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Kishkumen Kishkumen is offline
 
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Identical procedures does not produce identical results
Old 11-20-2017, 06:29 PM
 
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My curriculum coach came in at 3:00 to demonstrate end-of-day procedures for my third-grade class. Her procedure was nearly identical to mine. I'm baffled as to why it worked for her but takes ten minutes for me.
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She had the kids clean up the floor up while she counted down slowly from ten. When she got to zero, the students were in their seats and the floor was clean.

She dismissed two tables at a time to get their stuff from cubbies and go-home folders, then return to their desks. When everyone was in their seat, they lined up by transportation method. The whole thing took four minutes.
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I have the kids clean up the floor while I count down from 30 seconds. It's the same amount of time, but afterwards, the floor is still not clean and half the class is still out of their seats. I'll count down from 20 to get everyone back in their seats. However, some students are still fooling around, so it takes a bit longer to get everyone seated again.

The students are directed to clean up the floor again. When a table is done, I'll let them get their stuff. Otherwise, they have to pick up paper, eraser bits, pencil shaving, snack wrappers, and other things they chose not to pick up the first time.

Immediately, there is a bottleneck when they get their stuff. They have backpacks in cubbies and go-home folders in three different locations (ten students per location). It takes so long for a student to find his folder, and get the stuff out, that students from the first table are still there when the last table arrives.

After four or five minutes, most students are sitting back down. Some have still neglected to clean their area, but have gotten their stuff anyway without my notice. Others are still trying to get backpacks loaded, while a few students have forgotten to check their folders. It's now almost time to line up, and my four Check-in/Check-Out students return after checking-out with their mentor teacher. They quickly proceed to socialize instead of getting ready to leave.

We stand up quietly. When the class chooses not to, students have to sit back down and practice that expectation again. After three times, we have to line up anyway because we can't miss the bus. They're directed to line up quietly. When they choose not to do that, they are directed to return to their desks and try it again. That usually takes once but sometimes three times before it's time to walk out the door.

We're now dismissing from class. Some students are still sitting down because they forgot to stand up and get in line, or because they're trying to shove things into backpacks or desks.

The procedures are almost identical, but the results are vastly different.


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Old 11-20-2017, 07:06 PM
 
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Well, I’m not there, but off the top of my head:
1) clear expectations
2) go over everything beforehand
3) sometimes it’s a matter of how one carries oneself...self-confidence for lack of a better term.
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Old 11-20-2017, 08:56 PM
 
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Kids always behave better for a visitor, especially when you’re there watching. They relax more with you, because they’re more familiar with you.

Have you had a class talk about the different results? Share what you observed and get their ideas. They may surprise you.
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Dismissal
Old 11-21-2017, 04:11 AM
 
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I teach second grade, and I think you’re really on the right track. I just think you give them way too much time, so they waste it. Counting down from thirty is very different from counting down from ten! I would say try lowering your countdown number, because kids like the “rush” - it feels like a competition.

Also, start your dismissal procedures much earlier so that you build in time to make them do it the right way. In the beginning of the year, my dismissal allowance is THIRTY MINUTES! And we need it because we drill the non-negotiables into their heads. I can, have, and will continue to make them go back and do it again and again until they show an understanding of expectations. Showing an intolerance for the behavior you consider undesirable (talking, mess, etc.) and making them practice until they do it the way you expect is frustrating but it works. They don’t want to do it over and over again any more than you do!

You can assign a cleaning captain for your tables and/or your room. Their job will be to inspect the tables and floor for messes before dismissal.

Here is my own procedure (remember we started with 30 minutes...):
T-10 minutes: Planner - I initial as kids finish
Kids pack up - read a book while they wait
T-5 minutes: put up chairs and clean up the floor
T-3 minutes: bus kids line up
T-2 minutes: walking kids line up
T-1 minute: bus kids are dismissed and car kids line up
Blastoff: I walk everyone else out

Adding:
I saw HALL on Pinterest a few years ago and I use it faithfully! I did add an S, though, because we have stairs. It’s helpful for getting kids ready to leave the room:
H - Hands at your sides
A - All eyes forward
L - Lips closed
L - Low speed (keeps class from stretching out a mile down the hallway)
S - Soft feet on the stairs
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Less talk, more action
Old 11-21-2017, 05:43 AM
 
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I would say it's because one kid starts talking or fails to comply in some small way, and gets away with it. Even a whisper grows into more talking and distraction and eventually disruption. Really really watch and the moment you see one kid even whisper when doing your procedure, remove him from the group to stand in the hall or at the back wall. My guess is that you've taught the procedures, you've gone over the expectations, but somewhere along the way you are not enforcing. What do you DO when a kid talks after you've said no talking? Or if a kid does something else when you said clean up the floor under your desk? For some reason they think you won't do anything about it when they don't comply. Is it because YOU are not taking non-compliance seriously enough? It's an easy trap to fall into and, I'm totally speaking from experience.

"I was just asking her what the homework was."
"I was just throwing away my tissue."
"I was just sharpening my pencil."
"I was just showing you my picture."

These all seem like perfectly innocent and respectable behaviors - EXCEPT that they are doing something OTHER than what you instructed and require. When they do the above, for example, you can't just SAY something to them. In fact it's best if you don't SAY much at all. You have to DO something. Mark the behavior sheet, keep in five minutes at recess, give in class time out, phone call home, etc. depending on the frequency, severity, attitude, etc. If you're having to make the whole class practice procedures endlessly, when you've already made the instructions crystal clear, then something else is wrong. At that point it's not a need for practice, it's a need for enforcement. Just do it with a calm cool demeanor and as little discussion as possible.


