Category Archives: Behavior

I believe…

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I’m passionate about education. Here’s why:

I believe all kids have the right to be educated.
I believe all kids have the right to be held to high standards.
I believe all kids are capable of succeeding.
I believe disability is created by context.
I believe inclusion is an intentional action.
I believe anything less is exclusion.
I believe exclusion is created by ignorance.
I believe disability is a form of diversity.
I believe emotions affect academics.
I believe needs must be met first.
I believe everyone learns in a different way.
I believe engagement leads to understanding.
I believe all student can demonstrate knowledge.
I believe in choice.
I believe education is the key to our future.
I believe education can end poverty.
I believe I can help teachers understand.
I believe teachers want to change.
I believe schools can do better.
I believe in inclusive education.
I believe we can make a difference.

Teachers are charged with producing the next generation of productive citizens. ELL, special Ed, 504, “average” learner, “slow” learner, Gifted, THEY ARE ALL OURS! The words “productive citizen” include every child that comes into your life.

This isn’t easy. But there is a framework to help teachers navigate this shift in mindset. Universal Design for Learning helps you adapt your classroom and content to meet the needs of all learners. Afterall, all learners are a part of our society. Why wouldn’t you want to prepare them? If you are interested in more check out CAST and keep checking my blog. There’s more to come!

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Causion-We are sometimes our own worst enemy.

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enemy Recently I experienced what I would consider to be a very embarrassing moment. Like all very embarrassing moments it led me to think about how we work with students. Let me set the scene. I work as an educational consultant and as such I periodically put on workshops for teachers. Now, there are many things I am not good at, we’ll look at one such thing in a moment, but public speaking is something I feel is a strength. So when I hold a workshop it generally goes well, participants are happy and I feel successful. Well, not this time.

I was conducting a workshop on differentiated instruction, one that I didn’t plan under normal circumstances. The workshop started off great. Then, during the first group break one of the participants pointed out to me that there were some misspelled words in my PowerPoint. I was HORRIFIED. I’m speaking to a room full of teachers and I’ve misspelled caution. (I spelled it causion-and honestly thought it was right. Don’t judge!). Now to make matters worse there are several other errors in slides to come. (These were just missed errors; caution is the only one I legitimately didn’t know was wrong). Ok, so I’m a horrible speller and grammar is not my thing (odd that I write a blog, right?) If you’ve read very many posts on this Blog it’s obvious I do my own editing.

It doesn’t bother me that I struggle with spelling. FYI- there is not a link between spelling ability and overall intelligence. But once I notice all these errors all I could think was “every teacher in this room thinks I’m an idiot”. No one said that of course, and I turned it into a joke and went on with the presentation. But something just didn’t sit right with me. MY opinion of how people saw me outweighed what was going on. Even though I had several people tell me this wasn’t a big deal, it totally dampened the rest of my day.

You may be wondering, “what does your spelling disability and insecurities have to do with teaching students”. Well here’s how it connected for me. How many times have you had a student say, “Mrs. Whoever hates me” or “Mr. Soandso thinks I’m stupid”? No matter how many times you tell them they are wrong it doesn’t change that student’s perception of what someone else thinks.

The point is sometimes we are our own worst critic. What we perceive other people think about us is linked back to how we feel about ourselves in that moment; this is why no one can change that opinion except you. So connecting this to students; teachers need to spend time getting to know and making a connection to their students so that later in the year if they are struggling they will trust you for help and not have a preconception of what you think of them. Below are some links and ideas for icebreakers and ways to get to know your students.

Remember, we all have strengths and weakness. It’s not about what we can’t do, but what we can overcome.

*Note-causion was misspelled in the title on purpose haha.

Learning Style Inventories
http://www.personal.psu.edu/bxb11/LSI/LSI.htm
http://sunburst.usd.edu/~bwjames/tut/learning-style/stylest.html

Student Interest Survey
http://www.union.k12.sc.us/ems/Teachers-Forms–Student%20Interest%20Survey.htm
http://www.livebinders.com/play/play?id=475167#anchor
Interest Inventory
student_survey

Research Based Strategies for Autistic students.

