Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Can't We All Just Get Along???

Name calling, tattling, smack talking, pinching! You name it, my kids were doing it today.  I do not know what has gotten in to my kids but it has to stop!  I felt like I spent all afternoon listening to one boy telling me about how so and so was talking about his mom, and then another wanted to tell me about someone calling him a cry baby, and it went on and on.  I have done the whole squirting glue/toothpaste thing with a class before when talking about name calling and hurt feelings.  Does any one know of any good books or lessons for helping my kids get along and solve problems? I would really appreciate all suggestions!


  1. Have you seen the wrinkled/ripped hearts?
    Life with Mrs. L

  2. Katie,

    Have you heard of ClassDojo? It's an online classroom management system that allows you to track student behaviors, both positive & negative. You can also generate reports to send home to parents, and they show a graph of positive & negative behaviors. We look at our graphs every morning during Morning Meeting and discuss how we can demonstrate more positive behaviors based on the data we've collected.

    There's also a mobile component to this program where you can use your smart phone to award/take away points. Check out ClassDojo.

    I'm also going to write my own blog post about ClassDojo pretty soon. Check out our Beach Brains Blog when you have a chance. :)

    Have a great day!


  3. I teach Kindergarten, but have taught all grades in Elementary except 5th. Every year, I follow the Responsive Classroom Model. One of their books, The First Six Weeks of School, helps you plan and implement a classroom community focused on problem-solving and social responsibility during the first six weeks of school. It isn't really designed to be introduced in February, but you could certainly introduce some components of it now. It's designed to be a proactive approach to classroom management rather than a reactive one, meaning you don't have to teach kids to "unlearn" these behaviors because you've already taught them the positive ones. I have to say that classroom management is something other people always ask me about because my classroom is consistently great at managing themselves--even at 5! They are a tight knit community who knows how to problem solve and I feel like the Responsive Classroom Model is the reason! As for what you could try to implement right away, ask your students to come up with a "Classroom agreement" poster with you that everyone signs. All the "rules" on it should say things in the affirmative like, instead of saying "Don't call people names" it should be restated to say, "Call people only by their real names". It's great to be able to point at the agreement on the wall when you see someone offending it and say, "Max, you agreed to...." It holds them accountable for their actions. Also, I totally agree with Josh above that Morning Meetings are important to help set the tone for the day. I know there are a lot of people who swear by documenting points or pulling cards, but I think what I like best about the Responsive Classroom model is that you are teaching students to be self-managers rather than teaching them not to "get caught" displaying negative behaviors. Good luck! You know we all know how you're feeling and have been there at one point or another!!

    1. I really like how you phrased that: " are teaching students to be self-managers rather than teaching them not to 'get caught' displaying negative behaviors." That's exactly my aim for my students! It's not about "getting caught;" it's about doing the right thing. Period.

      I'm going to check out the Responsive Classroom Model as soon as I post this comment! Thanks for the heads-up!

      Katie, a really easy thing you could do is a social contract. Ask your students to discuss important aspects of a classroom and let them collaborate to write those things down on a poster board. Everyone can sign their name at the bottom. Social contracts I've seen have included LOTS of things: respect, kindness, patience, etc. Kids have a way of coming up with way more "rules" than adults do. ;)

  4. Hi there,
    I feel your frustrations! I have a cute poem I use for tattling but then noticed what grade you teach and don't think it would work. I teach first and I'm so glad I found your blog.l I'm your newest follower. Come visit me sometime.
    Traditions Laughter and Happily Ever After

  5. I totally understand! I've never heard of the toothpaste thing, though -- would you mind sharing?

    When I taught 2nd grade, I had a "tattle box." My rule was that unless they saw blood, bones, or barf, there was no need to tell me about it. They could write their concern on a piece of paper and drop it in the tattle box. If I felt it warranted an action, I would speak with the offender (privately) later. Usually, I just "filed" the complaints in my handy dandy "file cabinet" (i.e. the trash) after reading. :)

    I've also heard of students who are too young to write using a Tattle Turtle. Basically, you just buy a stuffed turtle and tell the students that he's a really good listener. Students whisper their tattles to the turtle instead of to you. :)

  6. Oh boy! I hear you! I'm lucky to have a good class this year, but I've had some doozies the past two years.

    I have Parking Lot. It's where they put al kinds of notes for me: tattles, reminders, "can you move me..." etc. Anytime a kids starts the tattling, I say, "Sounds like something you need to write and put in the Parking Lot." If they continue, I say, "Sounds like you're upset. Ok class, open your book to..." Empathize and move on ;)

    You may also want to try "Friendship Circle". I LOVE this. At the end of the day, students sit in a circle. Choose a small stuffed animal to pass around. Lay the ground work. Only the person with the stuffed animal may talk, keep your comment to less than 30 seconds, respect the speaker by tracking them and being silent. Have a consequence for students who do not follow. When students get the stuffed animal, they can start their sentence with one of two phrases, "I feel/felt....", "I want to thank..." If you come up with other phrases, add them in but don't give kids too many choices - then it becomes like the Cheesecake Menu... So many choices you can't decide lol.

    I hope you have a better day tomorrow.

    PS - I just became a part of the blogosphere.


  7. Hi katie - I hear you. They are so ready for spring break. I just found your blog BTW - very cute!
    Traditions Laughter and Happily Ever After

  8. Have you read "Mr. Peabody's Apples" by Madonna or there is also "Be Good to Eddy Lee"- not sure of author. Spring weather hitting early this year seems to be bringing issues stronger and sooner. Hope this week shows an improvement.

  9. I just posted about name calling. Come check it out and find a great book you can use...and with your big kiddos too! It WILL take care of the tattling because they are learning to handle the problems themselves instead of just writing the tattle down. The thing we do helps the children stand up for themselves so this stops any bullying and teaches empathy so they become more helpful and kind to each other. We use Conscious Discipline and it is amazing. Please come check it out.

    BTW-I now follow your super duper great blog! =)

    Heather's Heart