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Calling all educators (both past and present)!
      #321591 - 01/03/08 12:03 PM
caputsky

Reged: 03/24/07
Posts: 256
Loc: Baltimore, MD

Hi all,

Ok, so this post is not IBS-related at all, but I figured that if there was anywhere to ask it, it would be in the living room . I am a special education teacher who teaches in a low-socioeconomic school community. To say that my students are a challenge is an understatement, but it's the type of environment I thrive in. However, one of the teachers I teach with is having a really really rough year with her class (I teach inclusion and co-teach a lot). Basically, she has a bunch of students with behavior difficulties, and by this point in the year their influence has spread throughout the rest of the class (including the "good kids") and everyday is a struggle with management. We have both tried almost every trick in the book, at least those we know, to limited success. So I was wondering if any teachers, both past and present, could give any ideas they might have? I am particularly trying to think of a way to help make the children in the class more of a "community" again so that they will support each other, and therefore the teacher, rather than negatively affecting each others' behaviors. So any advice or thoughts would be extremely appreciated. She has been teaching for 8 years now, and used to love her job but is seriously at the point where she is ready to quit and that would be a shame because she is an excellent teacher. Thanks so much in advance!

Julie

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"We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it."

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Re: Calling all educators (both past and present)! new
      #321599 - 01/03/08 02:23 PM
Dr. Spice Yamin

Reged: 04/15/04
Posts: 3286
Loc: Maryland

Hi..

I am a school psychologist (in MD, in an under resourced area south of Baltimore County- I'm totally nosy and interested in where you are).

Anyways, until I have more time to write, I recommend checking out http://www.interventioncentral.com

It is an amazing website with a lot of ideas. Especially ideas that help to recreate a sense of community in the classroom. I have a lot of others and i'll post them as they come to mind.

Hopefully you haven't already exhausted that website.

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Re: Calling all educators (both past and present)! new
      #321601 - 01/03/08 03:06 PM
kim123

Reged: 07/18/06
Posts: 543
Loc: Florida

What age/grade does she teach?

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Re: Calling all educators (both past and present)! new
      #321620 - 01/03/08 06:50 PM
caputsky

Reged: 03/24/07
Posts: 256
Loc: Baltimore, MD

She teaches 4th grade (although at times they tend to act like 1st graders )

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"We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it."

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Re: Calling all educators (both past and present)! new
      #321673 - 01/04/08 04:22 PM
blackrvn5

Reged: 04/02/07
Posts: 268
Loc: Virginia

One thing a teacher I worked with a few years ago was the class meeting. I think they would meet once a week, but maybe daily would help to start with and then back off. Only one person can talk (the one with the "talking stick") and they have to say something positive. What about making a class goal. Have them vote on something they want to achieve and decide on what they have to do in order to acheive it. Make sure the goal is clearly posted along with the rules to get there.

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Susan
IBS-A, Gas, Pain, Reflux
"The first in time and the first in importance of the influences upon the mind is that of nature. Every day, the sun; and after sunset, night and her stars. Ever the winds blow; ever the grass grows."
Emerson, August 31, 1837

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Re: Calling all educators (both past and present)! new
      #321677 - 01/04/08 06:52 PM
hawkeye

Reged: 06/16/03
Posts: 705
Loc: NYC

This is so tough. Once the pattern is firmly established in the classroom, its hard to break up that dynamic. Sometimes you feel like you're too stuck in your reactions to the kids too - its like a bad marriage/relationship!

One or two book ideas that have inspired my teaching.
Punishing with Rewards: Alfie Kohn.. I honestly didn't read the whole thing but it affirmed what I already believed and pushed me to re-examine some of my teaching practices.

Non-violent Education Rosenbaum, I think. Its a very interesting approach to teaching children to communicate.

More later if my IBS is treating me better....

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Ladies & gentlemen take my advice, pull down your pants and slide on the ice.

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Re: I'm full of ideas.... new
      #322244 - 01/13/08 09:17 AM
Yoda (formerly Hans)

Reged: 01/22/03
Posts: 3682
Loc: Canada

I'm a big believer in positive reinforcement. These kids need incentive to improve. They're in a tough life, and really small things can make a huge difference.
1. Pick themes for the week. One theme a week - like encouragement, manners, helping, courtesy, respect. Have class discussions on what they mean. Every time a student is caught demonstrating it, they get a little "award" sticker on their desk - have the teacher just photocopy a page of award things and have them fill in the theme for each reward. (Cheap and easy positive reinforcemnt) and tape it to their desk.
2. Tell her to hit the local businesses in town. Have her explain that she is trying to instil a community feeling, and to ask for any freebies. Pencils, and especially the fast food joints. Ask them - often they're only too happy to give out free french fry coupons and such. Ask if they would come in to the class and talk about their business and what they do for the community. It's good advertising for them (I know the kids don't have a lot of money, but it gets the idea to them that these people care), and keep the freebies. At the end of th week, choose a few students who did really well for whatever the criteria and give them a freebie.
3. You can also ask the other staff members, church, or other community groups for their "junk". My best friend taught in a low income special needs class, and she wanted all my stuff. Anything. Then sort through it and see what the kids would like. Girls would like little lipsticks or lotions (not used), free samples - oh, go online and ask for free samples for everything....
4. Even something as simple as task completion can be rewarded. Let them have 10 minutes to play games or go get a drink from th fountain, or erase the blackboard....

I onc had a really tough class of grade 8's and they talked incessantly and the behaviour was insane. After a while they realized that if they behaved in my class, I would take them all out in the hall for a fountain break (took less than 2 minutes and the deal was they had to be quiet and not run off), and they got to finish early and listen to a song of their choice (kids brought them in - make sure that you know what the lyrics are first! ), and other types of rewards. Yes, it took away a few minutes of instruction time, but it made the time that they were actually working SO much more effective and productive!!!!


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Formerly HanSolo. IBS, OCD, Bipolar, PTSD times 3.

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Re: Calling all educators (both past and present)! -- Thanks all!! new
      #322415 - 01/15/08 04:49 PM
caputsky

Reged: 03/24/07
Posts: 256
Loc: Baltimore, MD

Thank you so much everyone for your suggestions. I am going to try any and all of them we haven't attempted. Just recently, the general educator and I reversed the entire classroom so that the students were facing in the other direction and told them that it was our "new and improved room." So we'll see how it goes. Thanks again and good luck to all you fellow teachers in the rest of your school year!

Julie

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"We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it."

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