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Sorry it’s been so long between posts.  Wrapping up the end of the year was CRAZY!  I’ve recently started a new job in the Special Ed department of the Region 15 Education Service Center.  I will be working primarily with access to the General Ed curriculum and accountability.  During my first week, Region 15 was hosting their second annual Autism Conference.  There were some GREAT presenters!  The objective of this post is to share information and resources gained during this conference.

REMEMBER:  Just because the conference was geared toward Autism does not mean this info applies only to Autistic children.  Every child is difference and these strategies would apply to many kids, no matter their label!

I set in on a presentation called “Practical Strategies for Teaching Students with ASD: focus on HFA & Asperger Syndrome”.  It was presented by Dr. Lori Ernsperger, Ph.D., BCBA-D.  You can find more information about her on her website www.loriernsperger.com

It’s important to remember that teachers are required by law, No Child Left Behind and IDEA, to use research based practices and strategies.  As a teacher I didn’t always know what this meant or where to find these researched based strategies.  http://autismpdc.fpg.unc.edu/content/briefs this link takes you to The National Professional Development Center on ASD.  Here you can find specific info for over 24 Research Based strategies for students with Autism.   Below are links to the specific strategies.

 

You can also watch training modules at www.autisminternetmodules.org  These are free modules on an array of topics.

Dr. Lori really stressed the ABC’s of behavior.  If you’ve had any training in behavior you know these, antecedent, behavior, and consequence.  If you can pin point what is “triggering” a behavior you have a better chance of changing that behavior.

It’s also important that you give replacement behaviors.  Simply telling a child to “stop” without giving them a replacement behavior will not help change the behavior.

Dr. Lori also stressed the importance of teaching social skills to ALL of our student, but especially those with Autism.  She explained it in a way that will make sense to any educator.  If you have a student walk into your class who can’t read, you teach them to read.  If they can’t add and subtract, you teach them to add and subtract.  But for some reason when they lack social skills or social thinking we do nothing about it.  This has to change.  But you need a plan for teaching social skills.  It’s easy and can be done using VERY little class time.  (As little as 5 minutes a day)  But you need some resources. www.socialthinking.com has some great resource for teaching social skills.  There is also a post on this blog and a page dedicated to social skills.  Take a look and get some FREE resources.

Below are some addition resource that I found helpful. I look forward to posting more ideas and resources as I learn.  Enjoy your summer!

 

Additional Resources

Texas Statewide Leadership for Autism

ASD Video Glossary

Division TEACCH

National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (NECTAC) Autism Topic Page

Office of Special Education Programs

 

 

 

Meltdowns 101

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HiRes-2I recently attended a workshop that discussed using social skills to address challenging behavior.  The presenter was Linda Davidson for Region 20 ESC.  One slide in particular caught my attention and I wanted to share it.

My teachers are very good about using strategies to try to head off negative or disruptive behavior.  But sometimes that isn’t enough.  The teachers who directly work with students who struggle with behavior know how to deal with a full “meltdown”.  But teachers who don’t come in contact with these students regularly don’t always know how to handle it and will often inadvertently escalate the situation.   So this is information for those teachers who don’t work with this daily.

What is a “meltdown”?  It may look like a temper tantrum, or it may look like sever defiance.  These are different for every kid and start for different reasons.  You may see screaming, kicking, rolling on the floor, covering ears or eyes, crying; you may also see complete silence, head down, refusal to move.

What causes a “meltdown?  It’s different for every student.  Some students have sensory issues and it may be caused by loud noises or a smell, it may be a change in schedule, or a request the student doesn’t like.  There are many reasons for what can cause these types of behaviors.  Again the key it to know your students and head them off before they start, but here are some tips for what to do after it’s too late to prevent.

If you come in contact with a student who is having a meltdown first get help so you are not alone, then remember these strategies.

 

  1. Remain calm: if you act excited the student will notice and could increase behaviors.
  2. Avoid excessive talking, questioning and handling: the student may not fully understand what is going on and if they are spinning out of control you aren’t going to be able to explain anything to them.
  3. Zip it and show it: use pretaught visuals instead of words (the key is pretaught, if they don’t already know and use them, this isn’t the time to introduce them.
  4. Remember this is NOT a “teachable moment”: This is the number one mistake I see; wait for the kids to completely come down before trying to address the behavior.
  5. Proximity control: not too close you could get hurt, or too far away they could run or hurt themselves.
  6. The Antiseptic Bounce: move the child away from the problem area, change in scenery
  7. Wait out minor meltdowns: once it starts you often have to wait it out.
  8. If the student becomes aggressive, remove other students and restrain only if necessary.

