An example: Friday waiting for dismissal there were 4 students in my room. My 5th grade student of concern, let's call him Han, started going in circles around the room narrating what he was doing: "walking, running, walking, running." The other 5th grader was confused and scared and the 2nd grader with ADHD joined in with the running. Plan A doesn't work. Plan B (or something emergency Plan B-ish) like, "Han, you running in the classroom is not good for the rest of the kids" is met with "I don't care." In general, Plan B with him is met with "I'm not talking to you," "It's fun," or "I don't care."
In the moment is not the best time to do Plan B , so it is more about being creative in trying to distract the child and then redirect him. Think of things you could ask him to do and he would be willing to do – for eg send him on an errand – you could make a plan with the secretary , principal , resource teacher etc that in order to distract the kid , you will send him with a note etc . Another distraction is to practice a mindfulness technique by asking the kid to focus on something and then tell you what he sees and then have some kind of conversation as you wait for dismissal time.
The starting point in Plan B is the neutral statement - Han , I have noticed when we are waiting to be dismissed , you like to start walking and running and talking out what you are doing , what's up ? - we want Han to do the talking and we do the listening.
We can reassure him – I am not going to tell you what to do , I just want to hear you , get your perspective/ view point of what is happening .
If he says – I am not talking to you – we can say ' OK' , so you don't want to talk to me about it , can you tell me more ?
So the plan B conversation is now dealing with his concern – he does not want to talk about …. .
You might need to take a break from the conversation and make another time with him for the discussion.
Sometimes it is better to engage in connecting activities before a Plan B conversation or small chat where he essentially is agreeing with you.
If he says – I don't know – you can make some tentative hypotheses /suggestions about possible concerns -Bored, nothing to do – just wait , restless , cannot sit still, struggling to be patient etc
You can then try to drill down for more information with questions like – can you tell me more , I don't fully understand , see my blog for articles on ' drilling down for concerns '
After he has stated a concern, we can ask –tabling - if we can find a solution for this concern that you like, do you think there are other things that could bother you?
Once we have a clear picture of his concerns and he feels understood, we can put our concerns on the table. I am worried , concerned that if you are walking or running in the classroom , the other kids will be distracted.
If he says – I don't care, your response could be – I am sure you care enough to find a solution to the problem which you will like , and that's what is important.
Next we have the Invitation step - I was wondering if we could brainstorm some solutions which would address both your concern – being bored , restless when waiting for dismissal and my concern that the other kids are not disturbed or distracted.
We can brainstorm solutions which are realistic, durable , can be implemented by the kid and mutually satisfactory. This could also be in the form of some ' procedure ' that you have both worked out to give dismissal time some structure. We also agree to revisit the problem and see how our solution is working out and if necessary try to come up with a better plan.
In addition you could engage in pro-social activities, talk in the plural – we , perspective taking, identifying the concerns of others , see CPS as TLC – we talk , listen and care.
Kids often answer – because it is fun - ' I agree it is fun, let's try to think of a better time to have fun, when I am not talking to the whole class or the other kids are working on something or settling down to leave .
I also highly recommend ' Mindfulness for children ' to help them calm down and be more attentive.
Also check out Marshall's 'Discipline without Stress ' hierarchy of behaviors. This is not about problem solving but is a good discipline tool to help redirect behavior. Kids are taught A= anarchy, B = bullying, bossing, C= compliance , D= democracy , doing the right thing. So when a kid is running in the classroom , he is asked to reflect on his behavior whether it is A, B, C, or D.