Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Behave yourself!

I'm linking up with Mrs. Miner's Kindergarten Monkey Business to give you the scoop on how I try to tame those wild things that roar their terrible roars, gnash their terrible teeth, roll their terrible eyes, and show their terrible claws.  You know, the kindergartners.  I love it when the intermediate teachers are all, "You couldn't pay me enough to deal with snotty noses and accidents all day."  Because I'm thinking, "You couldn't pay me enough to deal with snotty attitudes and 10 year olds who have yet to discover the wonders of deodorant."  To each their own.  And kindergarten is definitely one of my favorites.  I teach kindergarten, first, AND second grade.  So like Hannah Montana, I get the best of both worlds: the sweet little people and the more independent, but still sweet bigger little people.

My first year I was pretty lucky with the kindergarten crew that came in.  Most had been to preschool and while they still needed some reminders, they weren't bouncing off the walls or using their glue sticks as lip gloss.  My second year, the new kindergartners were more like first graders.  It was a total dream.  They could have fun and still follow my rules at the same time.  It was truly beautiful.  This year I feel like I run a three ring circus most days.  {But I like to think it's the greatest show on earth.}  I had to teach them how to be students before I could teach them anything else.  It was rough for a while-and still is every now and then.  But I'm on my way to having them tamed.

One thing that my team uses that really helps is this behavior chart:

Our kiddos rotate classes throughout the day.  They keep this chart in their folders and mark it at the end of each class.  If they have a straight or sad face, we write what rule they broke so their parents know what went down.  This gives us a chance to have a little chat and try to get them back on the right track.  Parents sign it each night and return it to school the next day.  This has been a great visual for our kids, as well as a way to remind them that even though they decided to hit their neighbor in my room, they could still turn it around and get a smiley face later in the day.  We love it.  The kids love it.  And the parents love it.  Win-win-win.

Oh!  One more tidbit!  One day, completely out of desperation and frustration, I managed to find the most brilliant, wonderful, amazing solution for those kids who consistently win the Non Sequitur Award.  It even works with the Notorious B.L.U.R.T.:

Unifix cubes.

Seriously.  One day I was nearing the end of my rope with one little guy and I gave him a stack of 5 and whenever he said something off the wall, I took one.  The leftovers earned him a treat.  I still do this occasionally with my story tellers and major blurters.  They respond pretty well to it.  I give them a stack of 5 and at the end of class, however many they have left is either worth money for our classroom economy or minutes to tell me a story.  They quickly realize it's much more fun to have the money or a private conversation with me than it is to blurt out and interrupt my ever so brilliant instruction.

I hope all of you kindergarten teachers out there will link up with Mrs. Miner!  I would love to hear about your behavior management systems.  Because who knows...I could walk in tomorrow and need to come up with a totally different game plan.  Oh, the children.  They like to keep me on my toes. 


Mrs. Miner said...

Thanks for linking up! Great post. :)
Mrs.Miner’s Monkey Business

Barbara said...

Great post! I enjoyed reading it ;) love your "stack of five" idea.

Anonymous said...

You are hysterical! I just found you through Mrs. Miner's Monkey Business and I am so enjoying your sense of humor!
I'm looking forward to "following" you and reading me.
Happy Thanksgiving!