Archive for the 'Extra-classroom matters' Category

Help kids learn ABA

Sarah M. Teske wrote a delightful book called “Oh No, Henry” that tells a story about how a youngster employs behavioral procedures to teach his new puppy some important life skills. I was fortunate enough to pre-order it and got to read it just a couple of days ago.

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Notes on notes home

Ever wondered whether it was worthwhile to send notes home about children’s behavior? This note will not provide comprehensive coverage of home-school communication, but there has been a bit of research about using home-school notes as a means of supporting behavior management. There is a system based on "Daily Behavior Report Cards," (DBRC) which is a broad term used to refer to a cluster of similar techniques. Essentially, teachers develop a fairly simple system for describing behavior and use it to communicate with parents; parents use the data to provide previously arranged consequences at home. 

photo of BD folks 2014
M. Tankersley, T. Landrum,
K. Vannest, & S. Forness
TECBD, Tempe, AZ, 2014

Of course, you can see many of the potential issues. Yes, please sing that song about the positives. Right, you'd need to plan the system so that the student wouldn't encounter terrible sanctions for a low report. You'll think of lots of other issues. More help on that in a few secs. 

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Homegrown PBIS videos

My colleague Michael Kennedy promotes the creation of what he calls “homegrown videos” for helping explain appropriate behavior to students. They’re a fun way to get across the concepts associated with positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS). As Professor Kennedy explains in the caption, this is one of a series; they all use the PBIS language and concepts, but have student-view humor.

Bus Expectations: John Glenn HS from Michael Kennedy on Vimeo.

This video on appropriate behavior on the bus is one video in a series by Jacob Toarmina and his classmates from John Glenn High School in Michigan. This video was submitted by Deanna Strong, also from JGHS.

The others in this series are about classroom expectations, arrival and departure, cafeteria expectations, and hallway expectations. There are series of videos from other schools, as well. As one might suspect, they focus on the usual issues in schools (see situations just listed) and they have the usual themes for PBIS (e.g., respect, responsibility…).

There is even an Annual PBIS Film Festival at the national PBIS convention; schools submit videos they’ve created and people vote on which ones are the best examples in various categories (e.g., funniest, best music, best teaching of expectations, and so forth).

If you want to learn more, visit Professor Kennedy’s PBIS videos site, his Vimeo site where I snagged the movie here, or the section of Vimeo that is dedicated to PBIS videos. Of course, one can jump to the PBIS.org site (it’s over there is the sidebar, available any time).

Kudos for Artie Tyler

Artie Tyler drives a bus in the Frederick (MD, US) area, just a bit northwest of Washington, DC. According to a feature story by Marge Neal of the Frederick News-Post, Mr. Tyler made a difference in the behavior of the students on his buses, taking over challenging routes and turning them into successful rides for the students.

Eight minutes isn’t a lot of time.

But in eight-minute blocks of time, school bus driver Artie Tyler completes his rounds for more than 50 Monocacy Elementary School students each morning and afternoon. He does more than drive — he goes the distance.

“Artie is part of our staff here at Monocacy,” said school Principal Jason Anderson. “He’s concerned not only about their safety to and from school but their academic well-being as well.”

When he took over the routes, he reported that there were fights and other problems. To solve them, it seems that Mr. Tyler hit upon one of the basic tenets of behavior management. He started catching the kids being good. In Ms. Neal’s report Mr. Tyler said, “I worked closely with the school—these people are awesome. We came up with an incentive program that seems to be working.” He provided rewards and gradually stretched the required time for earning them.

Here’s a “Way to go!” Mr. Tyler and the local schools there approached this matter the right way. I am so glad they didn’t adopt the more common approach of passing out office discipline referrals for misbehavior on the bus. Stamp this one with a great big “W” for “winner!”

Read Ms. Neal’s story, “Monocacy school bus driver turns students’ behavior around” from 11 March 2011.

No Name-Calling Week is coming

This year the week of 26-30 January is “No Name-Calling Week,” an annual week when participating educators employ activities designed to deter students from calling others names. In part it is an effort to eliminate bullying in their schools, but it is also an excellent chance for teachers to practice the skillful use of modeling and reinforcement.

Here are what I suggest as important features of an effort to reduce the use of derogatory comments about others:
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Freed kids and behavior mod

People, including B. F. Skinner, often talk about the philosophical proposition that operant principles reduce humans to animals whose behavior is determined by features of the environment, denying the be-loved construct of free will. For a variety of reasons (just one here: Read Dan Wegner’s excellent The Illusion of Conscious Will), I am pretty well convinced that those principles of stimulus control, reinforcement, punishment, shaping, and etc. explain great deal—even virtually all—of human behavior.

Mayhaps in another series of posts, I’ll write about the freedom-determinism question, but in this post I’m going into a simpler concern about freedom: Allowing children the freedom to do things on their own. If children are denied the opportunity to function in free-operant situations (i.e., those enviroinments where many different behaviors may occur and repeated), it will be very difficult for them to learn contingencies that exist in those environments.
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