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I Can't Take Much More!


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Hi everyone! Sorry to moan but I really am about to break!

I work in a primary school in reception with 26 children and just myself and my TA. The children are an absolute nightmare, they just won't calm down. They are continually shouting, jumping all over each other and being mean. They are all over confident and nothing scares them. I have tried everything I can to stop their behaviour being so out of control, and I really am at the end of my teather! Does anyone have any suggestions of how to control behaviour?

I think the main problem is I have a large amount of boys who do not care about anything unless it's upsetting each other!

 

Help! Please!

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I can't offer much advise other than your not the only one!!! so i hope that gives you some prospective on your situation.

 

We have 2 reception classes and we seem to have pulled the lively class. :o We sneaked in next door on Monday to see if we could analise what was different and if there was anything we could change in our own room. We came back and made the construction area bigger with more floor space, moved the small world to a seperate area of the class (to divide up the boys more). A few other small changes.

 

trial and error I'm afraid

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Hi Rachel, sorry to hear you are having a nightmare. I'm not sure if I can be much help but here are some ideas we use in our school that work, you might already use them so I apologise if you do. In class the children have set 'carpet places' so that we can see at glance who is causing any problems...the children learn where to sit really quickly and seem to respond well to this. We have individual stickers and also teams where they can gain points for their team, the boys especially like this competition as on a Friday we have a little prize box where they can select a reward. As a whole school we operate a Year 6 and Reception 'buddy' system, have a reward assembly as well as appointing a person from each class weekly to be the 'VIP'. You could try also sports rewards such as a game of football as a treat. We have a positive praise approach but it doesn't always work in specific cases but as a school it works well. We do have to reprimand some children at times and make them miss 2 minutes playtime...we make it sound like a long time and act all disappointed with them. Good luck, it's still early days into the term really and you're not on your own

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HI Rachel

sorry to ehar you are having such a tough time. It can be so disheartening with such a class. Sometimes our planning, especially at the beginning of term when settling them in is overcrowded- are you giving enough time to simply being with the children and establishing routines etc rather than trying to do x,y and z of the curriculum? It might be that you may need to free up more time to sit playing simple games or participating in their play first?

In the past when I had such a class I was fed up of saying the same names all the time and feared that these children would get a 'reputation'. I used a traffic light system. 3 laminated 'referee' cards worn around my neck on a pen-drive necklace ( I managed to find a football one like a real ref!) Green was shown to a child or class to show that I was really pleased with them and that they were doing well/ yellow was a warning/ and red was time out or sent to another classroom.

This non-verbal communication seemed to work well and stopped me 'nagging'. The green card began to be used so much more than the others- eventually!

 

Have you tried music- 'Relax Kids' is brilliant (particularly 'Shining Stars'). I use this all the time even with my nursery groups. I started using it at the end of P.E but it soon got used in class- after break and dinner times when they come in all hyper. They have a web site where you can listen to samples and even download some meditations.

 

Whatever you do- hang in there- and remember look to the ones in the class that are fab- to give you hope!!! :o

apple

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I don't know what to say at the moment to be helpful - will have a think and come back tomorrow! But I know exactly how you feel - my class last year were exactly the same. It was really really hard. It was the children's confidence and self-assurance that was so tricky - individually they were great but as a class they were a complete nightmare. One good point, though was that my class assemblies were really enjoyable as children were really confident to sing and dance and generally perform in front of lots of people. It was a small slver lining, but there nonetheless!

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I always think it takes about 6 weeks to settle them into school and it is early days yet. It can be exhausting and demoralising and I think we have all been there at some time or other. Some groups are just much more lively than others. Some children have issues which take some time to sort out. Boys are very very active at this age so if you can plan for them to be outside, as much as is possible in your circumstances, then shouting and running about are OK. Bikes, sand, climbing are always popular. Have lots for them to do to keep them interested and don't keep them on the carpet for long, short bursts are all they need at this age, and then make it fun. Isn't it said that they should sit for a minute for each year of their age plus no more than 5 minutes. The children will be feeding off each other in their new environment and they are still flitting, exploring possibilities and building relationships with each other and with you and your TA. Use lots and lots of positive language, good sitting, good sharing, you are playing nicely, look how well you have done.... and ensure other children see children being praised and getting attention when they are acting appropriately. Arm yourself with some interactive songs and gripping stories and use your voice to create atmosphere e.g. whispering them to line up creeping to the carpet etc. etc. You know what I mean. If they hurt others then stop them and tell them why their behaviour is not appropriate and what they should have done, talk to them quietly and firmly. Use one minutes time out if really necessary and explain why. When over remind them why and then let them go- make sure you find something to say to the child or to praise as soon as possible afterwards.

Play lots of listening skill games. I'm afraid there is no quick solution. Lots of empathy coming your way (((Rachel)))

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I'm sorry you're having a tough time... but you really are not alone. I have some challenging behaviour in my class too, in fance, I was bicycle kicked in the stomach today.... and scratched... and told to F off, lots!

 

Ive been using lots of time outs, and lots of missing out on activities they really want to do, ie: not playing in the sand.

 

I'm trying to open up the outdoor area to them, and I think I might start playing some outdoor games with some of the more boisterous children, just to wear them out a bit.

 

I know its stressful, but hang on in there, a bit of persistance and you'll get hold over them!

 

x

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Keep your chin up.

 

It is early days yet!!!

 

I decided at home in the bath on Tuesday night that I really didn't like children............. well one child in particular actually, but by yesterday things looked clearer.

 

Sometimes you just need a bit of perspective!!

And a good nights sleep!

