I'm a big believer in preventative discipline. I've found that most student-to-student altercations happen when those lovely kiddos are out of their seats so I try to limit the need for that.
One way is to provide a wastebasket at each table group. We actually call them 'wastebuckets'. I collect empty 5 gal. wax buckets to use for wastebaskets - cheaper & VERY durable as well as washable! There are usually several left over after the custodians wax the floors every summer. You can also purchase the buckets at your local home improvement store fairly cheap.
With a bucket at each table, there's no need to travel between and around every other table in the room while on the way to the large trash can at the far end of my room. My students often find the need to stop and visit/tease/torment/gossip/distract their classmates on these excursions. It's also less of a thrill to sink that 2 or 3 pointer from a distance of 2 feet vs. 10 feet.
The buckets also come in handy for tie-dye activities or washing out those dusty clay placemats. A bucket with several inches of water in it helps cool down piping hot ceramic pieces that just have to be glazed the same day they come out of a hot kiln. Grab 'em with a long set of metal tongs, dunk them, and they are dry & cool in no time!
One of the best & most valuable uses for the buckets is as a receptacle for a student's stomach contents. Happened to me just this past week - just grabbed a nearby bucket as I went over to help a 2nd grader & kept most of the mess contained. Will have a chat next week with this child about adequate notice for a trip to the nurse's office if the occasion should present itself again at school....
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