 

I hope you never come across a student who is having a major meltdown, but if you do these simple suggestions can help.  The number on thing to remember is to GET HELP!  Even if you are just going to wait it out, don’t do it alone.

I don’t give a sh**!- motivating the unmotivated

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441105-Cartoon-Bored-School-Girl-At-Her-DeskOk so that’s a very dramatic title, but I know many of you are facing students who are thinking, if not saying, just that. I remember the first time a student said this to me. I would love to say that I put on my cool face, walked away as if it did not affect me and addressed it in a calm, your attitude doesn’t ruffle my feathers way, after I cooled off. This would have let the student know, your words don’t hurt me, but have serious consequences for you. But I was 21 years old with about 2 months teaching experience and I LOST IT. Red faces, hair standing up, stomped to his desk and dragged his juvenile delinquent butt to the office. “You won’t talk to me that way I’m an adult.” Unfortunately I didn’t act very adult. I got in an argument with a teenager.

Now, this extreme example goes beyond simply unmotivated and enters the realm of defiance/discipline. But many your unmotivated students have this same “I don’t care” attitude, even if they don’t express it in such a disrespectful manner.

As teachers we have the overwhelming task of taking information that does not appeal to everyone and making it interesting. I know when I was in high school Geometry didn’t exactly light a fire in my heart, but I was nonetheless stuck in that class. So if you have a classroom full of unmotivated students, or maybe just that one who brings down the rest of the class, then this post is for you!

Now I know some of you are on the edge of your seat with anticipation, thinking you’re about to read about the magic trick to motivating the unmotivated. You want the key that unlocks young minds and keeps them hanging on your every word like your teaching Twilight 101. Well I’m sorry but there is not such key. There is no sure-fire trick to motivate all students. It’s all about changing up your game, knowing your students and making connections that matter.

Don’t close out of the page just yet. While I don’t have the quick fix to motivate all students, I do have several strategies and resources that you may find helpful. I’m going to put the ideas into categories so you can skip around and skim the categories that interest you.

CLASSROOM

-Make your room a safe place. You can do this by listening to students, even if they are not always honest.

-Give students space if needed. Set up a “cool down” spot in your room where kids can go if they get frustrated or mad. If you see a kid start shutting down give them a visual cue (such as a cool down “Pass”) so they can take a step back and calm down before they shut down.

-Be very structured. Students crave structure, whether they are well behaved or in the office every other day kids always like knowing what to expect and what is expected of them.

TEACHER/STUDENT RELATIONSHIP

-Know your students. This is so important. Try to remember that you dislike BEHAVIORS not students. If a kid feels like you don’t like them they’re not going to work.

-If you know a student struggles create a secret signal so they can let you know they need help without letting the entire class know. This may increase the chance that they ask for help before shutting down.

TEACHING STRATEGIES

-Break material into smaller chunks, it will be easier for kids to follow.

-Try to incorporate student interest into the lesson and let them know how this applies in real life.

-Set up struggling students for success. Give them a chance to answer questions you know the already know. This may not be a good measure of what they’ve learned, but it will build their self-esteem, which will encourage them to keep trying.

-Give choices. Some students just want to be in control, so give them control. On a worksheet let them choose the 20 questions they want to do. This way the get some work done, but feel like they have a choice it the situation.

-Catch your students being good and reward positive behavior. Focus on positive over negative and you will start to see more positive behavior.

You may already be doing a lot of these and still have students who just don’t seem to care. I hate to be the barer of bad news, but there have always been a few students who just honestly don’t care and they’re never going to let you know that they might be slightly interested. But a good teacher NEVER stops trying to motivate those students. For every kid who’s stone faced and not letting you in, there are two others who have started listening. So keep pushing and you may be the teacher to finally get that one stubborn kid to set up and take notice. You will surely touch the lives of many while trying.

For more strategies and ideas to Motivate the Unmotivated check out these links.

