Tuesday, August 30, 2005

CHARACTERISTICS OF AN EFFECTIVE EMOTIONAL DISABILITIES TEACHER, continued...

Here is the next in a series of posts I've been writing about effective teachers of emotionally disabled students. We've made our way through #1 and 2 (see previous posts in August archives), and now address characteristic #3:

I maintain a consistent behavior management system, including making individualized arrangements for special behavior needs within my classroom.


This is obviously a two-parter; tonight I will tackle the "consistent behavior management system". Later, after the children become a big part of this blog again, I will address the individualization of behavior plans. For now....


Here is a copy of the parent letter I send home describing our classroom based behavior management system. My goal is to clearly explain how it all comes together in our classroom everyday. I also hope the plan might help some parents who feel the need to use a management program at home (and many ED children need similar structure and consistency out of school as well).

This detailed document has been a great source of comfort to many of my students' parents, as it helps to shine a bright light on the otherwise mysterious goings on of the schoolday. Parents tell me their child's doctor uses the information on the point sheet to help with medication issues, and we (parents and teachers) use the data to tweak the child's academic and social skills program overall.

*******************************


Behavior Management Plan


Our Class Rules

At the start of the school year, children and teachers develop the classroom rules together. They are ultimately based on the following expectations that the classroom will be a productive, safe, caring community:

o We will be safe.
o We will treat each other respectfully.
o We will learn and progress academically.
o We will learn and progress socially.

Once children have participated in the development of the class rules, I design and present a series of lessons to teach, review, and reteach their value. Through class discussion, role play, art response and writing projects, the children become thoroughly familiar with the expectations. (We expect, however, to teach and reteach the rules on a daily basis because of the needs and age of our students.) In addition, our social skills instruction and character education program reinforce these appropriate school behaviors.


The nature of our program mandates that childrenÂ’s behaviors will be monitored/highlighted throughout the day. As a matter of assessment and parent communication, studentsÂ’ specific behaviors are evaluated frequently.

The Daily Point Sheet

In 20-30 minute increments, we note how students have demonstrated important classroom behaviors. The observed behaviors are a reflection of the class rules and the students' IEPs. Problem behaviors are clearly defined to insure complete and fair assessment. Because these behaviors often reflect a child's specific weaknesses, we provide the following supports:

o Social skills lesson (both planned and on-the-spot)
o Positive verbal feedback
o Positive non-verbal feedback
o Adapting activities to reduce anxiety or increase interest
o Redirection of student to other areas of focus
o Differential reinforcement of other behaviors (praising others as a means of highlighting expectations without pointedly saying that a specific child is off track---then, noticing and praising when the child makes the behavior change)
o Proximity prompts
o Positive "chill-out" time away from the group (for example, the beanbag or pillow area of the classroom)
o Visual prompts and reminders (schedules, feelings charts, and intensity ratings, etc)
o Scaffolding (providing needed support for each of the steps in a task)
o Earned activities, stickers or intermittent edible reinforcers
o Referral to talk with counselor for extra support in times of crisis


The point sheet provides a "look" at your student's day. We record points toward each goal for behaviors that are demonstrated during the time interval.

o 2 points indicates quick compliance or cooperation
o 1 point indicates that more than 2 or 3 prompts were necessary before completion
o 0 points indicate excessive resistance or outright non-compliance (often despite re-direction and other supports)


It is our experience that over time, students make some improvement in their target areas. Consequently, the daily point sheet is a vehicle for providing information to parents. It also plays a part in the reinforcement process. Most students want both the social and activity reinforcers that a good point sheet brings. The understanding that the day was a YES day ("I made my goal.") or a NO day ("I did not make my goal.) is important. (Required percentages are determined at the IEP meeting.) The YES or NO designation is a more neutral way to assess the day’s efforts. In addition, the understanding that “I can try again tomorrow” is often sustaining.

We design the point sheet system so that a child does not consistently fail. A pattern of failure indicates that the program is not working, and we will work together with parents to make adjustments.


Other Important Behavior Management Tools

In addition to the daily point sheet, we employ other behavior management tools that are grounded in the philosophy of logical consequences, including


o Behavior contracts
o A continuum of time-out consequences ( at the child's desk, at the desk by the door, at the counselor's time out desk, booth)
o Use of planned ignoring that encourages the extinction of inappropriate behaviors
o Extended time out (Detention can be a time out of the classroom for up to 30 minutes. When the problem behavior involves a matter of trust, i.e. leaving the assigned area without permission, or refusing to go to an assigned area, we call the detention a "trust time". If detention time extends into a child's lunch period, teachers will bring the child lunch before 1:00 at the very latest.)
o Administrative procedures (as outlined in the County-wide StudentÂ’s Rights and Responsibilities guidelines).


There are corrective measures that are NOT part of our behavior management program:

o Indiscriminant, revenge-driven punishment
o Inappropriately long time out that does not reflect the age or developmental level of the child
o Angry outbursts by teachers or staff
o Humiliating sarcasm, degrading comments, nagging

It is my goal to relay important behavior information to the parents in a
timely and professional manner. (email and phone number given)

I want ours to be a true partnership in the best interests of your child. I look forward to a busy and challenging new year! Thanks in advance for your support!
*****************************************

So there you go. There's nothing that matches transparent, conscise, and detailed information!

9 comments:

Fred said...

Any chance I can borrow you to lead our teachers on these items? You're compiled a wonderful assessment. You've put a few hours of work into these thoughts!

kevin said...

