Dear Dennis (et al who have this problem or have solved it!)
I am in middle school and could have written myself what Dennis wrote. (see
below) I too have better morning classes than after lunch.
I tried calm, classical music but the din is either so loud it can't even be
heard, or they keep trying to change it to a radio rap station. Rather than
listen to the music they got louder and their behavior worsened. So I'm
wondering, maybe not much works for teachers new to a school that has these
types of needy, attention getting, rude students. Maybe all the advice we
implement will only work IN TIME. Do you think this is the case?
In the meantime, its so frustrating. Anyone who has another idea that hasn't
been mentioned, all of us people in the "discouraged boat" need to keep
hearing your solutions. THe one I just can't master with these rude classes
is the low voice or the wait for silence approach. Any tips for us who have
way too many disruptive students in the room? Their numbers are just too
great for conventional advice!
I am starting a new marking period quarter this week. I'm going to try to
make a few changes.
I took Neil Erikson's advice from the list to Charlotte where he says not to
label a grade for "behavior", rather call it "staying on task, following
rules and guidelines", etc. That's what I'll call behavior from now on! LOL
( 25% of my students's grades are based on their participation and behavior,
which I mistakenly and naively thought would be a "gift" to them. Its
actually bringing down their grades! Another 25% each goes to tests or
quizzes, projects, and completion of all other assignments.) I'll rexplain
the rules and how I arrive at their grade. (Even though I had them read and
sign it in Sept!)
Also, remembering that everyone likes to be rewarded with praise, I'm going
to give bonus points coupons to students I see doing the right thing. They
can save up their points to increase their grade in a deficient area, or use
them to pick a prize. (Art supply samples mostly gathered from conventions)
I'll try to watch harder for gum chewing and eating, which they manage to do
quite successfully, even though I think I'm on the ball.
The one thing I do that does work a little is being nice to the worst behaved
kids, after they've been insubordinate or been written up. If I see them in
the hall or outside I always smile and say hi, or start anew the next day as
if they were the best student.
Sigh...... All you people that have easy populations, be grateful. And the
rest of us, Hang in there! We shall overcome! LOL
The Original ARt Nazi
In a message dated 10/29/00 12:40:28 PM Eastern Standard Time,
<< I'm teaching at a new school
this year which is overcrowded and which has had a history of unruly art
classes. I have one class that is disruptive and unruly with the students
putting in minimal efforts in their art work. Colored pencils get snapped in
half, there is a lot of loud chatter and noise and students out of their
seats. There is a lot of "needy" and attention-getting behavior with the
girls especially, constantly asking for help in their artwork. During times
when I'm addressing the class, there is a lot of calling out, loud
conversations going on around the room. Groups of four and five students
march in late to class.
My other classes are fine with students working at their seats, on task
and meeting all my expectations for them. Many of us have our "bad" class.
But I'm wondering if the Baroque music and limiting their movement around
classroom as well as having a NO TALKING policy might work with these kids.
This is the class right after lunch and there are several Resource and
Special Needs students in the class. The "high academic" kids in this class
tend to be quiet and unassuming. The disruptive kids are loud and create a
chaotic noise level which in turn makes it difficult for the others to
Special needs kids are especially sensitive to over stimulation in their
environment and the off-task behavior then escalates.
Perhaps I'm answering my own question, but do you think playing soothing
music and limiting movement and talking (on the high school level) would
benefit these kids (as well as make my life a lot saner)? I agree that we
have to combat the mindset that art is a "kick-back" class where it's OK for
kids to goof off and play. These kids need structure and a positive
environment in which to work. Even if it means I've got to become the "Art
Nazi". Responses appreciated. Thanks
Dennis in the Central Valley of CA