Well, I have a lot to say today so be prepared for an post with a bunch of different stuff in it! LOL.
Let's talk about something that can be the most difficult part of teaching.........behavior problems. Ughh, behavior problems can really drive a teacher crazy and make it so hard to teach.
The crazy thing about students with behavior problems is that every one is different. They are so individualized and what works for one child might not work for another. So here are some general tips that I've been using with one particular student.
1. A schedule, a schedule, a schedule. Kids need consistency and routine. Students with behavior problems probably need it even more so. If they don't know what is happening next or what is expected of them next, be prepared for behavior problems to increase. The first thing I did at my new job was make a schedule and stick to it.
I tried to use actual pictures of the student when possible. My student uses a dry erase marker to check off the schedule as we go through the day. The back side has the afternoon events. This has evolved since I first started teaching this class to fit the needs and changes I've made. Having a visual schedule has really helped. If he says he wants to do _________, I bust out the schedule and show him what has to happen before recess or whatever it is he wants.
2. Consistency - This is sooooo important. Everyone who is working with the student needs to be consistent. A few weeks ago, we had a meeting with all the teachers and the aide to discuss expectations, consequences, and reinforcements across ALL settings. That has made a huge difference. With everyone on the same page and reacting the same way, we are seeing improvements in behavior. My big focus is the academic work MUST be done. It doesn't disappear. No matter how bad we misbehave, the work stays and must be finished before we can move onto something else.
3. Reinforcement - This can be really tricky. I really want my kids to follow class rules and expectations because that's just what they are supposed to do at school. However, some kids need more. It's important to find reinforcers that will work for the specific student and ones that don't take away from the other students in the class. Is it really fair if Johnny can't do anything without a meltdown but then is rewarded for 5 minutes of work when the rest of the class does all their work with no reward? Not really. I think this is where you really have to think about your students and your class to find the best answer.
For my student, I made a sticker chart that coincides with his visual schedule.
In the morning, he chooses what he is working for: recess, legos, or drawing. These are things he really likes, so he is motivated to do these things. In the afternoon, he does the same thing on the backside of the page. I split the day up into different activities that he can earn a sticker. The first task is SUPER easy. All he needs to do is put his backpack away. He can typically accomplish this task without any problem. This means he gets a sticker first thing and starts his day off on a good foot. If he doesn't earn a sticker, he has to x that box out and we talk about what behavior caused him to not earn the sticker.
When we first started the sticker chart, he only needed to earn 4 stickers out of 6 opportunities to earn his reward. Once he started mastering 4 stickers, I bumped him up to 5. At first, I also had more easy tasks that he could earn a sticker for that weren't so academic related. My goal was for him to feel some success.
I also use this page as notes throughout the day. I write comments on it if he has a meltdown, says something inappropriate, or does a good job. I keep this for my records and send a copy home for mom each day.
He can earn his reward right before morning recess (when my other resource students leave to go back to their gen ed class) and again in the afternoon right before dismissal. This way it doesn't disrupt the other students. He only gets his reward for 5 minutes and I set the timer to keep track. If he doesn't earn the reward and has a meltdown, all he really does is hurt himself. He can't go to morning recess if he's having a meltdown so he has to get it together. My big goal was that if he doesn't earn a reward and has meltdown I didn't want the meltdown to be away to get out of more academic work.
4. Data - If behavior problems are becoming serious, you're going to need data. The data can be useful for RTI, Behavior Support Plans, IEPs, Special Ed services, parent conferences, etc. The tricky with collecting data is that you still need to teach. How can you keep up with data if you're teaching 20 other kids? Maybe you're lucky and have an aide or volunteer or somebody in your room who can keep up with data. Or it might be up to you.
I needed more data on my one student so I made this easy chart.
I broke the day into 15 minute increments and put 2 behavior problems that I knew I needed to track. Every time he shows noncompliance or I redirect him, I just put a tally mark. I try to make some comment about the activity in the comment box just so I remember later what we were doing. If for some reason I can't remember or get too busy to keep the data during a certain time period, I just leave that box blank. This has worked for me as an easy way to collect data.n
So there we go, that's one way to handle behavior problems. Oh and one other thing I would to mention is that free time, down periods with nothing to do, and transition times can be really difficult for behavior students. Free moments without a task are always good settings for behaviors to start. I try to keep mine busy every second of the day. He just cannot handle idle moments.
Now that I've rambled on FOREVER about behavior, let's talk about these Valentine Centers that I have been working on FOREVER! Oh my gosh, I didn't think I'd ever get these things done but they finally are done and uploaded. If my kids really didn't need to work on these skills this week, I would have given up!
I've just posted my A Heart Felt Valentine - Literacy & Math Centers to TpT. I've marked them half off for $3 between now and Valentine's Day. If you're looking for some last minute stuff for Valentine's this might work out for you.
Since my class has been working on problem solving, I included 3 free word problems in the preview file. It's your lucky day!
We are using the P-E-A strategy to solve problems. We draw a Picture, then we write an Equation, and finally write the Answer. To help my kids, I've been scaffolding our problem solving to make them more successful. Here are the word problems you can download for free in my preview file. The Heart Felt Valentine unit has 6 addition and 6 subtraction word problems that follow this same format.
Wow, that was one long post!! Thanks for sticking through all that! :)