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.