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[teacherartexchange] troubled 5th grade class

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From: Julie Jacobusse (JacobusseJulie_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Wed Mar 01 2006 - 18:50:01 PST


Hey all! I have a 5th grade class that I am at odds with. I am a first
year teacher. The class has 7 inclusion students in it. From what I
hear many of them do not like art and think that every time they go to
art that they will get into trouble. So, they act up and then wonder
why they are in trouble and they actually think they did nothing wrong.
  I guess they had bad expereinces with the previous art teachers.
When this class comes in, I have them sit at their color groups. Today
while I was giving instruction they were talking, tapping, and making
noise. Finally when they got to work, they move to other seats, play
around, talk and hardly do any art work. I give them warnings and then
time outs, I send notes home and make calls to parents. I spend more
time writing out notes about their behavior and feel I can't see to it
that they get the attention/help on projects they need. I also have
sent some to the school's "opportunity room", I have called in the
principle and other support staff to talk to them but nothing seems to
be doing any good. I also give an incentive for good behavior-if they
listen, follow directions and do a great job cleaning and lining up I
will give them a star-the class that has the most stars at the end of
the 9 week marking period will get a party. (After each class if they
earned their star I used to give them a jolly rancher-but many seemed to
be disrepectful and say, I don't like that color, drop the wrapers on
the floor and plus it was getting costly for me so I stopped that.) I
have allready given one of the 5th grade classes a party and they seemed
to be motivated-but this particular class nothing seems to motivate
them. Many of them-almost all of them want 1 to 1 attention and it is
hard for me to sit and work with each one-when I try they all get upset
becasue I did not get to them fast enough. Their teacher told me
they need to build a relationship with you in order for them to do
their work. I need ideas on how to build a relationship with them,
when I only see them 1 time per week. I still do not feel that I have
connected with them-and it is March allready. I feel like I have failed
them. I use a seating chart and use it to get to know their names. A
few of them I do not know their names and I know it would help with
this-I need to work on that. (There are 440 students and over 50 staff
I have gotten to know this year and I know names are important but I
have been stressed moving to a new culture, new classroom and planning-I
felt the names would come to me and they have, so I know I need it to be
a priority to get to know them. Also, their names are hard for me
because they spell them wierd and say them wierd.) The students are
from a small southern school and are 50% black and 50% white. It is a
whole new culture for me and I have been trying to understand what makes
them tick. Many of them come from low income families. I am from a
High midclass area in the north and did not have any multicultural
experience while student teaching. My principle said she would give me
training and when I reminded her-she did not respond. I have a mentor
teacher and she said she did not know of any multicultural things
either. I talked to their teacher today-who happens to be my mentor
teacher and she said that since they do not like art, I may not get them
to behave in art. I am not willing to give up on them and am willing to
do whatever it takes. I really feel I need to do something radical next
week when they come in to change things. Any ideas?
Thanks for listening to the "Yankee" from the north now in Georgia

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