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Healthy Competition
Old 11-21-2017, 01:10 PM
 
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When I was still in the classroom,I would often use competition to get students to do things quickly and properly. This worked especially well to minimize wasted time when transitioning between different activities and during clean-up at the end of the day. If your students are seated in groups, set up a competition to see which group can get ready the fastest (with all supplies put away, all trash on the floor picked up, etc.). I used a digital timer on the screen which added to the excitement. You will be amazed at how peer pressure automatically kicks as each group strives to be the first to finish and take their place at the front of the line at the door.

Whenever you try a new strategy, especially with classroom management, it's important to stick to the details as much as possible. I noticed that you deviated from your coach's 10-second countdown by tripling the time allowance! If you are intent on replicating the results, you need to do it exactly the way the strategy was modeled.
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Procedure Coaching
Old 11-22-2017, 07:09 AM
 
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Something that might help is to think of your kids' behaviors the same way an athletic coach does and to get your kids thinking about themselves as team mates who have to accomplish a task to "win." When you ask them to do something, stop them as soon as you see a mistake in the procedure. Smile and laugh about it, but have them start over. Challenge them to see if they can do their clean-up or their going-home transition more efficiently than they did the day before or the time before. Use expressions like, "That was pretty good. I think we can be great, though. What do you think?" Bonus: you can record their times in a spread sheet and use it for a math activity (if that's applicable). At their core, kids want to please the important people in their lives. Good luck!
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Old 11-22-2017, 08:23 AM
 
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This isn't a new strategy. I've been doing this since the beginning of the year, expecting students to increase in speed. They haven't. It still takes 20 minutes.

Then my coach came in to show me a "new procedure" which turned out to me identical to what I had been doing all along. The only difference was the students followed her directions immediately, while I'm mostly ignored.

•My time was 30 seconds. The coach's time was about 30 seconds, because she counted slowly from ten: "ten......... niiiiine...... eight... seven.. siiiiiiix... fiiiiive........foooooouuurrrr. .................threeeeeee.... ..............................t woooooo........................ ..............one.............. ..............and..... we're done!" and she increased the pauses as students neared the deadline. I stick to 30 seconds without slowing my count, so the time is about the same.

•There are several students off-task, but I can't tell who they are. There are so many students moving, that it's impossible to pinpoint sources of noise or disruption

•The class is noisy during this time, but there is no way to enforce quiet, because it's impossible to determine who is making noise.

•I've tried competitions with time. As with all strategies, it works the first two or three times, but then become less effective after that. The students don't seem interested in competing.
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Details
Old 11-22-2017, 09:42 AM
 
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As I mentioned earlier, sometimes the smallest details can make all the difference. If you stuck to 30 seconds without slowing the count, that may have been enough to nix your efforts. Elementary students often respond to affectation in speech - this may well explain the different outcomes that you witnessed. Try saying it exactly the way the coach said it and see what happens:

"ten......... niiiiine...... eight... seven.. siiiiiiix... fiiiiive........foooooouuurrrr. .................threeeeeee.... ..............................t woooooo........................ ..............one.............. ..............and..... we're done!" Be sure to increase the pauses as students near the end.

You might even add some animated, exaggerated gestures (e.g. sweeping arm movements with head back, looking up to the ceiling). How about a LOUD gong or other unexpected sound to signal when time is up? It's all about showmanship!
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Pack-Up
Old 11-22-2017, 11:11 AM
 
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I agree with dutchgirl and Ucan:
A) They always behave better for a visitor, and
B) they love a showy rountine!

If you don't feel you can do the counting down effectively, do you have a smartboard? You could put a visual countdown timer up there. (But I do like the control of doing it myself.)

Quote:
When a table is done, I'll let them get their stuff...It takes so long for a student to find his folder, and get the stuff out, that students from the first table are still there when the last table arrives...Some have still neglected to clean their area, but have gotten their stuff anyway without my notice.
And start with fixing this chaos. ONE table is up at a time, in the same order every day, so they can't say they thought it was their turn. Nobody else is to be out of their seat (so you can watch just a few at a time).

Set aside that 30 minutes the first time, and tell everyone the new expectations. Make them repeat it back. Then proceed to stay on the members of that in-the-spotlight table to do it right. Peer pressure is your friend here, as they really don't want the whole class waiting for them.

I like teebomb's idea of recording the times too. Graph it, and congratulate them as the time gets shorter!


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Old 11-22-2017, 06:11 PM
 
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Quote:
My curriculum coach came in at 3:00 to demonstrate end-of-day procedures for my third-grade class. Her procedure was nearly identical to mine. I'm baffled as to why it worked for her but takes ten minutes for me. ...
This happens in almost every school. I'm sure you have observed it: the same students act one way for one teacher and completely different for another. Yet the teachers have practically identical rules and procedures. When Fred Jones and researchers were observing in hundreds of classrooms regarding this phenomenon they were scratching their heads trying to discover why some teachers make discipline look easy while others struggle.

They kept going back to the classrooms of the teachers they termed "naturals" looking for the special technique or intervention. They saw none. "Maybe they threaten students with death the first day?" they thought. The team interviewed the naturals. They were no help. These teachers could not explain what they were doing to realize so much rule following. There were no charts, names, clips, stars, Lucky Bucks or time-out areas. In fact researchers couldn't see any visible signs of discipline taking place. These teachers were walking around the room helping students and joking. This was very aggrevating for the team. Something was going on but they couldn't find it.

