How To Handle Behavioral Problems With Love!

Here's the third of today's linky parties from TBA!

A Little Magic

I feel like a kid allowed to eat as much dessert as she wants - I get to post multple times today and no bloggy police are going to get me for it :)

Ahhh. Classroom management! I loooove talking about classroom management! I actually sort of pride myself on my management style. I've never had a serious incident in my classroom (although there were plenty of times the situation was potentially explosive!) and 99% of the time I can deal with things on my own without having to resort to the principal or counselor.

The secret? Water off a duck's back. Seriously. What I try to keep in mind, is that these little people are have baggage of their own that affects them. Some of them are going to have fits/tantrums/issues. It's my decision as to how I let that affect me. I've had teachers drag children into my room saying "You take him!" and I can certainly understand that sometimes children can push our buttons, but for the most part, we choose to let them push our buttons. So instead I make a conscious choice not to let it bother me. 

Of course, there have to be rules and procedures in place so that the majority of those fits/tantrums/issues don't occur in the first place. When children know what is expected of them and know how you will behave, there are much fewer incidents. Children crave structure and consistency, and unless you give them that they will try to push the boundaries.

 As Harry Wong says "Discipline has to do with how students behave.  Management has to do with procedures and these procedures govern how students go about doing their work in the classroom."

Therefore, the first two weeks of school, I do nothing except teach procedures! Oh sure, I'm reading aloud, but that's just to teach the children how to sit at carpet and listen quietly. We might have a math lesson with manipulatives, but that's to teach the children how to use the maipulatives appropriately and how to clean them up afterwards. I also teach the procedures for:

asking a question
going to the bathroom
washing your hands
getting a drink
lining up
how to carry your lunch try
getting a tissue
sitting at carpet
sitting at your table
using crayons
using scissors
using glue

ets. etc. etc.!

Basically I try to think about it as though the students are little aliens who have never come to Earth before and have to be taught how to do EVERYTHING! If I teach (and reteach!) a procedure, I can expect a certain behavior from the students. If I don't teach that behavior specifically then how dare I assume that they are going to act the way I want them to?

One of the things I find helpful, is to write down each procedure - sticking to only the most basic steps and limiting each procedure to no more than 3-5 steps max. I can use this with my kiddos to help me be specific and to the point. I always model the correct AND incorrect procedure.

I even model the "kind of right" procedure. Do we want students to settle for being "kind of right"? Of course not. Yet often times when teaching procedures, we let students slide with getting "most of it" right. Well guess what? If they're only getting "most of it" now when you're specifically teaching the procedure, they're only going to practice about half of it the rest of the year!

So, teach and reteach each procedure until it's second nature to the students. Only when you've shown them exactly what they are supposed to DO, can you hold them accountable for their behavior. To help get you started, I've whipped up a mini powerpoint presentation with 10 of my procedures listed. I kept it in powerpoint so you can edit and add to it as needed. It's just a jumping off point :)

Just click on the picture to grab it for free!

4 Rustle Up A Response!:

Ms. Kerri said... Reply to comment

Ok. I have a question. I read your courage post and now this one. I seem to get the kids in my class that scream and pitch fits. How do you handle it when they are yelling at the top of their lungs or throwing things? I can ignore up to a certain point but when it starts to interfere with the other students it gets a little harder. I usually try ignoring it and when they won't stop, I remove them from the room. Would love to know what things you could suggest doing? It's hard for me to let the behaviors continue when it affects my other students.
Ms. Kerri and her Krazy Kindergarten

Jennifer K. said... Reply to comment

Hi Keri!

What I try to do, when someone is throwing a fit, is to remove the audience. Thus I send everyone else to centers. I don't worry about it disrupting our day, because all of the centers are educational and I know the children are still learning. If we miss doing an activity or I have to skip a lesson, I just try to think of it like I would an interruption caused by an assembly or fire drill etc. Of course, the other children know all of the procedures and can function independently at centers while I work with that one child.

I try to make sure that the child is away from others and away from furniture/stuff to throw. I usually put them right in the middle of carpet where nothing is around them. If they try to get up to grab something to throw, I calmly pick them back up, put them back at carpet, rinse and repeat as needed. Sometimes I'll say something like "It's okay to be angry and upset, but I'm not going to let you hurt yourself or anyone else." Generally I have way more patience than they do and eventually they see that the fits are not changing anything.

Hope that helps, I know it's hard sometimes!

Jennifer @ Herding Kats In Kindergarten

~Stephanie Moorman said... Reply to comment

You had me at Harry Wong. I LOVE him. I am a firm believer in procedures, like you. I also have a handbook that I give to my students and we review and review and review all year long. They just make life so much easier! Thank you for linking up and sharing.

Teaching in Room 6

Greg said... Reply to comment

Thanks for sharing!! "Water off a ducks back" is such a great attitude to have. I too have fit throwers and I do the same thing. I remove the audience. I also train my kids to ignore. I love when the shoe thrower is throwing her fit and the kids are just working away, even getting louder so they can hear over the fit. Now, the arm breaker was one that I just was at a loss for. Who knew a 5 year old could deliberately break his own arm?! True story. Thanks again for the great ideas and the procedure freebie!

Smedley's Smorgasboard of Kindergarten

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