Category Archives: Behavior Intervention

Data-driven solution to change student behavior

As a School Psychologist and Special Education coordinator, I participated in hundreds of meetings and noticed a common problem when it came to making and charting behavior plans.  The general education teacher was often times left to create a behavior chart and bring data back to the next meeting regarding the progress of the behavior plan.  For even an experienced teacher, this task is an extra responsibility on top of dozens of other requirements and paperwork that must be completed.  A novice teacher may leave this meeting lost, confused and overwhelmed altogether.  So, why not have a complete charting system ready to give to a teacher at the SPED meeting and RTI meeting that can be customized for each child’s individual need?  This way the team can truly make a comprehensive behavior plan that will benefit the student, support the teacher, and be ready to be implemented immediately.

Over the past few months I have worked with the company Yoyoboko to create a Reward/Behavior Chart that is easy for a teacher to implement, rewards the student for meeting goals, and creates data that is easily charted and shared at follow up meetings.  A win-win-win for all those involved!

There are three main components to the chart—

1.The behavior chart where you can divide the day into different segments and add up to four target behaviors. Sixteen premade magnetic tiles with behaviors and pictures are also included, but you can also customize your own. Magnetic stars are added when the child meets the target behavior. A behavior goal (number of stars the child needs to earn) is clear to the student and stated on the chart.  This goal can change depending on the student’s progress.

2. A reward menu where the child can choose from one of four potential incentives if they have met their target goal. Eleven premade magnetic tiles with different rewards and pictures are also included.  Usually, this is the essential part of a behavior plan that is unfortunately overlooked, but provides a simple incentive for the child to meet the goals.  Blank tiles are also included so the reward can be customized to each child’s unique interests.


3. And finally, weekly tracking sheets where the actual data can be quickly and easily stored by the teacher, shared with parents, and then reviewed by the team to determine if the intervention has been successful or needs to be adjusted.  This is one of the most important parts of the entire plan, since, if it is not working, the team will need to make adjustments.  The only way to make this determination is with data to support the change or continuation of the current plan.  Also appearing on this sheet is a place for additional comments and for the parent’s signature. 

I envision a truly proactive school having enough charts stocked and ready to be provided at all meetings when it is determined a behavior plan is needed.  How nice would it be as a general education teacher to be given this guide and instructions?  Of course, teachers may also want to purchase the chart, so you are prepared for whatever type of student walks into your classroom and you have tools ready to use to help them.

You can order charts for your school, program, department, or classroom with the link below.  I would love to hear feedback once you use it with your school’s teams and students.

http://www.yoyoboko.com/product/yoyoboko-reward-chart-for-students/?wpam_id=2

 

Linking behavior between home and school

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Often times, the missing link in changing a child’s negative behavior is the home school connection.  When children exhibit challenging behaviors, the consistency between home and school are vital in making any long term changes.  This connection can be reached through constant communication and unique systems that make both the teacher and parents life easier.

Recently we have begun a “Hole Punch” behavior modification technique with a student in order to reinforce positive behaviors.  The child has two behaviors that he must exhibit in order to get a hole punch on a card: Follow teacher request the first time the request is made and Keep hands and feet in assigned area.  When the child completes either task, he receives a hole punch.

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Once the child receives 10 hole punches, he receives 2 minutes of time in his “super hero” basket.  This basket contains all different kinds of superhero stamps, stickers, color books, and toys.  This system is used in the school setting and the child has successfully responded and the number of behavioral incidents has decreased.

However, I believe the true success of this system is the follow through that happens at home.  The parent uses an app called IRewards Chart.  The parent types the same behaviors in their IRewards Chart.  Depending on how many hole punches the student receives at school, the student can press the button on the phone to enter that many stars on the app.  The parent also has added some additional chores and behaviors that are expected at home.

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The app allows the parents to set up a reward chart, so the child can save their stars for certain items/rewards and then cash them in when they have enough stars.  So, basically it is a token economy on a mobile device which is such an awesome idea!

