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Old 12-08-2009, 04:08 PM   #1
skuttle
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Need help re DS6's conduct in class

I need some outside, unbiased opinions.

My DS is 6 years old. In the first grade.

His school has a system where they have colored cards for conduct.
Green is excellent.
Yellow is satisfactory.
Red needs improvement.
Blue you go to the principal.
I think they get two strikes and then their card is flipped to yellow, then red. So to get red, you've had at least 3 warnings.

Last year, in K, DS received mostly greens and yellows. He only received two reds the entire year. The yellows became more frequent right before Thanksgiving, but he managed to settle down a bit for the last half of the school year and was able to attend both good behavior parties.

This year started out great. He went the first month of school with all green. Then the yellows started coming home, then a red here and there. Then it was mostly yellows.

Last week he received two reds. So far this week (Mon and Tues) he's come home with red. It's always for the same thing: talking in class, yelling out answers without raising his hand, not following directions...pretty much just acting silly.

He breezes through his homework without any problems and gets mostly A's on his tests. His reading amazes me every day. His WPM is pretty high based on what they send home.

Our only problem is his conduct in class.

We have talked to him over and over again about what we expect and how his conduct is not acceptable.

We have taken away TV and video games. We told him that he needs to get more greens than yellow in a week, and NO reds, to get video games for the weekend. If he gets yellow, he does not get TV that night. If he gets red, no TV in the morning or at night. His response to this has pretty much been "bummer" and then he goes about his business.

We have now taken away all toys. He's not allowed to touch his toys with these 4 reds. This does not phase him either. He cries at first, but then he starts running around the house "fighting bad guys" or pretending he's some superhero. I know I should be thankful that he doesn't need material things to have fun, but it's frustrating because we are trying to find a deterrent!

We have also started to offer a reward for a week of green (had to try something) but this doesn't do it for him either.

We tried a reward chart, but when he doesn't get stickers for everything on the chart, his response is just "Oh well, I'll do it next week."

He was supposed to have a basketball game tonight. He is going to sit the bench. The only way he will play is if not enough kids show up. We normally only have one extra kid since two quit, so we don't want to penalize the other kids.

I'm just at a loss. Every day when it's time to pick him up, I get a sick feeling in my stomach wondering how his day went. I don't want him to be "the bad kid." I just don't know what to do anymore. DH is a teacher and he says I'm worrying too much about all of this, that he's not a bad kid and that he's still only 6 years old. He's not being mean to other kids or hitting or disrespectful. It stresses me out, though.

On the days he gets red, I can tell right away because he is so sad looking when we pick him up. Then, when we get home, he does anything and everything we ask, without so much as a peep. He knows it's not acceptable. He knows that there are consequences. Ugh.
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Old 12-08-2009, 04:23 PM   #2
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I would have a conference with the teacher. I would ask her what she has observed and if there has been any changes in the classroom. I would also ask her for specific examples as to his behavior and suggestions to rectify it. Sometimes a child needs a little extra help with control. Is he sitting near a friend? Maybe he needs his seat changed, maybe he needs to sit closer to the teacher, more challenging work, additional work when there is down time. These are just some of the examples.
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Old 12-08-2009, 04:23 PM   #3
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Hang in there!

The same thing happened with my nephew. One of the big factors for him was another kid in the same class. Don't get me wrong - he was bad too, but being around this other kid made it more difficult for my nephew to control his own behavior. Maybe ask the teacher if this could be an issue? Separate him from other bad influences perhaps??

My sis did similar to you. No Wii for the weekend (and they are ONLY allowed to play on weekends) unless he stayed on green ALL WEEK. He had a lot of weekends of not playing...Didn't seem too upset about it at the time. But they kept it consistent and eventually he grew out of it and now is on green all the time.

