Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Why Children Misbehave in Class & What to Do About It

Most early childhood centers, pre-schools, and elementary schools are starting the count-down to the days of summer.  This is a time when parents and teachers reflect on everything their children have learned over the past school year. For these young students in particular, the classroom provides more than a nurturing environment where they learn about ABCs and 123s. The early years are characterized by growth both socially and behaviorally.

One of the most interesting (and at times, frustrating) parts of any teacher’s job can be helping children learn how to behave properly.. That’s why it’s so important to have strategies for reaching and teaching all children.  This post, will give you some effective ways to manage various types of behavior in the classroom.

Behavior Management

Behavior management starts the minute children enter the classroom.  Greet them warmly when they come into the classroom. The stronger the connection you have with children, the less children will misbehave.  The more you connect, the less you correct.

Use the strength-based approach for behavior management pointing out the strengths of children rather than their weaknesses.  Whatever you put your attention on will expand and grow. 

When you see a child beginning to engage in an inappropriate behavior, use proximity control, standing or sitting near the child in a non-threatening way.  Children typically get the point that you are nearby and stop engaging in negative behaviors. 

Another strategy is to simply make a gesture like putting your finger over your lips to suggest, “We are silent right now,” or making a writing gesture to remind a student “It’s time to write.”

Teach children ASL, American Sign Language.  This is an effective way for them to ask you for what they want and for both you and children to communicate in a quieter and calmer way.   

Logical consequences are a way to help children understand the cause and effect relationship between their actions and the consequences of their actions. Logical consequences are directly related to the behavior that needs to change. For example, if Kennedy chooses to break crayons at the art table instead of using them to color, the logical consequence can be that she has to spend some of her recess time gluing broken crayons back together.

Classroom Management

When two or more pupils start talking, throwing things, or otherwise disrupting the class, it’s important to immediately step in before the distraction gets too difficult to contain. Often, the child (or children) who started the disruptive behavior wants to ruffle your feathers and get attention, so clapping or verbal strategies give them what they want. Always remember, that whatever you put your attention on, will expand and grow.  If you put it on disruptive behaviors, those will expand and grow.  Stay calm.  Be a role model of calm confidence.  Have a multitude of strategies to use for classroom management.  Here are some for you:

1.     Redirect children by playing music or doing something else engaging.
2.    Use a transitional object to get the attention of the whole class.  For example, check out our  wireless chime to see a video example of how effective this strategy works.
3.    Use a saying that gets the children’s attention.  “If you hear my voice, clap 3 times; If you hear my voice, blink your eyes 2 times; If you hear my voice, clap your tongue 2 times.”

Impulse Control

K-5 children are still developing impulse control skills.  Children who need to work on their impulse control can bring various disruptive behaviors into the classroom. Fortunately, the classroom environment provides numerous opportunities to help children develop this crucial life skill.

Teach children impulse control by teaching them self-regulation strategies.  Here are some you can use:

1.    Deep breathing is a skill that children will be able to use throughout their lives when they are upset.  Have them take deep breaths and then exhale the breaths slowly in a relaxing manner.
2.    Have soothing items they can use like watching a timer that is calming.
3.    Have soothing items like a stress ball that they can hold and manipulate to get calm.
4.    Provide visual cues such as signs and posters around the classroom that gives children consistent reminders of self-calming strategies.
5.    Create a “relaxation station.”  This is a safe place that children can go when they need some time to just be alone for a bit to calm themselves. 

And most importantly, stay calm.  Your attitude is contagious not only to children who have issues with impulse control, but for the whole class.  Children copy more what you do, than what you say.

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Friday, May 11, 2018

Let Every Day Be Mother's Day

Let Every Day Be Mother's Day

This Sunday is a special day in the United States, a day set aside to honor mothers. It made me first think of my own mom and that she is no longer here for me to celebrate with her — to choose a card or a gift. Then I thought about all of the people in my life who have been mom figures to me. That led me to think about the word "mother."

When I think of the word "mother," I think about a special kind of person, a person who:
 • Loves unconditionally
• Feels her life change from the moment that child enters her life
• Plans for the future of her children
• Shares in the joys and in the sorrows of her children
• Enjoys watching her children grow and learn
• Makes special time even when tired, to be with her children
• Gets that special smile on her face when her children enter the room

I also think of the many different kinds of moms in the world — natural birth moms, adoptive moms, foster moms, step-moms, relatives who become mom figures, and friends who are mom mentors, and I also think of teachers — sometimes the sole "mom" figure in the lives of some children.

It is not enough to have just one day to honor moms. It needs to be everyday. Let the love and gratitude you have for all those "moms" in your own life shine! Children will see it and learn, learn, learn to also honor the "moms" in their own lives. Have a wonderful day and a wonderful week-end!

Maryln Appelbaum