There are some students who will respond to being "in trouble" simply because they don't like to be in trouble, but some truly can't seem to help themselves. One of the teachers that I volunteered with last year had the most calm, kind voice of any teacher I've ever heard. It was amazing. The classroom was peaceful and since then I've hoped I can emulate that kind of respectful, quiet environment in room. Unfortunately, I've failed plenty of times. But if I want to have that kind of environment, I need to give my students every chance to succeed in my room. We can all whine about how kids should behave just because that's the right thing, but that attitude just breeds negativity and I for one better get crackin' on some new ideas to help my energetic students control themselves and keep my stress levels low.
Here are a few ideas I am going to implement when we come back from Thanksgiving Break:
1) Incorporating physical activity breaks/brain breaks throughout the day. We have a 3 hour block of instruction before we go to our specials area. We do math, writing, and whole group reading before 10:10. Whew! I plan on incorporating some 2-3 minute structured activity breaks in the morning and after our 1 hour long center time in the afternoon. This will include:
- Activity Freeze: give them a physical movement to do until I say "Freeze!" and they have to freeze their body in the exact position they are in.
- Give them a multiplication problem and whatever the answer is, they will do that many movements (i.e. 7 x 2 = 14 push ups, etc.)
- Playing the game 4 corners
2) Implementing a PBIS world (website) intervention for my kiddos with the most intense needs. It's called self monitoring and basically, the students will give themselves a smiley face or a sad face at various "check in" times throughout the day. I already have a behavior monitoring plan that I use, but the warnings are given by me. This will enable them to take some ownership of their behavior.
3) Sing along/dance along songs on YouTube. I'm going to try anything that they can stand behind their chair and groove along with. We had indoor recess and I played some Kidz Bop-type songs and they were totally into it!
I'm hoping that combining more positive reinforcement with these physical breaks and accountability will really help improve our behavior. Plus I will of course have to include some more procedure practice!