Saturday, June 23, 2012
Chronic Discipline Problem
Teri, a 5th grade teacher who read my Friday Fun Day post, asked some great questions. I thought other teachers may wonder the same thing, so I'd write a post about how I've handled it in the past.
What do you do with the students who don't earn Friday Fun Day? What do you do with students who don't mind the punishment?
I've tried different things with the ones who don't earn Friday Fun Day. The first thing I do with these students is we talk about what happened that week that caused them not to earn F.F.D. Here are a few suggestions:
*Sleep: Do they need to go to bed earlier?
*Food: Did they eat breakfast? Some students can be irritable and have difficulty focusing if they have low blood sugar. Sometimes doing something as simple as switching your class' snack time from afternoon to the morning will make a big difference.
*Changes at home: Are there changes at home such as parent traveling for business, work schedule changes, relative in the hospital, etc. ?
*Do these students have at least one friend in your class? Some students behavior stems from loneliness. Everyone needs at least one friend. Some of the strategies that I suggested in my post about teaching shy students work for students without a friend.
*Difficulty focusing: I gave some tips to help with this on my ADHD tips post.
Just like we as teachers are reflective with our teaching, students need to be guided in their thinking to reflect about their behavior. This makes them take ownership and not feel like a victim (i.e. the teacher doesn't like me so there's nothing I can do).
After identifying some problems, we brainstorm strategies: go to bed earlier, don't sit by the window in class if you daydream, use a timer to stay on task, etc. If my students seem sincere with their suggestions, I will let them use their ideas in class. Some students have asked to move their desk, make a chart for their desk, wear headphones so they aren't as distracted, etc. I love when they come up with the ideas because then they buy into it more. After reflecting about their week, they complete the Missing Friday Fun Day report which they take home to their parents. Usually "the talk" and filling out the form will take 30 minutes. If there's extra time, I have them do some community service work such as cleaning my white boards, sharpening pencils, dusting shelves, etc.
As far as the students who don't mind their punishment . . . . I like to catch them being good and then I add time to how many minutes our Friday Fun Day will be that week. Example, "I like the way Jake came into the room quietly, got out his free read book, and read quietly." If this is a student who is chronically in trouble, you will be surprised at how the other kids react, plus you just brightened your "Jake's" day. Pretty soon, the other kids will begin pointing out the good that Jake is doing so they get more minutes of F.F.D. I think it's the positive peer pressure that helps.
Do you have ideas or suggestions?