After several weeks the team finally recognized "it". It was body language. It was the way the teacher stood, turned, walked and gestured that signaled to students "I mean business". In the classrooms of the teachers struggling they noted quick, rapid movement, clenched jaw, finger jabbing, arms folded across chest, quarter instead of full turns - all signaling someone upset and losing control. When these teachers were at the board and noticed disruption they turned partially around to address it. In body language they were telling students this disruption is sort of important but I'd rather be teaching. When the naturals spotted disruption the lesson came to a screeching halt. They turned all the way around with both feet and shoulders squared-up facing the problem(s). Their face was neutral, a sort of bored look (signaling calm). There was no doubt in the room instruction had stopped and the teacher was now in discipline mode. Students read it, "This is serious." Did the naturals speak? Sometimes. Most often they just stood planted, relaxed and waited. Their bodies were doing all the talking.

Consider: It is far more likely any management system works not because the system is all that fabulous but more likely due to the fundamentals it is built upon and the person using it.
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Self-Fulfilling Prophecy?
Old 11-22-2017, 06:24 PM
 
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Maybe the students are picking up on your vibe that "nothing works" with them. I've read a couple of your posts here and they usually ring pretty close to "when I try that, it doesn't work" for many scenarios and suggestions given to you.

How long have you been teaching? Do you feel you have really connected with your students and built some sort of positive relationship with most of them?

Some of your language (check in/check out, etc) sounds like PBIS. Is that a system you have school wide on your campus? Is there some sort of school wide tickets or money that is used to promote expected behaviors?

I'm not sure what grade you teach. I teach first grade and when our end of day is struggling I offer special stickers to students who are packed up and quiet sometimes. I also try to give them an incentive of watching 3-4 minutes of Peep and Chirp (a science related cartoon) that they love if we can pack up very efficiently and quietly.
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Old 11-23-2017, 09:21 AM
 
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Really really watch and the moment you see one kid even whisper when doing your procedure, remove him from the group to stand in the hall or at the back wall. My guess is that you've taught the procedures, you've gone over the expectations, but somewhere along the way you are not enforcing. What do you DO when a kid talks after you've said no talking?
If I could determine who those students are, I could apply a consequence.

Quote:
How long have you been teaching? Do you feel you have really connected with your students and built some sort of positive relationship with most of them?
This is my 12th year teaching, and my 3rd year teaching 3rd grade. Prior to this I've taught 2nd grade and k-8 art. I believe I have a positive relation with the students. They love sharing things with me, and they wave as I drive by (a few live in my neighborhood)

Quote:
Challenge them to see if they can do their clean-up or their going-home transition more efficiently than they did the day before or the time before. Use expressions like, "That was pretty good. I think we can be great, though.
I've tried that since last year. Win or lose, they don't seem to care enough to change behavior.

Quote:
It was body language. It was the way the teacher stood, turned, walked and gestured that signaled to students "I mean business". In the classrooms of the teachers struggling they noted quick, rapid movement, clenched jaw, finger jabbing, arms folded across chest, quarter instead of full turns - all signaling someone upset and losing control.
I've been accused of being "too nice" to students. Other teachers have told me to "show them that you really mean it".

Quote:
When these teachers were at the board and noticed disruption they turned partially around to address it. In body language they were telling students this disruption is sort of important but I'd rather be teaching. When the naturals spotted disruption the lesson came to a screeching halt. They turned all the way around with both feet and shoulders squared-up facing the problem(s). Their face was neutral, a sort of bored look (signaling calm). There was no doubt in the room instruction had stopped and the teacher was now in discipline mode. Students read it, "This is serious."
I do the Fred Jones thing (6-second turn, relax and let the student do the work, silent look). When happens when this doesn't work, and the students continue to be disruptive? Worse, what do I do when multiple consequences fail to change a students' behavior? positive recognition, table points, private conversations, lunch detentions, phone calls home, and other things mandated before the admin gets involve have all failed. Admin intervention has also failed.

I believe the problem is that consequence (positive and negative) are not severe enough to change a student's behavior.
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Old 11-24-2017, 05:20 AM
 
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This is my 12th year teaching, and my 3rd year teaching 3rd grade. Prior to this I've taught 2nd grade and k-8 art. I believe I have a positive relation with the students.
Interesting. Did your current 3rd graders have you for art in kinder? Maybe they're still associating you with the more relaxed atmosphere of a specials class?

Quote:
If I could determine who those students are, I could apply a consequence.
IIRC, you had posted before about not knowing where noise was coming from, but I don't remember if anyone asked then whether you've had your hearing checked? Maybe there's something physical making the different sounds difficult to distinguish?

Quote:
I've been accused of being "too nice" to students.
I can be like that too! And I do believe a real relationship with your students is the ideal, but I think you kind of have to start tougher and lighten up, rather than starting right off in "nice" mode. (I know that doesn't help much for this year, but maybe good advice for next year?)


I did think of one more thing for pack-up time, though - music. What if you had a "pack-up playlist" (something like the Schoolhouse Rock multiplication songs) and you allowed them to quietly sing along while putting stuff away?

The goal would be do stay on pace and finish by the end of the songs. Pack-up is a noisy part of the day, and it comes just when our tolerance for noise is wearing thin! But I think it might help you handle the noise better if they were at least all saying the same thing, instead of many different things at once.
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Old 11-24-2017, 06:11 AM
 
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I’ve read your responses to other posters and I’m going to be really honest - it sounds like you have given up.