I would say - don't do SO MANY consequences. Sit down and come up with a couple and leave it at that. Maybe also come up with a reward for good behavior - just one - and leave it there. Maybe put it up on the refigerator...Then - stop talking about it. Do NOT give him attention by always discussing it constantly. Just follow through with the consequences and wait it out.

Sometimes it takes time for consequences to sink in. Can't expect it righ away.
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Old 12-08-2009, 04:25 PM   #4
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BTDT - it does get better (for us, about 4th grade...). I truly believe my kids have ADHD, but are straight A students, and the teachers have been great about coming up with systems (like sending home a happy or sad face daily, and let me know about each issue). I also encourage them to punish in class (sit alone, for example). Dd13 talked, called out, and was disrespectful. Ds11 just talked and called out (and hummed while doing his work). No issues at all with dd8 and dd6. Ds6 has had issued with being disprespectul in the beginning of the year, turned a 180 after his teacher implemented a respect program in the class, and then missed a week due to the flu, and he's started again (not listening, etc.).

She talked to me after school, and I talked to him, and hope to get him back in line. He's never received a grade lower than 100, so he's not having problems academically. He's a very "active" child. I disagree with your DH - being 6 does not excuse the behavior - I've seen many 6 year old behave in class.
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Old 12-08-2009, 04:42 PM   #5
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His teacher writes a note to me each time he gets red explaining exactly what happened. He has been moved around to different desks. She has mentioned in the past that he is "joining in" with other kids.

Another problem is that, in the past, his teacher has bargained with him re his card color. For example, one day she let him have green when he really should have had yellow, with the promise from DS that he would be good the following day or he would get red. This, I think, does not help things. I can't believe she allows him to negotiate with her!

I thought about asking her for additional and/or more challenging work to see if that helps, but I don't want it to seem like I'm trying to make excuses for DS and his behavior.

Maybe I am took quick to change the punishment when one doesn't work.
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Old 12-08-2009, 04:58 PM   #6
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If he is bright, he may just be getting bored. Is he being removed from the room for enrichment? One of my girlfriends made the arrangment with her son's teacher that he could read if he was bored - as long as he kept up with his work and was non-disruptive. Reading was better than acting out.

Also make sure the expectations are reasonable - first graders often forget to raise their hands....is it enthusiasm that is driving the behavior, is it attention seeking, competitiveness or is he being naughty on purpose?

If you haven't, take a day to spend in the class watching the class. If you can manage it, spend enough time there for your son to behave "normally" - there is nothing like watching the entire class dynamics to figure out if its "your kid" or if "your kid" is pretty normal.
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Old 12-08-2009, 05:00 PM   #7
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We have a similar system with our school. Except it is:

Blue is Excellent behavior
Green is Normal behavior
Yellow is Warning
Red is Principles office and a call home

I expect my children to be on Green All the time. Yellow is not acceptable in our home and they are aware of this. Blue is awesome to have. The teachers have said that Blue is rare and not to expect the kids to have that color and if they do then it is great. We usually celebrate with them getting to pick dinner and desert for the night. They love to do this. But our DD who is in Kindergarten this year has been on Yellow a few times. We found out that she is bored with the work that she is doing. She already knows how to read and do everything they are teaching. So we talked with the teacher and they are now teaching her harder things and her behavior is a lot better. So we think she might have been bored with school. Our DD6 is in the 1st grade and she has been on green almost every day. The other seven or so days she has been on Blue. But then her teacher has said she uses her as an example of how to act with the other kids.

Good luck! Remember that Satisfactory is great to have too!
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Old 12-08-2009, 05:03 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skuttle View Post
His teacher writes a note to me each time he gets red explaining exactly what happened. He has been moved around to different desks. She has mentioned in the past that he is "joining in" with other kids.

Another problem is that, in the past, his teacher has bargained with him re his card color. For example, one day she let him have green when he really should have had yellow, with the promise from DS that he would be good the following day or he would get red. This, I think, does not help things. I can't believe she allows him to negotiate with her!

