George Lucas Educational Foundation

Suggestions for tough kinder class

Suggestions for tough kinder class

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Hello all, I have a very interesting kindergarten class and have 5 students who are very good friends, but when they are in class, they are very disruptive. By disruptive I mean uncontrollable laughing, absolutely refusing to do what was asked, and physical aggression at times. They are all great kids individually, but when together, they "lose their heads". I do have a full-time aide and much of her time is taken up with one of the students who has special needs. I've worked very hard to build a community with these kids and they all care about me, and each other very much. I use a lot of positive, specific praise and have outlined clear procedures which we practice often. Unfortunately, parents are becoming reluctant to volunteer for lunch duty, and centers as they leave feeling "frazzled" because each of these students needs so much individual attention. I have altered my schedule, shortened blocks of work time, practiced transitions, met with parents, etc. I know that as a new teacher there are things that I can be doing better but I need some suggestions. I've asked the seasoned kinder teacher whom I respect very much and she is at a loss as well. We have discussed moving one of my bunch to her class and having one of her students join my class. Her students know me well as I teach 3 times a week in her class and our schedules/curriculum map are fairly similar so the students wouldn't be thrown into a new curriculum. Has anyone ever switched a student's class mid-year. I'm thinking if I break up the group a bit, they will have more time away from each other and will be able to succeed more easily (with plenty of support from myself and parents). So, I'm wondering if anyone has tried this before and how it worked. Also, what other suggestions might you have. As I said, I've tried positive reinforcement, moving them into the other class for a while (which works beautifully while they are out), and in general, trying to be proactive. I don't want to cheat our class out of learning and I don't want to demonize these students but I'm at a loss.

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Hubert V. Yee's picture
Hubert V. Yee
social media and marketing manager of startup

Hi Beth,

There are two great discussions on classroom management An Engaged Classroom . . . Dos and Don'ts and What is your best advice to get students attention and keeping them quiet.

The National Association of Special Education Teachers (NASET) is a resource recommended by one of our members.

Please also post this in our Special Ed Group discussion. There are some great educators who would like to share their experience.

Sunshine's picture

I too, teach I tough kinder class. Right now I have three students out of 30 that are at times very disruptive. All three can be classified as having ADHD. One of them is already be treated for it. Then I have another student who just joined us who may have high functioning Autism. I do not have a full-time aide to help out and when I do it is not for very long before he or she is being pulled to go somewhere else. I am expected to have all of these children being quiet most of the time doing the same lesson at the same time, in their seats with hands folded and fully engaged in what I am teaching at the same time. Needless to say, it has not been easy. These children are being expected to get into learning mode at the snap of the fingers as well.(by administration). I am using the Nurtured Heart Approach by Howard Glasser which seems to be working. The disruptions have become less and when one does occur it quickly ends in the last two week. However, the change is not coming as fast as others would like to see it happen. Although, it is working for me I am still at a loss as to what to do to make others happy and see my class as being well managed.

Rebecca Alber's picture
Rebecca Alber
Edutopia Consulting Editor

Hi Sunshine,

I hear your frustrations. When I was teaching, I was always scared to death that an administrator would walk in my room just when it was the noisiest. I expressed this fear to my instructional coach and she said to me, "Just because students are quiet, doesn't mean they are learning."

I am so thankful to this day that she said this to me. I've repeated this to teachers I work with, and I can visibly see their relief.

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