Donald is right. You have to be really flexible because each class is
different. Chemistry between different groups of children can be so different!
I have children in my schools from all income levels, races, religions, and
functional/dysfunctional families, it's been an eye-opener for me!
I try to recognize and point out positive behavior before zeroing in on the
negative stuff. When they walk in and are all wound up, I may say "I really
like the way Donald is sitting ready to get started. I can see Michelle's
eyes." Even with my older kids. They all think I have eyes in the back of my
head! That usually sends the message really quickly and with a flash of the
lights, we're ready to go. Here is a list of different tricks I use:
* write name on board and they have to flip a card for poor behavior choice in
art class (this is done in one of my schools and method was instituted in
cooperating teacher's homeroom.) It works out to no free choice time in
* take recess away for amount of time wasted.
* remove a student that continually disrupts class to another classroom
because he has lost his privilege to be in mine. They hate missing art!
* for a more serious infraction, have student write on a piece of paper his
bad choice he made in art class, have him write what he should have done, and he
has to take it home and have his guardian sign it and return it to me before he
is admitted back into art class. Principal is very supportive.
* I pass out Mrs. Bacon's Gold Tickets. They read "I was good as gold and I
was caught in the act of...helping another student, helping the teacher, having
a good attitude," and then there is a line that I can write whatever I want.
The ticket is to go home and then the kids that get the tickets get a gold
piglet with their name on it to go on my "Mrs. Bacon's Gold Ticket Piglet
Team." Shiny gold letters on the wall for all to see when they walk in. The
kids think this is a big deal. (This is just something new that I came up with
and in still in the process of being developed.)
* I will pass out art awards, like bookmarks or laminated pictures out of a
print catalogue for outstanding artists of the day. This too, is a big deal.
* I choose special art helpers and captains of the table. Only quiet
listening students are chosen.
* I start 90% of my classes with meeting time. Five minutes grouped in the
floor to listen to a description or discussion of the art work or project, or
review from last week. From there they are dismissed to tables and the table
captains gofer the supplies to the rest of the kids. Sometimes if they come in
wound up, we do a quick review of what is expected in the art room and I may ask
them if they want a couple minutes to chill and get their act together. I'll
turn off the lights, put on some music and we relax on the floor on our rug
squares for a minute or two and visualize our happy place.
* heads down for an extended period of time if they won't stop talking when I
am talking. They know I am ticked when this happens.
* silent art. Oh, lordy, they hate this!!! ultimate threat.
* if really, really bad, I make a list and call home. I usually walk up to
the older offenders and ask them what time do you eat dinner? I want to make
sure someone is home when I call tonight. You can see them loosing their
appetite before your eyes.
* lecture, lecture, lecture while they listen with their heads down. They
would do almost anything to avoid a "Mom" lecture from me!
* I also change seating charts. The rules are the same as in baseball, three
strikes (three moves) and you're out. They have to have a note written by
themselves and signed by a guardian to get back in my room.
* I had a classroom of catty, snitty, snotty girls last week who could not
stop badmouthing and talking about each other the entire class period. What a
bunch of whiners and tattle tales! I was ready to pull my hair out. When the
teacher came, I excused all the boys and made all the girls stay whether I heard
them say anything or not. I lectured and then we discussed. It worked. One of
them actually asked me why I didn't yell like their other teacher because she
never took the time to talk things out. So, now, there is a whole new level of
respect among the girls in the classroom for each and me...gotta love it when it
Sorry this is so long. I'm sure there are even more. Kids are constantly
changing and so are the ways we teach them.
> basically, you just have to keep changing your discipline line up and find
> what works best for each class.
> Donald Peters