Tuesday, September 1, 2009

And it Continues...

As I picked Clay up from school today, I saw his teacher approach my car again. I floored it and burned rubber out of the parking lot I looked forward to her thanking me for talking to Clay because he had been wonderful today.

"Was he ok today?" I asked.

"No, he got moved to yellow," she responded. They have a behavior system where the kids all start off on green. If they misbehave or the teacher has to tell them to stop doing something, they're moved to yellow. If the behaviors continue, they're moved to red and a parent is notified.

"Ugh. What did he do today?" I asked resignedly.

"He couldn't keep his hands to himself. He's very touchy, isn't he?"

"Hands on, yep, he's a hands on, into everything, kinda guy."

"When I warned him that I was going to have to give you a call, he told me that I couldn't call you because you were at Sea World."

"Sea World???" Where does he come up with this stuff? sigh "OK, I'll talk to him again," I promised.

On the way home, I asked him what was going on. He told me, "Well, the kids at school just bug me."

"Honey, people bug me too, but I don't walk around touching them or hitting them. And it didn't sound like kids were bugging you today. It sounded like you were bugging them."


"Why did you tell your teacher that I was at Sea World?" I wondered.

"So she wouldn't call you," duh came his answer.

"Lying is NEVER a good idea. NEVER. Your teacher still told me what you did at school and now she knows that you lied about me being at Sea World. Lies ALWAYS make things worse. ALWAYS."

So this year I'm the parent of one of those kids. Clay has always been a busy kid. As long as he's got something to keep his interest, he's great. When he gets bored, watch out. I'm resorting to bribery right now. I told him he'd get a treat if he stayed on green and his teacher told me that he behaved well tomorrow. I'm off to Costco to buy a giant thing of M&Ms. Hopefully he'll earn a handful tomorrow. We'll see.


plainprecious said...

Wow sounds like a great plan to give a hyper kid more energy with sugar. LOL

Nancy said...

Dawn I have a son that graced me with a phone call home the first night of Kindergarten. I learned early that if he was bored I was going to get a call.
I have now told the teachers (and I am a teacher myself) and schools that if I get a call at home they better be able to tell me how they are challenging him to keep him from getting bored.
I have found the more challenged he is (and not with BUSY WORK) the less I have to worry about getting that dreaded call.

Become his advocate. Don't let them label him a 'bad kid' because they refuse to challenge him.

Marsha said...

I wish you luck. I had a kid like that at one time,and trust me, he couldn't be bribed. *sigh*

Julie B. said...

Dawn, have him tested. Not the "ADHD testing", but IQ testing. My son, who is 6, and started 1st grade today, spent more time in the principal's office in any given week last year, than MOST kids spend in 13 years of public education. They asked if they could test him.

Part of that process includes IQ testing, along with the behavioral and congnitive testing. TUrns out my little turd (who reminds me a LOT of Clay) is just bored. He is reading at nearly a 3rd grade level, can do LATE 3rd grade level math in his HEAD, and has a general IQ high enough to get him an entry in MENSA. SO this year, the teacher is prepared for him, has adjusted her curriculum to help him stay focused and on task... and is challenging him. Today is only the first day, so we'll see next week... but Clay sure sounds like an overly intelligent little guy, with an imagination... a very, very scary combination in a boy of his age!

Good luck! But seriously, look into testing. He may just need an able learner program.

pastrytiff said...

Please tell us whatever you come up with that works!! My 1st grader has had 2 notes sent home in the last week that I have had to sign and send back because of his behavior. It's going to be a LONG year.


Anonymous said...

This is quite a common problem the world over and tends to affect kids who are bright and not being challenged enough.
Also its great that your a concerned parent but the teacher is paid a salary and she has to get to know Clayton and know how best to handle him , instead of complaining to you and getting you to deal with it . It has to be a two way thing
I think the lying is a boy thing in that tell a lie to get out of this but lets not think about the consequences
Hang on in there by Christmas he could be her favourite pupil

mommyknows said...

Sometimes when you're a kid bugging just feels so good! I remember being his age and I loved getting a rise out of people.

I was also a fairly gifted liar, if it would get me out of trouble.

Hmmm ... I no longer do either on a very frequent basis. OK, fine I do bug, but I've cut the fibbing down to life and death situations only.

:D kim

Kristine said...

One word: Hugs!
I'm thinking my 1st grader needs extra incentive to get a "green." The other day, he was telling me that he could never get a green. Sigh.

Kelly R. said...

Bet your glad you came back from Minneapolis!

Frau Mahlzahn said...

