Edclick

Edclicking

By Dr. Harry Tennant

Edclicking

by Harry Tennant
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Entries with keyword: Responsible-Motivated-Engaged
Posts 1 - 14 of 14

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Responsible-Motivated-Engaged: Conclusion

This series of posts comes from a paper, Responsibility, Motivation and Engagement: How To Develop Learners Using Behavior Manager. It describes how Edclick’s Behavior Manager combines three essential capabilities.

  1. Proactive PBIS tools to prevent student misbehavior
  2. Reactive interventions and processes for misbehaviors to minimize loss of instruction time and keep students in school
  3. Data and tools for continuous improvement

Teachers have complained about student behavior at least since the time of Socrates. Student behavior problems are not likely to go away with some simple gimmick in a new app. The scientific evidence is mounting that the best solutions include teaching behavior proactively, developing basic students’ social skills, developing sophisticated and subtle social skills in teachers and teaching material in an engaging way. In addition, the school and staff must adopt an attitude of continuous improvement in these skills and procedures.

Behavior Manager covers the scope of student behavior issues. It might seem daunting at first. But it’s not necessary to take it all in one bite. Some schools start by using Behavior Manager only for tardies. Some start with only PBIS functions of merits, rewards and Check In/Check Out. Many who do start with only a subset of functionality tend to find that they can benefit from the other functions too. Choose what’s right for you while keeping your mind open to other features that other schools have found valuable and use every day.

Mastering student behavior in the classroom is a challenge. But it is worth rising to the challenge because it leads to more effective teaching, more pleasant classrooms and higher student achievement.

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Keywords: Responsible-Motivated-Engaged, Behavior Manager

 

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Parental involvement

This series of posts comes from a paper, Responsibility, Motivation and Engagement: How To Develop Learners Using Behavior Manager. It describes how Edclick’s Behavior Manager combines three essential capabilities.

  1. Proactive PBIS tools to prevent student misbehavior
  2. Reactive interventions and processes for misbehaviors to minimize loss of instruction time and keep students in school
  3. Data and tools for continuous improvement

Parent involvement is highly correlated to student achievement. It’s important to get parents on your side. Just as with students, the best approach to building an effective relationship with parents is to be proactive. Start as early as possible and communicate expectations and rules. As with the students, keep it brief, 3 – 5 expectations that are most important to get across. Let the parents know how things will be working in the class and how the parents can be most helpful. Let them know about the cool things that the class will be doing. If the parents are excited about what’s coming up in the class, it’s likely they will transfer that enthusiasm to the student. Also be thinking about how to deliver a positive message about each student to the parents as early in the school year as possible.

You and the parents have one important thing in common: you both want what’s best for the child. It’s as important to know their expectations as it is important for them to know yours. If problems arise with a student, it’s helpful to have a relationship with the parents to help resolve them.

How to send and track notifications, personal messages and newsletters in Behavior Manager

Behavior Manager automatically notifies parents of behavior referrals. Make sure that parents also hear from you about the good news.

In addition to automatic notifications, Behavior Manager has two other important features for building relationships with parents, the contact log and flash messages.

The contact log makes a record of all the parent notifications that are automatically sent for behavior notifications. It also allows you to record other contacts you’ve made with the parents by phone or email. Then you can review the contacts, the reasons for them and their outcomes through the contact log reports. Below is an example of the contacts made between the school and the parents of Huck Finn. There have been two discipline referral notifications and one introductory message.

From here you can explore other messages, show contacts to parents of all students, change date ranges and so on.

Behavior Manager makes it easy to send messages to parents using flash messages. Flash messages can be sent to the parents of an individual student or to groups of parents such as all 9th graders or the parents of Ms. Armey’s period 2 Biology class. The flash messages can be automatically personalized with the student’s name, useful when sending to large groups.

The most effective communication with parents is when it’s two-way. In addition to keeping parents informed about what is going on at school, make it easy for them to provide feedback. Consider sending out a survey once or twice a year when parents can let you know if they are getting enough (or too much) information from you and from the school.

Behavior histories in Behavior Manager


Another important communication with parents is talking to them about behavior issues. It is important that these discussions be based on facts. Behavior Manager automatically creates a behavior history for each student which includes both information about recognition for positive behavior as well as misbehaviors and consequences. This data is extremely valuable, especially when a parent feels that her son has been unfairly penalized. When detailed facts are presented, those arguments typically evaporate.

 

Key: Keep in mind that when a student is having behavior issues at school, it is especially important to keep parents notified of things the student is doing well.

The behavior history is also available through the Behavior Manager student and parent portal. They can keep up to date whenever they wish. Also available to parents on the portal is a database of parent tips. The parent tips cover a wide range of parenting issues. If their child is having a specific behavior problem at school, the parent tips may include useful suggestions on what parents can do about it.

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Keywords: Responsible-Motivated-Engaged, Behavior Manager

 

Friday, February 23, 2018

Toward more effective interventions - Restorative Discipline

This series of posts comes from a paper, Responsibility, Motivation and Engagement: How To Develop Learners Using Behavior Manager. It describes how Edclick’s Behavior Manager combines three essential capabilities.

  1. Proactive PBIS tools to prevent student misbehavior
  2. Reactive interventions and processes for misbehaviors to minimize loss of instruction time and keep students in school
  3. Data and tools for continuous improvement

Restorative discipline in Behavior Manager

Restorative discipline is a consequence for misbehavior that emphasizes belonging in the school community instead of punishment and exclusion. The main idea is to get the offender and victims together and make things right. Ideally, after restorative discipline, the victims feel that their needs have been addressed and the offender rejoins the community. Restorative discipline is an effective substitute for suspension or expulsion, takes the victims into account and does not incur the academic damage that comes with suspensions.

There are several techniques for restorative discipline. Different situations require different approaches. Outlines of several restorative discipline techniques included in Behavior Manager are shown below.

Conference with students and parents

Conference with students, parents, teachers and administrators regarding misbehavior such as use of banned substances.

Attendees

·         Offenders

·         Parents

·         Teachers

·         Administrators

·         Others

To Offenders: what did you think or feel when you found out that parents, administrators and friends learned of the misbehavior?

To All: How have things been for you between then and now?

To Offenders: Who do you think has been affected by your actions and how?

To Parents, Teachers and Administrators: What were you thinking or feeling at the time you found out about the misbehavior?

To All: How have things been for you between then and now?

To Offenders: Are there additional things that need to happened to restore you to the community and rebuild the community's trust?

To Parents, Teachers and Administrators: Are there additional things you would like to add?

The Circle

The purpose of the circle is to discover what happened, the impact on victim(s) and offender and what would make it right.

Attendees

·         Offender(s)

·         Victim(s)

·         Others

The incident

·         What happened?

·         Who has been hurt?

·         What are their needs?

·         What are the causes?

·         Who had a "stake" in this?

What is the appropriate process to involve stakeholders in an effort to put things right?

Community service

As an alternative to punishment, a student can be assigned community service with the parent's permission. Community service may include hours worked at school or with a non-profit charity approved by the administration.

Community service should include:

·         Number of hours to be served,

·         A complete-by date and

·         Requirement for proof of service time.

Community service is most effective as a positive intervention which is viewed as making a positive contribution to the community rather than a "forced labor" or public humiliation punishment. The positive contribution can be seen as making things right following a negative behavior incident.

Offender/Victim conference for serious harms

Participants

·         Offenders

·         Victims

·         Parents

·         School staff (teachers, administrators, coaches, etc.)

What happened?

How did participants feel about it?

What needs to be done to make things right?

How might the situation be prevented in the future?

One-on-one restorative process

For incidents such as bullying

Initial private meeting with the person harmed.

·         Create a safety plan

·         What does he/she need to put things right?

·         Create an agreement if necessary

Private meeting with the wrongdoer

·         Get his/her perspective

·         What did you do?

·         What did you want to happen when you did that?

·         How do you think [the person harmed] feels about what happened?

·         Remember a time when someone hurt you. What happened? How did you feel?

·         Do you want to be someone who fixes mistakes? How can you make things better?

·         How will you do that? When will you do it?

·         Encourage self-reflection, responsibility-taking and better actions in the future

·         Create a plan to put things right

·         Use an agreement if necessary

Follow-up with both parties to assure agreements have been met

Are there environmental conditions that may have contributed to the incident?

Victim/offender mediation

The purpose of mediation is to find how to make it right for both victim and offender. The mediator's role is not to arbitrate and decide the proper action. Rather, the mediator in Restorative Discipline only facilitates the discussion leading to an agreement on how to make it right.

A speaker's token is recommended to help all be heard.

Attendees

·         Offender(s)

·         Victim(s)

·         Victim and offender participation should be voluntary

·         Mediator

The incident

·         What happened?

·         Who has been hurt?

·         What are their needs?

Making it right

·         How can the situation be made right?

·         Have the actions been taken to make it right?

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Keywords: Responsible-Motivated-Engaged, Behavior Manager

 

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Toward more effective interventions - Behavior Questionnaires & Character Builders

This series of posts comes from a paper, Responsibility, Motivation and Engagement: How To Develop Learners Using Behavior Manager. It describes how Edclick’s Behavior Manager combines three essential capabilities.