Most of your responses are “I’ve tried and it doesn’t work.”

Try again. And again. Change your delivery, your tone of voice, change your posture, your volume, until it does work. Change your approach. You’ve gotten TONS and fantastic advice from so many others on this thread!

And the not being able to isolate who is talking? Then stop everyone. Sometimes a whole group consequence is necessary. “Someone is talking and I asked for no voices, so we all have to start over.” A hundred times if necessary.

Be tough. Don’t compromise or negotiate. You know what you want, start demanding it. And make them stop and practice, stop and practice, stop and practice until it happens.
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Old 11-24-2017, 11:57 AM
 
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Have them practice on their time. Bring them in during recess to practice this routine. I guarantee they’ll do it right the first time. Tell them if they do it right during dismissal they can come in again.

Walk the room to determine who’s talking. We all know who our talkers are. Keep in close proximity to them.

Send only a few out at a time to get their things. This will cut down in the chaos.
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Take a Step Back
Old 11-24-2017, 02:10 PM
 
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I believe I have a positive relation with the students.

A positive relationship between you and your students is not measured by their willingness to share things with you (e.g. what I did on Saturday) or their waving to you as you drive by. More accurately, it is reflected in their respect for you - or lack thereof - as the authority figure in the classroom. (This will probably ruffle some teachers' feathers, but who cares!) Contrary to what you may have been told, you must earn your students' respect and vice versa. You report that most of your students tend to simply ignore your directions - this clearly demonstrates their disrespect for you as a teacher. Based on what you've written, I would conclude that you do not have a positive relationship with your students.

The students don't seem interested in competing.

I have never met a 3rd grade class that didn't like competitive activities. It's most likely how you set up the competition that causes it to fail. Perhaps you would consider letting a 2-3 of your top students have the privilege of setting up a fun academic activity with a competitive element. No prizes, points, or tickets needed.

I believe the problem is that consequences are not severe enough to change a student's behavior.

A major obstacle in your efforts to change student behavior is the absence of clear and meaningful consequences. You have expressed confusion about what to do when multiple consequences fail to change a student's behavior. Both MissESL and GreyhoundGirl have expressed the importance of practice, "A hundred times if necessary". Pick the consequence carefully to ensure that it gets everyone's attention - the more severe the better. Ask us for suggestions, if you don't know what is guaranteed to work. Stick with one consequence until you get the desired result - if you give up too soon, students will view you as a failure and will continue their bad behavior with renewed vigor. Your students are actually modeling what you should be doing - be tough and don't compromise.

Have you decided what will you be doing differently on Monday? I'm just guessing, but I think you could probably benefit from practicing your "mean teacher look" (actually more like an emotionless poker face) in the mirror before returning to the classroom. I learned not to smile when discussing serious issues like misbehavior. Good luck!

Last edited by Ucan; 11-24-2017 at 08:53 PM..
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Old 11-24-2017, 07:46 PM
 
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You have been given great advice! You have to go into it with an attitude of "we will practice until it meets my expectations". Think it through - what exactly you want it to look like. List the steps on a chart so they can see the expectations and you can refer to them. Then practice with them until it meets your expectations. If it doesn't, then explain what needs to be corrected until it meets the expectations. You have to have an attitude of "we will work on this until it is right and I will not give up". You can do this - get tough!
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Old 11-25-2017, 07:29 AM
 
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Thank you all for the suggestions. I will attempt a "procedures reset" on Monday.

However, how do I avoid a power struggle with the class? Last year a reset (following instructions by the admin and the curriculum coach) only resulted in some unidentified students purposely messing up so we could practice lining up a 5th or 6th consecutive time. They got a sense of power out of disrupting the lesson, so repeated practice actually encouraged the bad behavior.

Practicing more than a few times means the entire class is getting punished for the actions of only 5 or 6 students. In my experience, this has always resulted in losing the support of the rest of the class. They become united together against me.

I lost my enthusiasm (which the kids picked up), the students lost their enthusiasm, and the rest of the year was miserable. Behavior didn't improve, either. Students learned that the procedure practice was more enjoyable than doing the math work, so they used behavior to prevent instruction.

I'm doing a reset only as a last resort. So, how can procedures be enforced without losing support of the class?

Yes, I could use some suggestions for consequences. Proximity, redirection, reseating students, buddy rooms, losing recess, and calling parents have not been effective. There has be something else I'm missing.
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Old 11-25-2017, 10:25 AM
 
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Two questions: 1) Do you have an afternoon recess? 2) Can you keep them in during afternoon recess?

If you can, then I would change the timing of when you get ready to go home by establishing a quiet reading time 15 or 20 minutes before afternoon recess depending on your class size. During the quiet reading time, I would send 1 or 2 students to get their mail and load their folders or binders and I would make a point of watching behavior and not using the time to finish tasks of my own. When sending out students, I would go to their seat and give a silent signal that it was their turn. After the folders are loaded, they go in the backpack and the backpacks go back to wherever they're kept. Allow no talking. After all, others are reading.

Be affirming to the ones who are doing great, either right on the spot for younger students or at a private time with older students. Ex: "Student, I noticed yesterday that you have a real knack for organizing papers quickly. I was impressed."

Those who are too slow to load their backpacks get to finish at recess. The floor around their seat needs to be cleaned up before they can go to recess. If you can't let students go down the hall by themselves, then take the whole class but bring the stragglers back with you to finish their tasks. That way, the cooperative students are not held hostage by the uncooperative ones. The consequence is a natural one since they have chosen to use packing up time as their play time.

