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    discipline issues in a split
    By Julianne

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    In most split classes the students are hand picked for their ability to work independently. The idea is that you have your hands full providing core curricula for two different grade levels and the kids better be able to work on their own. Have you discussed moving this child to a regular first grade classroom? It would have been best to place her there to begin with, but so late into the school year you may not be able to move her. So you need some other strategies to help you deal with her behavior.

    This child probably won't be making the kind of progress you'd like simply because her home situation is in such turmoil. So concentrate on making the classroom livable for all. Pick two or three specific behaviors you feel are the most disruptive and begin with them. You can't change everything. I'd start with the wandering around bothering other students and her kicking and screaming tantrums. Whatever tactics you use, keep them consistent and don't stop too soon. Your objective is to be able to teach your class. There are some good websites and books that have to do with specific behavior problems. Pick a strategy and use it for more than a few days. One strategy my partner and I use is a simple behavior chart for each week. It has a space for five behavior checks per day. If the child does a good job they get a smiley face, if there are a few problems, a straight face, if it's complete chaos, a frowny face. At the end of each day the chart goes home for mom or dad to sign and return. At the end of the week there's a small reward for days when the child got all smiles. We keep the completed charts and over the course of a couple of months you can see real progress in most children's behavior just because you're concentrating on it.

    Also try moving her to a seat where she's at a distance from other students. Wall her off a bit if possible so she doesn't get as much stimulation. Visit her location frequently while you are teaching, putting a hand on her shoulder or using other calming techniques to show her you are watching her and care about her.

    Hope that the counselling is effective and offer to meet with the counselor if possible. He or she may have some insights for you.

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