Strategies for Students Who Refuse to Work

Motivating Students

Some Ideas for Motivating Students

Top 12 Ways to Motivate Students

Fight against Social Impairment-teach important skills in every classroom.

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Christmas break is almost over and we’ll be returning to school. There will be some who are excited to return and tackle the spring semester and some just hoping to survive. Everyone will have the BIG spring tests moving closer to the front of their minds as we stress and cram before the big day. I know that the state assessment is more strenuous than ever before; unfortunately the state assessment does not measure some of the most important skills needed to be successful. I’m talking about social skills.

These are the skills that we use everyday without stopping and thinking about how we learned them. How to ask for help, make a friend and speak to an adult. These are skills that fewer and fewer students are learning, leaving a large portion of our population with a “social impairment”.

I understand the pressures of the classroom. Teachers are stressed due to higher expectations and fewer resources. Our kids are expected to learn more at a younger age with more kids in the class and more diverse needs to be met at once. But when we skimp on these important skills we create students with HUGE gaps that are often harder to fill as they get older.

So here’s what I’m asking. As we start to prepare to go back for another semester of class, think about your classroom structure. Most of you already work on social skills in some way. Think about how you can continue to help develop your students socially.

Most social skills can be taught as part of your class routine. Look at the suggestion below and get creative. Talk to a Pre-K or Kindergarten teacher, they work on social skills more than other grades. Unfortunately for some of our kids that’s not enough. Look on Pinterest, that’s were I get a lot of my ideas.

The ideas below were found in various places. They are not appropriate for all ages, but I think there is something listed for every age. Most of these ideas can be blended into your class routine.

Social Skill of the Week: Pick social skill and use it for the focus of the week. For instance, if your skill of the week is showing responsibility, the word responsibility goes on the board. The teacher introduces the words and talks about what it means to be responsible. Students brainstorm ideas of what it means to be responsible. Throughout the week, students are given opportunities to comment on responsible behavior as they see it. At the end of the day or for bell work, have students talk about what they’ve been doing or what they did that showed acting responsibility.

Social Skill Weekly Goals: Have students a set social skill goal for the week. Provide opportunities for students to demonstrate and tell how they’re sticking to their goals. Use this as the exit dismissal key each day. For instance, children state how they met their goal that day “I cooperated today by working well with Sean on my book report”.

Set Goals: After you’ve reviewed the essential character traits. Ask students to set goals about improving the traits they feel they need the most improvement in. Have each student fill in a goal sheet that identifies at least 3 steps that they will take to improve the goal. At the end of each week, review the goals and steps with students. Have students revise and edit goals as necessary.

Good Character Submission Box: Keep a box with a slot in it. Ask students to put a slip in the box when they observe good character. For instance, “John tidied up the coat room without being asked”. Students that are reluctant writers will need to have their compliment scribed for them. Then the teacher reads the slips from the good character box at the end of the week. Teachers should also participate.

‘Social’ Circle Time: At circle time, have each child say something pleasant about the person next to them as they go around the circle. This do can be themed based (cooperative, respectful, generous, positive, responsible, friendly, empathetic etc.)

Mystery Buddies: Put all the student names in a hat. A child draws a student name and they become the student’s mystery buddy. The mystery buddy then offers compliments, praise and does nice things for the student. The students can then guess their mystery buddy at the end of the week.

Good Solutions: This activity takes some help from other teaching staff members. Have teachers leave you jot notes of the conflicts that have arisen on the yard or in the classroom. Collect these as often as you can. Then within your own classroom, present the situation that have happened, ask the students to role play it or to come up with positive solutions and practical advice to avoid repeats of the incidents.

The Button Jar: For this activity, you ask the students to catch somebody exhibiting great social skills. When students see another student sharing or helping out, they will ask if a button can be put in the jar. Likewise, the teacher puts buttons in the jar for targeted behaviors. There should be a small celebration each time the class reaches a defined number of buttons within a time period. For instance when a teacher says “Oh, I really like the way Jenny is cooperating”. A button then goes into the jar. This strategy really hooks kids providing they have opportunity to celebrate.