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Using this app is a perfect carry over from school and the connection is very clear to the student.  It is also an easy implementation for parents since the app has created the system for you already and it is FREE!

This is just one example of the two “worlds” of home and school coming together to improve student behavior.  This can also be accomplished by using Individual Behavior Charts for older students.  Students receive points throughout the day on a behavior chart and then are rewarded for meeting their goal.  The parent signs the chart and reinforces the positive behaviors at home.

Whatever the system that is chosen, the key is consistency and communication between the home and school.  When the child knows that both the parent and the teacher are working together, this creates a more likely chance of lasting and permanent changes in behaviors.


Learning to Use Positive Reinforcement

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I observe over and over again in classrooms how quickly teachers are to redirect and correct behavior and how little positive reinforcement is used on a consistent basis. I can barely blame teachers in most cases, as a catch myself doing the same thing with my own children. Is it easier to correct and/or punish negative behavior than it is to praise positive behavior?

Ultimately, I think there must be a healthy balance between the two. In order for students and children to learn the appropriate behaviors, they need to be redirected or corrected when misbehaving, but positive reinforcement must be done at a more frequent rate to really change the behaviors. I have read different ratios over the years of positive vs. negative comments. The quote below is from Boy’s Town and seems like a good place to start.

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So, what are some different ways to use positive reinforcement?  Reinforcement does not need to be something that is tangible and it does not have to be something that costs money.  Simply writing a note on a students desk can be incentive to keep up the good work.

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Tokens of some kind can also be reinforcing and can have the added bonus of working towards a higher goal.  The pom-pom method is one such token economy where students earn pom-poms in a jar and when the jar is full, then they earn a larger reward.  This larger reward could be something that is provided at home such as going out for an ice cream treat or movie.  The tokens could also equal minutes on either the TV or a video game at home.  For example, if a child earns 12 tokens during the day, then they get 12 minutes to play their favorite game.  Here is a list of some other easy ideas.

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Creating a connection between home and school ensures the most success for any kind of reinforcement system.  This connection is often hard to make since parents of children who typically need positive and frequent reinforcement are already accustomed to the type of behaviors their child exhibits.  Most times these parents are at a loss for what to do at home as well, so hearing that their child is once again misbehaving at school is “old” news and unintentionally ignored.  One of the most effective uses of positive reinforcement I have seen the past 10 years is positive notes or positive phone calls home.  Not only is the child’s behavior being reinforced, the parents are also being reinforced and finally receiving something positive about their child which is refreshing and can suddenly create the missing home-school link.

Using a reward menu and putting the option of either a positive note home or positive phone call home where the student makes the phone call during the day to “brag” about their good behavior can be the first step in introducing this technique.  Positive notes home such as the one below can give specific praise to behaviors.

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The next time you correct student behavior, remember also to praise their positive behavior, however small it may be, and you will start to see little changes in behavior.  I have seen the positive results in my school with teachers who do this and at home when I do this same technique with my own children who are 2 and 3 years old.  It also helps to think about how it makes you feel when you receive a positive compliment at work regarding your job performance.

If you want to check out a copy of some positive parent notes home with the most common behaviors seen in schools, you can check them out here.

 

 

Behavior Badges

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Behavior Badges are a visual “badge” that students can either wear, tape to their desk, or the teacher could use as a whole class visual/system.  Having a goal that is visual is very important to many students (and adults).  Personally, I use an agenda every day that keeps my daily goals in order and have to do list visual next to me on my desk.  Recently, I have also begun using sticky notes and thus the idea of a similar method for kids came into my head that was more “kid friendly”.

If the teacher wants to use behavior badges as a classwide intervention, then one behavior should be picked that the teacher will be focusing on that day.  Below is a list of some of the most common behaviors I have seen over the last few years, all stated positively!

