December 3, 2008

Special Attention

I have a student, J, who is one of seven children in his home. He's a great kid, but he can be very distracting in the classroom (imagine the loudest child you know and magnify that by ten). It isn't hard to imagine why a child from such a large family would need to adopt some attention-seeking behaviors, but he has a hard time turning that off in school.

A couple of weeks ago, J asked if he could sit with me behind my desk in a spare chair. Although this is an odd request from a middle school student, I permitted him to move. At the time, I was willing to negotiate pretty much anything to get him to stop talking and stay on task!

It's been about two weeks now, and J is still happily sharing a desk with me during his language arts classes. Because of his proximity, he is often the first student I ask to do me small favors (turn on the projector, hand out papers, etc.), and he is eager to comply with my requests.

J's behavior has dramatically improved with this new seating arrangement. I think he really relishes in having that "special attention" from me and with his added responsibilities in the classroom. It's amazing how such a small, seemingly meaningless change can sometimes have such a profound effect.

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