A teacher posted a request at DisciplineWithoutStress@yahoogroups.com. The teacher had a very challenging youngster and requested others to share some ideas working with very difficult young students.
Following is one teacher's response. HER IDEA IS WELL WORTH YOUR READING IF YOU ARE A TEACHER OR parent WORKING WITH A VERY CHALLENGING YOUNG PERSON.
"This is my second year using DWS (Discipline without Stress). I have a first grader this year who has exhibited many of the behaviors that you listed. I have used behavior sheets, given out laps, writing sentences, separated him from the group even using a science fair display board and then ultimately had to suspend him for a short time. NOTHING was working with him. He was speaking or shouting out in the classroom and restroom, singing loudly, constantly interrupting me during class with another grade (I teach multigrade 1-8), just generally disrupting the entire class. I was at my wits' end with him, and we were nearly ready to expel him as he was disturbing the other students and interfering with their learning.
"This lad came to me as an uncivilized young one.
"One evening I had an inspiration to use tangible items to show him when he is interrupting or disrupting people. I chose clothespins to use, as these can easily be clipped together for ease of distribution, name-identified, etc. So as not to single out this one student, I give four clothespins to the lower grade students (Grades 1-3) at the beginning of the school day. These clothespins have the students' names written on them and are clipped together, making a square. Students put them on top of their desks, where they are readily visible and accessible. When a student interrupts me or disrupts the class or another student, I quietly ask for a clothespin. At the end of the day, I give a small token to those students who still have four clothespins. The token may be a sticker, an eraser, etc. It has worked miracles for this especially disruptive student.
"His mother and grandmother are so happy with his new and improved behavior! Even his pastor says that he can see a difference in him at church! Hallelujah!
"The clothespins give him something tangible to attach to an undesirable behavior, of which he was not even aware, and then make a better choice. He is prompted to make the decision, 'Is this worth losing a clothespin over—do I really need to interrupt another student or the teacher, or can I figure this out on my own?'
"It actually allows him to label his behavior, analyze it, and then make a choice about his behavior. It has worked wonders for him and I am still sane, as are the other students in our classroom.
"I hope this may offer you something to try. It may not be totally with DWS, but I AM BEGINNING TO "WEAN" THE CLASS OFF THE CLOTHESPINS ALREADY, NOT GIVING THEM OUT 2 DAYS LAST WEEK. STUDENTS WERE FINE WITHOUT THEM!"
More information on this topic is available at http://marvinmarshall.com.