Mar 28, 2022

Transforming the Classroom with My Disruptive Behavior Solution (Part 2)

Welcome back, listeners! I'm delighted that you're joining me today for the second part of how I'm addressing defiant, disrespectful, and distracting behaviors. The response I've received from people has been astonishing. I've received DMs, comments on Facebook posts, and questions via email. Your engagement reassures me as a teacher that I'm not alone, although I know I'm not alone with you wonderful people here. Yet, admitting challenges can be tough, even for me. That nagging voice in the back of your mind insists you should have it all together. But the reality is, we don't. So, a heartfelt thank you to everyone who reached out - expressing gratitude or seeking advice. It means a lot. In this episode, we're going to delve deeper into a disruptive behavior solution. It's clear that many of you are facing these challenges in various settings, and I'm excited to share insights and strategies that can help you manage and overcome disruptive behaviors effectively. Remember, we're all in this together on the journey of creating a positive and productive environment.

Today, I'll delve into part two of my strategies for managing disruptive, disrespectful, and defiant behaviors. If you haven't already, I highly recommend listening to part one because it lays the groundwork for much of what I've been implementing. I'll now shift gears to discuss what happens after our morning meeting and transitioning from circle time to our carpet spaces. Once settled, we dive into our reading rounds.

I'm a strong advocate for simplicity, and this part underscores the importance of surrounding yourself with colleagues who push you to embrace the uncomfortable, even the things you swore off. A huge shoutout goes to my friend Molly Wheatley. I remember discussing my concerns about my students' behavior during our literacy block on Marco Polo one day. My attempts to balance various subjects like phonics, math, and reading had become messy and disjointed. My goals were three reading rounds and three guided reading groups, but it was chaos.

Molly suggested Daily Five, which I initially dismissed due to past difficulties. She insisted it could be amazing if kept simple. Skeptical but intrigued, I inquired further. The crux was focusing on three rounds instead of five, with uniform expectations for all rounds. Molly's advice prompted a paradigm shift. I had 27 kindergartners, so transitions took longer. I revisited my expectations for every round, resulting in a streamlined approach. This newfound simplicity not only impacted reading rounds but also math and writing blocks.

For Read to Self, I emphasize independence—working quietly without constant reminders. Students respond with "zero" or "one" for whisper voice level. Next, they remain in one spot, eyes fixed on their book to build stamina. Then, there's the crucial side discussion on why these behaviors matter. Students chime in with respectful and responsible reasons. They understand it's about optimizing teaching time, not being bossy.

Post-read-aloud, I conduct guided reading groups, which I've dubbed "book clubs" thanks to Molly's suggestion. This aligns with maintaining the same expectations. The practice of using consistent expectations doesn't end there; it extends to math, independent work, and writing time. Every subject adheres to these shared guidelines.

Moving forward, let's discuss my star system. Each day, we aim for 15 minutes of focused work time. If the class maintains expectations without excessive interventions, they earn a star. Three stars equal a reward, initially extra recess. This evolved into student-driven choices, such as 10 minutes of free iPad time or having lunch with me. This reinforces their autonomy.

Transitioning to my end-of-day routine, we gather for a closing circle where each student shares a personal accomplishment and an aspect they can improve. This practice fosters reflection and a growth mindset. I use the same principles for behavior management across subjects, underlining simplicity and consistency.

Before I wrap up, I want to spotlight the Heart-Centered Classroom Management system by the Active Educator, Adriana Seraphska. This program resonates with my teaching philosophy and values, guiding me to enhance my classroom management. It's essential to approach student behavior as a partnership, not an adversarial battle. Students are young and imperfect, and it's vital to remember that they're doing their best within their own context.

Remember, my journey started by transforming my mindset, realizing it's not me versus them. Instead, it's a collaborative effort to equip students with tools for success. This year is just a fragment of their lives, and my goal is to make it count, setting the stage for lifelong learning.

Thank you for tuning in, and stay tuned for more exciting content ahead!



  1. Reflect on your expectations, routines, and procedures for the different subjects (or tasks) and simplify them by finding ways to the same ones across all subject areas (or tasks).
  2. At the beginning of the day, set a behavior goal.  Reflect on the progress towards this goal several times throughout the day. 
  3. Create a closing routine that instills both reflection and celebration for all the hard work and learning they did that day. 



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