The proof is in the pudding. Literally.

August 1, 2010 at 5:12 pm 5 comments

J comes to school with armor. He defends himself from everyone – even people who are nice to him. If you are friendly, he gets angry. If you are serious, he laughs in your face. I don’t want to speculate about why he is this way, but I get the sense that he hasn’t gotten the carefree childhood he deserves.

Of course, in the middle of class when he’s yelling at another student, it’s hard to remember that he’s just a ten year old who’s been bruised by his past. He can be enraging. I knew from the moment I met J that it was going to take a lot of work to convince him that he could trust us. And it was going to take even more work to get him to follow our rules and routines.

So, when J gave me his chocolate pudding cup at lunch last Friday, I nearly cried. He slid it across the table without saying a word, and I was meant to understand that it was for me. Because J is not the kind of kid who gives you a hug and tells you he likes you. He simply slides the pudding cup over and then does something crazy like fall out of his chair to catch a renegade chicken nugget.

What did I do to earn this lovely present?

I gave him this piece of paper.

I don’t want to analyze this too much because I love that it is simple. Suffice it to say that in exchange for clear structure and guidance, you too can get yourself some chocolate pudding – the kind of chocolate pudding that is sweet and tasty and wrenches your heart right out of your chest.


Entry filed under: Motivation. Tags: , , , , .

Classroom Website What happens in Vegas, stays with you.

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Emily  |  August 2, 2010 at 7:26 pm


  • 2. Kristie  |  August 3, 2010 at 12:09 am

    I love this post. The pudding move was such a huge step forward for him (and us) last week. I can’t wait to see what he does next to show that we’re earning his trust. Hopefully there’s some pudding in it for me too.

  • 3. Janice Robertson  |  August 3, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    I stumbled across your blog and have really enjoyed the posts that I’ve read. I particularly like your voice – sincere and fiercely down to earth. Thanks for finding the time to share your thoughts in writing. Although I’m a librarian, I also teach one math and one computers class, so love reading about math classes. Awesome job!

  • 4. Janice Robertson  |  August 3, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    Meant to ask – does everyone have a warnings/shout out paper? Do you complete one for every student every class? (I can’t imagine that you could or would, but I did notice that it had a date at the top, which made it look like it was done for just one day.) Or do you just focus on one student each day?

    • 5. teachies  |  August 3, 2010 at 8:37 pm

      Janice, thanks for reading! The warnings/shout out paper is something I use as a targeted intervention for a particular student I see is struggling with behavior more than the others. Right now J is that student so I will use the sheet with him for a few weeks and see how it goes. If I notice another student needs something beyond the regular structure of my classroom discipline then I will try to find the exact right thing for them. It might be a warnings/shout out paper or it might be stickers or it might be an unusual sort of consequence or it could be anything…


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