Yes, every year we have a Barometer Billy or Barbie or Byron or Bonita. They try to talk to their friends during Read to Self. They make balls out of Wiki Sticks during Word Work. They break their ear phones during Listen to Reading. They pull the eraser off and chew their pencils during Work on Writing. And all of this happens before lunch. What to do? The Sisters have great suggestions to try during Daily 5 time to help Billy build stamina, but there's even more to do. Have you made friends with Billy yet? You can't change his behavior, only he can. The only behavior you can change is your own, so here are some ideas that have worked for us.
- Greet Billy at the door every day with "Good Morning" and a smile.
- Notice Billy. Make it a goal to walk over to Billy at least three times a day, and say things like, "I notice you decided to draw with the green crayon." "I notice you're eating chicken nuggets for lunch." These comments are not praising, they are only "I notice" statements.
- Give Billy choices as often as possible. Assign Billy's seat next to your meeting area, then he can choose to sit with the group or right next to the group in his chair during class meetings.
- Instead of "time-aways" have Billy come and help you with a task: clean whiteboards, sharpen pencils, pull apart the wiki sticks. Here's a chance to chit-chat about things like his family or weekend plans.
- Let Billy go first often.
- Make a list of successes and share them with Billy's parents.
Build that relationship! If Billy becomes more invested in you, he'll be more likely to buy into the requests you make of him; like stay in one spot, read the whole time, and work quietly. Beware, it doesn't happen overnight and it's not always easy, but it's worth the effort. Often, the final outcome is that Billy will steal a piece of your heart. He'll become one you'll remember for years to come. Not a bad day's work.