Monday, June 22, 2015

Middle School Time Outs

I don't know why there are so many Pinterest pins about dealing with toddlers and elementary school kids temper tantrums/time-outs, but hardly any for middle school kids.

Guess what people? Middle schoolers need time-outs too!

I kept seeing all the pins for all of these "Calm Down Jars" (Click pictures to go to posts)
 Lego Calm Down Jar
 Different Recipes

I decided to try this same concept with my 8th graders.

In days gone by when I thought that a kid needed a "time-out" I have sent students to stand outside of my classroom door with the ambiguous, "Stand outside the door until I come and get you."

Removing the student from the classroom for a time-out has never been an issue, but not having a tangible end to the time-out has always been an issue. I have had student poke their head back in the room after 32 seconds and say, "Can I come back now?" just to disrupt. I have also, on rare occasion, forgotten to end the time out until a student reminds me. 

I think that the calm down bottle is the perfect solution. 

Times to use the calm down bottle:

  • When it is a minor offense. 
  • If a student continually interrupts you.
  • If a student won't stop talking.
  • If a student is about to get in an altercation with another student (pick one)
  • If you think you are about to argue with a student (as opposed to calmly discussing).
  • If class time is being wasted due to a student's behavior.
  • Sometimes I have kids that just need a minute
  • When one of your kids if having a moment like this (or much worse):

(Disclaimer: Kids will already be well aware of the calm down routine)
I will grab one of the calm down bottles and a "need a break card", shake it up, hand it to the student who is in need of a time out, and direct them to the hallway (directly outside my door, no further). The student will be welcome to come back and rejoin class after the glitter has settled to the bottom of the bottle (this takes about 5 minutes).
I am trying to decide if I am going to give the kid a Twix bar to take with them to soften the blow, or if that seems like I am rewarding bad behavior. 

***Note: I had a friend ask me what happens if they shake the bottle again.
****Answer: If the student chooses to shake it again, they are obviously not ready to return to class just yet, but if more than 10 minutes passes and they have not returned, it is time for the teacher to intervene and talk to the student.

Here are what my calm down bottles look like (I used the recipe in the 2nd picture from above):

You cannot see it in the picture but I put little minion guys in the bottles also.

I like the sleek bottles like Voss and the Argo tea bottles, but I am not giving an angry 8th grader glass. Instead I went with bottles I found at The Dollar Tree. I superglued the crap out of the lids also.

I took a video of them too...ugh, that is NOT what my voice sounds like:

If you like the idea of a calm down bottle, but don't want to make one because of all the glitter involved.
I may have tripped and spilled some up the mixture outside so now my back steps look like I killed TinkerBell. 
Still found copious amounts of glitter on me hours later...and this was just my hands! 

I found some other liquid timers online that could serve the same purpose:

Vista Print Template

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