"Wall Time" Alternatives


Hi John,

Here's my summary of the email & in-person conversation I had with Joshua's 1st grade teacher regarding the "wall" time he was getting for (benign) things like "talking in the bathroom" or "talking at carpet" time (supposedly this was after a couple of redirects and warnings, however).  

This was my direct email snippet: 

"I'm noticing a pattern of Joshua getting wall time at recess and I'd like to discuss it further at conference time to see if we can pinpoint if this is a repeated offense that I can help coach at home. I'd also really like to identify alternative consequences to wall time to best meet Joshua's sensory needs. Can he stay extra minutes to wipe down whiteboards, spray down the desks, move a stack of books to the library (any 'heavy' lifting type of activity). Or can the teacher have him do some burpees, wall push-ups or jumping jacks or laps around the playground as a consequence? He understands he needs to follow the rules just as everyone else but he also requires recess to help best regulate his sensory needs. Five minutes out of a 15 minute total recess time is significant to miss on a daily basis. I'd just like your help in understanding the specific pattern/reason he seemingly is now feeling like he gets a lot of wall time."

His teacher was very responsive to the alternatives and (her idea) ensuring that he could do something physical that was not embarrassing to him or make him stand out. As a parent I noticed Joshua only wants to chew gum it other kids are or use the pencil grip if others are, etc. so we needed to be mindful of the social aspect of the alternative (since many kids get "wall" time at recess for their infractions). 

I actually asked Joshua in this case what would be more fun then standing on the wall at recess time and if he had to make up any consequence if he'd rather wipe down the chalk board, move books or run a few laps around the playground. To my excitement, he immediately jumped up and said "oh yeah, laps around the playground our teacher had us do that instead in Kindergarten at recess instead of wall time". 

So, we had a solution and his teacher was very open to this and immediately implemented it. It took about a week or so for Joshua to come up excitedly when I usually ask "what did you play at recess?" he said well I did 5 laps but Will/Elijah/etc. also chose to do them instead of standing on the wall. 

Note- it's important that the TA is also on board as the teacher assistant I found in this case was the one handing out infractions and wall time. So, it was important to get everyone on the same page.  I also explained at conference time that the wall time was counterproductive and makes for a harder afternoon or worse yet melt-down when he comes home.  

Joshua no longer comes home "upset" about wall time for  things he didn't "remember" or think was "fair" like speaking up in the bathroom (when someone was causing harm to the soap dispenser).  He comes home I've noticed more talkative and excited about his day.