George Lucas Educational Foundation

How to bring about discipline among 5 & 6 graders -esp boys

How to bring about discipline among 5 & 6 graders -esp boys

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I am in charge of about 900 boys - grades 5 & 6. I'm still researching the most effective way of bringing discipline among the boys..They are very loving but very very restless. Need some professional help on this.

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Heather Wolpert-Gawron's picture
Heather Wolpert-Gawron
ELA Teacher, Middle School, Curriculum Coordinator TOSA

I think the title says it all. With boys, it's all about humor. Make them laugh and they are in the palm of your hand. OK, I guess there's more too, now that I think about it.

1. Humor
2. Technology - tech is their language. You must learn to speak it.
3. Building community - Kati Delahanty, another Edutopia moderator, is a queen at this. She sets her groups to perform a specific task together, say doing a puzzle in a certain amount of time. Then has them analyze the strategies they used as a group to achieve their goal.
4. Digital Storytelling - give them a camera, editing software, and some free music and watch them tell the stories of their life, the stories in their heads, the stories of each other.
5. Film Appreciation - OK, this is a wacky one but it's worked for me. Give them an outlet during lunch and recess to discover great films. Start with Errol Flynn in The Adventures of Robin Hood, get to The Right Stuff - real boy stuff, but with some history to it. It gives them a classroom clubhouse to hang out in with some structure.
6. Structure - make schedules predictable
7. Kinesthetic Lessons - running to the Pro side of the classroom, to the Con side of the classroom, standing on desks as the main topic sentence, etc...
8. Teach them to Juggle - I'm not kidding. Well, I'm kinda kidding. Give them a little known skill. One PE teacher brought in hackisack to our school and it took off! Little small groups of kids playing between classes. It brought in active community. Juggling, those Chinese Yo-yo things, whatever. Give them a strange skill to focus on in their down time.
9. Have them advise the librarian or classroom teacher on books for their library. So many libraries are not as boy-centric as they could be. Have the boys build buy-in by being advisors.
10. Peer Partners - have them be experts for a smaller child. Have them be experts for each other.
11. Put them in leadership positions.

Hope this helps!
-Heather WG

Andrew Pass's picture


What does it mean that you are in charge of about 900 boys?

I would have to hope that you have teachers working for you?

If indeed, you do have teachers, it is not your job to maintain discipline. It is your job to ensure that the teachers maintain discipline. The best way for teachers to maintain discipline is to engage students in the learning process. At this point, I'd suggest that you read the previous comment.

Andrew Pass
My Current Events Blog

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