Good News Box: A box is displayed prominently in the classroom. You explain to the students that each time you see acts of kindness, consideration, patience, cooperation, encouragement, helping hands etc. the student writes a praise note stating who and what and then places it in the box. At the end of the week, the teacher reads out the praise notes to the classmates and gives them their praise notes. Teachers need to make sure that all students at some point receive a praise note for the desired behavior.

Seize the Moment: During lineup times for recess or lunch or other times when you have a few minutes to spare, have students select something nice to say about other student and why. For example: “Tara was helpful today because she lent me a pencil would I couldn’t find mine”. Sometimes start at the back of the line, sometimes at the front.

Random Acts of Kindness: At the beginning of the week, tell students to watch for random acts of kindness. Brainstorm acts of kindness to ensure all students understand. At the end of each week have a vote for the best random act of kindness.

Conflict Resolution: Give students opportunity to be mediators in conflict resolution. Teach the value of give and take. Have a role-play each week on conflict resolution, which enables you to have a different child act as mediator.

Newspaper Scrounge: The newspaper is a great source to find both good and bad character traits. Have students work in pairs to locate various articles about good and bad character. Have them explain why the article shows good character traits and what they are, and for the articles that demonstrate inappropriate traits, decide how could they have been prevented.

Here are some more resources for GREAT social skills ideas!

http://www.autism4teachers.com/autism4teachers_060.htm Interactive lessons for teaching social skills

http://www.mrdonn.org/sociology.html Lesson plans for teaching social skills

http://www.wingsforkids.org/experience/hot-wing great pre-made lessons

http://www.cccoe.net/social/SAdirectory.htm computer based activities

http://pbiscompendium.ssd.k12.mo.us/ResourcesSchools/SSD/SocialSkills/activiti.htm pre-made, age appropriate lessons.

Transition and Challenging Behavior

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Many students, both with diagnosed disabilities and without, struggle with transition.  We often see this in school when students start a new year and they are adjusting to a new situation or when they go home for a long holiday break and have to adjust back into the school routine.  Sometime the anxiety and confusion caused by these times of transition can create challenging behaviors.  These behaviors may seem defiant or disrespectful and once they occur in the school setting they must be addressed.  This often leads to punishment that the student doesn’t understand or respond too.

In an effort to head off some challenging behaviors in the classroom or at home consider looking into transitional strategies to help during times when the students schedule will change.

1.  Calendar-Many parents of Autistic students keep a calendar to review with their child every day.  This calendar will have days that school will not be held as well as appointments or family events.  They review it at the same time everyday.  By making this calendar part of your daily routine, your child will get use to the pre-warning of change.  (This works for ANY child who struggles with change.)

2.  Visual Schedules- Some students require a visual schedule to be successful both at school and at home.  The student would have a schedule of their day with pictures of each activity and as they go through activities they would remove the pictures.  This is can go from home to school and can help with everyday transitions like, coming to school and going to lunch.

3.  Timers- Some students need a pre-warning before they change activities.  Especially activities they are working on independently.  A timer can be of great use.  Set the time and pre-warn the child that in 5 min* they will change activities.  This also works well at home if you want to transition from computer, TV or outside time.  (*The amount of pre-warning time may vary from kid to kid based on need.)

4.  Count down– As students go home for long breaks, like Christmas, it is important for them to remember that they will come back to school.  You can create a count down to monitor daily.  This can be done on the computer or it can be part of you calendar.  Also as something special, if your school would help, give Christmas cards to teachers to fill out.  One for every day the child will be out of school.  EX: If you are out for 14 days, then 14 different people will write a simple card. “Merry Christmas, hope you are having a great break.  See you in 14 days.”  The child will open a new card everyday and the cards will count down until the last card says “see you tomorrow”.

These are a few of the most common transitional strategies.   If you have a student or a child who struggles with transition check into strategies that can help them be more successful.  If you wait until after the transition then you may see an increase in challenging behaviors that can be hard to handle.

Check out these web sites for more ideas:

Moving right along!

Child Behavior Guide

Educational Apps

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Technology is everywhere!  My two year old can work my phone as well as I can.  If you have students in class or kids at home who are struggling with behavior, speech, communication, routine or social skills you may try using technology to teach them.

