Sunday, September 30, 2012

Control your Volcano

I was getting desperate.  I'm not too proud to admit it.  I have 5 kids in my class with real impulse control issues.  I reached out to my Kindergarten teacher community.  One person suggested books by Julia Cook.  I checked them out on Amazon.   My Mouth is a Volcano was out of stock and I needed something now.
So I improvised this lesson.  I took our volcano model and I brought the kids to the circle.  Each person took a small plastic person from a tub of math manipulatives.  I talked to them about how each of us is like a volcano.  We have thoughts and ideas inside us but when we erupt by yelling out, making purposeless noise and letting our bodies get out of control, it affects the learning of everyone around us.
I named specific behaviors and used the names of specific kids. (nicely of course)  I believe in corrective feedback and explicit instruction, so it was important for me to give real examples of what specific kids do on a daily basis, but in a teaching way, not a put down way. 
I had my 5 impulsive kids put their people in the mouth of the volcano (which they thought was pretty cool).  The rest of my kids and I put our people around the volcano.  Then I erupted it with baking soda a vinegar (which all the kids thought was pretty cool.)  We talked about how the eruption from a few people got all over us, and we didn't like it. When we get erupted on, we can't learn or do any of our jobs.  Then we role played disruptive behavior.  When someone "erupts" we say "Control your volcano!".  The "erupter" then takes a deep breath and says "okay".
We also talked about how we can do some erupting outside a recess.
This lesson has given everyone ownership of their own learning and a corrective statement for those disrupting that learning.  It also gives the disruptive students a calming action and the understanding that what they do affects everyone in our class, not just me.
I shared this strategy with all the teachers who work with my kids so we can have a universal statement with universal meaning.

I hope this helps all of us with impulsive kids.