Thursday, March 15, 2012

Crafting Explosion --> Discipline Struggles

     Alrighty... I'm officially a craft nut-case. Today and yesterday, I spent a large majority of my day 'crafting'... (and then watching hulu during my breaks) Sorry if I bore anyone who happens to come across this post. But I am going to dedicate it to describing my craft outburst these past two days!!

     I have to start by describing the reason for my first project yesterday. I teach a dance club at a nearby elementary school every Monday and Wednesday. This will be my 4th quarter of teaching it; as it first started up in August, and the parents sign up their kids for different clubs every quarter. The class is only 45 minutes long, but I have had a very difficult time figuring out ways to keep the kids under control and on their best behavior for that short amount of time. There are many reasons for this. First, the class usually ranges from Kindergarten to 3rd grade. Also, it is after-school, which already has the kids 'checked-out' for the day. Lastly, the class is located in the gym/cafeteria, so there isn't a high level of responsibility or structure in that room to start. So with all of this being said, I've been working out different disciplines techniques, etc. 
     For the longest time now, I have been handing out a little piece of candy every class, with the warning of getting it taken away as a consequence of bad behavior. Now, this works for many of the kids because they really want the candy, and understand the meaning of consequence.. But for many (especially the kinders), this hasn't worked very well. Most importantly, it doesn't work well for me because I am a slight pushover, and it's really hard for me to take away things. So I decided before this last quarter of the year that I really need to beef up my discipline plan, and create a new and improved system of rewarding the students, instead of punishing them. I have taken away the candy-every-day system, and have brought in a Marble and Prize Reward Strategy. =)
     This is how it works. I have a little basket (my craft project of last night), with a section for each student. During class, at any time, the students have the opportunity to show me good behavior. Whenever a student's good behavior stands out to me, I will send them to the front table to get a marble out of the bag, which they can add to their section of the basket. Right now, the plan is to have them reach 10, and then I will bring them a little prize/treat. (It will probably be a little toy, a few stickers, and a piece of candy.) I have had one class so far introducing this system, and I think the kids really enjoy it so far. They like that there is something new in class (the returning students), and I think the visual of them getting closer and closer to that prize is very captivating. I also give them the opportunity to be praised in front of the rest of the class, and come to the front and add a marble on their own, which gives them responsibility of their own success. They seem to be really excited about it.
     Now, my basket that I made is definitely simple, and not high-tech whatsoever, but I am proud of myself for figuring out how I could make it work. (The kids liked it too, which made me smile.) Here's a picture of it! Not too shabby?? 

     So, yes it is very simple. But I think it works well for now! =) Yay!! On to bigger and better things in my rowdy dance class!!! 

Well, since I bored you to tears with this post about discipline strategies..... I will stop here for tonight, and continue my rant and discussion of my 4 other craft projects tomorrow night.

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