Click on the link to  access a document containing apps for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. ASD Wheel These apps are good for any student struggling with any of the listed skills.  You DO NOT have to be Autistic to benefit from these apps.

How it works: the inner ring describes a behavior, the next ring has common learning traits, the next has app categories and the outer ring has links to more information about specific apps in that category.

This is a cool tool that was passed along from Region 15 ESC.

I HAVE STUDENTS STRUGGLING AND IT’S ONLY WEEK 3!

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Most schools are about to start week three.  The first two weeks are a combination of setting a routine, setting boundaries and getting to know your students.   But by now you may already have concerns for some students behavior and/or academics.  This applies to both teachers and parents.  RTI is a process that starts in the General Ed class with the teacher’s response to deficit areas.  Even if the student has NOT been referred to the RTI committee yet, it is important to start keeping the right kind of data now, so that better interventions can be developed if they are referred.

Teachers- if you have a student who is already demonstrating behavioral or academic difficulties start monitoring them.  You need to be keeping analytical and statistical data.  Analytical being your personal notes, thoughts, phone calls, conferences ect… Statistical being test, daily work and interventions that you’ve started.

EX: You may have a student that you already see is going to have difficulties staying in their seat.  So you employ strategies to help the student, such as setting up a defined seating area, allowing opportunities for approved movement and the use of fidget tools.  As you use these strategies keep data on how effective, or ineffective, they are over a period of time; this way if you need to refer or get further assistance you have your data.

For behavior it will be important for you to keep up with the child’s ABCs. (Antecedent or trigger, what the concerning Behavior is, and the Consequence or response from others around after the behavior occurs.)

If you are already seeing academic difficulties start with Tier one interventions.  REMEMBER AN INTERVENTION IS INSTRUCTION!!!  These are things you will do in your classroom.  You may want to make the RTI person aware of the problem, simply follow your schools protocol.  But start intervening in your classroom now!

According to “Essentials of Evidence-Based Academic Interventions” by: Barbara Wendling and Nancy Mather, Tier One interventions start with evidence based instruction.

Evidence-based instruction has been defined as “the integration of professional wisdom with the best available empirical evidence in making decisions about how to deliver instructions”.

According to this source (Rapid Reference 1.1) here are Ten Effective Teaching Principals.

1. Active Engagement

2. Built in Success

3. Increased opportunity to learn

4. Direct Instruction

5. Scaffold instruction

6. Addressing other forms of knowledge (declarative knowledge, procedural knowledge, conditional knowledge)

7. Organizing and activating knowledge

8. Teaching strategically to create independent and self-regulated learners

9. Explicit Instruction

10. Teaching sameness

According to the same book here are the Nine Best Instructional Strategies

1. Identifying similarities and differences

2. Summarizing and note taking

3. Reinforce effort and providing recognition

4. Providing appropriate homework/practice

5. Producing physical and mental images

6. Having students engaged in cooperative learning

7. Setting goals and providing feedback

8. Generating and testing hypotheses

9. Providing activities to help students activate prior knowledge

For more information on these strategies or interventions specific to Reading, Math and Writing check out the above listed resource.

In your documentation you would want to indicate:

1. What strategies and interventions are being used?

2. How long these have been in place? — There is no set time to be in any given Tier, but it is important to know length of time to help determine the rate of response.

3. What is the target or goal? –A student who has been identified as struggling probably won’t have the same target as all other students.  So how much growth do you want to see?  Remember to be reasonable with the expectations.  We want all students to be on grade level, but that may not be a realistic starting point for all students.

4. What is the result for the struggling child? –Did they meet their target/goal?

5. How does this compare to the whole class and other students receiving this intervention? –If everyone’s target drops then the overall class instruction may need to be revisited.

This is a great place to mention learning styles and how they affect teaching.  We know that everyone learns a little differently.  Because of this, every strategy and intervention affects different students in different ways.  As a teacher you may have a class in which the majority respond to your teaching style.  They get it.  They are successful.  The next year, you do everything the same way, but the majority doesn’t respond.  They are not successful.   This does not mean you’re doing less, or not doing a good job.  It simply means majority of the students did not respond to that method of teaching.  The key is to pick this out early and adjust your teaching style to fit your students.  If more than 15 percent are not responding you may need to change the overall way you approach teaching that group.  If only 15 percent are not responding then the overall approach is appropriate and that 15 percent is the target group you need to do more intervention with and document the response.   This is why it is important to compare the lower students to the class as a whole.  How is your teaching style working for the majority of your class?

