So, the last three days have not been so bad. Yes, there have been punches, kicks and teasing and running from the room…and there was a lot of Baff Goo thrown around the room yesterday, but overall it’s been good. If we can stay on this streak, combined with me having some no student days coming up next week, I might be able to get some sort of a handle on things.
Next week I hope to plan for at least the rest of October and get everything prepped. That alone should make me be able to walk out the door between 3:30 and 4 each day rather than between 5:30 and 6.
What do I attribute the good days to? I think one thing is the removal of chairs. I think that showed the students that I mean business and I’m tired of the chaos.
I also think the levels are beginning to make an impact. If students end the morning or the afternoon on our “super hero” level they can earn time on the iPad, playing in the dramatic play area, or playing with the wooden trains. If they earn the level below that their choices are still good. They can choose from Legos, Bristle Blocks or making pictures and structures with shapes. But if they run out of the room or have consistent aggressive behavior the they end up on our “sticky situation” level and their only choices are coloring or reading.
I’ve never been a fan of the point system and ideally I want to tap into their intrinsic motivation but I’m not seeing how to do that with these kids. At least not yet. And the point system seems to be turning our days around. And really, you can’t teach self regulation skills to a group of kids who are constantly disregulated.
I wish I could post the picture I took this afternoon. As I stood with my two assistants, having a chance to check in with them for more than one minute for the first time since the beginning of the year, I told them to look. They turned to face the room and we watched as the 4 students who were left in the room played independently and quietly with 4 different activities they had earned. It was a very beautiful moment. I hope we begin to have more of these moments.