When you get to the end of the day, they just need to collect coats and backpacks and back to their seats. Plan an engaging activity for the left over time like Silent Ball, Spelling Sparkle, Guess Who.

Most classes also enjoy "One Minute Conversations". You write a few topics on slips of paper like: Spiders, Long Hair, Rocks, Pizza, Snow, etc. and call on a student who selects one of the topics. They need to talk for 1 full minute about the topic without using fillers like umm, uhh, etc. Attention getting students tend to love this activity. Some classes also like riddles or jokes as a calm yet enjoyable way to fill any left over minutes or you could read aloud to them.

It sounds like there are a few students who are using closing time as a power struggle or just a game to be played. I would switch up the rules to the game.
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Old 11-25-2017, 10:55 AM
 
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Not sure what you mean by procedures "reset"? Consider: 1) Sit down and make a list of all the procedures/rules you will need to create a learning environment - hand signals, passing papers, line up, entering room, free time, drinks, pencils etc. You should come up with about 20. Then prioritize (1-20) the list with "must have, first" to "this can wait". Put the list on the board or a chart. As students master each procedure/rule check it. The list becomes the "lessons" you will teach until they get them right. My first, must have was always entering the room since this sets the stage for all that follows. 2) Don't wait for students to cause a problem then react by doing procedure or rule over. That's reactionary management. Anticipate when/where a problem may occur and head it off at the pass by practicing before the procedure starts. Example 1: You ask students to pass papers forward. Most do but some see this as a sign to disrupt. You stop everyone and start over (reactionary). Example 2: You start by reviewing procedure for passing papers as carefully as any review lesson - input, modeling, checking for understanding, guided practice, teach your partner. Then you have students perform by passing papers(proactive).

I know what you are thinking: "Yeah, but what if some students still try to delay instruction by goofing off?" And they will. Just to see if you are for real or a fake. Testing the teacher is a right of passage for some. It was for me. If you expect it and have a plan to cut if off before it starts management will begin to head to the back burner where it belongs. Most stress and heading to the medicine cabinet comes from constantly reacting to little disruptions all day long. Proactive teachers don't think, "What kind of consequence should _____ receive for doing _____ ?" They think, "What can I do to prevent _____ from occurring in the first place?"

Although worrying about the innocent suffering due to the few is a valid concern when it comes to practicing over and over it pales when compared to the lost instructional time the innocent suffer every period, every day until June because the teacher must constantly stop instruction to deal with discipline. Fred Jones - "Pay your dues up front or pay all year long. Either way you will pay." Michael Linsin - "If it's one or two students deal with them individually. If it's more than a couple it's whole class." Something else: Like a well-taught math lesson the precision and design of the dismissal lesson (or any procedure) will have a lot to do with how many times one practices. Fast-sloppy and kids will pick up this isn't that important. Jones - "If there is one piece of advice I could give to teachers it would be 'slow down'."

Consequences should be logical not punishment. If a student is disrupting neighbors he/she should be removed so others can get their work done. Missing recess is punishment. Some teachers have success with sending students to a colleague's classroom separated by as many grade levels as possible like 1st to 6th. It has to do with playing to your audience. A packet of self-directed work should be prepared in advance and students should not be allowed to return to class for a minimum of 30 minutes. Of course both teachers need to collaborate in advance to iron out details and it should be reciprocal.
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Old 11-25-2017, 11:25 AM
 
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Proximity, redirection, reseating students, buddy rooms, losing recess, and calling parents have not been effective. There has be something else I'm missing.

Let's think about this. It sounds like you've tried everything imaginable without success. You also admit to having lost your spark with this class -
many of us would probably be feeling the same way after months of failure. Yet, you report that another teacher can achieve amazing and immediate results with the your students.

My speculation: Based on my own similar experiences, I would like to offer a "shot in the dark" which may help explain what's going on. Throughout most of my career (until I figured out a solution), I encountered challenging students who were extremely rude and disrespectful to me. Like you, no matter what I did or said, I was unable to change their attitudes and disruptive behaviors. It was my wife who pointed out to me that I just didn't have the right facial features needed to establish authority in my classroom. Looking in the mirror, I could see that maybe she was onto something - my baby face didn't command attention from my students. You know how some colleagues make you feel when they give you their stern, disapproving look? I dare say that even my ethnicity may have been a contributing factor. Could it be that you also possess the same physical disadvantage(s) as I?

Solution: Since I couldn't muster/master that same commanding look even with much practice in front of a mirror, I turned to alternative gimmicks to help me with classroom management - TECHNOLOGY! All kids love anything having to do with technology, so I flipped my classroom to include as much of it as possible: iPads, laptops, SmartBoard. It took a while and involved some trial and error, but now all I have to do is threaten to withdraw tech privileges and even the most challenging student is unrecognizable in class. As teachers, it's sometimes necessary to look beyond merely what we do and how we do it - in other words, the medium often influences the way the message is perceived. In this case, the medium is the message.

Lesson learned: While some teachers have the "look" and others have musical or dramatic talents to get their students to behave properly, those of us with baby faces and "soft" demeanors must rely on other means to achieve the same results.
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Send Them Out
Old 11-25-2017, 11:33 AM
 
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Before you try another strategy, plan on removing the 5 or 6 ringleaders from the room. Make arrangements with other teachers (one in each class) to babysit while you attempt a different approach. Leaving them in the room will only invite failure once again. After the class has learned the new procedures you can bring the brats back in and hopefully they will get with the program. If not, have their parents sit in your classroom - it works wonders. Good luck!
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Old 11-26-2017, 11:39 AM
 
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There are some good ideas here. Thank you all for putting up with me. If this were an easy problem to solve, it would've been solved already.

