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tough class


too risky

I have a very tough class this year. I have two students who are constantly in need of correction, blurting out, moving around the room at inappropriate times, basically doing whatever they can to draw attention to themselves. I have 20+ students and I feel like about 20 of them are getting the short end of the stick each day. In addition to the 2 already mentioned, I have another one I have heard is on medication for ADHD, another one who probably should be, and one who is just plain mean in a sneaky sort of way. My frustration is off of the charts right now. My administration is somewhat helpful, but at the same time they have pretty much removed all meaningful forms of in class discipline. We have had the option of having the kids stand on the line for 5, 10, or 15 minutes of their recess or lunch recess. Now, we can only put them on the line if we stay out there with them to ensure they are let off in time because the playground people don't believe it should be their job. (I worked hard to keep kids off of the line, but some really earned it). Some days the only breaks I have are at recess and lunch. On those days, I usually am taking care of going to the restroom, making copies, preping something for the rest of the day or the following day. I can't afford the time to stand on the line with the students who earned it. So, students who should be standing on the line, now are not. We have been warned not to make students write sentences either. Does anyone out there have any suggestions for making the card pulling system have immediate consequences, and be meaningful to the students?


Full Member
Could you..

maybe have them stay in and put their heads down during recess time. You could get a few things done in the room.


Full Member
been there

you said you feel the others are getting the short end of the stick, and here you are writing a long paragraph about the two or three that are detracting from the rest. Instead of putting your efforts into punishing them, spend your time thinking of some incentives for the rest of your class, things that kids can earn through their good behavior. www.mspowell.com has a great token system and also talks about reasons for misbehavior. Good luck!


Senior Member
I have the same problem

This is possibly the most challenging year I've ever had. I have about 6 trouble makers in one class of 20. I recommend a lot of documenting. Try your best not to get drawn into the oppositional-defiant child's game (that's my personal challenge). I would try to isolate the problem causers from the rest of the group if possible. Put the child's chair directly in front of the room so he can't see the rest of the class. Arrange for the kids to have a fun activity that they must earn. If the student's name is on the board 3 times in one week, they cannot participate, but must go to another class to do work. Hopefully you have already been in contact with parents by now. I had a student write a letter to his parent about an assignment he defaced rather than completed. I mailed the letter to the parent with additional comments from me. Pretty effective I thought as the student had a better attitude after that.

Bonnie gr. 2

Full Member
A couple of thoughts

I have a couple of thoughts that might help. If you need an alternative to having students miss recess, how about having them have a time out in the classroom? My students receive a warning for breaking class rules. If they continue to break rules, they sit for 5 minutes at a table in the back of the room. If it happens again in the same day, they sit at a table directly across from my door for 5 minutes. I can see them and monitor their behavior from there. No one has had to sit at the table in the hall this year. That may not be an option in your school. But 10 minutes for another infraction might work.

I have also tried positive rewards for a class to get students to follow class rules and stay on task. Pick a goal and have the class earn letters to spell out the reward. For example, if the reward is popcorn, when the class is behaving, especially one of the difficult students, put a P on the board. When you see a positive behavior which you are targetting, add an O, and so on until the reward is spelled out.

I have a banner on my board. It says "Things We Have Done Very Well." I make a running list. It helps the kids and me focus on the positive. The things may be everyone came to school on time, everyone had their homework, we took out our books quietly, we lined up quietly.

Good luck and keepus posted.



I had a similar 4th grade class last year but with a slightly higher ratio of "trouble spots." Time out worked well for us. I put a single desk in the back of the classroom facing a wall. If a student was not acting appropriately they were sent to the time out desk. There was a file folder with worksheets there for the kids to do (labelled 1-4 so there was always something they could do). The worksheets were a little challenging and they were graded.

We also did a lot for positive reinforcement for the other kids but not bribes. I told them that I would not give them things for behaving how they should in class and they understood that. I did give rewards for above and beyond.

I also gave out snacks at morning recess (3 or 4 cracker-type things) and this seemed to help.

In our class, b/c it was so challenging, we really worked on building a proper community so we whole lessons on please, thank you, why you behave in school (we charted this after a few discussions and the results were awesome), eye contact, etc. A proactive approach to these problem areas really seemed to help.

Good Luck!


I also have many challenging students in my grade 5 classroom. One of the things that I do with these students (and in fact all of the students) is to have them fill out a time-out sheet anytime they are misbehaving. They usually get a couple of warnings first and are then removed to the time-out desk. There, they must sit and reflect on what they did that was inappropriate. This is signed by myself, the student and then it is taken home to be signed by the parents. It must come back to me the following day or I phone home. All the sheets are kept in the student files. When they reach a certain number of time outs (5), they lose a priveledge. At the same time, students earn tickets throughout the week for good behaviour-this I put in a Future Aces bin. At the end of the week, I will choose 3 tickets from the bin. The students who are called are allowed to choose a prize from my prize bin. The grade fives get that the more times they are noticed behaving appropriately, the more chances they have to win something at the end of the week. Good luck!

too risky

Thank You!

Thank you so much for all of the great responses. I have been experimenting this week with more positive reinforcement, and trying to spend less time focusing on the trouble-makers. It works very well for most of the kids.
I like the time out desk idea, but what do you do if you have more than one student who should be put on time out at the same time?
I may try sending some of the offenders to another teacher for a time out period as well. does anyone else do that? How do you like it?