 

I think the ideas mentioned are good ones.

 

Do you have an outdoor area you have free access to?

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I'm not in reception but it does remind me of when my youngest started school. Briefly, the children were all off-the-wall. All the girls were screaming and crying and the boys fighting and bullying. The reception teacher finally flipped and said 'Right, that's it! and 'laid down the law'. It was as though the children had been waiting to find out where the boundaries were and after these were asserted using the "3 f's" (firm, fair and friendly) the class never looked back! Maybe we are all trying so hard to get the EYFS right for us and the children that the boundaries have become a bit woolly? Its just a suggestion and might be worth a try.

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Poor you Rachel but please don't despair! Some groups of children are just much more active and boisterous than others and the trick for you is to learn how to channel this energy into more productive pastimes.

 

As others have said, the settling in period is so important for stressing your rules, routines and expectations of behaviour so don't skimp on this. Forget everything else and really concentrate on PSED. However boring, repeptitive or tedious it may be, always deal with rule breaking or unacceptable behaviour - the children will eventually get the message that they are not going to win. You are the one in charge - they are just small children looking for guidance and understanding. Never let them feel that they are the ones calling the shots as any sign of weakness will be exploited and you will find yourself back to square one. :o However, it is even more important to praise and be positive wherever you can to balance this out.

 

If you do feel the need to punish make it short and immediate - removal from an activity for a specified amount of time, time out etc. Don't make the punishment too long or severe otherwise any rewards will seem unobtainable and the child may just decide there's no point even trying to be good. Make sure that if you are going to sanction anyone that you are absolutely sure that they have done something wrong. I have known many instances where a child claims to have been hit or had a toy snatched from them and luckily I have seen that this is not the case at all!

 

Also, avoid whole class punishments as those who are being good will be disheartened and may start to misbehave too. And make sure that those who are being good are given plenty of attention and praise with extra rewards for this. Make sure that they class know that these rewards are there for anyone who acts in the same way.

 

I hope that things start to feel a bit brighter soon! Good luck. xD

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Hi

 

I don't know if this would be any use to you but to save your voice a little if you feel the noise in the classroom is getting to loud and disruptive then our staff clap out a beat and the children then have to repeat the pattern. This continues for a few more times until you fell that everyone has participated and the pattern is something similar. It is also made clear that as soon as the children hear any clapping they stop talking.

 

This beat can be as simple or as advanced as you make it so is inclusive for all and seems to focus the children in school quickly.

 

HTH good luck and stay strong

Vicky

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Thanks every one, its good to hear i'm not alone, I just feel like i'm fighting a loosing battle and no amount of chocolate is making it better!

 

Tomorrow i'm going to give them free play all day and just interact with them and see where I go from there.

Please let me know if anyone thinks of anymore greart ideas.

 

Thanks again

Rachel

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Hi Rachel,

Just wanted to say hang on in there too! I know how you are feeling - as i read your post i had to stop and read it out to my partner as it was exactly what i had just ranted at him as i walked through the door! I am sure it will get easier - the first few weeks are always difficult both us and the children are adapting to each other and its hard being back after the long break. I for one always threaten that I dont want to be a teacher anymore in the first few weeks of term but i know in a few weeks it will be better and i will love it all over again!

Ems xx

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Take a deep breath and plaster that smile over your face when you go in tomorrow :o - and maybe use the day to look at when exactly this behaviour comes and who exactly it might be coming from. Your perspective is that it is all of them but I would put money on it being a small minority who are colouring your viewpoint because they are actually dominating your time and sapping your energy.

 

You can start breaking the problem down into manageable chunks. Why not try some alternative tracking styles:log what happens and the frequency of the behaviour you don't want and who is involved at these flash points to get a picture of the day and then you can also see if it related to particular points in the day -just after a break or before dinner when they are tired and hungry for example

 

If you identify particular children as the main group then track them to see what they are doing over time, say every 10 minutes or so - are they engaged for short bursts but moving around a lot or are they finding it hard to settle - then maybe you can target them for adult supported play to model appropriate behaviours.

 

Reflect on your resourcing - can children truely get whatever they might need or are there unseen barriers that are stopping them e.g. lots of boxes etc but only 1 type of glue to stick with so models don't get the immediacy that young children need, so tape or pritt might be needed aswell. If they get "stuck" they lose the flow of an idea and get sidetracked. Are there enough things so everyone can do parallel work if they are still finding it hard to share - so many times I see dough out and maybe access to only 2 cuttters, 1 rolling pin and a tin tray - what can a group do with that!!!!!! Are you putting out things that might require a higher level of interactive skill than you might realistically expect so they ignore them but can't find alternatives. Do they know what to do with the additional provision you are making or is it so new to them they are resorting to the sensory exploration of can I eat it, break it, wear it or generally bounce it around???

 

All these types of planned fact finding can help break what seems like the slough of despair into a much more manageable "problem" that you can then find reasonable strategies to work with!

Chin up!!! xD

 

Cx

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I think it might be worth spending a few weeks really focussing on speaking and listening. That is what I am planning to do also. I think we can assume too often that children know how to listen when in actual fact we need to teach them.....

This is what I am going to do when I want you to stop and this is how i want you to behave.

This is how we sit when we are showing good listening.

This is how we talk to our friends - looking at them and listening.

This is how we sit and listen to music.

Listeing to music and audio stories is a great way of teaching chidlren how to be quiet for a period of time. Audio stories also reinforce that when they hear a adult voice they need to listen.

I also tell my chidlren to take their voices out and put them in their pockets - this works very well.

I am planning to do lots of Rtime which i think is brilliant

 

Good luck

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