#15 Behavior Modification Lower Grades

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It is asking too much to expect young children to sit still quietly all day. Instead of waiting for students to misbehave why not correct the misbehavior before it begins? The following are suggestions to try. If a choice does not work that day for that child, make another selection. If you have an idea that works for you, please share it with us under comments.

1. One action I do not do is put students in the hall, for safety reasons. I have to keep my eyes on my students at all times.

2. Why not allow students to stand at their desks while they work?

3. Some school systems allow students to bring in exercise balls to sit on. Teachers that use this love it! Some have actually gotten rid of their chairs. You can google this to read the rave reviews. I have not used this because I was always concerned about safety.

4. At least every five minutes give positive reinforcement, i.e. I like how straight you are sitting, You are doing a great job of working so quietly.

5. Put your head on their level and say something fabulous about a student. Have a big smile on your face. Ask the class to notice the awesome way this student was working.

6. Get the class's attention and skip count. Have them clap to every number  or have them stand and sit every time they say a number. The goal is to get the class to move in a controlled atmosphere.

7. Bring in an American Sign Language book. Give a 5 minute break every 30 minutes and review letters and a couple of signs. This would be used twice a day.

8. Executives Please! Before your active student gets carried away, ask the class for Executives, Please! Give the active student, and a well-behaved student an unsharpened pencil to put behind their ear. Then give them a clipboard, paper and pencil. The directions are to walk down each hallway and count the doorknobs on each side of the hall. When they get to the end they come back to the classroom and make up three math problems using those numbers. They choose  students to solve the problems.

9. Have a short game of Simon Says. Because the student who needs the activity the most is the least likely to listen to the directions and the most likely to be out first the rule is this, No one is ever out. If someone makes a mistake, say "That's OK, Let's keep going!"

10. Have a short game of Side by Side. Partner the students two girls and two boys. Tell them they are going to follow the directions you give. Tell them if you say head to head, they are gong to not really touch heads. (Due to head lice.) Teacher says, side to side, thumb to thumb, shoulder to shoulder, etc. The teacher continues but increases the speed. The students laugh hysterically because they can't keep up. No one is ever out.

11. Remember that Sharpee on the Post-It on Open House? A few could say 5 containers of Play-Dough. Students can keep their container in their desk and take it out of they are given 10 minutes of free choice time. The clay stays on the desk and the colors don't mix. If anyone throws clay, they lose their container for a week. This works well in developing fine motor control. Of course, students love this activity.

12. When you walk by a student, allow your hand to very lightly drop on the back of a student's shoulder. I am not suggesting hugs as this is frowned upon in most school systems. Allowing your hand to lightly touch a shoulder makes a connection between that student. Smile and make a warm comment as you walk by.

Photo:

scream and shout by Mindaugas Danys  CC By 2.0

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