I thought about asking her for additional and/or more challenging work to see if that helps, but I don't want it to seem like I'm trying to make excuses for DS and his behavior.

Maybe I am took quick to change the punishment when one doesn't work.
The red flag to me is the "joining in" which *may* mean the teacher doesn't have good control of her classroom. That is a consideration. If other kids are acting up, she may be putting out fires all day and not addressing the root problem, which could be a number of things.

The flag system isn't working with your DS. I'm wondering how many other students are having control problems? You can't really ask that, but can you drop in to volunteer in the class? I think it might help to get a handle on the dynamics of the class.
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Old 12-08-2009, 05:06 PM   #9
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OP, I think my 6 year-old grandson lives with you!!
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Old 12-08-2009, 05:15 PM   #10
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I don't know that spending the day in class would help. I think he would just behave because I am there. When I go to school for parties or field trips, he acts like an angel. I guess that would help me to see how the other kids act, but I don't think I'd get a true view of how DS acts in class.

DH and I have wondered if maybe he is bored, just based on how quickly he does his homework at night and his test grades. I just don't know how to bring that up with his teacher without it sounding like I'm trying to make excuses for DS. I think I may ask her if she thinks giving him extra work to do in class would help since he finishes his work at home so quickly.

I don't think DS is just "forgetting" how to act properly. When I told him he would sit the bench for basketball tonight, he started crying and telling me that he would raise his hand and stay on task and not yell the answers, etc. He knows that these are all inappropriate behaviors in class.

Last week, after the second red, I had him write an apology note to his teacher. Too harsh?

BTW...For all the crying he did when I told him he'd sit the bench tonight since he's had 4 reds in 5 days, he just came up to me and said "guess I'll get to cheer on the team from the bench tonight and talk to Dad (DH helps coach)." It's already no big deal to him! Of course, I"m sure his feelings will change once we're there and he sees the other kids playing and he's not allowed to do so.

I really appreciate all of the comments. And sorry if I'm rambling. It's nice to talk these things through! I don't want to be too hard on him, but at the same time I don't want him to think his actions are okay or that there will be no consequences for bad classroom behavior. My DH has always liked to be the center of attention and make people laugh, even when he was a child in school....So I at least blame this on DH to make myself feel a little better.
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Old 12-08-2009, 05:19 PM   #11
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Positive behavior reinforcements almost always work better than negative ones. (Although the DIS board members are REAL fans of the negative ones.)

I agree, the card system isn't working for your son.

I have a special needs child with a severe language disorder who was having trouble in class. They tried all these different things in K and 1st grade, and were about to institute a very negative, punitive behavior plan when we stopped them (the university research hospital we go to said it wasn't going to work, and would probably be very counterproductive.)

So we stuck to our guns and they brought in a behaviorial psychologist to create a positive plan for him, and it worked pretty much from Day One. I've had nothing but overall positive daily reports since they started it.

My point is, not every system works the same for each child. And sometimes it takes a bit of looking to figure out what's motivating the behavior and how to rechannel it.

And of course, there will be those who say: "That's not fair!!! It should be the same for everybody!!" And that's why we have so many kids who lose their way in the educational system.
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Old 12-08-2009, 05:22 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjkacmom View Post
BTDT - it does get better (for us, about 4th grade...). I truly believe my kids have ADHD, but are straight A students, and the teachers have been great about coming up with systems (like sending home a happy or sad face daily, and let me know about each issue). I also encourage them to punish in class (sit alone, for example). Dd13 talked, called out, and was disrespectful. Ds11 just talked and called out (and hummed while doing his work). No issues at all with dd8 and dd6. Ds6 has had issued with being disprespectul in the beginning of the year, turned a 180 after his teacher implemented a respect program in the class, and then missed a week due to the flu, and he's started again (not listening, etc.).