Uh, well, from one of _those_ mother to the other: yellow is just such a nicer color than green, isn't it?

I mean really, when you think about it, ;-).




Hope the bribery works, although it seems kind of tough, since a kid hardly will keep M&Ms in mind all through a long school day.

So long,

So long,

Heather said...

I feel your pain. I have a daughter that HATES homework. She always claims that she "doesn't understand" and before I realize what is going on I have done most of it for her. (which is a feat in itself for I feel that I am barely qualified to do the homework of today!) Hang in there!

Six-Pack Momma said...

My oldest earned a Hot Wheels everyday he got a smiley face. Some people thought that was excessive, but it was the only thing that would motivate him. $20 a month was well worth it to all of us!

noexcuses said...

It's great that you can laugh about it. It could very well be the challenge thing. You're smart to check it out.

Good luck, and know that many of us are here for you!

Kristin and Co. said...

I totally said those words last year as my toddler kept getting the "was aggressive toward others" checked on his sheet and repeatedly told that he hits and takes toys and so on.

"Yeah. So this is what THAT parent feels like...the parent of THAT kid."

I'm trying to see the silver lining that now I can be more patient with THOSE parents, and now I have compassion for THOSE people and blah blah blah.


Kelly's Ideas said...

I remember the green yellow red and then the dreaded black....

I love the Sea World comment - one of my favorite places to go..


Mom of 3 Es said...

I have one of "those" kids this year, too. He's never had problems before (we're in 2nd grade now), and I honestly think he's bored. We're a military family and have just transferred to a new state this past summer. I honestly think he's bored. Not that I'm saying my kid's a genius or anything, but I really do believe he's not being challenged enough. And, I think the teacher is nit-picking things with him now. She's labeled him a "bad kid" and just punishes him when he's tattled on without even asking questions about what happened. It's very frustrating, and my husband and I have sent a note requesting a conference. Here's hoping the outcomes with both your and my kids is a positive one!!!

MaBunny said...

I know about those kinds of kids - most of the time I make them my 'special' helper and usually that keeps them out of trouble. Hope the rest of the week goes better!

Chick Hatchers said...

If I didn't homeschool, my daughter would also be on yellow and decking kids (she's been decking them since she was 18 months old - usually boys about a year older than her who she doesn't even know!)

Nancy is right, though, about keeping Clay busy and asking the school what they are doig to keep him busy when he's getting into trouble. Kindergarten sets the stage for the rest of academia - for him and how he is perceived. Be his advocate and get the school to help him enjoy it. If all he does is get in trouble he will hate school. If the school only sees a trouble-maker, that's what he will be. If it isn't addressed this year, he will be "evaluated" next year and determined to be ADHD or PDD or something and they will ask for him to be medicated. Be thorough and stand by your son! He will remember which "side" you took on this one.

Each kid is different and having been through kindergarten before doesn't mean Clay fits the same mold. Don't expect him to. You're a great mom, this just may be a new path for you to take. Good luck and keep us all posted!


Julia said...

HAHA... At first, I read the title of this post as "Disney on Thin Ice". LOL!!!

I taught first grade for the first time last year (up until then I was in 5th). And knowing how hard it is (and was for my son)to "STAY ON GREEN", my classroom behavior system had a purple star on top, green, yellow, orange and then red. A couple of more steps before you are REALLY in trouble. And honestly, I didn't run to the parent every day for every little thing. That just gives your power away. I saved the "I'm calling your mom/dad" for the times that they were on RED. There were other consequences in the classroom that came first.

I now know too that what *yellow* behavior to some teachers, is completely a verbal warning and you're-still-on-green kinda thing. Completely depends on the teacher's tolerance for little kid behavior.

Know too that the normal classroom behavior system (haha.. aka Green, Yellow, Red) is only supposed to work for 80% of the kids. Maybe he's wise to it and needs something a little different to motivate him. I've had meetings with the parents and guidance where we did set up a personal plan that would carry over at both home and school. The kid would earn all sorts of priviledges at both if they were successful (and success doesn't always mean 100%, it may mean that he's on green 70/80% of the time). You know?!

Pam L. in Md. said...

My son was a bit like this too, and he too was advanced academically. It's actually one of the reasons we started homeschooling -- when he came home from school with a report card that was all A's, except for behavior, where the teacher gave him a D!!! (2nd grade??), I knew we had a problem to work on. I spoke with the teacher, asked her what was going on, and she told me that he was very smart, got all his work done before everyone else, and then got into trouble. I asked her to give him something else to do, and her answer? "No, he needs to learn to sit quietly and wait for the other children!" Yikes -- a 6 1/2 year old boy needs to WAIT??? It wasn't too much longer until we took him out of school, started homeschooling, and 20 years and 3 more kids later, never looked back!! He graduated from college, got a degree in electrical engineering, never turned into the juvenile delinquent the teacher thought he'd be!! Hang in there, and make sure he's not just sitting around getting bored!! I think he's a smart little guy who needs an outlet for all those creative ideas running around in his head!!

