Thursday, August 16, 2012

Behavior Management: Garbage Can Hoop Dreams

Sports are a big deal at my school; especially basketball.  My little darlings just looooovveee to practice their "hoop dreams" by shooting crumpled-paper-practice-wads into my garbage cans. I've observed they do this for two (very Middle School) reasons: For one, they want to show off their "skills." And, two, it is a narcissistic "look at my form" thing. One kid even practices his free throw hand motions all the time with or without garbage. I've tried everything to get it to stop (everything).  Here is why "hoop dreams" is so annoying:

1. they shoot from too far away and don't account for the lightweight quality of paper and they miss and/or hit another student.
2. Their friends make of fun of them and this starts a situation I have to mediate/the kid who got hit is mad and insists the thrower "did it on purpose!"
3. Getting them to pick up their missed "hoop dreams" garbage forces them to admit they missed and this starts another situation. 

I don't really so much care about the "hoops dreams" if they just picked up the garbage and refrained from all the heckling! What I mind is all the management I have to do as a result of this simple action. So, in that spirit I made a new rule.

Garbage Can "Hoop Dreams" are allowed in the art room. . . on a few conditions:
1. student must shoot into the 1 designated garbage can (tucked into a corner, just for this purpose)
2. student may only shoot from the designated area; denoted by a nearby table (about a 4 foot radius from the can)
3. If (when) a student misses, s/he must pick up the garbage and place it in the garbage can
4. Any heckling will result in an immediate, no-discussion, conduct infraction

I didn't expect this to work. I fully expected paper to fly everywhere. But, OMGosh you guys, it really works. The kids loooovve it, and I'm no longer having to manage the behavior. They are managing it themselves. They remind one another to pick up misses and refrain from heckling.

Do you deal with "hoop dreams" behavior too? What age group do you teach? I'm wondering if it is more of a Middle School thing. 


  1. Many thanks for your enquiry, I have passed your query on to Customer Services and they will be in touch shortly. ^AS

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  2. I wonder if you can encourage them to the designated trash can by paint it to look like a basketball net and put a back board behind it on the wall....

  3. What a great idea! I work with K-5 and usually only have my 4th or 5th graders try to "shoot " their recycling. Must be a pre-teen thing! :)

  4. should I be embarrassed that I teach 10-12th grade... and that they still do this ?

  5. I also teach Middle School, and this sounds like such a good idea to solve that problem!! I just might have to try it out!