  1. Proactive PBIS tools to prevent student misbehavior
  2. Reactive interventions and processes for misbehaviors to minimize loss of instruction time and keep students in school
  3. Data and tools for continuous improvement

Behavior Questionnaires and Character Builders in Behavior Manager

Behavior Questionnaires and Character Builders have been created in Behavior Manager in order to teach students about the natural consequences of their actions through reflection. The Behavior Questionnaires are about specific behavior issues. They can be completed online and be stored with the student’s behavior history or can be printed in PDF format. A list of Behavior Questionnaire issues is shown below.

  • Bullying
  • Bus Behavior
  • Cell Phones or Other Electronic Devices
  • Discipline Evaluation
  • Disrespect
  • Driving Violations
  • Fighting
  • Gang-Related Activity
  • Homework/Project Not Completed
  • Horseplay
  • Inappropriate Language
  • Insubordination
  • Misbehavior at an Extracurricular Event
  • Missing Mandatory Tutorials
  • Off-Task Behavior
  • Play Fighting
  • Responding to Adults Respectfully
  • Restorative Justice
  • Running in the Halls
  • Signed Materials Not Returned
  • Skipping Class
  • Skipping School
  • Tardies
  • Theft (Minor)
  • Vandalism

The Character Builders are about character issues. They are not specific to particular misbehaviors. However, they can be used as consequences for misbehaviors where relevant. They can also be used in a general class on character. The Character Builder subjects are shown below.

·         Anger

·         Bullying

·         Caring

·         Change

·         Choices

·         Civilization

·         Community

·         Conceit

·         Criticism

·         Desires

·         Dignity and self-respect

·         Forgiveness

·         Goals

·         Inspiration

·         Integrity

·         Jealousy

·         Justice

·         Kindness

·         Laws

·         Laziness

·         Leadership

·         Learning

·         Lies

·         Life

·         Listening

·         Loneliness

·         Maturity

·         Mercy

·         Mistakes

·         Money

 

·         Opportunity

·         Optimism

·         Parents

·         Patience

·         Peace

·         Perseverance

·         Persistence

·         Possessions

·         Prejudice

·         Pride

·         Procrastination

·         Reality

·         Relaxation

·         Reputation

·         Respect

·         Revenge

·         Secrets

·         Selfishness

·         Service

·         Sincerity

·         Success

·         Suffering

·         Teaching

·         Temptation

·         Tolerance

·         Trust

·         Truth

·         Violence

·         Wisdom

·         Worry

 

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Keywords: Responsible-Motivated-Engaged, Behavior Manager

 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Toward more effective interventions - Social Skills

This series of posts comes from a paper, Responsibility, Motivation and Engagement: How To Develop Learners Using Behavior Manager. It describes how Edclick’s Behavior Manager combines three essential capabilities.

  1. Proactive PBIS tools to prevent student misbehavior
  2. Reactive interventions and processes for misbehaviors to minimize loss of instruction time and keep students in school
  3. Data and tools for continuous improvement

Social skills

Misbehavior is often related to lack of social skills. Conflict may arise between a student and peers or between a student and a teacher simply because the student is lacking necessary social skills.

And, if we are to be honest, problems in classrooms are often due to another social skills deficit, that of teachers. When a teacher loses his temper or engages in a power struggle with a student or reacts to a student’s misbehavior with ridicule, he is causing additional problems that could be avoided with appropriate social skills.

But here we’ll focus on student social skills. First, consider the proactive big three: expectations, rules and procedures. What are they if not instruction in social skills that apply to schools and classrooms. In that sense, we have already discussed social skills instruction for students. However, there may be a small percentage of students who could benefit from additional social skills instruction. And, just as expectations, rules and procedures proactively prevent misbehaviors, instruction in additional social skills can be beneficial to those students who need it. Here are some example topics.

·         Accepting an apology

·         Accepting compliments

·         Appropriate touch

·         Appropriate words

·         Arguing respectfully

·         Asking a favor

·         Being a good listener

·         Being considerate

·         Being polite

·         Being respectful

·         Changes in adolescence

·         Conflict resolution

·         Conversational skills

·         Dealing with bullying

·         Declining an invitation

·         Exchanging gifts

·         Expressing empathy

·         Expressing grief

·         Expressing success

·         Getting someone's attention

·         Giving compliments

 

·         Helping others

·         Hygiene

·         Interrupting

·         Knowing strengths

·         Listening

·         Maintaining friendships

·         Making new friends

·         Offering assistance

·         Reacting to rumors

·         Refusing requests

·         Responding to prejudice

·         Responding to teasing

·         Self-defense

·         Sharing

·         Showing appreciation

·         Table manners

·         Taking turns

·         Teen violence

·         Trigger points & buttons

·         Visiting a sick friend

 

There are many other social skills to discuss, so it’s important that when assigning social skills to students that the range of topics be specified. Social skills instruction is typically conducted in small groups. There may, however, be students who would need individualized instruction.

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Keywords: Responsible-Motivated-Engaged, Behavior Manager

 

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Toward more effective interventions - Check In/Check Out

This series of posts comes from a paper, Responsibility, Motivation and Engagement: How To Develop Learners Using Behavior Manager. It describes how Edclick’s Behavior Manager combines three essential capabilities.

  1. Proactive PBIS tools to prevent student misbehavior
  2. Reactive interventions and processes for misbehaviors to minimize loss of instruction time and keep students in school
  3. Data and tools for continuous improvement

No, Virginia, PBIS will not eliminate all misbehavior

Proactive behavior management, the kind advocated in PBIS, will do a great deal to reduce misbehavior in your school. However, students will continue to misbehave. Unfortunately, many books on PBIS, in their enthusiasm for the very real benefits of the approach, give the impression that PBIS will completely solve your school’s behavior problems. It won’t.

Lots of things can result in student misbehavior. A few are listed below. Proactive behavior management will help reduce misbehavior even when some of these motivations apply.

·         Seek attention

·         Seek escape

·         Desire for power

·         Look for revenge

·         Lack self-confidence

·         Are sick, hungry or tired

·         Are in a classroom that is uncomfortable

·         Have problems with the school work

·         Have emotional issues

·         Have problems at home

Misbehavior will appear in the school and you must be prepared to deal with it.

Is the goal to punish or to improve behavior?

The most commonly used consequences for misbehavior is an escalating set of actions that that have been imposed on the student, which he dislikes. Most schools use detention, loss of privileges, in-school suspension, out of school suspension and expulsion. Since the student dislikes the action, the assumption is that she will change her behavior to avoid it in the future. A psychologist might call it a behavior reductive intervention. Others might call it a punishment. The benefit of these common punishments is that they are a way to take immediate action on a misbehavior and get an immediate result.

There a several disadvantages to managing student behavior with punishments.

·         Punishments tend not to be very effective in making long term changes in student behavior. It is far more effective for far more students to take the proactive approach, teach expectations, rules and procedures. However, the proactive approach will not eliminate all misbehaviors, so they need to be dealt with somehow.

·         Escalation often works against your goals. Take tardies as an example. Schools using escalating punishments for repeated offenses often find themselves giving out-of-school suspension for repeated tardies. At that point, the school is no longer conveying that “we value instruction time and we want you in class.” Perhaps the first punishment was about valuing instruction time, but by the time it has escalated to suspension, the issue has become defiance in the form of not responding to previous actions.

·         Punishments are designed to be disliked but they may not be. For example, if a student is being tardy to class because he wants to avoid being in class, a suspension becomes a reward, not a punishment.

·         Punishments typically do not address the problem behind the behavior. Why is this student repeatedly being tardy? The root cause may have something to do with crowded hallways or a preference for chatting with friends over getting to class on time. The root cause may be wanting to avoid a class in which the student is doing poorly. The root cause may be something else. The root cause is not that she hasn’t yet had enough detentions.

·         Punishments, being imposed on students by staff, are often resented. Resentment decreases the student’s interest in abiding by school rules. The relationship may become adversarial which gets in the way of improving behavior and student achievement.

How to get away from punishments

Significant progress is made in getting away from punishments when we adopt a proactive approach to behavior management: expectations, rules and procedures. For the misbehaviors that still occur (and some will, although not as many), we can change the student’s perception of the consequence and create better consequences.

Consequences should never be assigned in anger. If there is anger, revenge or vindication or an expression of the greater power that the school has versus the student, the student is likely to see that emotion and not consider the lesson behind the consequence.

Consequences should be assigned with empathy. Even if a consequence is going to be something that the student dislikes, the responsibility for the consequence should be given to the student. “I like you, Billy, but I can’t let you get away with that. Do you know the consequence for what you did?” That way, the student has caused this detention, not a vindictive teacher. Also, by getting the student to state the expected consequence, he’s showing (himself) that he knew the consequence was expected.