Mum-me said...

Sounds like he is a typical boy who needs to be active. Teachers need to allow enough physical activity time during the day, especially for younger boys. It's just not natural for them to be expected to sit still and quiet all the time.

I hope the bribe works. Our teachers have a special blackboard with a 'happy' and a 'sad' side. If your name gets on the 'happy' side the teachers gives you a jelly bean at hometime. If your name goes on the 'sad' side you miss out on jelly beans and have to do classroom cleanup duty. This system works for most of the kindergarten/grade one children.

Kari, mom to the little boy suspended twice from Kindergarten. LOL said...

Yep, I had "one of those kids" too. Last year I was the parent who got the daily phone calls from the teacher, my son never stayed on green, and he was sent to the office at least twice a week. Bribes didn't work with him, neither did taking away privileges. I was constantly asking his kindergarten teacher if she thought he was bored, if he needed challenged more. She always brushed me off. Right around Spring break last year, his K teacher told me he had basically been labeled, "The bad kid" and none of the 1st grade teachers wanted him in their class. Right after that, he was suspended for the 2nd time. Yes, my son was suspended TWICE in KINDERGARTEN. After the second time, I had him tested by a private school. He was tested a full grade to a full grade and a half above grade level. Boredom was definitely the problem. I immediately took him out of public school and enrolled him into private school. For the last six weeks of last year, and the first 3 weeks of this year (He still attends the private school) he hasn't had any problems at all and has been on green everyday. His private school has a ratio of 11 students to 1 teacher and 1 aide. They also work on the child's level, not the other way around. I know that not everyone can do private school, I wouldn't be able to afford it if I didn't work for the company that runs the school thus giving me a discount. But, I would definitely look into boredom being his issue.

Anonymous said...

Don't you love all these people telling you how to raise your kid, but seriously, any stories you can recall of the older siblings and their first day at school? Just seems Clay is the type that has a mind of his own, and he's going to use it.

Nic said...

Just as a note to the reply from "Fourth day of school" I ALSO purchased M&M's for bribery today. Tristan even got to hold them throughout the shopping trip so he would maybe grasp, they were a prize. Good luck!!!

Feisty Irish Wench said...

My 16 yo has been that kind of kid who can't be bored or the rest of those around him suffer for it. Let's not even suggest anything to alleviate the boredom...someone catch me, I'm falling over backwards from my extensive eyerolling with this child.

erika325 said...

My favorite part: "So she wouldn't call you," duh came his answer.

My son starts kindergarten next week...now I have this kinda stuff to look forward too. Thanks Dawn. :/

Hang in there!

Cookie said...

Oh, thanks for reminding how wonderful the school year can be. Dont' tell anyone, but I'm also the proud parent of one of "those" kids. And here I was just couting down the minutes till my kids go back to school. I even wrote a poem for my blog, "twas the night before school starts..." cheesey, i know.
Hope the school year gets better for you, or at least you find a cute dentist to help with cavities that all those M&M's will bring ;)

Anonymous said...

SSO?? Just out of curiosity Dawn have you checked to see if he might be above the level he is in in class?? The only reason I ask this is I have a nephew who had these problems for a year or two in school then they had him tested and lo and behold he was actually very smart and had to be moved up a grade because he was finishing his work so fast that he was "bored" and "had nothing to do" which caused him to start touching on others and playing around in class just a suggestion

Cheryl - Somewhat Crunchy said...

Up for homeschooling? :) It's not as difficult as you might think...I promise!


Sallie said...

My daughter had the same green-yellow-red system in kindergarten, and was consistently on "yellow." We agreed with her teacher that, for our daughter, there would be no yellow -- just green and red. That seemed to do the trick for her. Of course, then she was diagnosed with ADD at age 15...wondering if we were getting a hint all those years ago.

Tina in Ohio said...

OK, here's what is bothering me about this situation: If the teacher notifies the parent when the behavior reaches "red" status, and he's still at "yellow," then she shouldn't be flagging you down at the Kiss 'n' Drive.
Just sayin'.

Anonymous said...

