Saturday, August 01, 2015

YOU ARE...Bulletin Board



It was hard for me to believe that my free downloadable BE YOURSELF bulletin board was such a huge hit with all of you. Something so simple, but so well liked. Many of you commented how you appreciated that it was ready to go - print and display! So, I thought it was time for a BE YOURSELF follow-up bulletin board that is perfect for the start of a new school year.  

YOU ARE...is a much more subdued bulletin board that my past work of bright colors. The title words have a "beachy" feel. The sayings are all in black and are "written" on graphic school paper backgrounds. I thought this would like like they were handwritten with a felt-tip marker or a pencil. There are two sheets for the title words and then 9 pages of positive thoughts/sayings (20 sayings in all) in this particular document.

YOU ARE... is available for a nominal fee by clicking here -- just download, print and display on your school bulletin board. The sayings are perfect for "back-to-school" and to give passers-by a pick-me-up upon reading. 

I hope you all will enjoy this document too and will make your life a bit easier as you get your spaces ready for back-to-school!


Friday, July 31, 2015

SWPBIS Character Lesson #2 - A Day Without Rules!


I needed to create a lesson that focused on why rules are necessary. Because I have a short amount of time in each SWPBIS (School-Wide Positive Behavior Intervention and Support) character lesson, I wanted to find a very basic children's book to help with the lesson. I found the book A Day Without Rules by Billy Boston. The book simply depicts what happens in a "rule-free" classroom. The students quickly realize that things are no longer "fair" and that they are very "unhappy" together. The students plead to have their rules reinstated.

Whenever I read a story I always engage the students in a discussion - asking loads of questions as we go. Following the lesson, I have students complete a work page. As I explained in SWPBIS Character Lesson #1, I usually have students complete some sort of work page during the character lesson.  The students take this workpage back to their classrooms to share with their teachers and they also take it home to share it with their parents/guardians.

Below is the workpage that goes along with this lesson. In the ovals: students write down what life would be like without rules in their classrooms and/or in the school. In the heart: students write down why rules are necessary. We have a discussion about the ovals and the heart - and I extended it to include a "rule-less" neighborhood/community. In the box at the bottom: students should reflect on their past behavior and indicate the rules he/she will work on in the following months. Click on the picture below to print the workpage.


Enjoy the lesson!


Sunday, July 26, 2015

SWPBIS Character Lesson #1 - My Mouth is a Volcano

Students who have not earned the monthly school-wide incentive in our school's School-Wide Positive Intervention and Support (SWPBIS) program are required to attend a character lesson during the incentive or on the same day as the incentive. Each 30-45 minute character lesson is usually taught by me, but depending on the incentive is sometimes taught by a classroom teacher. 

The character lesson topics are often agreed upon by our SWPBIS/Social-Emotional Learning Committee prior to the lesson date. But, truth be told, I often choose the topic and develop the lesson based on what those students are demonstrating a need in or what I hear from classroom teachers as the presenting need.

For character lessons, I often group together grades K, 1 and 2 and group together grades 3, 4 and 5. I attempt to use the same books or video clips, but modify any written portion to meet developmental levels. There are times when I plan two different lessons. I never know how many students I will have for each lesson, so I tend to plan on 30 per group (last year I never hit that number - in fact - never close). Many of my ideas come straight out of my own noggin....but Pinterest also comes in handy to jump-start any ideas!

So far, I have not recycled any of the character lessons -- so I plan on posting on the blog a bunch of these planned character lessons for you to use with your students!


SWPBIS Character Lesson #1: My Mouth is a Volcano

Often students make poor choices in the words they decide to use with peers and adults. I felt it was necessary to do this lesson pretty early on in the school year. I also took the opportunity to teach and discuss the concept of cause and effect.

1. I read the book My Mouth is a Volcano by Julia Cook and engaged students in discussion throughout. I love children's literature - use it often and plan out ahead of time what questions to ask and where I'm "going" with the story. I wanted to pay close attention to the consequences so my questioning guided this learning/discovery. I often write my questions on sticky notes and either put on the pages or just inside the cover of the book so I have them for the next time I read it.