The reading time prior to clean up is a good one. While mornings are not too bad, the students never really calm down from lunch recess. They remain wired until dismissal two hours later. I've been having silent reading time just to give myself a break from the noise (the "silent" part is hard to enforce, though). Moving the time so it ends with clean-up will be a good experiment.

I can identify two or three of the problem students. Perhaps removing them will help identify the others. I've got the quiet kids in the back of the room, so maybe some of them are causing problems.

What I mean by a "reset" is treating the class as if it's beginning school year again, and doing nothing but practice procedures for a week or two. That means getting behind in curriculum. I did this last year returning from Christmas break, but it backfired. We ended up practicing procedures for the rest of the year. The disruptive students remained disruptive, I couldn't tell who they were, students saw that I was unable to stop the disruption and became off-task. That's why it's my last resort.

The classroom procedures were established at the beginning of the year become less and less effective as time goes on. It starts with call-back signals and quiet expectations, because there's no way to practice being quiet, nor is there a way to enforce the expectation. Once that goes, the other procedures start falling down as well. Practicing these procedures "until they get it right" results in practicing until we run out of instruction time

I'm not intimidating at all. Imagine the guy from "Blues Clues" trying to give a withering stare. I've depended on enthusiasm for the subject being taught.

I see what I can do with technology. It's really limited in my school, being a cart I have to "check out" ahead of time, and requiring 45 minutes to get everyone logged in with machines that work.
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Same ol' same ol'
Old 11-26-2017, 02:32 PM
 
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So, what exactly will you be doing differently on Monday morning (tomorrow)? With all the good ideas you've received, what's your plan? If you expect things to change with you in charge, you will need to have a flawless plan - not more trial and error.

What can you do with technology the moment students walk into your classroom? Do you have a laptop with PowerPoint installed? Do you have access to an LED projector that can be kept in your room? Do have a cable to hook-up the laptop to the projector? Do you know how to prepare a simple PPT presentation for each of your lessons? Show your students what you can do with technology. Time's running out!
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Old 11-26-2017, 08:49 PM
 
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Tomorrow I'm not going to make a lot of changes to the procedures, rather I'll reinforce the same procedures in place from the beginning of the year. The main problem is the quiet signal which is no longer being respected: "Class-Class" should be responded with, "yes, yes" but only two or three students actually do so. "if you can hear my voice clap once..." is also used and is also no longer effective. Lining up and walking quietly in class is actually much better than last year, so it won't need a lot of work.

Coming in from recess still needs work. The students prefer to stand around talking in 115° Arizona sun rather than get in a straight, quiet line and come into the air conditioned building. It takes several minutes to get everyone in line without someone popping back out to socialize. Now that temperatures have dropped below 100°, I expect more difficulty. Last year we spent ten minutes walking back and forth in the hallways each day before they finally chose to follow expectations.

Each classroom has a ceiling-mounted LCD projector, a computer and a document cam. I do a lot of powerpoints through the day. Bellwork is on a slide because I can type quicker and neater than writing on the whiteboard. phonograms and sight words are also displayed via slideshow, with a student advancing each slide so I can circulate the classroom as the class reads them aloud. Small-group choices, spelling words, writing prompts, and daily math word problems are also used via the computer and projector. Occasionally I'll show a youtube video when appropriate (my farm kids thought the New York Subway was a sandwich restaurant and needed to see an actual underground train station). The language arts curriculum also comes in a PowerPoint version but requires a lot of modification, and I haven't seen an improvement compared with not using it. Whiteboard work is more interactive.

During most of the day I use the document camera for whole-class assignments using personal whiteboards, or as we walk though a workbook or math problem together. I've also connected my old iBook and camera to the projector so we could do stop-motion animation as a class for Fun Friday. For science, I've demonstrated programming the Mindstorms robots, and we use a publisher's interactive website for social studies.
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Old 11-27-2017, 04:52 AM
 
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It sounds to me like the kids don't respect you. Until they do, you will continue to have problems.
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First day of Reset
Old 11-27-2017, 09:12 PM
 
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Today went pretty good. Instead of expecting the students to just "do" an established procedure, I explained the steps and expectations. We did a lot of practicing for getting stuff put away, getting out materials, cleaning up, lining up, passing in papers, and callback signals.

Morning went smoothly, though the time is a little tight due to awkward schedules. Students go straight to specials classes. Then they come into my classroom with full backpacks at about 8:40 and immediately six of them get pulled out for intervention, speech, etc. Today they were not allowed to leave until their backpacks were put away.

At issue is some students who think, "ten seconds to get your notebook out" means, "play around for ten seconds and then consider thinking about maybe getting something ready if you bothered to listen to the instructions and you feel like doing work today". A lot of transition time was spent getting eight or nine individual students to follow simple instructions like that.

Walking in a line was fine as usual (a big change from last year) but they still needed help getting in line and staying in line at the beginning.

The afternoon is still rough, though. Despite our daily readaloud, students are still hyper from running around outside for the next two hours. It's like a different class before lunch and after lunch. I suspect that my tolerance for noise is weakening at that point and it just seems louder, but the class is definitely less responsive to the callback signal in the afternoon

Getting ready at the end was done one table at a time with emphasis on "watch how Silver table does it. They're going to do an excellent job". I also timed each one on a stop watch for competition, which worked. Enough time was still left to practice standing up without talking, lining up without talking, then returning to their seats when they chose not to meet those expectations.