Consequences should be seen as a mechanism for learning, not suffering. We want the student to learn to solve her own problems. If Janet has been involved in outbursts with another girl, we can approach this as a problem to be solved rather than a misbehavior to be punished. After Janet has given her side of the story of the incident, the teacher can, rather than imposing a punishment, ask something like “What are you going to do?” or “How will you make amends?” or “What do you think I should do?” Asking questions like these does two things. It shifts the teacher’s task from picking a punishment to solving a problem. It also shifts the responsibility for solving the problem on the student, not on the teacher.

Give the student some degree of control. If you’ve asked the student for ideas for solving his problem and he doesn’t offer any, you can still give him some control. Give a list of a few consequences for him to choose one. Even that much control moves him closer to perceiving the problem-solving as his responsibility.

In addition to improving the student’s attitude toward consequences, we can assign different consequences that are more effective.

Check In/Check Out

Check In/Check Out is an intervention that has received a lot of research attention. It has been found to be very effective in teaching students who have had difficulty following the expectations, rules and procedures. It consists of evaluating the student’s behavior in each class throughout the day, reviewing it quickly at the end of the day (that’s the check out), then reviewing it with the student’s parents at night and returning a card signed by a parent to the school in the morning (that’s the check in). We’ll describe it in more detail in the context of Check In/Check Out in Behavior Manager below.

Check In/Check Out has proved to be effective for students from elementary through high school. It’s generally offered as an intervention to students who have not responded to simpler interventions for disruptions, talking out, getting out of one’s seat and disrespect. It benefits the student by focusing on behavior expectations in each period of the day and getting attention and encouragement from teachers throughout the day.

Check In/Check Out is often used for repeat offenders so it can be an effective replacement for suspension. It has several significant advantages over suspensions. Most important, the student continues to stay in class so instruction time is not lost. Second, she gets direct feedback throughout the day and day after day on her problem behavior, so it helps in actually solving behavior problems. Third, it is not a punishment and should not be presented as a punishment. It is an intervention to help make behavior changes so it is less likely to be resented by the student.

How does Check In/Check Out work in Behavior Manager?

 

Here’s how Check In/Check Out (CICO) works. First, the paper version. The student checks in in the morning and gets a card like the one above. If he has one from yesterday that has been signed by a parent, he turns it in. Note that the schoolwide expectations are at the top of each column. Class periods are listed along the left side. Through the day, the teacher in each period will rate the student’s behavior for each expectation. Recall that in the rule matrix, those expectations are broken down into specific rules.

In each class period there is a chance for a brief interaction between student and teacher with a chance for praise or reminders of rules. In some cases, teachers may choose to create expectations specific to this student.

At the end of the day, the student has a brief meeting with a counselor or some other designated staff member for a quick recap of the day. Scores are entered into a database. This is Check Out. He then takes the card home, has it signed by a parent and brings it back the next morning.

The recorded data is used to track progress. Students are given a goal such as an overall score of 75% or more of the maximum total score. As the data shows progress, the goal is increased.

In time, they may switch to having the student evaluate his own behavior and just check with the teacher on whether she agrees. Eventually, the behavior improves and the CICO process is stopped.

Behavior Manager improves on this paper process by making it electronic. We can deal with the paper cards and data entry at the end of the day, but it is simpler if it’s all online.

The image on the right shows the scoring page. Teachers click scores (0, 1 or 2 for middle schoolers and high schoolers, smiley faces for elementary). They can also enter comments of two kinds: comments for students and parents and comments (with the light blue background) meant for internal use.

Scores are tallied and percentages calculated. A graph shows progress and compares scores to goals. Daily score sheets can be digitally signed through the parent portal. The blue internal comments are not presented on the portal for either students or parents.

 

Social skills

Misbehavior is often related to lack of social skills. Conflict may arise between a student and peers or between a student and a teacher simply because the student is lacking necessary social skills.

And, if we are to be honest, problems in classrooms are often due to another social skills deficit, that of teachers. When a teacher loses his temper or engages in a power struggle with a student or reacts to a student’s misbehavior with ridicule, he is causing additional problems that could be avoided with appropriate social skills.

But here we’ll focus on student social skills. First, consider the proactive big three: expectations, rules and procedures. What are they if not instruction in social skills that apply to schools and classrooms. In that sense, we have already discussed social skills instruction for students. However, there may be a small percentage of students who could benefit from additional social skills instruction. And, just as expectations, rules and procedures proactively prevent misbehaviors, instruction in additional social skills can be beneficial to those students who need it. Here are some example topics.

·         Accepting an apology

·         Accepting compliments

·         Appropriate touch

·         Appropriate words

·         Arguing respectfully

·         Asking a favor

·         Being a good listener

·         Being considerate

·         Being polite

·         Being respectful

·         Changes in adolescence

·         Conflict resolution

·         Conversational skills

·         Dealing with bullying

·         Declining an invitation

·         Exchanging gifts

·         Expressing empathy

·         Expressing grief

·         Expressing success

·         Getting someone's attention

·         Giving compliments

 

·         Helping others

·         Hygiene

·         Interrupting

·         Knowing strengths

·         Listening

·         Maintaining friendships

·         Making new friends

·         Offering assistance

·         Reacting to rumors

·         Refusing requests

·         Responding to prejudice

·         Responding to teasing

·         Self-defense

·         Sharing

·         Showing appreciation

·         Table manners

·         Taking turns

·         Teen violence

·         Trigger points & buttons

·         Visiting a sick friend

 

There are many other social skills to discuss, so it’s important that when assigning social skills to students that the range of topics be specified. Social skills instruction is typically conducted in small groups. There may, however, be students who would need individualized instruction.

Behavior Questionnaires and Character Builders in Behavior Manager

Behavior Questionnaires and Character Builders have been created in Behavior Manager in order to teach students about the natural consequences of their actions through reflection. The Behavior Questionnaires are about specific behavior issues. They can be completed online and be stored with the student’s behavior history or can be printed in PDF format. A list of Behavior Questionnaire issues is shown below.

·         Bullying

·         Bus Behavior

·         Cell Phones or Other Electronic Devices

·         Discipline Evaluation

·         Disrespect

·         Driving Violations

·         Fighting

·         Gang-Related Activity

·         Homework/Project Not Completed

·         Horseplay

·         Inappropriate Language

·         Insubordination

·         Misbehavior at an Extracurricular Event

·         Missing Mandatory Tutorials

·         Off-Task Behavior

·         Play Fighting

·         Responding to Adults Respectfully

·         Restorative Justice

·         Running in the Halls

·         Signed Materials Not Returned

·         Skipping Class

·         Skipping School

·         Tardies

·         Theft (Minor)

·         Vandalism

The Behavior Questionnaires contain 35-40 questions about the offense and its implications. Not only are the Behavior Questionnaires useful for getting a student to think about her behavior, but the answers may reveal insights about the root causes of misbehaviors.

The Character Builders are about character issues. They are not specific to particular misbehaviors. However, they can be used as consequences for misbehaviors where relevant. They can also be used in a general class on character. The Character Builder subjects are shown below.

·         Anger

·         Bullying

·         Caring

·         Change

·         Choices

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Thursday, February 15, 2018

Systems for managing the consequence process in Behavior Manager

This series of posts comes from a paper, Responsibility, Motivation and Engagement: How To Develop Learners Using Behavior Manager. It describes how Edclick’s Behavior Manager combines three essential capabilities.

  1. Proactive PBIS tools to prevent student misbehavior
  2. Reactive interventions and processes for misbehaviors to minimize loss of instruction time and keep students in school
  3. Data and tools for continuous improvement

Systems enable flexibility

We define procedures in classrooms to make things go smoothly. The same applies to the process for managing consequences. The difference is that the process for managing consequences is a lot more complex than the classroom procedure for passing out papers or putting dictionaries away.

Using online systems to support the process of managing consequences offers teachers more flexibility than they had before. In the days of paper office referrals, there were two possibilities. You could either make up consequences or you could create simple rules to follow. Most schools, in the spirit of ease and fairness opted for the latter. That’s where policies come from like first offense, warning, second offence, detention, third offense, extra school, fourth offense, ISS, fifth offense, OSS. That’s problematic because consequences that are punishments like these tend to be ineffective for improving long term behavior. Students would often march right up the ladder of escalating consequences until they were suspended. And once suspended, they are missing more instruction time, falling further behind in their classes and becoming more likely to drop out of school.

Some administrations advocate policies of strict sequences of escalating consequences, arguing that by making the sequence mechanical, they are treating everyone the same. It’s important to be fair and equitable. However, another approach, and one that is likely to be more effective, is to treat everyone the same: with dignity and respect. This approach gives greater flexibility to teachers and administrators to exercise their judgement about what would be most effective for the student. Does that open the school to the possibility of bias? Yes, that’s possible, but with the much improved access to data, queries and trends available through online systems, we can readily detect and track down staff who are using their flexibility to not treat everyone with dignity and respect.

Key: Use the flexibility of online systems to increase effectiveness.

It’s better to have more flexibility. But flexibility means more complexity. Enter the online systems to handle complexity easily.

