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.