The same thing will happen tomorrow, so after a couple of weeks of this, the procedures should be re-established.

Quote:
It sounds to me like the kids don't respect you. Until they do, you will continue to have problems.
What is a good way to gain respect? To my knowledge, I'm doing everything required to earn respect, but apparently it's not working
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Old 11-27-2017, 11:39 PM
 
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Quote:
...What I mean by a "reset" is treating the class as if it's beginning school year again, and doing nothing but practice procedures for a week or two. That means getting behind in curriculum. I did this last year returning from Christmas break, but it backfired. We ended up practicing procedures for the rest of the year. The disruptive students remained disruptive, I couldn't tell who they were, students saw that I was unable to stop the disruption and became off-task. That's why it's my last resort....
How do you teach line-up? To use a trite expression, "Practicing doesn't make perfect. Practicing perfect makes perfect." Example: Where do you stand during line-up? Most teachers stand at the front of the line, signal then turn and walk. This is the worst spot. Why? How many students can you see when walking with your back to line? Answer: 0. Any they know it. When lining up place yourself at the back of the line. If there are kids likely to goof off place them at the back too. Tell a line leader at the front to watch and listen for your signal to "Stop". When starting tell line leader to walk to next classroom door (judgment) and stop. Then next door and so on. Call it "Checking for understanding". You want to check spacing, facing forward and no talking. If any of these are not to your standards it's turn around - check- and back to room. Do not wait for disruption then stop. Although you will do this too. Idea is to be proactive and stop disruption before it happens, hence, the stop and check.

Quote:
...The classroom procedures were established at the beginning of the year become less and less effective as time goes on. It starts with call-back signals and quiet expectations, because there's no way to practice being quiet, nor is there a way to enforce the expectation. Once that goes, the other procedures start falling down as well. Practicing these procedures "until they get it right" results in practicing until we run out of instruction time ...
I agree. Quiet is difficult to teach and enforce. Consider: no talking. How about a Mute Session?

Quote:
...Tomorrow I'm not going to make a lot of changes to the procedures, rather I'll reinforce the same procedures in place from the beginning of the year. The main problem is the quiet signal which is no longer being respected: "Class-Class" should be responded with, "yes, yes" but only two or three students actually do so. "if you can hear my voice clap once..." is also used and is also no longer effective. Lining up and walking quietly in class is actually much better than last year, so it won't need a lot of work. ...
How do you feel about verbal commands with a group that is too verbal to begin with? Could it be promoting the behavior you are trying to eliminate?

Quote:
...Coming in from recess still needs work. The students prefer to stand around talking in 115° Arizona sun rather than get in a straight, quiet line and come into the air conditioned building. It takes several minutes to get everyone in line without someone popping back out to socialize. Now that temperatures have dropped below 100°, I expect more difficulty. Last year we spent ten minutes walking back and forth in the hallways each day before they finally chose to follow expectations. ...
I don't blame them. Sooner they get back to the room sooner they have to get back to work. Going back and forth may be reinforcing behavior you are trying to eliminate. Yes, correct practice over and over is what teaches student to respect you. In this case, however, there is no incentive for the goof offs to shape up. Have you tried an incentive which outweighs the reinforcement of talking to friends? Without a heavy-duty incentive you are asking students to miraculously develop a proper work ethic even though many come from homes where chores are done by their parents.

Quote:
...At issue is some students who think, "ten seconds to get your notebook out" means, "play around for ten seconds and then consider thinking about maybe getting something ready if you bothered to listen to the instructions and you feel like doing work today". A lot of transition time was spent getting eight or nine individual students to follow simple instructions like that. ...
Consider an incentive like PAT to get students to hustle. In one class a teacher using PAT was able to have students enter the room, go to their seats, take out materials and begin on bell work assignment in 17 seconds. Prior to PAT it took same class 2'45'' to perform same procedure.

Quote:
What is a good way to gain respect? To my knowledge, I'm doing everything required to earn respect, but apparently it's not working.
Although there are others, one way to gain respect is the thoroughness in which you teach a rule or procedure. Better to nail down one routine to mastery than five routines half learned. In other words, when you say "No" students need to perceive it as no and not something else.
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Old 11-28-2017, 02:28 PM
 
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...It's like a different class before lunch and after lunch. I suspect that my tolerance for noise is weakening at that point and it just seems louder, but the class is definitely less responsive to the callback signal in the afternoon.
I find the same thing most of the time. The same class can be great in the morning, and difficult in the afternoon. I think you've got a point that our tolerance is lower, and I think their ability to hold it together is also lower. - We're all just tired by the end of the day! (I also tend to attribute some of it to the junk that passes for lunch.)

Quote:
Getting ready at the end was done one table at a time with emphasis on "watch how Silver table does it. They're going to do an excellent job". I also timed each one on a stop watch for competition, which worked. Enough time was still left...
Excellent!! I'm glad this worked for you!
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Old 11-28-2017, 05:35 PM
 
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When lining up place yourself at the back of the line. If there are kids likely to goof off place them at the back too. Tell a line leader at the front to watch and listen for your signal to "Stop". When starting tell line leader to walk to next classroom door (judgment) and stop. Then next door and so on. Call it "Checking for understanding". You want to check spacing, facing forward and no talking. If any of these are not to your standards it's turn around - check- and back to room. Do not wait for disruption then stop. Although you will do this too. Idea is to be proactive and stop disruption before it happens, hence, the stop and check
I walk in the center so I have proximity to both ends of the line, and I can watch the entire line as they go around corners (there are 27 students, so the line is fairly long) Students are always in alphabetical order so taking roll can be done before they go to morning specials.

