Thursday, August 31, 2006

Today Was a Good Day!

Today was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much better than yesterday. Hallelujah!

Yesterday I mentioned one of my little ones who has been a challenge in my new class. What I didn't mention is that I have a lot more of those little challenges in my room. 12 of my 20 kids are still 6. Being 6 in second grade is a WHOLE different thing than being 7 in second grade. For the past 3 weeks it has been par for the course to hear a thud about every 5 minute or so. That thud is a student who falls off of their chair because they can't sit still to save their lives!!!! I have actually caught kids rolling back and forth between the feet of their desks for minutes on end. When I have approached them and inquired about their little activity they are stunned. I don't think that they relized that they are doing anything out of the ordinary! On top of that, these are the chattiest kids I have ever seen. (and heard!) Each day has been more exhausting than the next. It has been hard teaching this year. I have spent more time on behavior management than ever before.

After yesterday's situation with my student and the rest of my "little angels" I decided that something had to change in my room. I started by going to Target and I bought a bunch of little goodies for my treat box. (very cheap btw - Target is having a great clearance sale on Back to School stuff) I then headed over to Office Max and bought carnival tickets. This morning, I showed off all of the goodies that I bought. (pencils, fancy erasers, note pads, pencil grips etc) I made sure that all of the kids were salivating at the sight of all of these cool things. I then packed them away in my treat box and introduced the tickets. I told the kids that if I caught anyone working exceptionally well, I would give them a ticket. When they earn a ticket they can write their name on the ticket and then turn it into my jar. At the end of the day I told them that I would pull tickets and whoever got a ticket would be able to help themselves to something in the treat box.

Well, after handing out my 5th ticket, I had an entirely different class. It was AMAZING!!! Those kids worked their little tails off today for these stupid little tickets. I was happy, the kids were happy and best of all - I was able to teach and they were able to learn. What a concept! Throughout the day, different kids approached me and gave me BIG hugs and smiles and said "You're the best teacher Ms. V." or "I love you Ms. V!" At the end of the day, before I pulled out the winning tickets, I debriefed with the kids and told them how proud I was of them and how proud they should be of themselves. I was a bit worried that when I finally got to pulling out the tickets, some kids might get upset because I didn't call their names. I was wrong. All of the kids handled it well. Not only that, they clapped for the kids who did get their names called. WOW!

It is amazing how a little bit of order (and bribery) will go a long way. I was able to exhale today. I didn't have to raise my voice, give the "evil eye," or have my face hurt at the end of the day because I had frowned too much. I walked to my car this afternoon with a big smile on my face ready to come back tomorrow and have another great day with my new, WONDERFUL kids!


Julissa said...

I'm so sorry that you are having a hard time. Hopefully this idea keeps them mellow :) It's amazing how much teacher's spend out of their own pocket for their classroom. Definitely can say that teacher's do not go into the profession for the pay!

Mrs. T said...

I have heard from other teachers who have "wiggly" kids in class that you can put a textured mat on their seat and it's stimulating enough for them that they sit still for longer periods of time. My friend's son had a "spot" (a laminated paper circle) that he sat on. It helped him focus- especially with an occasional reminder from the teacher "Are you sitting on your spot?" and he'd get right on it.
Your group sounds frustrating- even though I am sure they are cute as bugs.

Dree said...

I second Julissa's comment - we spend an insane amount of our own money to bribe our kids to do what they should be doing in the first place! Every year I debate whether or not to use prizes as part of my behavior plan. I used to have a "treasure box" of small toys and pencils a few years ago, and it worked well. Last year I tried not to give toys as prizes... I used "good notes" home, homework passes, extra computer time, and random old books in my room that I would have otherwise thrown out. It worked just as well, and I didn't have to spend as much money. Either way, it is extremely frustrating. Hope your kids settle in soon!

MsAbcMom said...

Thanks! It is true that teacehrs spend too much money on their classrooms. I can't think of too many other professions who have to pay out of pocket to maintain their work environments.

Mrs. T:
Loving you blog! I really am not as bad as most teachers with the staying in your seat business. I am totally fine if a kid needs to stand or wiggle around while working as long as they can focus on their work and not disturb others. I know that I couldn't sit still in a seat all day long! My biggest problem is that these little cuties are so young. They are just not used to having to stay focused for so long. Poor babies! We will find a happy medium soon, I am sure of it.

Isn't it funny how rewards vary from year to year? Some years I am TOTALLY against it because I refuse to spend so much money. Last year I brought food in but the kids didn't want food, they wanted erasers and pencils and pads of paper. This year - they prefer food. (goldfish and animal crackers) Go figure!

la maestra said...

bribery works! sad but true!!!

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