The daily point sheet - is this done on a handheld electronic device, by clipboard and paper, or by a large chart on a wall? I once tried creating a clipboard chart for tracking a duration and frequency of behaviors in a SpEd class and it required a lot more discipline on my part (and on the aides) to even try to maintain it.

Mrs. Ris - the 'classroom management consultant?'

JohnL said...

Susan, though we might quibble over some of the bits, your post here is a nice piece. I plan to send students to read it so they will understand that it's not just their professors who recommend clear, consistent behavior management. Thanks!---JohnL

dra said...

Would you consider writing a Top 10 List of Characteristics of a Great EBD teacher for the Midwest Symposium site? check it out at www.mslbd.org

Mrs. Ris said...

Sure, DRA, I checked out your site and would be pleased to contribute. Let me know where to send it. Thanks for the opportunityC!

Mrs. Ris said...

Sure, DRA, I checked out your site and would be pleased to contribute. Let me know where to send it. Thanks for the opportunityC!

Jaynne said...

Child Add Self Test
is still in believe it or not. Just check out Child Add Self Test
today and join our " team". I am myself have ADD and I love it. It makes me multi-tasking and that gives me an edge over everyone else that is "normal". Great bonus if you ask me.

Barbara Hofmeister said...

Interesting topic this ebook free improvement self, isn't it? One can't learn enough about it. You can have a look at my ebook free improvement selfto give you some new ideas.

Anonymous said...

Essential oils, roots and herbs can be used in a variety of ways to promote healthy living and stress factory. They are used to create natural remedies for treating ailments common to both people and animals, to add flavor to food, to make perfumes and to create environmentally friendly cleaning products.

You do not have to own a garden to tap into the benefits of plants, roots and herbs. A few herb pots located by a sunny window are enough to get you started. Then, all you need are some essential oils and you are ready to go.

For therapeutic purposes, only the purest oils will do. It is possible to be fooled into thinking that you are purchasing a pure oil. Often, a lesser quality blend of several oils is used to mimic the properties of the pure oil. Blended oils are acceptable for fragrance purposes such as for perfuming a room, but pure oils are a "must" for medicinal purposes.

A reasonable guide to the purity of an essential oil is its price. Pure essential oils are generally more expensive. Common oils such as lavender and geranium are much cheaper than frankincense and carnation oil. It is advisable to become familiar with essential oil prices and then rely on this knowledge when purchasing oils from unfamiliar sources. Keep in-mind that you will generally get what you pay for. A price list from a reputable dealer is a valuable resource when purchasing essentials oils.

Usually, pure essential oils cannot be applied directly to the skin and must be mixed in a base oil to reduce their strength. Base oils such as almond oil or wheatgerm oil are commonly used for this purpose. Base oils are generally derived from seeds, nuts or vegetables and allow you to create essential oil remedies that can be massaged into the skin.

So, what do you need to get started with essential oils and natural remedies?

Without a doubt, Lavender is one of the most useful and desirable oils. Not only does it work wonders on cuts, bruises and burns, it also aids sleep and helps with relaxation.

The Tea Tree and Eucalyptus oils are useful for treating a variety of respiratory ailments. These are excellent for the treatment of colds and coughs. They can be massaged into the chest or burned in an oil burner to help clear the airways and prevent congestion. Tea Tree oil is a natural antiseptic and can be dabbed on cuts, bites and stings. It is often used to treat spots and pimples and when diluted with water, acts as a mouth gargle (keep in-mind it should never be swallowed).

Another basic antiseptic is Geranium oil. With its distinctive perfume and pain relieving properties, it is a necessary inclusion when starting out.

Peppermint oil should also be purchased as it treats digestive complaints and may be used in preparations for freshening breath.

For fragrant perfumes and establishing ambience in a room, buy some Patchouli and Ylang-ylang oils. Often combined in scented candles and air fresheners, a few drops of each in an oil burner creates a wonderfully perfumed home. Orange oil mixed with Cinnamon oil is a lovely winter alternative that evokes seasonal, holiday smells. Besides their perfume qualities, all four of these oils have other properties. Patchouli treats eczema and dandruff. Ylang-ylang is reputed to relieve stress, palpitations and high blood pressure. Orange is used in natural remedies for depression and nervous tension and Cinnamon is excellent for warts and viral infections.

The herbs, Thyme and Rosemary can be grown in pots and used when needed. To create essential oils from herbs, stew some large amounts in pure water, collect the steam and cool it. The oil will rise to the top of the drained water and can be collected with an eyedropper. Alternatively, a "flower still" can be purchased to make the job easier. Thyme and Rosemary are both antiseptics and can be used in skin care preparations. They are also delicious when used in cooking.

Lemon oil and fresh lemons will purify water and, when mixed with honey, are effective remedies for colds and flu. Lemon and white vinegar are highly efficient cleaning agents that can be used for domestic cleaning tasks without damaging the environment. Use white vinegar as a natural disinfectant or mix it with water to clean windows and wooden floors. It is also handy to keep a bottle of white vinegar in your car if you swim in the ocean. It will bring instant relief from jellyfish stings.

Citronella oil is perfect in summer to keep the insects at bay. Another natural repellent is Garlic. Fleas will not bite a dog that has been eating garlic, so a few garlic capsules in the dog food are a cheap solution to your pet's flea problem. A soft collar soaked in Citronella will also do the job.

Garlic also helps to promote a healthy immune system when the weather turns cold and viruses begin to circulate. In fact, most of the oils and herbs listed above are effective in helping to prevent many common winter illnesses.

Whether you are looking for remedies or nature friendly products to use around the house, the oils and herbs suggested above should help get you started. You will be ready to make some healthy changes in your way of life!

stress factory