I had the same experience as Pam L. - My son was always great when busy, but as soon as his work was finished, he would talk (can you believe such evil behavior)! I asked the teacher to provide him with more work, and she said that was not fair to him...yet somehow him always pulling a card and not getting to go out on recess was. She told me that he was by far the brightest kid in class (he has always been 2 grade levels above) so he should "understand" what it means to sit and be quiet when finished with your work. Elementary school was very rough for him. Everything is better know that he is in Middle School...teachers do not sweat the small stuff as much. BTW, I tried everything and finally gave mine a $1 for every green light day...unfortunately, hardly ever had to pay :S

Sue Bohlin said...

Trying to offering some guilt-reducing perspective here. . . There is a difference between bribing and rewarding.

Bribing is giving something on the front end, hoping the person will do what you want: "I'll get you a snow cone on the way to the grocery store if you promise to be very, very good while Mommy shops." Rewarding is fulfilling a promise to give something on the back end if the person EARNS it by their behavior: "I am so proud of you for staying on green today! Here's your M&Ms!"

Bribing = bad and immaturity-inducing
Rewarding = good and self-control inducing

See? You're being a great parent! :-)

Candi said...

I heartily agree with the respondent who suggested you have Clay tested for IQ and consider what things would challenge him to better use his leadership talents. My oldest boy is one of those "brainiacs" that just understands things as soon as they're explained once, and after a little more examination was teaching his teachers. I took on an extra job to enable him to go to a special school and they had a program that was a great blessing - All the children in this school were "special needs." Some because they couldn't keep up in a regular classroom, others because they couldn't be sufficiently challenged in a regular classroom. One part of the program was to "partner" these kids and allow the more capable to "teach" another student who required more help to understand. Granted, Clay is a little young yet for that type program, (mine was in Jr. High at this point). but when the time comes, you may want to consider that. Not only does my son have the ability to figure out the challenges of life and technology, etc. on his own, but he is also a kinder, gentler person who understands others who can't, and helps them instead of cursing them for being in the way. This applies in so many areas of his life, there simply is no room or time to describe all he benefitted from this school experience, but I have given you enough to stir your own intellect and creative juices to come up with some ways in which Clay's learning capacities could be challenged and healthfully expanded.

Anonymous said...

Tell her you don't want to hear from her unless he gets RED!

Ashley said...

I agree with several other comments-next time she walks out if she says he got a yellow ask why the heck she's talking to you. Seriously?? A better approach would be a summary of his behavior once a week if he's on yellow everyday. And from experience the first week or so of school is nuts anyway for teachers and kids. Sometimes materials/books aren't available yet so they really are just doing busy work and for K kids learning how to walk in a straight line, etc. Not exactly "education" stuff. You could also recommend that any downtime for Clay be spent with him developing an idea for the next science project the class will do. I mean the kid is king of experiments no?

Any behavior issues the first week or two is probably just him figuring out his place in class and testing the teacher to find out what he can get away with. Tell the teacher to talk to you in 3 weeks when they have a good routine down.

Anonymous said...

I just LOVE how they think lying will get them out of trouble!

Ann Marie said...

I have a kiddo who has "issues" but because we homeschool, well, maybe he'll grow out of them a bit more before it's a big deal? I can hope...
In any case, we have a godson who puts him to shame. His mom has a book called "The Explosive Child" which I'd never have read if it didn't apply to a kid I know and love. It's a parenting book worth reading for everyone! Just amazing stuff. The other is "The Out of Sync Child" and "The Sensory Sensitive Child". I'm mentioning it because Clay said "people bug me". He may be right, and it may be something these books can help you with. No magic bullet, but a good start. It gives perspective when no one else has any... have a great school year, you are not alone!

Anonymous said...

I have a suggestion for Clay's teacher. I teach kindergarten and have had plenty of kids like Clay in my class (and as a side note, they are almost always my favorites). We also use the lights. But for kids like Clay they don't really do much except show the class that he's not following the rules. Instead what the teacher should try is a piece of paper & clipboard Clay can keep with him. On it is listed all the things the class does - reading, math, circle time, morning meeting, choice time, etc. After each activity is a smiley face, a face with just a straight line mouth (not happy or sad) and a sad face. After each activity is completed the teacher circles how he did Happy =good, etc. Then Clay can look at it and see that he did 6 things well, 3 okay and 4 not so great (or whatever he gets) and you can set a reward system - 5 smiley faces at the end of the day= X 7 smiley faces = XX. I've discovered that kids like Clay are determined to beat their "score" from the previous day. And it gives them a chance to see that even though they made some mistakes, they also made plenty of good decisions during the day as well.

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