Regular Feature in the Gazette
March 1, 2009
I have a first grade class of 22 students; about 9 of whom are extremely hyperactive… not your typical wiggly student but more the bouncing off the walls students. NINE of them in one room and none on any kind of meds for one reason or another. They feed off of each other a lot which tends to intensify the problems. I have 3 of the 22 that exhibit extreme oppositional defiant behaviors. I have several others with severe anger problems. There are a number of other issues that also effect the dynamics of my class. This has made for a very challenging year so far. Does anyone have any good classroom management techniques that you feel work well for a challenging group such as this? I am looking for any ideas that you may have to help me make the rest of the year a decent one. Thanks for your input.
This is a small suggestion, but alleviating one problem is better than none! We discovered that one of our bouncy students would be much more calm if he were doing something with his hands. I have some play dough for him if he gets too bouncy. Sometimes I’ll give him some small scrap paper and he does origami. I haven't noticed that keeping his hands busy Interferes with his work as a student - he probably is more productive that way. Some kids may need to doodle. Just a suggestion! Different kids have different learning styles!
That sounds like my teaching experience from the last two years. I have heard of doing a quiet seat where the student can go to calm down for a set amount of time. The teachers that I knew who used this did it as more of a reward. If they are easily distracted, try to limit noise/visual pollution as much as possible. With my own ADD, having ear plugs helped me to focus better because I wasn't distracted. This was especially helpful during tests. You could also give the students poster board folders to put up during independent work. There are also some gigantic rubber bands that you can get to go around their chair legs. This gives them something to do with their feet and helps them to stay focused. The teacher I knew who used this was a second grade teacher. There were some rules with the bands, namely that the bands couldn't make any noise or they would be taken away.
I know this is a lot, but I hope this helps.
I use a decorated appliance box to isolate. This is something I teach the child to do. I verbally praise them when they go there due to distractions. After a while they go there without prompting.
I have a “dragon cooler.” I send students there to take a couple of minutes to chill or if they think that they need about 5 or 10 minutes to calm. I have a sister that is a special needs and I work w/ special needs kids during the summer. I would do something like a pizza day if they could go a day without needing time out. At camp we would do a treat if they could do what is expected of them. I don't know what [your students’] needs are, but mainly we would go on a field trip to a museum, or in the summer we go to a water park. Sometimes we’d go to a fire station to see the firefighters shoot water out of the hose and kids would take turns shooting water out the hose w/ help from the firefighters.
I have also heard of teachers who have an exercise ball in their class and they let the students sit on the ball and bounce on it. It is a privilege, they take turns using it. I think the teacher would pull a stick everyday and the student of the day would get to use it for the day.
Thank you! All of these suggestions are very helpful. I love the idea of having a different student each day getting to use the exercise ball. I actually got my hands on those bands to go around the chair legs. I think I might try that first and see if that helps. My only concern is that with some of them, would it be more of a distraction? I also got some old headphones from the computer lab where the cords have been cut off. Maybe those might help some to stay more focused. We already use the privacy folders during independent work. Thanks so very much.
Danah F. - 1st grade