Here’s a simple example. Minor misbehaviors can result in an after school detention. But if that after school detention has to be served on Tuesday, it could be a problem for the student and his parent if the parent is counting on the student to be home right after school on Tuesday to take care of his sister. So, make it more flexible. Allow the student to serve the detention any day but it must be served within a week. That way the student can choose an afternoon when he’s free or, if arrangements must be made for the little sister, there would be time to set it up. It’s more complex but it’s no problem in Behavior Manager because the detention roll is generated automatically and the system keeps track of whether the student has complied with the deadline.

This same system also allows more flexibility on the number of after school detentions assigned. Since the system is keeping track, administrators now have the flexibility of assigning four or five after school detentions instead of one day of ISS. The system will keep track and the student doesn’t miss any class time.

Assembling the context for assigning consequences

Assigning an intervention is an important act. In many cases, one would like to take relevant information into account. What are the details of this incident? How many office referrals has this student had this year? How many this grading period? What interventions have been tried so far? Do they seem to be effective? What is the general policy for dealing with this behavior? For some behaviors, the state imposes consequences. Does that apply in this case? What consequence will I choose? Does it interfere with any pending consequences that have already been imposed but have not yet been satisfied?

A lot of issues can be considered when assigning a consequence. And there are many types of consequences that might be applied. In addition to considering the details of the student’s behavior history, the administrator may wish to discuss it with the student. After all, it’s the student’s problem, not the administrator’s. Perhaps the student should figure out how to solve it. That’s possible because of the wide range of options available to the administrator.

An important benefit of involving the student in solving the problem is that he makes the problem and the solution (intervention) his own. By making the problem his own, the student is correcting his own behavior rather than having a penalty imposed on him. Taking responsibility for the behavior and its consequences makes it more likely that the student will also take responsibility for his behavior in the future.

Data behind the scenes

When the administrator assigns a consequence, a number of things happen behind the scenes. Rolls, such as the detention roll, are updated. The referring teacher is notified that an intervention has been assigned. The incident and consequence automatically become part of the student’s behavior history and are incorporated into behavior dashboards and database queries. If it is an out-of-placement consequence, emails are sent to the student’s teachers requesting assignments for the student to work on while he will be out of class. Parents are notified and the notification is added to the parent contacts database.

All of this data keeps teachers and parents informed. And it makes data available immediately allowing data-based decision making so people have immediate information on status and trends. And that feeds into the opportunities for continuous improvement which will improve student behavior and student achievement over time.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Continuous Improvement

This series of posts comes from a paper, Responsibility, Motivation and Engagement: How To Develop Learners Using Behavior Manager. It describes how Edclick’s Behavior Manager combines three essential capabilities.

  1. Proactive PBIS tools to prevent student misbehavior
  2. Reactive interventions and processes for misbehaviors to minimize loss of instruction time and keep students in school
  3. Data and tools for continuous improvement

Schools and districts often bring in Behavior Manager with the goal of making things quicker and easier. And it does that. Many times, they keep addressing their behavior issues in the same way before Behavior Manager, but now, it’s online. Doing that misses a huge opportunity.

Behavior Manager collects and stores a lot of data. The data can be explored in a variety of different ways and it often reveals insights that were unanticipated.

Typically, when people look through the data available in systems like Behavior Manager, they are looking for the good news. What can I show my superintendent that will impress her? What will I show my staff? Showing off the good news feels good. And often that’s what the recipient wants to see. But there is something much more powerful to pull from data like this: where are the opportunities for improvement?

Many people are reluctant to look for opportunities for improvement because they think of them as problems and they think problems are bad. But if you’re going to do better than you’re doing now, it will be because you found a problem and fixed it. Identifying problems is good. Problems are where all the progress comes from. Problems are opportunities…the opportunities for improvement.

Finding opportunities for improvement is only half the job. The other half is finding and implementing the improvement.

How to explore data in Behavior Manager

Common behavior issues are described by the behavior dashboard.

The quickest way to get started with data in Behavior Manager is with the dashboards. Dashboards show a summary of the most commonly sought behavior metrics. The dashboard above gives a quick overview of behavior issues, where they come from and what has been done about them. The graphs suggest some immediate questions. Why do some teachers have a lot more office referrals than others? Are we providing the best interventions for those students who have the highest number of referrals? What about the out-of-placement consequences? Are there better interventions for keeping those students in class? What about the overall numbers? Should we be satisfied with these numbers? (Hint: no) If not, what are we doing about it? (Hint: you should be working an explicit behavior improvement plan)

 Another useful report is the behavior analytics report. The analytics report to the right is showing the number of out-of-placement days assigned in the school year until January 30. The numbers are compared for this year (red) to previous years (pink). The declining trend looks good. Do we know why it is declining? Is it random or because of something we’re doing right? Should we be happy with this year’s total or should it be half that? What are we going to do about it?

The civil rights dashboard displays key behavior metrics. It compares the percentages of special populations to the overall percentages in the school population.

The civil rights dashboard in this example shows that we need to understand what is going on with consequences  versus race. About 10% of our students are African American but 17% of the out-of-placement consequences assigned are African American. Do we know why?

The query and reporting components of Behavior Manager allow us to ask more specific questions of the data and drill down for more detail and to look for evidence for or against theories we may have.

Taken together, this data suggests opportunities for improvement. It also helps us answer the question, are the steps we’ve taken for improvement working?

Building a culture of continuous improvement

The most important shift is to develop the mindset that our goal is to always be improving. Improving what? Improving everything. And the fundamental metric to improve is student achievement.

Key: Be better than we were yesterday!

In order to improve the school, involve everyone with making improvements all the time. Make a common question be, how are we better today than we were yesterday? From lots of small improvements come big changes.

If a cynic answers, we’re not better today than yesterday, then ask about last week or last month. Pretty soon even the most resistant among us must admit that stagnation is not a winning strategy.

Keep in mind that not every experiment will work. Some attempts at improvement will fail. But it’s still a form of progress to keep trying. Remember Thomas Edison’s response when asked if he had failed to make a practical light bulb:

I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.
-- Thomas Edison

Procedure improvements

Most improvements will be small. You might notice that when students pass papers to the person behind them that there tend to be little disruptions. One student just throws the papers over his head. Another jams the papers into the face of the person behind. You could reprimand or it may be better to change the paper passing procedure to pass papers to the right instead of to the back. If that procedure change helps, make it stick. The aggregation of many small procedure changes results in big behavior changes.

Encourage teachers to share their procedure improvements. A useful new procedure in one class is likely to be useful in others.

Data for insights into common issues

A number of questions are frequently asked in schools. Behavior Manager provides convenient data for insight into the answers. Here are some examples.

How many office referrals are made weekly?

Which students are the most common offenders?

Which teachers make the most referrals?

How are referrals distributed throughout the day?

Where to offences occur?

What are the most common offenses?

How many out-of-placement consequences are being assigned?

Are office referrals biased by race? By ethnicity? By gender? By English proficiency? By special ed status?

Are out-of-placement consequences biased by race? By gender? By English proficiency? By special ed status?

Are serious crimes being reported?

Are there allegations of bullying, intimidation or harassment? How are they distributed over sex, race, nationality and religion?

Are there weapons violations?

If there seems to be racial bias, are certain individuals responsible for it?

How do key success indices compare from the current school year to previous school years? Do the indices indicate improvement?

These questions and more are addressed in the dashboards, civil rights report and behavior analytics report. To dig deeper into these questions or to ask other questions, Behavior Manager includes query capabilities through the behavior population reports, behavior record query and behavior records by intervention.

“That’s funny…”

One of the great benefits of capturing a digital trail of events in schools, is that it can lead to facts and insights that would otherwise be hidden. How should we take advantage of this opportunity?

The science fiction and science fact author, Isaac Asimov wrote

The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not “Eureka!” (I have found it!) but “That’s funny…”

That is what the dashboards, reports, analytics, histories, drill downs and the rest are about. Some folks look at that sort of data and think of it only in terms of a snapshot of the status of the school. Yes, it is that. But more important are the opportunities for improvement that it may be revealing.

Here are some general questions to ask.

What are your most important metrics?

A few numbers will be the most important indicators of how your school is doing. What are your key indicators for concerning student behavior? Office referrals per week? Tardies? Out-of-placement consequences? Harassment complaints? The first step is to decide what is important to you and 1) start watching those numbers regularly and 2) make it a specific, scheduled task to take steps to improve them. If you feel that those key numbers are unimprovable, pick the set of next most important indices and improve them.

Does the data contradict your gut feel? In other words, is it funny?

If you’re looking to improve, you’re looking for surprises. If something looks funny, for whatever reason, follow up on it. These are often the sources for the greatest insights.

Keep in mind that you might be surprised in two ways. The numbers may be worse than expected. Or, you may be surprised that the numbers are better than expected. Surprisingly good numbers often point the way to your best opportunities for improvement. Whatever caused that surprisingly good result, identify it and do more of it!

Why are the aggregate numbers this high (low)? Why not lower (higher)? How can we make it lower (higher)?

Pick a data point. For example, pick the number of out-of-placement consequences assigned. Too often we look at a number like that and think that, if it is close to what it has been in the past, then it is okay. With the mindset of continuous improvement, the question should always be, how could we make that better, even if just by a little bit? Small incremental improvements add up to large improvements.

