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out of control classroom



Hi, I am a first year teacher teaching students with emotional and behavior disorders 3-5th grade. The beginning of the year was fine. But I have lost control of my classroom completely. Well I have no administration support. I have been told no DT's. I know and understand that my kids have behavior problems and suspending them is what they want. And that doesn't work. I have been told my the adminstrator that they don't have time to deal with my kids. I have a level system and for punishment students have to eat breakfast and lunch in my room and no recess but some days that works and some days it doesn't. My level system works pretty good b/c my kids hate to stay in for recess and for lunch. But lately nothing has been working. My kids are divided across my room and they have dividers to seperate them. They are constantly rewarded for the good things they do. I have a token economy and on friday's they earn a movie party. I am constontly giving verbal praise. But nothing is working right now. I am just not really sure what to do or where to go from here. If anyone has any ideas or suggestions please let me know. Thanks


Senior Member
Star chart

I worked with a second grade teacher who had a "superstar" list. Students would receive stars on a chart for good behavior. The first 5 on the list to fill up the star chart became "superstars". Superstars get to line up first.

I work with sixth graders. This year they were driving me crazy by not picking up their notebooks before we started class. It was just a few kids, but it was everyday. I started the star chart last week. I give students a star for turning in homework on time, having their notebook and all classroom material. Sometimes if students seem to start to talk too much or not get out materials in a timely manner, I give stars to the students that quickly and quietly transition and are ready.

The reaction has been fantastic. Students are always counting how many stars are next to their name. Everyone is remembering their notebooks and transitions are more quick and efficient.

I think it works because the reward of the star on the chart is immediate. It is also small and hard to see, so it is a bit mysterious as to who has the most stars at any given time. Oddly, the leave first reward is like gold to middle schoolers.

Try it. It is simple and you may get the results you need. Good luck.


Junior Member

Can you try and focus more on praise and recognition than punishment? You can make the goal daily or weekly, and the offer praise for those who meet the goal. Be consistent with both the praise and consequences. Hang in there.


Junior Member

Kids in a 'special' classes are sometimes made fun of and ostracized. They may not view eating their meals with you as a punishment.

4th Grade

Rewards vs. Punishment

Ah, that great debate!

But, in my classroom, it is a privilege to eat lunch in the classroom. I agree with the poster who said focus more on positive reinforcement as opposed to the negative. Obviously, not all students will respond well to rewards, so for these students, you will need to spend as much time as possible working with them. I have never believed in holding kids back from recess. I think kids are in the class long enough as it is. They need the break, and taking this away from them will only be more trouble than it's worth.


At the school I am at (and I am prepared for a great debate here) they take away "fun" classes like PE and art if students misbehave. When I first started I thought it was ridiculous, and that the kids should have their fun time, but I didn't say anything and kept my eyes open to see how it worked before complaining. (If only our subs, parents, and student teachers behaved this way!!!) This system actually works incredibly well. I have a low incidence of bad behaviors that warrent this punishment, and I use it as little as possible because I feel that the kids should have this time to play or create. You also need the cooperation of that particular teacher. Ours allows it and takes citizenship points from the kids because they are "late" or "tardy". Kids can also earn back their gyms and I never take an entire gym unless the kid was really bad. Usually they just miss the first 15 minutes or so. Taking recess doesn't work because the kids rarely go out anyway, (between cold weather and a bad neighborhood I've only seen them go out maybe 3 times in about a month and a half). I've also threatened the "if you don't start behaving you'll be eating lunch with me!" bit, but by the enthusiastic response I got, I know that this should be saved as a reward, not a punishment. Maybe your kids think of it the same way. I like the star chart, I am going to try implementing that in my class on top of treats on good behavior days. (My kids have only ever once earned a good behavior day treat, its too hard for them to be "good" all day, and by good I mean simply not being deafiningly loud in the hallway. Also, I have seen "traffic light" setups that worked pretty good. Each kid gets a red, yellow, and green card or "traffic light." When they are good they are on green, something bad, they go to yellow, hit red, and its time to call parents, take gyms or whatever your consequences are. Just an idea, and not one that I use with this group (they don't need it) but I have seen it used successfully, especially when you have the child themself take their card and change it. That is pretty immediate for them. Also, what are your consequences, I don't see you posting much about them, maybe they are not clearly posted/not clear enough for the kids, and if they are, maybe they aren't harsh enough? Luckily I have the support of my admin, but those are the ideas I've got, hope they help!