Wow! You're going to print out my reply.. how sweet. Kids get sent to the office at my school (the dean's room) if they have a serious misbehavior. Refusing to cooperate with a teacher is a misbehavior in my opinion. If the teacher asks you to do something, you do it. Now, to be honest with you, I haven't had to send a kid to the office more than once or twice for refusing to do anything. Usually when I say to them, "would you like to work here or would you be able to focus more sitting in the hallway?" They quickly reply, "Oh no.. I will work here." Sometimes they know they are distracted too much sitting by other students and I let them work right outside the doorway (I'm very isolated in the basement, so it's not a problem to put a kid out there.) If I know a kid really isn't enjoying the project and getting burnt out I will suggest they take a short break, do an extra credit wordsearch for a little while and then return to the project when they feel ready. The "dean"
threat usually is just that. The kids don't want to go to room 108 so usually just mentioning it will get them in line! Yes, we are really lucky to have that as a back-up. Having a crowded classroom must be difficult. Is there a way you can turn the desk around so they are not facing any students? Can you tell the students near the isolation desk that "Joey needs to focus on his work by himself. DO NOT talk to him or distract him." If it is a repeat offender, is there a way you can make the student stay after school with you for an "art detention" (cleaning or simply doing the work they didn't do in the first place).
Motivation tips: Are you acting really excited when you present the projects? Sometimes I will start out a lesson saying, "We are so lucky that we have a kiln. Some schools do not have a kiln and can not use clay. This is a very special project because clay is expensive and we have a wonderful opportunity to use it." (Sometimes I exaggerate a little..) or I will say, "Today we are going to make masks, just like we saw in that video. I'm am excited to show you these, because the students last quarter had so much fun with them!"
Sometimes when I have a kid complaining, "I don't want to do this. It's not fun." Well, then I say, "I'm sorry, not everything in school is going to be fun for you, but this is important for you to try." If I notice kids are complaining or not motivated, I've changed the project a little for the next group of kids so it is more enjoyable.
Betty Bowen <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Marcia, I really envy your process. It sounds great How did you get the "dean" to sign on to this?
I can't send kids to the principal's office at all. It is a never-do.
I can send them to the vice-principal's office IF there is a discipline (as in disruptive behavior) problem I haven't been able to solve through detentions and parental contact, or if there is physical violence. There is no way I could send them for a kid not doing work without being reprimanded for it.
The parents in question do not care about my class at all, failing my class has no consequences as far as they can see. It doesn't count towards retention. They say what they think I want to hear, then do nothing.
I can't keep a kid from participating in activities, either. I can give them an F for the week, only on Thursdays, and after 2 weeks of an F they might miss a sports activity, but if they aren't in sports it really doesn't apply, it doesn't apply to clubs or assemblies or apparently band or cheerleading or field trips.
Oh, and I am not allowed to send kids outside my classroom to work, like in the cafeteria. they have to stay in the room, which is small. I got a couple of desks for "isolation" and it was pointless since the desk was 2 feet from the worktables.
I have to deal with motivation issues in my class alone. That's why I'm nagging for ideas beyond calling parents and sending to the principal, because while obviously I know those are the best ways, I don't have that type of support.
I'll print yours out and use it for inspiration though.
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