Is there a trend?

Look for trends by week, month, grading period and year. Do you see a pattern? If you do, what do you think causes the pattern? If you see no pattern, why not?

Am I seeing the effect I expected?

When you make a change, what effect do you expect to see? For example, if you’re implementing hallway sweeps between classes to reduce tardies, how much of a reduction in tardies do you expect to see? Are you seeing it? Is it more or less than expected? Has the improvement been worth the effort? What should we try next?

Are there correlations? Do the numbers for a subpopulation differ from the overall aggregate numbers?

This is what drilldown is all about. Compare overall aggregate numbers for whatever you’re investigating to the numbers for subpopulations. We do that in the dashboards for the most common metrics and subpopulations by race, gender, special ed, LEP. Do the differences suggest opportunities for improvement?

Don’t get too hung up on the data.

The goal is to improve. Ideas for improvement will come from all directions, not just out of the data. Solicit ideas from teachers, students and parents. But then figure out how you can measure the current baseline and then the effect of change. Without data, you’re just another person with an opinion.

How to create and track improvements with Plan-Do-Check-Act cycles in Behavior Manager

It is best to think of improvement as a repeating process. It’s not just one-and-done, but each improvement is built upon previous improvements and provides opportunity for further improvements.

Also, improvement should be based on the scientific method. We should be specific about what we intend to change and what measureable effects are expected. After we try it, measure the results. Did we see the measured improvement that was expected? After trying this improvement, what should we do next? Implement the improvement? Try an alternative?

This approach to improvement is captured in the simple Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle.

Plan – Assess the current situation and hypothesize how it might be improved. What can we measure before and after that would show improvement?

Do – Do the planned improvement. This is a test so implement it as quickly and easily as possible.

Check – Measure the data captured during the Do phase. Did you see the expected improvement? Why or why not?

Act – If the change was an actual improvement, then incorporate it into your process. If not, decide what to do next. Modify the plan and try again? Abandon this approach?

Behavior Manager includes a tool for documenting improvement opportunities and the PDCA cycles to test and implement them.


 

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Thursday, February 8, 2018

Teacher skills

This series of posts comes from a paper, Responsibility, Motivation and Engagement: How To Develop Learners Using Behavior Manager. It describes how Edclick’s Behavior Manager combines three essential capabilities.

  1. Proactive PBIS tools to prevent student misbehavior
  2. Reactive interventions and processes for misbehaviors to minimize loss of instruction time and keep students in school
  3. Data and tools for continuous improvement

Teachers create more effective classrooms when they prepare with the proactive big three: expectations, rules and procedures. In addition to these, they can also increase the effectiveness of their classrooms by developing skills for classroom management and skills for presenting engaging lessons.

Classroom management skills

Teacher training rarely provides the skill building needed to effectively manage a classroom. When teachers lack these skills, classrooms are not effective learning environments. In addition, a disorderly classroom can be extremely stressful for the teacher. Inability to effectively manage a classroom is one of the most common reasons that teachers leave the profession.

From the point of view of an inexperienced teacher, master teachers seem to have an effortless way of maintaining a well-run classroom. It appears to be almost magical. But it isn’t. It is based on a particular set of skills.

Teachers don’t need to suffer through presiding over chaotic classrooms. Classroom management depends on a set of skills that can be learned through deliberate practice.

Classroom Management Skills Practice in Behavior Manager

Behavior Manager includes Practice Classroom Management Skills, a game-like application that provides deliberate practice in essential classroom management skills in a real classroom: your classroom!

The teacher is given a skill to practice each day and marks her progress until the full set of skills become second nature. There are five categories of skills: rules and procedures, leadership, cooperation, interventions and mental set. Mental set is further broken down into emotional objectivity and withitness. This collection of skills is based on research on what makes some teachers so much more effective at classroom management than others.

Key: Skills are developed through deliberate practice. (You’re a teacher, you know that!) This application provides a framework for practicing classroom management skills, not just reading about them.

Below is an outline of the skills covered in Practice Classroom Management Skills.

·         Rules and Procedures

·         Leadership

o   Orientation and Goals

o   Authoritative Body Language

·         Cooperation

o   Wish for Someone's Good Day

o   Catch Them Doing Something Right

o   Learn Their Names

o   Talk Informally With Students

o   5 to 1 Ratio

o   Negotiate Difficulties With Class

·         Interventions

o   Reminders

o   Student Self-Assessments

o   Tokens or Symbols

o   Be Assertive

o   Be Consistent

o   Create a Discipline Plan

o   Class Circle

·         Mental Set

o   Practice Emotional Objectivity

o   Practice Withitness

§  Scan

§  Intervene Promptly

§  Use Names

§  Stop Instruction

§  Nonverbal Commands

§  Avoidance

§  Reminders and Warnings

§  Walk Around

Engaging instruction

In addition to classroom management skills, teachers must inspire students to engage in the class content. Engaged students are rarely problem students. While certainly some aspects of engaging instruction is an art, many aspects of it are well known. We’ve included a checklist of aspects of an effective lesson.

Just as pilots go through an extensive preflight checklist before every flight, we recommend that teachers go through the SCORE CHAMPS checklist for every lesson. Yes, it is lengthy. Yes, you may be an experienced teacher. But just as checklists have improved the safety of flight and the outcomes of medical procedures, SCORE CHAMPS can help you present more engaging instruction.

SCORE CHAMPS checklist

¾  Structure

o   Write and follow lesson plans

o   State objectives

o   Use graphic organizers

o   Provide mediated scaffolding

o   Use effective classroom management techniques

¾  Clarity

o   Provide explicit instruction

o   Prime background knowledge

o   Carefully design examples

o   Define vocabulary

o   Teach conspicuous strategies

o   Repeat important information

o   Use organization language (e.g., “First a…then b…)

¾  Opportunities to respond

o   Provide high levels of opportunities to respond to instructional stimuli during new learning and practice

o   Ensure high levels of correct responding

o   Use a variety of response formats, including choral responding and response cards

¾  Redundancy

o   Ensure repetition in teaching new skills

¾  Explicit instruction

o   Provide direct, teacher-led instruction

o   Incorporate elements of structure, clarity, opportunities to respond and redundancy

o   Provide clear feedback for student responses

¾  CHoices

o   Provide choices before and during academic tasks

¾  Assess the forms of knowledge

o   Determine whether instruction targets represent factual learning, rule learning, conceptual learning, procedural learning or problem-solving learning

o   Use instructional methods that are appropriate for the form of knowledge being taught

¾  Monitor student learning

o   Monitor students’ academic progress using frequent, objective data

¾  Practice

o   Provide sufficient practice opportunities that reflect the learning objectives, provide high levels of response opportunities and provide immediate feedback

¾  Success

o   Ensure high levels of success in academic tasks

The SCORE CHAMPS checklist is from Positive Behavioral Supports for the Classroom by Brenda K. Scheuermann and Judy A. Hall.

Avoiding boredom

One of the most common student complaints about classes is that they are boring. Using the SCORE CHAMPS checklist above will go a long way toward preparing to teach a class. Boredom is highly relevant to student behavior and classroom management because a bored student 1) is not learning and 2) soon starts looking around for more stimulation. Since the complaint of boredom is so common, here are a few ideas of things to do and not do specifically to eliminate boredom.

The Anti-Boredom Checklist

Do incorporate…

¨  Adventure

¨  Humor

¨  Challenge

¨  Fascination

Don’t make these common mistakes…

¨  Sitting too long

¨  Talking too much

¨  Speaking too softly

¨  Making the simple complicated

¨  Making the interesting uninteresting

¨  Talking instead of doing

¨  Directing too much, observing too little

¨  Slow pace

¨  Failing to adjust

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Tuesday, February 6, 2018

The proactive big three: expectations, rules and procedures

This series of posts comes from a paper, Responsibility, Motivation and Engagement: How To Develop Learners Using Behavior Manager. It describes how Edclick’s Behavior Manager combines three essential capabilities.

  1. Proactive PBIS tools to prevent student misbehavior
  2. Reactive interventions and processes for misbehaviors to minimize loss of instruction time and keep students in school
  3. Data and tools for continuous improvement

Expectations, rules and procedures can make dramatic improvements in student behavior in the classroom and throughout the school. Take the time to create, teach, review and hold students accountable to these essential components of student behavior.

Expectations, rules and procedures, for all the benefit they will provide, will not eliminate misbehaviors. They are likely to significantly reduce misbehaviors, but they are not likely to eliminate them.

When misbehaviors occur, it’s important to respond appropriately. We have already mentioned that your attitude is important. Don’t take student misbehavior personally. Maintain emotional distance from the misbehavior. Be consistent in holding students accountable for following rules and procedures. But then what?

Select consequences thoughtfully

Poorly selected consequences can actually encourage misbehavior rather than diminish it. First, consider why the student is misbehaving.

We behave the way we do for a purpose. In general, there is something we are trying to accomplish when we do something. Being aware of what a student is trying to accomplish with her misbehavior helps you select an appropriate consequence.