Parents:  If you are already feeling that your child is struggling start talking with their teachers.  Let them know you are concerned.  Ask about how they are doing in class and if they can attend any type of tutorials.  Also ask about RTI and what level of support they need.  As a parent we sometime worry a little to soon and they may not be struggling as much as we think, but it NEVER hurts to ask questions.  Get advice on what else needs to be done and how you can help from home.  This is a team effort and we all have to work together.

Remember ever child is different and there is usually not a quick fix for behavior or academic difficulties.  We have to work together to collect data, assess when needed and develop appropriate plans to help our children.

Behavior Intervention: Check In/Check Out

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For a couple of summers now I’ve presented at the Behavior Blast for the Region 14 Educational Service Center.  This is a week of break out session covering a variety of topics, all concerning behavior.   One of my presentations is about a check in/check out program called the “The Behavior Education Program” or BEP.

Book Information:

Responding to Problem Behavior in Schools

Second Edition

The Behavior Education Program

Deanne A. Crone, Leanne S. Hawken, and Robert H. Horner

This is a good book to read to get an understanding of how a check in/check out program should work.  It also comes with training materials.    The book will stress that you follow the program exactly as they describe it.  I disagree.   While it is good to know how their program works; the key thing to remember is that with any program you will need to modify it to fit your specific setting.  What the book does is provide good guidelines and reminders about what you need and how to get started.  After that keep the general concepts and make it your own.  This program could be modified to fit a single class or grade level, however remember it will be most successful if used across the entire campus.

So how does it work?  You set students up with an adult mentor (the book calls this the BEP coordinator). They will meet with this adult every morning to discuss behavioral goals and receive their daily behavior report card (DBRC)**Click Daily Behavior Progress Report to see an example of a DBRC. **Note: This is an example, the goal are VERY generic.  Goals for your students should be more specific.**

Students then go to all classes and receive points from every teacher based on their goals.  Example: If a student is working on staying in their seat, that would be on their card.  The teacher would give them 2 points if they were perfect, 1 point if they needed some reminding and 0 points if they did not respond to reminders.  Then at the end of the day the student meets back with their adult mentor and adds up their points.  They can receive rewards based on reaching their point goal.  These could be given out daily or weekly, depending on the need of the student.   You could also schedule a check in point during the day and give a reward then.  Remember you design the plan to fit the needs of the student. (See my Incentives post for 100 free rewards ideas)

There is a component where you can send a carbon copy of the DBRC home to the parents for them to review, sign and return.  This should be done on a case-by-case base and is NOT necessary for the program to work, but can lead to stronger results if carried out properly. The success of parent involvement will depend on the parents and the child.  If you do choose to include parents be sure to TRAIN them on what this program is and how they can help produce results.

Click  Overview to see a visual diagram of the program.

Ok, so that’s basically the fast and rough overview.  So lets look at some key areas you will need to consider.  Here are some links that will give you questions to help develop your Check in/Check out system.

1. How to implement_– This document provides you with questions that will get you on the right path to developing the program.

2.BEP Coordinator-This document provides qualities that a good adult mentor/ BEP coordinator would have.

3.Referral System.- This document contains questions that will guide you through developing a referral system that fits in your schools.

4. Managing Data– This Document will help you standardize the data collection and review.

5. Fading Students Out– This document will help you fade students out of the program.

Please keep in mind that this is a very rough overview.  You need to develop a program that fits the needs of your students and school.  Any program needs to contain positive adult contact first thing in the morning and at the end of the day, a way of tracking progress throughout the day (Daily Behavior Report Card), and a way to track the daily progress over time.  This is NOT part of a discipline process and should be kept separate from discipline procedures.   As you train staff, students and parents remember this is a positive intervention.

**NOTE: I considered attaching the full Powerpoint from my training session, but I was afraid it would produce more questions than answers.  If you are interested in setting up a check in/check out program email me and I’ll get you more information.   kari.calcote@gmail.com