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Re: hallway talks


From: Bunki Kramer (bkramer_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Mon Sep 23 2002 - 20:20:22 PDT

from: Bunki Kramer (
Los Cerros Middle School
968 Blemer Road
Danville, CA 94526
From: "Doris Wilbur" <>
Hey all wise and knowing mentors...
Can you tell me just exactly what you say to an elementary kid you have to
pull out of class for a 'wake-up' talk in the hallway? I've had some
problems with 3rd - 5th grade students lately who just don't stop after
warnings or time in our quiet work area. I need some real dialogue that
you've found to work in the past. Also, I've been concerned by a boy who
trashes all his work in an angry manner, scribbling, painting whatever. This
kid seems to have a real anger issue either with art or school or home. Do
you have people tell you you're seeing issues that aren't there? They're not
listening to me, so I'm documenting it all and turning his art into his
teacher. I'm concerned about him. Thanks to you all...Doris
Hi, Doris. I had a hallway chat with a student myself today. As I was
demo-ing a shading technique, he was drawing a picture of me. It looked
somewhat like a sea monster/jelly fish with "Mrs. Kramer's body" written on
it. I took his paper while I talked, thanked him for the pic on the way by
his table, and later had a little heart-to-heart outside the doorway with
this little gem of a student.

First thing...make eye contact. If they are not looking at your face, they
are not listening. Second, state the problem. Wait for a reaction. Make it a
long silent (uncomfortably long) silent pause. They start to squirm and get
nervous. Don't argue. State the problem again for clarification and explain
the consequence. Document EVERYTHING including the child's response. If it's
a bad-news situation, ask the principal if you could have the child
suspended from the artroom for a day and sit in the principal's office that
period. They hate missing art time.

Your angry kid sounds like he needs some intervention with a counselor. You
are correct to document everything on paper. Start a paper trail. If he's
trashing his work and materials, there's potential for violence. You don't
want to go there so I'd recommend you get in touch with the counselor
soon...not just his teacher. With all documentation, I'd be sure to make
COPIES. Make sure the counselor, you, AND the teacher have copies of your
documentation and put "cc." on the copies so each person will know you have
given the same copy to others. You never know when you will have to answer
to someone in the future with a potentially violent child.

The "cc" on the documentation is really effective. When people see that
others are aware of the problem, more seems to get accomplished. At least it
always seems to help me in sticky situations. The more "cc's" you can get
out there (administration levels), the more things happen. Toodles.....Bunki