She talked to me after school, and I talked to him, and hope to get him back in line. He's never received a grade lower than 100, so he's not having problems academically. He's a very "active" child. I disagree with your DH - being 6 does not excuse the behavior - I've seen many 6 year old behave in class.
OP, I don't have any additional comments to what other posters have said, but this bolded part stuck out to me, my DD, now 13, hums. She has done it since she was a baby, that's how I knew she was out of trouble, she uses it to block out distractions when she's focusing. None of her teachers have ever commented on it, though. We call it her "motor", lol. I've never heard of anyone else doing that so I'm excited to "meet" someone else whose child does.
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Old 12-08-2009, 05:24 PM   #13
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We have offered positives as well. We told him at the beginning of the year if he received green all month, he could choose a "fun day" for us to do...anything he wanted. We did that the first month.

Since more and more yellows/reds have started coming in, we have told him that if he gets green all week, we'll do something fun for the weekend, but mom and dad get to pick.

We've tried even minor things. After he went a long time w/o video games, right before Thanksgiving break, DH told DS that if he received more greens in the week than yellows, he'd get games back. I also promised DS an icee or smoothie if he gets green for ONE DAY if he's had a bad week to begin with. It just doesn't work.

Maybe we change things up too much. I just feel like I have to keep changing it up until I find what works.
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Old 12-08-2009, 05:33 PM   #14
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We have offered positives as well. We told him at the beginning of the year if he received green all month, he could choose a "fun day" for us to do...anything he wanted. We did that the first month.

Since more and more yellows/reds have started coming in, we have told him that if he gets green all week, we'll do something fun for the weekend, but mom and dad get to pick.

We've tried even minor things. After he went a long time w/o video games, right before Thanksgiving break, DH told DS that if he received more greens in the week than yellows, he'd get games back. I also promised DS an icee or smoothie if he gets green for ONE DAY if he's had a bad week to begin with. It just doesn't work.

Maybe we change things up too much. I just feel like I have to keep changing it up until I find what works.
In our case, we really had to bring in a professional to help us. We had requested a Board Certified Behavior Analyst since K, but the district ignored us, or tried their own plans from the school psych, who clearly didn't know what she was doing.

So they got a grant to bring in a behaviorist who works at our school and another one. She looked at our report from our clinicians, observed our son, and crafted a plan that could be used easily and quickly in the classroom. We were astonished to see all the compliance that happened right away, when we'd been struggling for two years with these issues.

I'm not well versed enough in behavior to know about your situation. But I will say that getting the right advice from a true specialist can make all the difference!

(Your son probably won't be as difficult to figure out. But you are doing a lot of things all at once. We were told consistency and clear rules were key. From your posts, you seem to have a smart, sweet son with high spirits. It certainly doesn't seem willful.)
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Old 12-08-2009, 05:57 PM   #15
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First there is no excuse for bad behavior in class. That is what I have always told my kids from pre-school on. So don't fall into the he's bored he can misbehave. I have an extremely bright DD who had the bad habit of doing what your son does and I call it a bad habit. It is frustrating to know the answer and then have to wait while other kids take for ever (in your son's mind) to get the answer but it is the expected behavior and one he needs to learn now. It won't be any different later.

One way we addressed it with my DD was to say it wasn't "fair" to the other kids if she got to always talk and give the answer. She could understand why the other kids would want to talk out loud as much as she did so she had to share the limelight. If he can do the work then yes giving him harder work and more independence will help BUT he still needs to just learn how to behave.

My first thought though was and still is when you seriously ask him "why do you call out all the time?" "why do you misbehave when you know better?"
So many time people just don't ask the kid what is up and why he is doing it. Turn it around on him. Ask him how to deal with it.

PS my DD when she was old enough went to a charter school for the highly gifted and guess what? she and several others started up with the same behavior, calling out, answering too many questions, so it isn't always just being bored. Sometimes it actually is just behavior. Luckily reminding her and them about sharing the time and that they just had to behave brought them into line-most of the time!!!!
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