I would like to thank all of you who have weighed in on my dilemma with the kiddos in my choir. You have all provided some wonderful insight and ideas. Adn I have discussed many of these with the Minister of Music, who has worked with children for many more moons than I. She was pleased that I had come to her so that we could formulate a plan to use both when the two choirs are together and when they are separate. Consistency is likely going to be the biggest key to our success.
To begin with, we are going to employ a Time Out box in both rooms. A child will get one warning about no-no behaviors. Any subsequent misbehavior will land them in Time Out for as long as it takes for them to sit still and quiet at which time they will be allowed to return to the group. We have not had to employ any type of disciplinary action before now, so we are hoping the introduction of the Time Out box will be successful. Perhaps we won't have to use it very often. BUT at least there is an acceptable means of employing discipline should it be necessary.
I am also proposing that we begin a reward-based program in November. It will be a two-fold program. The children will be divided into teams (a mixture of ages on each team). They will receive points for good behavior and lose points for poor behavior. (Think Harry Potter & the different school houses.) At the end of the semester, we have a party; the winning team will be served the special treat (usually cupcakes or sundaes) by the losing team. In addition, there will be weekly awards for individuals. Each week at the end of class, the kids will select a Nice Neighbor who will get a special reward (like a pencil or toy or something) for being kind and helpful to others.
So we are both addressing misbehavior and encouraging good behavior. I think that this two-fold system has some promise.