Take responsibility for actions and do not blame others
Accept corrective Feedback without being negative.
Get along with classmates by showing socially appropriate behaviors.
Keep my hands and feet to myself.
Prepared for class with all necessary materials.
Focus on teacher instructions and assigned work.
Respectful and comply with adult request without arguing.
Controlled emotions when faced with a difficult situation.
Raise hand before speaking.
Sit in my chair and work quietly.
Complete and turn in all school work on time.
Travel quickly and quietly in the hallway.

After choosing the behavior, the teacher would post it the front of the classroom and with either stickers or check marks the teacher would reinforce the behavior throughout the day when the WHOLE class is completing the behavior.  This could be done on random hourly intervals For example, at 9:05, the entire class is keeping their hands and feet to their self then the teacher would put a sticker on the badge.  This would be done throughout the day at 10:05, 11:05, 12:05, 1:05, and 2:05.

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If the entire badge is filled out with stickers at the end of the day, the class would earn a group reward which could vary.  Check out Reward Menus for some different, simple ideas.

The same type of system could be used with an individual student or a small group of students in the classroom that need a little extra push!  Some students may simply just need the visual badge on their desk without the spot for stickers as a reminder throughout the day.  The teacher would point or refer to the badge when needed.  Other students may actually need the tangible sticker or check mark placed in the circle to remain focused towards their goals.

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Once the student has mastered the goal on their behavior badge, you can move on to a new goal to target.  If you would like a copy of 12 different behavior badges and their sticker counter part, click on the below image.

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Coloring for Good Behavior

For little children, a typical behavior chart with the day broken down into individual time slots may not be effective.  Little children (3-6) sometimes need more immediate and interactive reinforcement.  If you have a child that needs more “action” when reinforcing behavior, you might try a simple coloring sheet that has very defined areas, such as a color by number or letter sheet.

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After finding a coloring sheet, you would identify a behavior that you are targeting with the child.  This should be kept simple and positively stated. Some examples could be: stay in assigned area, follow directions the first time they are given, or transition quietly.

When picking what type of coloring sheet, determine how often you want to reinforce the behavior, meaning how often can the child color in one portion of the coloring page.  You could keep it small with just a few different portions to color, such as the example below which has seven sections to color.

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Or you could have a large coloring sheet with many individual segments.  Whichever you choose, remember the child needs to be allowed time immediately after the desired behavior to color in a portion of the coloring sheet.

The coloring sheet should also have definite “areas” to color very similar to a color by number coloring page.  This will prevent possible arguments as to which area can be colored!

It is also beneficial to stick to a child’s interests when choosing the coloring page .  For example, if the student really likes dogs, then find a dog coloring page.  Or if the child likes a particular cartoon or movie character, find a coloring sheet to match their interests.  Once the child colors the entire page, then a larger reward is given.  This reward should be predetermined.  Check out this article on reward menus to get some different ideas on how to make up a reward chart.

Another way to implement this type of behavior reinforcement program is to use color by number sheets.  Every time the child preforms the desired behavior then they can color one number of the sheet.  If you decide to break the day into 8 individual segments, then the child could color the number that goes with the time of day.  If the entire picture gets colored, then the child will receive a reward.

Of course, you can find coloring books almost anywhere; however most of them do not have defined areas to color.  Here are some additional website of coloring pages that might be helpful.  Happy Coloring!!!

Free Printable Behavior Charts

Reward Charts for Kids

Free Printable

Kids Activity Blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Favorite Posts of 2015

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I’m excited to be linky up with Sarah from Years that Ask Questions to share my favorite blog posts of 2015.

I started TPT and my blog this summer and have really enjoyed meeting other bloggers this year and designing products.  I have learned ALOT and I’m looking forward to what 2016 brings!  Here are my top three favorites from this year.

Cool Down Cushion

I enjoyed writing about a unique idea to prevent behavior meltdowns in June.

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Classroom Management: Finding the Right Fit

Minds in Bloom Guest Post

In November I had the opportunity to be a guest author on Minds in Bloom and shared a number a behavioral strategies.

