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Re: Marcia, "choices" techniques


From: marcia lavery (marciadotcom_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Wed Mar 31 2004 - 16:49:24 PST

The basic idea of the "limited choices" technique explained in the book mentioned earlier is that you present 2 choices to a student: one being the correct choice you desire, the other being an undesirable outcome for the student.

For example (keep in mind these are all generic situations, but the concept can be applied to many situations):
(1) Bobby is playing with a small toy at his desk when he is supposed to be drawing. I would approach Bobby and say, "Bobby, you have two choices. You can either keep the toy in your pocket for the rest of the day, or you can give it to me to hold onto until after school. What would you like to do?" Bobby will, most likely, put it in his pocket. If he takes it out again, I would say "Bobby, I will now hold onto your toy until the end of the day."
(2) Joey and Jake are friends, but they are bickering at their table during work time. I would approach them and say, "Boys, I know you like working next to each other, but you need to work nicely. You have two choices: you can either work nicely next to eachother or I will have to separate you. What would you like to do?" If they keep bickering I would separate them.
(3) Susie is not doing her assignment. I would approach her and first find out what the problem is, perhaps she just needs help getting started. She says, "No. I don't like drawing. I'm not going to do it." I say, "Susie, this is an important project. You have two choices: you can work at your table with the other students, or you can work at the empty table by yourself, but you will be doing this project. What would you like to do?" Susie says, "Can I just sit here and do nothing?" I say, "No, Susie, that is not one of your choices." Then I would repeat the choices and give her a few minutes to make the right choice. If she still is not working after a few minutes, I would isolate her and allow her to return after five minutes or so.. ("Susie, when the clock hits 9:15, you may return to your seat next to the other students.")
The book suggests keeping the consequences immediate, specific and short (unless it's a serious offense, obviously).
(4) I am doing a demonstration at the demonstration table and Kim is whispering to her neighbor. "Kim, the rule at the demonstration table is that you must be quiet while I am talking. You can either watch the demonstration silently or you can wait in the hallway until we are done. What would you like to do?" Most likely Kim will stay quiet. If she were to talk again, I would stop and say, "Kim, please go to the hallway."
(5) Jason is tipping his stool backwards. "Jason, I'm scared you're going to fall and hurt yourself. You have two choices: you can sit on the stool properly, or you can stand for the rest of the period. What would you like to do?" Jason says, "Ugh. I don't want to stand!", so then he sits properly. Later, Jason tips his chair back again on purpose. I walk over to Jason and say, "Sorry Jason. You will be standing for the rest of the period. Tomorrow you can try sitting on the stool properly again."
(6) Another thing the book mentions is the "try it again" technique. A student walks into my class before the bell rings and loudly slams her books down on the floor. I say, "Karen! That was noisy! I want you to try that again. Please go out the door, walk back in and show me that you can place your books down gently." Karen says, "ugh. ok." and walks out in the hall and does it again. Then I say, "Thank you Karen, that was better this time."

Sara <> wrote:
Please share 5 or more "choices" techniques that work for you.
An excellent book about getting kids to do what you want is "Setting Limits in the Classroom." After using these "choices" techniques, I've had very few problems getting kids to do their work. Marcia

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