I’m back in So Cal now, and all on my own. I had such an amazing week with Christina! We are ready to tackle Chapter 3 today, and hope you are, too. ☺️But if you missed the first two chapters, you can check them out here:
This chapter is all about how to respond to misbehavior. This chapter SPEAKS TO ME. It is a great refresher before heading back to school in a few weeks (um, where did my summer go?)! Perfect timing.
Why Do Children Misbehave?
Well, for one thing, they’re children. And for another thing, adults misbehave, too. A great example given was an adult with 15 items in the express check out line. Fifteen items aren’t allowed, but you know adults get in that line ALL THE TIME. Either you’ve been behind someone who has done it, someone behind you is doing it, or . . . it’s YOU! 😂
Children mostly misbehave because impulse wins over reason, desire over logic, they get carried away, they forget, etc.
We need to keep in mind that kids are still learning the rules of the WORLD, not just the classroom! And while they’re in the process of learning, experimenting, and testing the rules, they’re going to make mistakes. We allow that process in the academic setting so we need to do the same with learning positive behavior expectations.
Goals in Responding to Misbehavior
Well, teachers . . . the number one goal is not to be negative. I know, I know!! That is so much easier said than done, especially if it’s the same student with the same misbehaviors. Believe me, I KNOW.
But, if we can stop making quick, snap judgments and stop asking WHY, we might get somewhere. I learned a few years ago to stop asking WHY. They don’t know why!! Honestly, kids have no clue how to answer that question when they’ve just pushed their friend or broken all of their crayons. If they DO answer it, it’s not like they’re going to tell us what we want to hear. I don’t really want to hear that student say because I hate her! or just plain ole because.
Instead, ask for facts (what’s going on here?) or ask the student if they need a few minutes to cool off before talking to you.
The first step in responding to misbehavior is to stop it!
Rather than punish students, we want them to learn from their mistakes. Don’t we want a safe learning environment where children feel accepted and valued? I know I do!
Using Logical Consequences
I have a really good friend at school who is a GENIUS when it comes to logical consequences. It is second nature to her. The chapter states that logical consequences are respectful, related, and realistic. Being respectful means re-stating a rule to a chid instead of calling that child a bully.
Um, yes. That would just be mean. Who’s the adult here? If we don’t want our students to name-call, we shouldn’t either.
Related means it goes together. If you allow friends to sit next to one another and then they don’t get any work done, it’s a related consequence that you would separate them.
And realistic is expecting that the consequence doesn’t last all day or is a task that even an adult would have a hard time doing, etc.
There are three types of logical consequences:
Break it/Fix it: This one is self explanatory and one I use all the time in my own room. If you break it, fix it. The end. I mean, if you’re the one who spilled the water on your desk, get the paper towels. I’m happy to help, but that kid can certainly give it a whirl. And back to the breaking crayons example – well, guess what? Broken crayons still color. So enjoy those broken crayons until next trimester when we all get new crayons. Shoulder shrug. 🤷🏼♀️
Loss of Privilege: Again, this is also self explanatory. However, the point to remember here is that the loss of privilege isn’t forever. Otherwise, the student will never try to take responsibility for learning how to use the paint brush correctly, or free time correctly, or what-have-you.
Time-Out: We all know this one. When a student is disruptive or angry, they probably just need a good ole fashioned time out. This shouldn’t last forever. A minute or two usually does it. My kids never want to miss a thing so after a minute or two, I’ll invite them back to the carpet, and they are ready to go! Time-Outs help keep our classroom and everyone safe.
Pages 81 – 83 give some great examples of how to teach logical consequences to your class. Giving examples of how rules keep us safe and our class running smoothly is a great way to begin, followed by asking what would happen if someone broke a rule. Explain what might happen if someone knocked over someone’s pencil box ==== that someone has to help pick it all up. Brainstorm and give lots of examples of logical consequences. I always say “I know you didn’t mean to, I know it was an accident, but you still need to help fix it.”
And you’ll find LOTS and LOTS about Time-Out on page 84 – 88. LOTS and LOTS, I said.
LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS.
My one YES!!!!! from ALL OF THOSE PAGES ON TIME-OUTS (😳) is the Buddy Teacher Time Out. My teammates and I use this and it is POWERFUL. Sometimes, a time-out might not work for a specific student at a specific time. You never know. Every day is different. Sometimes, a student just needs a break from me, and I need a break from that student. It happens. So I can send a student to another first grade classroom for a few minutes, and vice versa. I highly recommend it!
One Size Does Not Fit All
Every child is different. Every situation is different. Outside circumstances come to school with children all the time. Over the course of my career, the stories and baggage that have come to school with some of my first graders breaks my heart. Literally BREAKS MY HEART.
Sometimes, all of the above listed responses and strategies to misbehavior will just not work. They just won’t. Talk to your teammates. Talk to your administrators, the counselor, the parents, etc. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. It is okay to ask for help, to get advice, to try and try again.
We are supposed to try and try and try. Don’t give up on that child, don’t give up on yourself.
Responding to misbehavior is challenging!! It’s probably one of the hardest parts of teaching. But if we can get ahead of misbehaviors, have steps in place to combat those misbehaviors, and help children to monitor their own behavior, well . . . maybe it doesn’t have to be SO challenging.
It wasn’t explicitly said in this chapter, but here’s my biggest take-away. Build relationships with your students. Make them feel safe and loved. Ultimately, they will STRIVE to meet and exceed your expectations.
I hope you got a lot out of Chapter 3, too!! Let me know!
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