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Natural Consequences and easy discipline

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From: linda (lwoods_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Fri Feb 08 2002 - 08:09:07 PST


I have a fairly open classroom with lots of discussion and fun going on,
and my kids create wonderful things with this lively banter. But there is
a difference between good noise and bad noise, and you always know when it
has happened, but if you are like me, maybe you were involved in helping
someone or whatever and you didn't notice the exact moment that the good
noise changed to the wrong noise. I have several things that work for me.
 I have my "guest book". It is a class list with six columns of
categories for kids to check their name off when things get a little
rowdy...they are: disruptive/noisy in classroom, not working, not
cleaning up, unsafe behavior, not listening/not following directions,
rudeness, and "other". I have a fancy cover that looks like a hotel guest
book. It lives on my papier mache chair parody of Munch's "Scream". This
chair has lots of little sayings added decoratively to the foot railing,
such as "get a grip", "lighten up", "Tell me your troubles", and so on.
The mouth of the face of the screamer has a hole in it that allows my
elementary children to write down their troubles, woes, worries, stupid
fights with other kids, etc. on a tiny piece of paper and they can feed it
to the scream. I also have my classroom rules on the bulletin board right
behind the chair (it sits on a countertop) that look like the scream chair
is dictating these rules. They are: Work hard! Safety Always! Be
Nice!, and Help Clean Up! If I have a child who continues to disrupt
after warnings, someone who just isn't cleaning up, etc. I just say "go
sign the guest book, and they know what I mean. Instantly, anyone else in
the room who is not quite with the program will shape up. To tell you the
truth, I hardly ever look at it. It works for them, though. I tell them
that if they only sign in each category one time, it's no big deal, but if
they continue to sign the book and accumulate more than one time in any
category, they will have to take time out, etc. It's great. So easy,
too.

I once had a problem with erasers disappearing from my room at an alarming
rate. I tried to find out the reason for weeks. Finally, someone
confessed that a kid in their carpool was rolling down the window in the
back seat and chucking erasers out the window at other cars!!!!!!!!!!
I had this kid come in after school for a few chores. First I had him
wash and scrub all of our remaining erasers, as we needed the few that we
had left to be in the best condition possible. Then I had him do some
math. I showed him my budget and had him figure out what percent of the
budget was spent on erasers, how much money it would cost to replace the
erasers he took, how much money we had left until the end of the year,
what we needed to still buy, and how much was left to buy more
erasers...none was left over, of course. I think he learned his lesson
well. I haven't had much trouble with erasers since then.

Another natural consequence that I love is when someone drops a whole bin
of colored pencils, beads, or whatever. If anyone laughs at the kid, they
have to clean it up. Kids in my room don't do that anymore!

By the way, I'm new here. I teach at a nice school in Houston. If anyone
wants to look at our website, we have a lower school gallery on line at:
www.sjs.org. Click on fine arts, click on lower school gallery. I think
the web page is actually featured on our home page right now. Each kid in
the lower school has a picture on line, plus all of the work we have
donated to Texas Children's Hospital. I would love to know about your web
pages. I love looking at what other schools are doing!

Thanks, and glad to have found this group!

Linda

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