kid on the other side of the room with his mouth moving but no sound coming out.

But yesterday I tried something new: I walked to every students with a mouth moving and told him or to lower his voice, or that she was being too loud. I was just guessing, since it's impossible to determine who is whispering and who is shouting. But after seven or eight tries, I got lucky and the volume suddenly dropped. I had stumbled across one of the loud students. This was fourth grade, so students were likely to respond to instruction.

Today I tried the same thing with another 4th grade class and it didn't work. Despite circulating the room and loud talking volume, I could not see any students moving their mouths. As usual, the noise seemed "piped in" over speakers and not actually coming from students.

But at the end of class, i gave some call-back signals and took notes of who was still moving a mouth. I ended up sending e-mail to eight different parents after school.

Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth grades were better then normal, but I did have to kick three kids to a buddy room in one class and another two in another class. One student came in asking to be sent to the normal room across the hall. He just wanted to avoid work, so I told him to stay put and learn something today. He became more and more disruptive until I sent him to a completely different teacher.

An eighth grade girls was seen chewing something for the second time in class today, so I asked her for the second time that snacks were not allowed. She told me to "get new glasses" which earned her a lunch detention.

In all, I e-mailed or called seventeen parents after school today, which took over two hours. Hopefully there will be a change in student behavior when I have those classes again next Friday.
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