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Our Book Nook

I love reading with my children and our new book buddies we have found, which inspired this post.

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Head on over to Years That Ask Questions to link up or find other great posts from 2015.

 

Catching the Holiday Spirit: Management Tips to Keep Students on Track

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With holiday season approaching us, classroom behavior can start to escalate as students are getting excited and teachers are getting worn down!!  Now is the time to add a couple new tricks to your behavior tool belt.  I’m excited to be Linking up for Focused on Fifth for Unwrapping Holiday Classroom Ideas.  Today’s topic is Management Tips to Keeps Students on Track.

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The Yes/No intervention is simple to implement and keeps students on track for those last weeks before Christmas Break.   This intervention is based on probability.  The teacher refreshes the students in the classroom on the rules or expectation.  The students model the correct behavior, so everyone knows the how to follow the expectations.  Throughout the day, the teacher places “Yes” cards in the jar when students are performing appropriate behavior.  The teacher places “No” cards in the jar when the students are exhibiting negative or disruptive behavior.

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At the end of the assigned period or at the end of the day, the teacher will draw a card out of the jar.  If a “Yes” card is drawn, than students receive the reward.  This reward should be placed in an envelope at the beginning of the day.  It could either be a “mystery” or something all students have chosen.  If a “No” card is drawn, then the students will continue with their academic work.

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To ensure, students “buy in” to the system, it is important to place more “Yes” cards then “No” cards in the jar during the first couple of days.  When placing a “Yes” card in the jar, the teacher should describe the behavior, such as “Thank you Ben for following directions”.   If a “No” card is placed in the jar, the behavior should be explained, such as “Ben I am putting a No card in the jar because you are out of your assigned area.  This intervention could also be adapted to use with individual students.

Grab a FREE copy of Yes/No cards HERE and make sure you check out other great ideas by clicking the link below.   Happy holidays!

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Back to the Basics: Behavior Charts

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Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in creative and involved behavior interventions and charts, but going back to the basic behavior chart can solve many behavior problems in the classroom, especially with parent support.

There are a couple KEY thoughts to keep in mind when setting up the chart—

1. How many times you want to divide the day in order to rate the behavior? 

At the very least I would suggest dividing the day into two parts, but some of the most successful charts I have seen are divided by subject and/or time.  The chart below is divided into six different time segments.

chart32. How many behaviors will you include on your chart? 

Some of the biggest detriments to behavior charts are including WAY too many behaviors and the behaviors are stated negatively.  Such as “No hitting” instead of “Keep your hands and feet to yourself”.  In order to keep it simple and most likely more successful, start with only one or two behaviors.

3. What kind of rating scale will you use?

A simple check mark can work in some cases to indicate the student achieved the desired behavior during class.  I have also seen teachers use stamps and stickers to put in the box if the student completed the desired behavior.

A point system in the example above  could also be used and the student earn 1, 2, or 3 points during the assigned time.  For younger students a smiley or frowney face can be used.

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4. What will be the students’ goal?

The goal must, must, must be obtainable.  When choosing a goal, think about the students’ current progress and make the goal very close to how he/she is currently performing.  In order for a student to “buy in” to the system, they must have a goal they can achieve immediately in order to get reinforced immediately.

5. Who will be in charge of providing the reward?

Many times behavior charts are created and have no reward attached to them or the reward is not immediate enough for that individual student.  Most times, the reward needs to be provided at the end of the day.  Having the parent on board and providing a weekly reward at home can also be very helpful.  I have seen parents that have given their child time on the computer or game system based on the number of points they have received.  Such as 20 points equals 20 minutes on the computer/game system.

What other additions would you make to the chart?

Some teachers like to have a comment section on the chart or a place to write homework.  Additionally, placing the student goal on the chart is important, as well as a line for the parent to sign.  In order for lasting change in student behavior, both teachers and parents need to be reinforcing the use of the chart with the student.

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No matter what chart is used, it must be consistent.  Implementing the chart only one or two days will NOT work.  Give it a least of week and if it is not working try adjusting the goal or reward.