2. Students then received the following workpages to complete independently. I tend to include some sort of written portion to the lesson - this is something tangible they can take back to their classroom to discuss with their classroom teacher AND something tangible to take home to discuss with their parents. I do think, however, that this year I will be adding some sort of disclaimer on every SWPBIS character lesson workpage that it was part of a character lesson activity that took place in lieu of the incentive. I always bring pencils to the location we are doing the lesson and I give the students the pencils and sheets when I'm ready for them to have them. This way, I don't have to worry about pencil playing during the lesson. K, 1 and 2 are encouraged to either write their response or draw their response. If they draw a response, I will write what they are describing in the drawing on the work-page.

K, 1 and 2 (1/2 sheet)



3, 4 and 5 (whole sheet)



3. After students complete the workpage, we reconvene and share out.  Students can comment on other student's work and also I find that they then give advice or make connections.

4. The last portion of the lesson included Cause and Effect scenarios. On sticky notes I wrote either a behavior (cause) or a consequence (effect). Some cause examples: yelling at a teacher, calling a peer stupid, etc. Some effect examples: time out, trip to the principal's office, peers wanted to play with him/her, etc. I arranged the sticky notes in a circle on a magnetic white board and put the following magnetic spinner in the middle. By the way, I use this spinner often - usually in games I create for small support groups. It adds a bit of fun and gets the kids up and moving! 




Then each student gently spun the spinner. If it landed on a behavior the student had to state a possible consequence. If the spinner landed on a consequence, the student had to state a possible cause. The K, 1 and 2 students stated their responses aloud and the students in 3, 4 and 5 wrote their responses on the following sheet. I reviewed all written responses after each spin and before moving ahead to the next one.



5. Students take all workpages with them back to their classrooms.




Saturday, March 28, 2015

SWPBIS How To! The Program: Part 2 - Incentives and Character Lessons

My two previous blog posts on our School-Wide Positive Behavior Intervention and Support titled SWPBIS How To! Year of Preparation and SWPBIS How To! The Program - Part 1 described for you the planning process and the basics of the program. In this post, I will get into the rewards, character lessons, data collection and data use, and Tier 2 interventions. The purpose of this SWPBIS series is to pass along to all of you the learnings we had as we jumped into this process and different way of doing things at our school. We continue to reflect and tweak in this year three of the process.


Students need to earn these particular rewards and incentives - based on their daily behavior/effort and their daily color chart colors. The colors take some of the subjectivity out out of earning rewards - the rules/expectations are the standards and we expect our students to achieve them.

The Program - Part 2

1. Fun Friday 


Fun Friday is a 30 minute block of activity/station time that occurs each Friday or other pre-determined date. For 1/2 day Kindergarten, Fun Friday is a 20 minute block of time. Teachers set-up fun station classroom activities which are developmentally appropriate for each age group. Activities such Legos/Kinex, computers, jewelry making, art and craft projects, drawing, reading, building blocks, cars, Twister, dolls, drawing on the board, board games, etc.  There should be a variety of fun activities and these activities can change from week to week. There is a limited number of students who can participate at each activity. Throughout the week, students earn their Fun Friday minutes. Students who have the most purples and blues over the course of the week get to choose their activity first. Then students who have green. 

If a student earned a yellow during the week, he/she must sit out for 5 minutes and then choose an activity that still has an open slot. If a student earned more than one yellow during the week, he/she must sit out 5 minutes for each yellow earned and then join in the activity. 

Each orange earned is 10 minutes of time-out during Fun Friday AND the completion of a goal sheet. The goal sheet asks students to write down what he/she will do differently next week so he/she can earn all of their Fun Friday minutes. After sitting out the required minutes, the student joins in an activity that still has available slots.

Each red earned during the week nets 15 minutes of time-out during Fun Friday AND the completion of a goal sheet. If a student earned 1 red and sat out the required 15 minutes, he/she can join an activity that has an available slot. Two reds earned means no Fun Friday for the week.