This idea is known as function of behavior. When a student is familiar with class or school expectations, rules and procedures yet still misbehaves, there may be a purpose to it. It also may be that he has just gotten sloppy with adherence, but if the infractions are repeated, consider whether there is another function behind it. Challenging behavior is often motivated by one or more of the following:

·         To obtain…

o   Adult attention

o   Peer attention

o   Preferred activity

o   Money or things

o   Or something else

·         To avoid or escape from…

o   Hard tasks

o   Reprimands

o   Peer negatives

o   Physical effort

o   Adult attention

o   Or something else

A student is disruptive in class. Why? It might be that he is seeking the teacher’s attention. Or it might be that he is unprepared and doesn’t want to be asked to do the work that is assigned. In the first instance, attention from the teacher would increase the likelihood of another disruption for more attention. In the second instance, attention from the teacher may enable him to do the assignment and thereby decrease the likelihood of another disruption.

How does Behavior Manager support function of behavior?

Behavior Manager supports office referrals for serious or frequent misbehaviors. Behavior Manager also provides behavior notes where a teacher can record behavior challenges that do not yet rise to the level of an office referral. If the challenging behavior persists, the teacher has the option of including the notes in an office referral, giving the administrator more context on the incident.

Key: Embed fields and reminders in the system to lead to most effective use.

In both behavior notes and office referrals, a field called Motivation/Function of Behavior is available to designate the student’s likely motivation or function of the challenging behavior. When a motivation is selected, a set of possible consequences is displayed that is unlikely to encourage the function of the misbehavior. Notice in the example that the selected Motivation/Function of Behavior is Gain Item or Activity. Interventions relevant to that function are shown under Consequence and Prevention. The teacher has checked the consequence Called Parents which has been automatically added to the note. He has also checked Preferred Items/High-Interest Items which, when provided for the student, may avoid another incident like this one. When checked, it too was added to the note. The teacher can then further elaborate on the incident in the text box.

Antecedent-Behavior-Consequence

A second way to consider the effectiveness of consequences is Antecedent-Behavior-Consequence or A-B-C. A-B-C is useful for identifying the conditions that may trigger an incident for a student.

·         Antecedent: events that occur before the incident that may set the stage for the incident

·         Behavior: the behavior of this incident

·         Consequence: events that follow the incident that determine whether the behavior will be repeated or not.

Note that the A-B-C model suggests that both the antecedent and the consequence of a behavior has an effect on whether the behavior is likely to be repeated. Teaching and enforcing expectations, rules and procedures are examples of manipulating antecedents in order to encourage desired behaviors. Selecting appropriate consequences relevant to the function of behavior is one approach to manipulating consequences for the most successful effect.

How does Behavior Manager support the Antecedent-Behavior-Consequence model?

Behavior Manager includes an option to prompt for Antecedent, Behavior and Consequence in each office referral. When the option is activated, it also requires that content must be entered for each of the fields.

The prompts may be customized as desired by the school. In the example, the prompts also include setting events and duration.

Behavior monitoring

In a sense, behavior monitoring is the opposite of awarding merits. Behavior monitoring is for data collection to measure a student’s tough behavior problem so you can determine whether the intervention you’re using is being successful.

Imagine you have a student who shows frequent aggressive behavior toward other students. He shoves, kicks, pinches and spits on other students. The reprimands you’ve tried to stop the behavior have not been effective. What can you do?

For a difficult case like this, it’s best to first collect baseline data to quantify how bad the problem is. Count the number of times the aggressive behavior is exhibited in a period or a day. With quantified baseline data, you can now try an intervention and count the number of times the aggressive behavior is exhibited. If the aggressive behavior stops, you’ve found your solution. If the frequency is reduced, you’ve found a partial solution. If you have only a partial solution, try another intervention and start the counting again. Repeat until the aggressive behavior stops, or at least until you’ve found the best partial solution you can think of.

Obviously, monitoring data like this takes a lot of attention and effort. You wouldn’t want to do it unless it is absolutely necessary. You also need to be sensible. If a parent says to you, “That boy hit my little Billy and you did nothing about it!” You can’t just say, “Yes, I know. I’m just collecting baseline data. I’ll start doing something next week.” But for perplexing cases where the best intervention isn’t clear, Behavior Manager includes a behavior monitoring tool that helps.

How to do behavior monitoring in Behavior Manager

Behavior Manager includes a behavior monitoring tool. Because behavior monitoring can take some of your attention, the tool is designed to require the minimal amount of effort. One click records an event.

Key: Record monitored behaviors with one click or tap to minimize distraction from instruction.

The Behavior Manager behavior monitoring tool is simple to use. Teachers can set up behavior monitors for specific students. Since behavior monitoring takes teacher attention, you should limit yourself to one or two monitors per class at any one time. Select the student, the name of the behavior and a description. The description should be specific and denote observable conditions or events.

To record monitored behaviors on the one-click behavior monitor page, select the teacher and class. Any students in the class for whom a behavior monitor has been set up will appear on the list. To record an instance of the monitored behavior, click or tap the student’s name. The dropdown menu indicates the intervention that is currently being used. All monitors start with Baseline, but as you start using an intervention, click the new link and add the intervention. The dropdown will default to the most recently used intervention. Click results to see a graphical display of the monitor results, separated by intervention.

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Thursday, February 1, 2018

Being proactive to prevent problem behavior - Procedures

This series of posts comes from a paper, Responsibility, Motivation and Engagement: How To Develop Learners Using Behavior Manager. It describes how Edclick’s Behavior Manager combines three essential capabilities.

  1. Proactive PBIS tools to prevent student misbehavior
  2. Reactive interventions and processes for misbehaviors to minimize loss of instruction time and keep students in school
  3. Data and tools for continuous improvement

We can prevent problem behavior by teaching appropriate behavior. We organize and structure the classroom and the school so that students know how to succeed. Appropriate behavior is typically broken down into expectations, rules and procedures. This approach is foundational to Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), which is widely advocated as the new direction in student behavior (see pbis.org).

Start by organizing and structuring the classroom so students know how to succeed.

Procedures: How we do things here

A procedure is a process for getting something done. Procedures aren’t specifically about avoiding misbehavior, although they do have that effect. Rather, they are processes for doing things smoothly and efficiently.

Creating and using procedures is one of the most effective means of reducing student misbehavior. And  procedures aren’t even explicitly about misbehavior! Procedures are just about efficient ways to get things done. That’s why they are so effective at reducing misbehavior. Procedures let students know just what they should be doing. There is less opportunity for students to goof off and get into trouble.

It’s important to note that procedures don’t imply soulless regimentation. They are simply statements of “this is how we do things here.”

Anything done repeatedly should be made into a procedure. Procedures save time and they avoid opportunities for disruptions.

Define a procedure and then teach it. Here are recommended steps.

·         Model how to do it.

·         Model how not to do it.

·         Have a student model how to do it.

·         Have a group model it.

·         Have the class practice it.

·         Start using the procedure regularly.

·         Give reminders of the procedure.

·         Insist that the procedure be used. If the procedure is not being followed, ask the errant student what the procedure is. If necessary, reteach the procedure. If a student resists the procedure, turn it into a rule including consequences.

·         If a suggested change will improve the process, go ahead and change the procedure but remember to reteach the new way.

You will find that students typically like procedures, especially after they have grown accustomed to them. Procedures are small bits of mastery, repeatable bits of excellence. People like being good at what they do.

Making procedures habitual results in permanent behavior changes. In contrast, reacting to behavior problems has only a temporary behavior effect.

Here’s a list of 30 classroom procedures found online (https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/articles/teaching-content/30-classroom-procedures-head-behavior-problems/). The message is, you will need quite a few procedures and you might as well look around for procedures to copy rather than invent each one yourself.

1.       Entering the room

2.       Lining up

3.       Leaving the room

4.       Beginning the day

5.       Ending the day

6.       Taking out/putting away/caring for supplies

7.       Participating in group lessons

8.       Obtaining help with assignments

9.       Handing in finished work/homework

10.   What to do with unfinished work

11.   When and how to use the school restroom

12.   When and how to use the drinking fountain or sink

13.   When and how to use the pencil sharpener

14.   Being a classroom helper; learning a classroom job

15.   Getting into work groups

16.   Using the classroom library

17.   Handling seatwork pages

18.   Preparing for lunch

19.   Getting a tissue

20.   Lunch count/attendance

21.   Throwing away trash

22.   Turning in lost items

23.   Locating lost items

24.   Pledge

25.   Visitors in the classroom

26.   Fire drill

27.   Signals for attention

28.   Helping other students

29.   Organizing desk

30.   What to do during free time

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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Being proactive to prevent problem behavior - Rules

This series of posts comes from a paper, Responsibility, Motivation and Engagement: How To Develop Learners Using Behavior Manager. It describes how Edclick’s Behavior Manager combines three essential capabilities.