You can check out different behavior charts by clicking here.

Minds in Bloom Guest Post

I’m so excited to have a guest post on Minds in Bloom.  Here is a sneak peek of the post!

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Hi everyone! My name is Laura, and I’m the blogger behind Discovering Hidden Potential. I’m excited to share some different classroom management ideas with you today. Thank you so much Rachel for this opportunity. With different personalities and needs that teachers encounter in the classroom, sometimes it can be hard to find the “right fit” when it comes to classroom management. The typical one-size-fits-all management system might…..

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Behavior Strategies Grab Bag

grabbagSometimes is takes awhile to find the right behavior strategy that works for some of the more challenging behaviors you may encounter.  Even then it will sometimes stop working and you need to find something new.  I asked some fellow educators to share ideas of different strategies that have worked for them so you can have a “Grab Bag” of different strategies.  I love hearing new and different techniques from others because you can never have too many behavior tips!   I have also added a strategy that I have used recently with a few students in order to help give visual reinforcement and reminders.

Visual Reinforcement

Visual Reinforcement can be especially helpful for younger children.  I created behavior a lanyard for the teachers to wear for two students recently who are having difficulty keeping his hands and feet to himself.  The teacher wears the behavior lanyard all day and the student earns tokens that are adding to the back of the goal tag throughout the day when he is keeping his hands and feet to himself.  When the tag is filled up, he gets to pick a larger prize from his reward menu.  I made the tags superhero themed since the students like superheros.  After talking with the parent of one of the students, I also sent one home so the parent could use the same strategy at home.  This could be a good strategy to use when students need a visual throughout the day of their goal and their progress.

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The Calm Down Counter

Neely from Behavior Momentum has a great idea to teach students to calm down.  The Calm Down Counter is a visual tool that teaches students to calm down by counting. The student is taught how to use the calm down counter with a few practice sessions. The calm down counter can be put in a classroom cool down area or attached to individual students desks. They start by placing their finger on the 10 spot by saying 10 loudly. The student works their way to the number 1 spot using a softer voice. After the student is trained to use The Calm Down Counter they should be able to self manage calming down on their own.  Behavior Momentum also has some other great ideas, I especially like the Bubble Gum Behavior Chart!

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Behavior Story Book

Nikki from Teaching Autism has another fabulous idea to help students learn how to react in different situations.  This idea includes a behavior story with symbols/graphics as a walkthrough for what students may feel/do when angry/upset, choices and what they can do to help them calm themselves.  Social stories are a great tool to help teach student routines, especially students with difficulty transitioning.  I have used these with kindergartens who are learning the class/school routines and had great success.

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Tips for Helping Attention Seekers

K’s Classroom Kreations wrote an extremely helpful article on her blog for handling attention seeking behaviors.  I love how candid she discusses this topic and breaks it down into five simple tips which all start with the adult.  She also has written a great article on How to Deal with the Classroom Wiggleworm.  There are some great ideas of different sensory tools to use and best of all most of them came from the dollar store!

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Movement Breaks

Susan from ESL Connection shared a strategy when working with her middle school students….which is very simple, but highly effective.

I let my middle school students get up and walk around the classroom, as long as they are not distracting other students. This came about because, many years ago, I had a boy who asked if he could do that; he said it would help him focus or calm down (I forget which). With some reservations, I said okay but it worked out and then other boys asked if they could stand up and walk around too, and I said yes. In subsequent years, some girls also liked to do this, although they mostly preferred to just stand behind their desks and work that way. This was an easy way for me to let kids get up and move during lessons, which research shows helps students learn better. Most of the time, the students behaved appropriately when they were out of their chairs so I was happy to use this strategy in my classroom. -Susan

Check out the weekly progress reports in English and Spanish she created to help stay in touch with parents.

I hope your were able to gain some different behavioral tips that can be implemented with your challenging students.  If you have another strategy that has worked for you, please share in the comments below!!