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?


Kidlutions(tm): Solutions for Kids said...

Lovely, Michelle! I found you through Pinterest. I LOVE the idea of having kids help generate ideas to better solve their problems. The results are often amazing!

As far as other ways of dealing with behavioral issues, I always like to find out what kids were:

1) Thinking, and
2) Feeling

The two of those combined have a huge influence on behavior. Sometimes, we punish kids for not knowing how to solve emotional problems that are bigger than they are. It has always struck me as odd. When is the last time a student was held back from Fun Friday because he missed too many spelling words or got a less than satisfactory grade on a test? Okay, it may happen, but generally, kids are held back from fun days due to behavior. I firmly believe when we "teach for a better tomorrow" (includin teaching new behavioral skills) we have enhanced the student's life in a way that goes beyond momentary misguided behavior.

Thanks for all you do for kids!

Keep shining bright!

Wendy @Kidlutions

Sarah McMurrough said...

New follower here! I found you through Pinterest, and it was refreshing to see an honest post about discipline and behavior issues. I agree with finding a reward when consequences don't seem to be working. We've done everything from ticket drawings to individual point sheets in fourth grade... whatever works best for the child! :)


Write On, Fourth Grade!

Heather Thomas said...

Looking at behavior as a form of communication provides a different perspective at times.

Behavior therapy uses an ABC model. A = Antecedent (what was going on prior the behavior); B= Description of the behavior (i.e. intensity, duration, frequency, time of day, etc.); and C= Consequence (What did the child gain from the behavior?) Even scolding a child is reinforcement if the child is trying to gain attention, one-on-one time, or feelings of power/control.

Looking at the patterns of behavior (especially over time) helps identify possible triggers and gives you the most success in preventing future behavior.

It also helps documenting your Response to Intervention (RTI), conferencing, and for special ed testing (should it come to that).

I have just started a website to help share behavior management strategies-> www.thehelpfulcounselor.com

Best of luck!