  1. Proactive PBIS tools to prevent student misbehavior
  2. Reactive interventions and processes for misbehaviors to minimize loss of instruction time and keep students in school
  3. Data and tools for continuous improvement

We can prevent problem behavior by teaching appropriate behavior. We organize and structure the classroom and the school so that students know how to succeed. Appropriate behavior is typically broken down into expectations, rules and procedures. This approach is foundational to Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), which is widely advocated as the new direction in student behavior (see pbis.org).

Start by organizing and structuring the classroom so students know how to succeed.

Rules

While expectations are broad and general, rules are specific, observable behaviors that apply in specific places and activities. Expectations and rules tie together in a rule matrix.

Rule matrix

The rule matrix ties together the expectations, shown as column headings, to rules that apply to specific places and activities, shown as row headings.

Expections:

Be safe

Be responsible

Be respectful

Classroom

Keep hands and to yourself

Walk at all times

Be on time

Sit in your assigned seat with feet and chair on the floor

Have all materials ready

Enter quietly

Put belongings away when you enter the room

Keep your workspace clean and organized

Use materials for their intended use

Hallways

Walk

Keep hands and feet to yourself

Go directly to your destination

Quiet voice

Cafeteria

Clean up minor spills

Report major spills and slippery floors

Pick up items from table and floor

Place tray on kitchen window shelf

Use polite table manners

Use a talking voice

 

As with expectations, keep the number of rules that apply to a place or activity to a manageable 3 to 5. Teach them to the students and post them where appropriate. Review them prior to an activity until they become habitual. For example, if your class is about to walk through the hallway to another room, review the hallway rules. Your goal is to have the students succeed at obeying the rules, so a quick review can be helpful.

Your classroom will operate on many more than 5 rules, but for the sake of teaching, emphasize only a manageable number at any one time. After students have mastered a rule, remove it from the rule poster and replace it with another.

Positive consequences for adherence to rules

Probably the teacher’s most effective tool for teaching appropriate behavior is praise for students for following expectations. It might be specific praise, such as saying, “Thank you for raising your hand to speak, Judy.” Or it might be less specific like, “You have all done an excellent job of raising your hands during today’s discussion.” Praise can also be less explicit such as a wink, nod or thumbs up.

Recognition of desired behavior is especially important while students are learning the rules. It is far better to teach students to abide by the rules by first teaching the rules, then rewarding them for abiding by the rules than to teach rules only by catching infractions and applying penalties. 

Consequences for infractions

Consequences for rule infractions are important but they need not be negative. For example, if Judy is calling out answers rather than raising her hand to be called on, the teacher may say, “Judy, in this class students raise their hand and wait to be recognized before speaking.” When Judy then stops calling out and raises her hand, the teacher calls on her. Judy has been reminded of the rule, has been reinforced by being called on after raising her hand, and has not received any sort of punishment. But if she persists in calling out, a different consequence is needed.

Most activities in life have rules and the rules have consequences. In sports, the game must be played within a set of clearly defined rules. Violating a rule results in a penalty. Playing without violating the rules gives you the chance to win without the setbacks of penalties. In most cases, the penalties in sports relate to the violation. For example, in football, pass interference imposes the penalty of treating the play as if the pass was caught. The penalty relates to the offense. In basketball, fouling another player gives her a free throw. The penalty relates to the offense.

At their best, school rules work the same way. If a rule is violated, the student must be held accountable. A penalty may be imposed. It is best if the penalty relates to the infraction. For example, if homework isn’t handed in as required, the penalty may be detention where the homework is expected to be completed.

In class as in sports, it’s best to proceed without infractions and avoid the penalties that come as a result. Also, in class as in sports, the rules must be consistently enforced. If they aren’t, it sends the message that the rules aren’t important. Note that “consistently enforced” does not necessarily mean that every infraction by every student gets assigned the same penalty. Rather, it means that the teacher takes note of infractions. He doesn’t let them slide. He may choose to give a reminder in one instance and a detention in another when different circumstances require different responses. He shouldn’t act as though his rules are not important. If they aren’t seen as important to the teacher, they won’t be seen as important to the students.

Finally, in class as in sports, infractions should not be seen by the teacher or the student as retribution or punishment for an infraction. There should be no anger involved. It isn’t personal. Penalties are simply consequences of the infractions. By keeping students accountable without anger, the teacher avoids engendering resentment in the student.

The 5 to 1 ratio

In order to create a supportive climate, students should experience at least 5 positive interactions to each negative interaction. Some say 5:1, some say 4:1; the point is, significantly more positive interactions than negative interactions. The 5:1 ratio applies to individual students as well as to the class as a whole. In other words, some students should not get all the praise while other students get all the criticism.

Positive interactions include

  • Positive feedback that the student did something right (e.g., “Thanks for raising your hand…”) or
  • Positive interactions that do not depend on behavior such as greeting, hand shake, high five, smile or wink.

Negative interactions include

  • Behavior corrections or
  • Intentionally ignoring the student.

PBIS emphasizes that decisions be based on data. The 5:1 ratio should be measured. But you’ve got a class to teach. How will you keep track of the positive and negative interactions with students throughout the day?

How to track one-click merits with Behavior Manager

Behavior Manager includes the ability to track positive feedback for individual students. Merits can be defined and awarded for a variety of purposes. If your school uses a different name for positive feedback points, Behavior Manager can use your name instead.

Key: Minimize any distraction from instruction.

The key to a tool like this is making it useful with the absolute minimum amount of effort or distraction. Every minute that you’re using a tool like this is a minute of attention that is taken from instruction time. So it should be as effortless as possible. We figured that the theoretical minimum effort would be one tap, so that’s how it’s designed to work.

You can set up a page for your class with a set of color-coded behaviors that you want to recognize. Each student is listed with a set of color-coded checkboxes corresponding to the behaviors. If you wish to recognize student Christopher Allred for Teamwork, tap his yellow checkbox. The Merit will be automatically entered into the database. As you do, give Christopher a nod, wink, pat on the shoulder or verbal feedback to let him know you’ve recognized his good work. That’s it. One tap and you’re done.

The small horizontal bar below each name represents the number of merits that the student has been awarded. Be aware of students who are receiving merits. Make sure you spread recognition around the class fairly. Keep in mind that students with the most challenging behavior may be the ones that need positive feedback the most.

While you’re not likely to record every smile, wink or positive remark, you can collect data on positive and negative interactions.

Merits appear in each student’s behavior history along with misbehaviors. You can compare the merits to misbehaviors to judge your ratio.

Students can also get visual feedback from the merit Star Board. The Star Board is a page that can be projected showing the list of students with color-coded stars by their names, each indicating the category of merit that has been awarded. If you choose, the students’ names can be replaced by “secret identities” pseudonyms. Behavior Manager can randomly assign secret identities to students in a class based on plants, animals, birds, cities or vocabulary words.

Converting merits to rewards

Awarding merits to students for meeting expectations or obeying the rules is a form of recognition. Recognition for doing the right thing increases the likelihood that the student will continue to do the right thing.

Some schools prefer to make the reinforcement stronger by enabling students to earn rewards from accumulated merit points. Elementary students may earn a small toy. Teachers often hand out candy or other treats. Students may be allowed special privileges such as being able to sit in the teacher’s chair or be first in line for lunch. In higher grades, merits may be traded for access to activities or access to a special area in the cafeteria.

Earning rewards and privileges in exchange for desired behavior is fundamental in society. It is the basis for getting paid for doing a job. It is significant that a reward of this kind is something that is earned, not simply a gift from the teacher.

There is some controversy in schools over whether desired behavior should be traded for items or privileges. Just as adults usually stop working when they stop being paid, the concern is that students may stop behaving properly if the rewards stop. Ideally, reinforcement for desired behavior in schools should be teaching student to prefer proper behavior for its own benefits, not simply as a transaction.

Wherever you come down on the controversy about trading merits for rewards, if it is going to be done, there needs to be some accounting. A benefit of using online merits is that the accounting is easy.

How to exchange merits for rewards in Behavior Manager

Behavior Manager includes the merit reward ledger for teachers and schools who choose to offer rewards. Staff can define rewards and the number of merits required to earn each one.

Key: Avoid any additional burden on teachers to manually keep accounts for rewards.

Select a student and a dropdown menu is shown with all possible rewards. The ones for which the student has enough merits in her account are enabled for selection. Click one. The corresponding merits are “spent” and recorded. The student is given the reward. Any remaining merits are maintained in the merit balance, available for future use.

How students use smartphones in Behavior Manager

Most students in middle school and high school, and many in elementary school, have smartphones. The Behavior Manager app delivers information to students immediately on their phones, eliminating the need for paper in many cases. For example, some rewards can be specified as passes for privileges. A student may choose to trade merit points for the privilege of lining up at the front of the lunch line for three days. The reward will show in the app as shown below. When the reward expires, it will no longer appear in the app. Similarly, if a student is caught being tardy in the hall, the teacher can enter a tardy on her phone and a tardy pass will appear immediately on the student’s phone, allowing him to go directly to class, missing no more instruction time.

  

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Keywords: Responsible-Motivated-Engaged, Behavior Manager

 

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Being proactive to prevent problem behavior - Expectations

This series of posts comes from a paper, Responsibility, Motivation and Engagement: How To Develop Learners Using Behavior Manager. It describes how Edclick’s Behavior Manager combines three essential capabilities.