Learnings About Fun Friday: Change up the activity/station options from week to week to keep it interesting for the students. Poll the class on what types of activities are fun for them. There should be a variety of activities to encourage choice (working towards more blues and purples) and so that students have a better chance at choosing something they enjoy doing. If there are students who must complete a goal sheet, it would be helpful for teachers to spend a few minutes with these kiddos to guide them during this activity. 

2. Monthly School-Wide Incentives

Each month, students can also earn the school-wide monthly incentive. Before the school year started, our committee decided on the monthly incentive dates and decided on what activity each monthly incentive would be. This makes it easier to plan for and to communicate with staff and parents. Students who earn enough greens, blues, and purples for the month have earned the right to participate. Those who do not earn the school-wide incentive must participate in a character lesson instead. The monthly percentage of required greens, blues and purples gradually increases throughout the school year. 75% greens, blues and purples are needed during the first marking period, 80% in the second marking period, 85% in the third marking period, and 90% in the fourth marking period. We account for days absent when figuring on the monthly percentage. Fun Friday does not occur during the week of the monthly school-wide incentive (only the monthly incentive occurs that week).

Last year (the first year of our SWPBIS program) we polled the student body to find out what monthly school-wide incentives they enjoyed the most and what school-wide incentives they would like to see this year. The kids really seemed to enjoy sharing their opinion and felt they had some say in what the incentives would be this year. So, when our committee met before school started, we incorporated as many of their ideas as possible. Some examples of monthly incentives include: pumpkin patch/pumpkin painting, dancing in the halls, door decorating, school-wide bingo, walk for Italian Ice, ice cream truck, egg-cellent behavior hunt, community project for Meals on Wheels, sports day, outdoor chalk drawing, school-yard beautification project, etc. We worked really hard to come up with ideas that didn't cost a lot of money (if any at all) and had some variety from month to month. We do welcome donations from our school community and outside partners to make this program run. 

The students often say, "This was the best day ever!" The monthly incentives do not need to be extravagant....but they do need to be meaningful, sometimes novel, and fun. We are starting to involve our Student Council in some of the decision making process regarding the monthly incentives. 

Learnings About Monthly School-Wide Incentives: Planning for these is very, very time consuming and eats up a large chunk of time during our monthly committee meetings. Plus, there is always more to do beyond those monthly committee meetings. Try to work 2 months ahead for each incentive -- this will give you more time to get any needed materials. You will need to plan for the specifics - because the details will need to be communicated to the entire school community: time, procedures, where, the schedule, how, what, etc. Committee members should all have a job. The parents/guardians enjoy the pictures on the school's Facebook page or school website.


3. Character Lessons

Students who do not earn the monthly school-wide incentive attend a character lesson during their grade-level's incentive time or on the same day as the incentive. The committee decides on the monthly character lesson topic and I usually develop and teach the lessons. Depending on the incentive, a grade level teacher may teach the lesson or the lesson is co-taught by a teacher and myself. The number of students for character lessons each month will fluctuate. For example, as the monthly percentage cut-off increases, the number of students in the character lessons increase. Also, when there are fewer days of school during a month (i.e. snow days) the students schedules are thrown-off (which results in behavioral changes) and there are fewer days used in the calculations to earn the required percentage.

I develop the character lessons from my head - usually - but Pinterest does come in handy - especially when time is tight! I will be posting some of my SWPBIS Character Lessons here on the blog in the months to come.

Learnings About Character Lessons: Plan these out - do not "wing-it." A number of kiddos with challenging behaviors may be sitting in front of me and I have found a detailed game plan is best. I want to make the best use of this time I have with them - so I want to teach a skill/concept, practice a skill/concept, and have the students reflect on how they will use that skill/concept in the future. I have found that pairing up grade levels by age group works best...K and 1, 2 and 3, 4 and 5. BUT - there have been times that I've split up the grade levels or paired up other grade levels depending on what students I will be servicing, how many students I will be servicing, or the time the lessons are occurring. I also try to do some sort of workpage during the lesson...I want the students to take this back to share with their teachers and take it home to share with their parents. I really do attempt to focus on how they can make next month different for themselves - so they earn the school-wide incentive.