What measures can be taken to control disruptive behavior in a classroom BESIDES taking away recess and/or punishing the whole class?
Do any teachers out there have some innovative ideas to keep kids listening? I have already met with the principal who has made it clear that he is in a bind because there are not many alternatives to punishments besides taking away recess. However, I feel that recess is just as important, if not more so, for kids and it's such a small amount of time each day that it's really necessary for social and physical development. It seems to be counterproductive to take any of it away. The wiggly and talkative kids just get more disruptive. There are positive reinforcements available such as prize boxes when you are "caught being good", but by the end of the school year, they are "old" and the kids have no motivation to win a prize.
When it comes to the end of the year, everyone seems ready for summer and disruptive behavior seems to pop up. I agree with you that recess is important and should not be taken away from the whole class.
Good news is that because it is the end of the year, you might have some more flexibility in your instruction. Take your curriculum and turn the assignments or presentations into more enjoyable ones for your students. Allow them some freedom to work with a partner or in a small group. This extra movement and permission to talk quietly to complete a project might limit the disruptions to a small number each day.
Here are some ideas for creative presentations.
Create a poster, brochure, or flyer based on the content you want them to learn.
For example in social studies you might be reading about your state's wildlife or historical landmarks. Have them create a poster that promotes it, giving details that let you know they understand.
Have them debate opposing sides of the same issue you have been studying. If you have read a story, have students debate whether one of the characters solved the problem in the right way.
Set up a mock interview. This can be based on a character in a book, famous person in history, or even an animal you are studying in science. Students can work in with a partner to develop questions and responses. Then perform for the class.
Reenact or role-play an event or situation. Students will have acting out parts of a book, an event in history, or a situation related to children today (such as dealing with a bully).
These are just a few ideas that hopefully will spark your interest. Change them, expand upon them, and use them to meet your students' needs. It is hard to sometimes change students' behavior, but you can change your instruction that might lead to better behavior these last few days.
One of my favorite things that a teacher we had done, was "sweet dollars". She had printed fake money and laminated the dollars, and she passed them out throughout the school year rewarding any good behavior, the kids never got tired of this, because they could buy various things with their sweet dollars including, show & tell days, extra play time at recess, snacks, small toys, etc.
This idea was so effective for the teacher, that I made my own sweet dollars and used them to reward my kids at home. We made a "price list" of what you could buy, including family outings, trip to chuck e. cheese, movie night, etc. whatever they enjoyed. It worked well at home too. Also, our school has rewards day toward the end of the school year recognizing good behavior and work of the children and this seems to be a good incentive because a lot of the kids keep this in mind and perform well all year to achieve these rewards. There has even been banquets (such as the ones given for sports) where dinner was served and these children were recognized, trophies were presented, spirit shirts given away-it was a very nice evening.
Many of the teachers at my school make the kids who would otherwise miss recess walk laps around the play area. They have to give up part or all of their recess; however, still get the movement and exercise. Hope this helps!
I get the privilage to see a lot of different ways of handling behavior within the schools. I have seen teachers let the students work standing up. As long as they are at their desk then it is fine. I knew a teacher who paired up with another teacher and when the child was just beginning to have a hard time she would say "hey, I need you to do me another favor, take this to the other teacher for me" giving the child a quick run out of the class. Instead of runing to another class that the student can do a quick walk around the halls. If the whole class is getting uptight then a quick musical exercise could happen. hope this helps. Oh one more thought. If the child is being disruptive it either means that the material is too easy and they are bored or too hard and they are afraid of telling others they need help. hope this helps.
From my experience thus far in the educational system and from my Bachelors Degree ,it has been suggested that most behaviours which are considered as being disruptive behaviour is really a case of misinterpreted behaviour. This simply means that what we see as misbehaviour may really be a child's reaction to another situation. Therefore, it was suggested that careful observation is necessary to understand the real reason for the "behaviour". For example: a child may have provoked the other first, but, we as the teacher didn't notice this and react.
On another level, it may be a "cry" for attention. Therefore, you must become aware of the students family background, maintaining confidentuality of course, and by doing so can gradually understand the child's "lingo" and take appropriate actions to deal with the child effectively.
