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neeGATE neeGATE is offline
 
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What Do I Do About Girl Drama?
Old 07-22-2013, 04:57 PM
 
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Hi. I'm new here - this is my first post. I signed up JUST to ask this question:

A quick background for the sake of context: I spent 10 years teaching 5th Grade Gifted Ed. and recently switched to 3rd Grade Regular Ed. I'm also a male teacher so, maybe, I have a harder time understanding the whys and hows of girls.

So, last year was my second year of teaching 3rd and the absolute bane of my existence was girl drama.

The girls in my class were sneaky and mean to each other to such a degree that my class was interrupted frequently with crying and girls refusing to come back into the room after lunch or recess.

I tried a lot of things throughout the year to suppress the bullying but it cost me a lot of instructional time and student motivation - I'm SURE some girls skipped days of school to avoid their classmates ( and subsequently missed the instruction on those days ).

So, PLEASE, any advice you have as to how to prevent, mediate, handle, punish, etc. this stuff would be appreciated.


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Some years are better...
Old 07-23-2013, 05:57 PM
 
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I've had horrible years with this and then others are pretty good. One thing I've noticed, though, is that sometimes it's one girl that is instigating these reactions. I suggest that you try to see if there is a girl who seems to be in the middle of this but doesn't be complaining. If so, you might pull her aside and see what's going on.

I know it's frustrating and it is to them too, but I try to pull all the parties together and we've actually spent recess with the social worker one time, trying to come up with better alternatives. Your social worker should have a vast array of things they can suggest.

Unfortunately, girls can be catty. That kind of thing irritates me because what they're doing is basically being bullies. Usually my class knows I HATE (although I don't say that word in 2nd/3rd grade) bullying.
You can also teach them the I-message:
So and so, I don't like it when you do .....
It hurts my feelings.
I would like you to stop. (or something else they see as the solution)

I would imagine you're getting brought up in the middle and I've found that some of my students wouldn't even attempt to try to solve their own problems. Once they've tackled the problem then I will step in.
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Two Ideas for you
Old 07-26-2013, 10:26 AM
 
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In general, 3rd graders are great. But they are growing up and they do have social learning mile markers that they need to learn how to handle. If 3rd grade boys have a problem, it generally revolves around the physical nature of recess games or teasing. When 3rd grade girls have problems, they are "girl drama"type problems.

I have found that I need to use some of my social studies time to teach/counsel/discuss social behavior, i.e. getting along with others. Last year, my girls got a lot out of the book, Smart Girl's Guide to Friendship Troubles. It seemed to help them know that the problems they were experiencing were normal and it wasn't just them.

Also, once I'd had enough of "a new crisis every day after lunch that took a half a period to sort out," I got a fancy box and some notepaper and told them they could write me a note anytime things weren't going well and then I could read them when I wasn't actually supposed to be teaching. After reading the notes, sometimes we had a class discussion, sometimes I shared a chapter out of a book that was helpful, and sometimes all it took was a quick private conversation with the offenders - and another quick conversation to let the offended one I had read their note and taken care of it.

It is also helpful to let parents know that this is a normal part of growing up and enlist their help at home by discussing positive ways to deal with these sorts of issues if/when they arise. I would suggest they get a copy of the Smart Girls Guide to share with their daughter.
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Been there
Old 07-27-2013, 01:27 PM
 
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It is so true that some years are better than others, but you will always deal with a little of it--even in 2nd where I am. After the first week or few days of class have the students brainstorm how they want to be treated by others, by you, etc. Record their ideas with simple phrases--listen to each other, include anyone, apologize, etc. You can everyone sign off on it so when they do step out of bounds you can say "Hey, we agreed on this, remember?" Reading picture books that deal with relationships can be a starting point to think/talk about things.

I had a year once where the drama was eating into instructional time, and all the drama was affecting class morale. Then I bought little notepads for the chief instigators to use just like the PP said. I wrote back to each girl when I had the chance-either correction or encouragement. These did not leave the room and were NOT shared with parents.

Dealing with girl drama is one of my least favorite behavior issues to deal with. So sorry you have to deal with it!
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Old 07-27-2013, 05:24 PM
 
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Previous posters gave excellent ideas. I just wanted to add that these kind of conflicts present a great opportunity to teach social skills.

Many girls feel that they must be everyone's friend. It is important to let them know that it is okay for them not to be friends with everyone, and to help them understand that if someone does something mean to you, they are not your friend. While this seems like common sense, girls are often taught that they should be nice to everyone. It can be a revelation to them that everyone is not your friend, and you are allowed to say no to a request.

Teaching them to be assertive by using I messages as explained above, and having them role play different conflict situations is very helpful and worth the time that it takes. You will find that spending time on this will reduce greatly the instructional time lost through the drama.


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