Have any of you ever sent home a letter to your parents asking for their support with behavior? For example, I feel like sending home a letter because my students (4th grade) are still (at this point in the year) not doing the following things independently regardless of any consequences I give:
*getting down to business in the morning. (morning routine is posted on board in HUGE writing)
*being kind and respectful to one another
*working cooperatively appropriately
You name it...they aren't doing it properly. I am constantly battling students arguing, yelling across room, jumping around, running, talking while I am teaching even right after a warning, bullying, silly, rude behavior, burping out loud...you name it.
I have never ever had a class this difficult before. They are better than they used to be but that isn't saying much. In years past, I have been blessed with wonderfully behaved children in which my Responsive Classroom techniques worked wonders....this year UGH!
I also had a play planned for this year. It has become a tradition that I do a play every year and I think the parents expect it and I even wrote about it at the beginning of the year so parents are very excited. However, the students' behavior is NOT anywhere near good enough for this to happen. I feel like the parents will wonder why we aren't doing it and I will have to explain.
Should I write a letter and send it out? Do I send it home to everyone. It is about 12 out of my 24 that are affecting our positive atmosphere. I got stacked with problems this year, but these kids are capable and none of them are SPED or have any diagnosed disorders...they are just not listening and making poor choices. Do I type of a sheet with all the rules and expectations and ask the parents to read and discuss these rules with their child and then sign a contract? I definitely think part of this should lie with the parents. I am ready to cancel the traditional play...do I just cancel and not say anything or explain to everyone why we aren't doing it? Please tell me your thoughts...I am ready to hear it!
Well, first I wouldn't send it home to all if it doesn't apply. That's not fair to students doing their job.
Also, what I do every now and then is bring my parent contact binder home on the weekend and make phone calls. I take my class list, make a couple of notes about what I want to discuss (IE: great behavior, not on task, etc). Narrow it down to one or 2 major behaviors you NEED to see addressed. I think you will find it more effective if you call and talk to the parents personally. Plus, the students doing their jobs will the phone call and continue to make good choices.
That said, you can send a note home ONLY TO THE STUDENTS IT APPLIES TO and have the parents sign and return it to school.
I also send out a letter at the end/midtrimester reminding parents of expectations. You could send home a letter just telling parents that with "spring fever" here you are just sending home a letter reminding them of expectations. If it's an ongoing problem I would be more proactive and call.
As for lining up and transitioning, it sounds like it might be time to practice/review those expectations as a class. I find I need to review those things at this time of year because of spring fever anyway. Maybe a review will help.
As for canceling the play, that's your call but is it really fair to all the students? Can you do it and tell them it's theirs to lose and pull the kids individually as their behavior gets in the way? You can send a note home having parents sign that they are aware of the expectations of the play and that they know kids will be pulled if they can't behave appropriately. That will CYA.
Now, normally I just did it with the students who really NEED help in these areas and the students I can't seem to get through too. (I'm subbing this year.)
However, the kindergarten teacher last year did it weekly for awhile because she was having so many problems with her students.
And I absoultely would not allow your students to do a play if theyre behavior/organization and other skills don't improve.
I didn't allow mine to dress up for Dr. Seuss day last year because their behavior was such a problem, third grade. And that's exactly what I told the parents who asked about it.
Honestly, I'm not sure how much support you'll get. I depends on your level of usual parent support. But if some of them were really looking forward to this play and want their children to get to do it, then they might be more likely to strongly encourage they're child to behave.
Do parents say anything when you call on the weekend? I have spoken to all 12 of these parents and most of them are supportive and just continually apologize for their child's behavior with very little improvement happening. There are two parents that do not care about what I have to say but their are always some of those in a class.
Oh I have used interactive modeling and reviewed up the wazoo for procedures like lining up and transitioning. They are fine for that one time, but they never stick with it for more than a day. We constantly review and practice procedures and yet they still are not doing them properly. I think my consequences need to get stricter...I mean I already take away recess, make phone calls and do a flip a card system. Many of them have seen the principal more than once or twice as well. Yet no changes occur. What consequences do you have up your sleeve?
It is not fair to all the students to cancel the play. That's what I am struggling with. I think I don't have the nerve to cancel it anyway. I will send home a letter telling them all the expectations and if they can't handle it, they get extra working time when everyone else is rehearsing and they do not get to participate in the play.
I make the student with the bad behavior write the letter. I have a conference with the student and let them know what I expect to see in the letter. After I approve the letter, I sign it and they have to bring it back signed by the parent the next day. It is always very effective.
If the child does not have their letter signed, they are sent to the office to call their parents.
Proceed with the play with only the students that are showing the behavior that is required to participate. While you are working on the play the rest of the class can work on assigned seat-work. In your letter home, you can outline the requirements for participating in the play. You won't have to mention what students are not doing, just outline the behaviors that you must see for students to qualify for the special privilege. Give students a week or two to meet your requirements.