Thirdly, give children a voice or a forum whereby they can be heard.My pupils call for a "Class Meeting" During this, one can gain enlightenment into what they are thinking, what are their interests and therefore some accommodations can be made. Once children are interseted in a project which fosters there development of skills and be allowed to express their own styles in a positive way, the level of choas minimizes. Of course the task is now left to keep up with their whirlwind of ideas.
Taking away recess in my option is a "crime". Furthermore, even if its taken away, all one has to do to prevent situations from occuring indoors is to establish activity centers within the classroom, so that children gravitate to their area of interest either individually or as a group, whereby they're "meaningfully" occupied. This worked in several of my classes over the years from the infant department to Standard Two within our system. The children had more fun indoors than being outside during the luncheon interval, even though they were allowed to go outdoors.
I hope these suggestions have assisted in some way. Good Luck!
Finally, check for a book entitled "Working with infants and toddlers" by Herr. There you may find other suggestions.
What type of classroom management plan do you have right now? Have you revisited your classroom expectations in awhile? Do the students know what it means to "listen?" There are great sites related to reteaching classroom expectations. Positive Behavior Supports is a great process through which teachers continuously reteach and reinforce the appropriate school behaviors.
I have the same problem with my Grade I learners. I try the following, although it helps, I find that I have to alternate the incentives regularly for it to work:
I appoint group leaders for a group of 6 learners. This helps to keep the group quiet.
I buy lots of silver stars and the first child to respond to instructions gets a star. I alternate this with little sweets or smiley face stickers.
Learners that are good can take their bags or lunch first.
I find it difficult to keep their attention when I flash reading words, so I give the reading word to the child who could read it first and then at the end of the lesson they can count who has the most words and then I give them a coin/star for each word.
I hope these simple ideas help.
Try looking at this link www discipline101. There are some great ideas, not sure if they always work all the time.
I have found the stop light system works very well even with fifth graders. The point is not to punish the students but instead point out that the child is making a choice that is disruptive. Green is labeled Good Choices, Yellow is labeled Think about your Choices, and Red is labeled Concerned about your choices. Parent conferences are then held either on the phone or hopefully in person. The child will want to be on green or at least on yellow. I also have a Blue above the green. It is for positive behavior above expectations. If a day goes and no children earn below green the class receives blue - and a letter towards the spelling of a positive word. Excellent, Outstanding, Positive. When they earn it the class may get an extra recess or treat. The incentive is that the group will help monitor. Mit for my students responded well to this process and it made dealing with my misbehaving students far simpler. They use this system in my daughters school it has been effective for her K-2 but as I said I used with my fifth graders and will continue to use it with my middle schooler's a bit modified. There are sources online but you have to be sure it fits you and your school.
I believe in the privileges that a child may loose because of disruptive behavior work much better , for example, they earn the privilege of using the markers box for their note taking by doing great work in their notebooks, what I mean is that the consequence applied should be related to the behavior!
IF the student doesn't behave during recess ,then the privilege of Recess gets taken as a consequence of his behavior.
Reward systems based on prizes don't work for long. How many children do you have in your class? Are you allowed to observe other teachers? Who's the best teacher in your building?
Recess is important. I try to build a strong sense of community in the classroom and emphasize just one rule/guideline - 'what we do in here needs to help us all be safe and well.' With that I can say to any child or group of children - 'is that keeping us well? You're talking when I'm talking -others can't listen and they want to.' I also try to play active lessons rather than sit still lessons - I try to build time for movement into the day and not just leave it to recess. I use a different tone of voice in the classroom and I put on a kind of persona - I wear shoes that click loud on the floor - it keeps them awake - I speak always in a clear voice with enthusiasm - I try to model happiness and an upbeat spirit. I find being positive works a great deal better than threatening constant punishment. That said, I might keep a child or two in from recess if I need to but we then use that time to figure out what went wrong and how to keep it from going wrong again. You might check out Alfie Kohn's website and some of his material on controlling classrooms in a positive way.