The class goes to various checkpoints and stops. Lines actually work good. It's getting them into a line that takes multiple attempts.

The exception was today. We had an unannounced fire drill and it was "party time" walking out of the building. The front of the line disappeared out the hall door while I was still checking to see if the classroom was clear (the classroom is only about 90' away from the outside door) and ended up so far ahead they blended into the other classes. Several students were dancing, skipping, laughing, and shouting both ahead of me and behind.

When we came back from the fire drill, we did the same walk again, correctly.

Quote:
Quiet is difficult to teach and enforce. Consider: no talking. How about a Mute Session?

So what happens if a voice is heard during a mute session? If there is no way to determine the source, what is the consequence? What if a quarter of the class simply chooses to ignore the expectations and keep right on talking?

Quote:
Without a heavy-duty incentive you are asking students to miraculously develop a proper work ethic even though many come from homes where chores are done by their parents.
Do you have any suggestions?

Quote:
Consider an incentive like PAT to get students to hustle. In one class a teacher using PAT was able to have students enter the room, go to their seats, take out materials and begin on bell work assignment in 17 seconds. Prior to PAT it took same class 2'45'' to perform same procedure.
My class has been doing a version of PAT since the beginning of the year. We usually gain 15 to 20 minutes each week that can be used on a Fun Friday.
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Old 11-29-2017, 06:21 PM
 
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...It's getting them into a line that takes multiple attempts. ...
Why do you think students are not responding the first time?

Quote:
So what happens if a voice is heard during a mute session? If there is no way to determine the source, what is the consequence? What if a quarter of the class simply chooses to ignore the expectations and keep right on talking?
First, if a quarter of the class is ignoring my attempt at Mute Session I would can it pronto. It's not a reactionary technique to punish students for goofing off. It's a preventative technique to teach students they don't need to talk in the first place. I would have to reload my discipline plan and find out what I'm doing or not doing that signals to students goofing off is free. Second, if a voice is heard, and it happens often, I would deal with that particular student. Easiest way I've found to determine source is watching. Their mouths tend to open. Mute Session is 180 degrees from what kids have been doing since about a year old - talk. It takes some training to get them to write or draw everything.

Quote:
Do you have any suggestions?
Whatever you choose it should satisfy three qualities: 1) get the job done 2) save you time 3) self eliminate. For many teachers (myself included) it's #2 that causes many interventions to be discarded. They cost too much time and energy to run them. Spending weekends at the Dollar Store, organizing, record keeping, passing out, collecting, making charts, moving clips-cards-pins to name a few can wear a teacher down. All of that time comes out of more important endeavors like planning effective lessons. Oh, and wear a flack jacket should you award Jenny with a Lucky Buck but miss Danny for the same behavior.

I lean heavily towards Fred Jones' Responsibility Training. For the price of writing 1-3 numbers plus a colon on the board the whole class will line themselves up to your standards in less than 30 seconds. Using "teacher bonus" (called "extra bonus" too) the worst student(s) who would normally try to sabotage anything the teacher tries can be turned around and made a hero. And you don't have to intervene. The class will do it for you. For the rare student who still doesn't want to buy in, Omission Training eliminates him/her from RT. In ten years I've never had to use OT.

Quote:
My class has been doing a version of PAT since the beginning of the year. We usually gain 15 to 20 minutes each week that can be used on a Fun Friday.
Great! Gaining 15 to 20 minutes is impressive and exactly the way +/- time is supposed to work. Waiting for Friday may be too long for your group. They may not associate the immediate reward of goofing off in the present with reward coming down the road. I never had a set day for PAT. I used it as needed. If students were particularly squirrelly I might use it that day to focus them on reward over misbehavior. If I thought they could wait I might schedule it three days later. Also, as I stated, it took me four tries to nail down PAT. I was using it for discipline. That's not it's domain. It's a hurry up incentive. It's perfect for getting kids to line up, pass papers, move desks, clean up, bring pencils and homework etc. quickly the first time you ask.
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Old 12-02-2017, 07:30 AM
 
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This is a great thread that will help many teachers. I have found random pat time,consistency in everything and body language to be the top areas as far as priority when you have a tough class. I have silent signals and do not do a lot of talking to get the class doing what they need to do at dismissal and entry to the class.
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Old 12-02-2017, 08:53 PM
 
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Quote:
Why do you think students are not responding the first time?
•Consequences are not immediate and severe enough to change behavior
•Students lack of respect because of the first reason

Quote:
Waiting for Friday may be too long for your group. They may not associate the immediate reward of goofing off in the present with reward coming down the road.
I will try this. The trick is to give them structured time rather than "party". This Friday the students were able to start making 3D paper airplane models. Normally it takes 30 minutes as an activity, but they were able to build just the fuselage in 15. This was an improvement over the previous Fun Fridays, where there are multiple board games going on (loudly) which prevents me from noticing students chasing each other between the desks.

When they hit ten minutes, we'll move on to the wings. Something I've learned from experience is to have these after an hour of math, rather than at the end of the day. There's no rush at the end to clean up before dismissal (which leads to me doing most of the clean up afterwards), and then they can resume math after a good break.
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