Tag Archives: long form

The Disciplined Discipline Discussion

The discipline discussions I have with students are fundamental to the success of my  Long / Short Forms.   I’m going to keep coming back to this topic, but here are some of the important things I try to do when I talk to a student after class who received a Long / Short Form.  By the way, for most students this converstion is straightforward, but for the most disrputive students it can be a bit tricky, so the details of it become very important.

The key to discipline discussions is to remember that the goal of them is not to convince the student that you are right and they are wrong.  The goal is for you to let the student know why they received the Long / Short form, and why that behavior is not acceptable to you.  This goal allows you to stay focused on what is important, and also avoid getting into an argument.  Never get into a back and forth with a student on why they received the discipline.

Strike a positive tone.   If the student appears upset, I will say something like this:  “Don’t think of this form as a ‘I hate you, shut up, stop talking’, but rather think of this as ‘Mr. Miller wants me to be successful, and thinks that my behavior at this moment is not allowing me to be at my full potential'”.   Remind the student that you want them in the class, you enjoy their personality, but it is this or that behavior that you will not accept.    The behavior is separate from the person.  Because don’t forget – you’re not mad at them.

Here’s the basic scenario:  Tell the student why they received the Long / Short Form.  Ask them if they understand, and if they believe you are being reasonable.  Hear what they say.  If they agree, then it’s all good.  If they argue about why they should not have received the form, or how it was not their fault, then repeat back their point to them – tell them why it seems like a reasonable idea, but you can not have them do that for this or that reason.  Conversation on topic ends.  Do not get into a debate about what happened or what the rules are.  If at the end of the discussion the student does not agree with you, that is fine.  They just need to know why you gave them the form and that they should expect the form again if they repeat the behavior in the future.

Oh yeah, and if the student is correct, and you did make a mistake – maybe you gave them a form too quickly because you were angry for some reason, here’s what you do:  Apologize.

Long and Short Forms – A Discipline Overview

Before I describe these forms I want to restate that classroom management is driven mainly by content (engaging lesson plans), and secondly by making students feel welcomed and appreciated, and keeping ourselves positive and energized.    For me personally, if classroom management ever became a process of making a bunch of rules, and figuring out how to enforce them, then I would probably quit teaching because my heart is not into it.  But that being said, a discipline structure is needed and this post is the beginnings of a description of mine.

The Description:

My main tools for handing out discipline in my class are Long Forms and Short Forms.  These forms generally take the place of referrals and detentions.  The Short Form has entirely eliminated my need for detentions, and the Long Form is generally used in replacement of referrals.

I save all forms in class folders.  Students who are behavior problems generally get their own folder.  This is great for me and administrators, as I can bring the folder to parent / teacher conferences, and provide it to administrators as a record of student behavior in class.

Here are brief descriptions of each:

Short Forms (Student Behavior Reflection):  I give students Short forms for minor distractions.  When they get a short form they must stop whatever they are doing and fill it out immediately.  They are not allowed to protest a short form, and if they feel they receieved it in error, they must write that in the form.  At the bottom of the form there is a place for their signature and mine, which I will only do after class.  Thus after class I quickly touch base with each student and let them know why I gave it to them.  I also be sure to listen to their explanations of why they acted the way they did, or why they thought they didn’t deserve it.

Long Forms (Student Self-Diagnostic Referral):  Long Forms are for more serious infractions.  Some examples would include defiance, and name calling.  I also do not give two short forms to the same student on the same day.  Thus if a student already has a short form, then any distraction could result in a Long Form.

If a student gets a Long Form, they must leave the classroom to fill it out, and they must come back into the classroom when they are finished.  The Long Form also has a place for Parent / Vice Principal signature.   I do not always require the student to get those signatures.

The Advice:

Students who recieve these forms must stay after class and talk to me.  These conversations are incredibly important for a lot of reasons – diffuse any possible hostility, help further explain to student why certain behaviors are not acceptable, and so forth.  I will write a post all about the importance of these conversations , and how I approach them, at a later date.  (see update below)

If students refuse to stay after class to talk, then it is an immediate referral.

I added that little box at the bottom of each form this year.  I check the box if I think the form did not change student behavior.

The Goods:



The Update:

Here are some thoughts on discipline discussion you should be having with students who receive these forms.