  1. Proactive PBIS tools to prevent student misbehavior
  2. Reactive interventions and processes for misbehaviors to minimize loss of instruction time and keep students in school
  3. Data and tools for continuous improvement

We can prevent problem behavior by teaching appropriate behavior. We organize and structure the classroom and the school so that students know how to succeed. Appropriate behavior is typically broken down into expectations, rules and procedures. This approach is foundational to Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), which is widely advocated as the new direction in student behavior (see pbis.org).

Start by organizing and structuring the classroom so students know how to succeed.

Expectations

In order to foster appropriate behavior in school, we start with a small set of expectations of how students ought to behave. We want to keep the set small so they can be easy to remember. Select no more than five expectations. The expectations should be stated positively to emphasize how students should behave rather than the negative, things which students should not do.

The KIPP schools use two primary expectations: Work Hard. Be Kind. Note that those two expectations can arguably cover both the academic issues and the social/behavior issues.

An even shorter “set” of expectations, a set of one, was suggested in Teaching with Love & Logic by Jim Fay and David Funk. The book describes a teacher stating her one expectation and her one consequence.

Expectation: You can solve a problem any way you want, provided it doesn’t cause a problem for anyone else…The only problem is that I’m a person in the class just like you, so we have to consider what would be a problem for me as well.

Consequence: I don’t expect you to break the rules. But if that does happen, I’ll do something.

Is “something” too vague? What’s really important is not that students know the exact consequences of misbehavior or that the consequence is the same every time. More important is that students know that there will be consequences and that the teacher will be consistent, doing something consistently.

Most schools go into a bit more detail. The small set of expectations (3 to 5) typically are selected from statements like these:

·         Be respectful

·         Respect yourself

·         Respect others

·         Respect property

·         Respect relationships

·         Respect responsibilities

·         Be safe

·         Be responsible

·         Be ready

·         Be prepared

·         Be involved

·         Be kind

·         Be patient

·         Value integrity

 

·         Be determined

·         Strive for excellence

·         Show compassion

·         Effort

·         Show courage

·         Persevere

·         Show leadership

·         Show caring

·         Take pride

·         Have a positive attitude

·         Make wise choices

·         Show self-control

·         Stay on task

 

These and other behaviors are desirable but there are clearly too many for a student to keep in mind. The Boy Scouts have a famous shorter list of desirable character traits that have been used for a long time. A scout is:

·         Trustworthy

·         Loyal

·         Helpful

·         Friendly

·         Courteous

·         Kind

 

·         Obedient

·         Cheerful

·         Thrifty

·         Brave

·         Clean

·         Reverent

 

But again, the list is too long to be easily remembered. Pick 3 to 5 expectations. A typical set is

·         Be safe

·         Be responsible

·         Be respectful

If you’re creating a set of schoolwide expectations, circulate your list and look for at least 80% acceptance among the faculty. We will discuss schoolwide expectations more later.

These expectations will be taught to the students as the first proactive step toward desired behavior in school. But of course, 3 to 5 expectations to cover everything that happens in school is not very specific. We get more specific with rules.

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Keywords: Responsible-Motivated-Engaged, Behavior Manager

 

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Responsibility, Motivation and Engagement: How To Develop Learners Using Behavior Manager

This series of posts comes from a paper, Responsibility, Motivation and Engagement: How To Develop Learners Using Behavior Manager. It describes how Edclick’s Behavior Manager combines three essential capabilities.

  1. Proactive PBIS tools to prevent student misbehavior
  2. Reactive interventions and processes for misbehaviors to minimize loss of instruction time and keep students in school
  3. Data and tools for continuous improvement

Student behavior priorities

The purpose of this document is to discuss ways in which issues of student behavior are changing. We will discuss specific ways in which Edclick’s Behavior Manager embodies the most effective techniques.

Shared goal: student achievement

The ultimate goal of all of the activity in school is student achievement. Student achievement is primarily measured by the mastery of knowledge and skills of the various courses they take. But underlying student achievement are the enablers of knowledge and skill building, collectively known as student behavior.

Student achievement is the result of responsibility, motivation and engagement

Do students take responsibility for their learning?

Are they motivated to learn?

Are they engaged with the learning process?

Issues of student behavior have been going through a transformation over the past decade or so. Research has been accumulating that indicates that there are more effective means of influencing student behavior than the way it had been done. Prior to the transformation, the prevailing attitude was that it was up to the student to come to school ready and eager to learn. If the student was an uncooperative or disinterested partner in the learning process, then a mild punishment would get his or her attention and get him or her back on track in the classroom. This was primarily a reactive model, reacting to misbehavior and assigning negative consequences.

That attitude has fundamentally shifted to a proactive model. Schools and teachers now make known ahead of time their expectations, rules and procedures. They explicitly teach expectations of proper behavior to students in an effort to avoid misbehavior. The attitude today is that if students are not taking responsibility for their learning, if they don’t seem to be motivated to learn or if they are disengaged in class, it is now the responsibility of the school and the teachers to make the necessary changes to instill in the students the enablers for learning.

Why did this shift occur? Is success even possible? And most important for our purposes, how can it be done in practice?

In response to an increase in school violence in the 1980s and 1990s, there was a trend in schools to be less tolerant of misbehavior and to impose a series of strict escalating consequences. But research results showed that stricter reactive discipline wasn’t working. Reactive consequences for misbehavior, typically punishments, were effective for stopping the misbehavior in the short term, but it often resulted in resentment. Punishment did not result in long term change to greater student responsibility, motivation or engagement. Too often, it didn’t lead to improved student achievement. Educators needed a better way.

If you’re not in class, you won’t pass

It’s essential for student achievement to spend the time in school actually in class, engaged in learning. Suspension from school is obviously a loss of instructional time for the student. But there are others, too. If a student is disruptive in class and is sent to the office, she has missed instruction time. If a tardy student is directed to go to a tardy table or the office to get a tardy pass to return to class, the student has missed more instruction time.

The most egregious example that we often see of a student missing instructional time for misbehavior is a student who is often sent to the office for being tardy. The punishments for tardiness may be increased as the tardy count increases, to a point when the student is eventually suspended for chronic tardiness. Punish a tardy student who misses instruction time with a suspension that misses a great deal more instruction time? A different consequence needs to be found that does not increase the loss of instructional time.

Ideally, we want to make maximum use of instruction time for each student. In general, that means minimizing the time spent dealing with behavior issues. Typically the most effective way to minimize time spent on behavior issues is to deal with them proactively.

Maintain an environment conducive for learning

The flip side of a student missing class for misbehavior comes when she is disruptive and becomes a distraction from learning for the rest of the class. Sometimes instruction time for one student must be sacrificed so that the rest of the class can get back to work.

We want to maintain a classroom environment conducive to learning. Rather than reacting to misbehavior, we want to avoid misbehavior and keep students engaged in their learning.

Spend as little time on behavior as necessary…and no less!

Students don’t go to school to learn how to behave in school. They go to do two other things:

1.       Learn the curricular knowledge and skills and

2.       Learn how to learn, which is to say, taking responsibility for their learning, developing their motivation to learn and developing the skills of focus, concentration, questioning and cooperation to keep them engaged with their learning.

Some teachers are resistant to devoting any time to teaching behavior. A math teacher prefers to teach math, not behavior. And they are right in that the curricular learning is essential to student achievement. But at the same time, the student’s success in learning her math may be impeded by undeveloped social skills or by disregard for the rules and procedures of the classroom which are designed to keep the focus where it should be: on learning. Some time spent on these “behavior” issues can pay big dividends in curricular learning.

All students will misbehave sometimes. If the teacher hasn’t prepared for this, more time is likely to be spent on reacting to misbehaviors than would typically be spent teaching and practicing desirable behaviors before problems arise.

In addition, students vary in the time and effort required to master behavior skills. While most students will pick up behavior skills with a little instruction and practice, others will need more attention and a small number will require extensive help. The school needs to anticipate these differences and provide additional support for those who need a little more help and intensive support for a few more.

The main goal is curricular learning. But enough time must be spent on behavior issues to make the curricular learning as efficient and effective as possible. In addition, keep in mind that much of a student’s most important learning, even curricular learning, will be done after your course is over. So the better a student can develop his skills for learning, the more successful his overall education will be.

Fix the student or fix the system?

The traditional view of student behavior was that misbehavior was an indication that the student needed to be “fixed.” The problem was hers. She was not properly fitting into the school.

The new view of student behavior is that students should be taught what constitutes appropriate behavior. Misbehavior, when it still occurs, is an indication that there may be a problem with the school or the teaching. It isn’t the student that needs to be fixed, but the school. Positive and proactive behavior strategies have been found to be more effective and efficient than reactive, punitive strategies. In addition, it is generally easier to prevent a problem than to deal with it after it has appeared.

It starts with making expectations clear and creating rules and procedures that make it easy for students to satisfy the expectations. If the school and its procedures are properly designed and communicated to the students, then the student behavior will be conducive to learning.

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