What to do When a Student is Disrupting?

While my students are overall, pretty good kids, every now and then, I get one who can’t pay attention, disrupts, is rude, etc. Often, a gentle (or not so gentle) reminder can get my student back on track. However, sometimes, after a few reminders, it’s time to try something else.

Think sheets

My method involves removing the student from the room, and an assignment they won’t enjoy. First, I have a deal with the teacher next door to me that we send disruptive students to the other classroom. Although it seems like this would not bother them, it actually is one of the worst things you can do to a student! They really, really don’t like going to the other room. While there, they are expected to quietly complete their assignment (more on that in a moment) and return quickly to my class.

The assignment they are given is a “think sheet”. It’s basically a page of questions and paragraphs detailing what they did wrong and what they should do in the future. They copy the first few paragraphs, then complete one of their own. Since students don’t like to do this, they prefer to behave appropriately so they can avoid it.

The important part of this process is to prepare the class for this. I always explain that if a student is sent next door and he or she disrupts there, the office is the next step. Once sent to the office, the fact they disrupted two classrooms is not going to go well for them.

The think sheets cover the major types of discipline I encounter: Not Following Directions, Tardiness, Rudeness, Silliness, Talking. Generally, everything falls into one of those categories. I explain to the students that it is up to them to think about what they have been doing and which category would fit.

In addition, I have the think sheets in a folder in the back of the room. This makes it seamless for the students to pick up the think sheet on their way out the door. I have several think sheets, but I tell them that if they aren’t sure, they can always do “Not Following Directions” since being sent out means they were not following my direction (implied or stated outright).

At this point in the year, I rarely have to send a student next door. This method has served as a wonderful deterrent for their behavior. It also helps, in the rare cases that I do have to send a student to the office for misbehavior, I have already given them a step in between.

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