Effective Office Referral Forms

luanne_general[1]

Welcome back. Last month I showed you how I level behaviors. I used these levels to develop office referral forms. It is important to have a well-developed office referral system. A well-developed system allows you to easily organize and analyze behavior. Before you can change behavior, you have to analyze it so you can understand what is happening.

For example, I worked with a school that would inconsistently labeled fights as “school fight”, “fighting”, “student fight”, “students fighting”, etc. No software will accurately sort this information. The only way we could get an accurate count of how many fights were in school was to manually count them. HUGE TIME DRAIN! Once we cleaned this up, we discovered the bulk of the fights were happening in the boys’ bathroom after lunch. We quickly changed bathroom procedures and supervision to eliminate that problem.

Here are three sample forms for Office Referrals:

ORF second

The first has an emphasis for the FUNCTION of the student’s behavior. Notice the question:

What is the function of the behavior?

Avoid?

Obtain?

Remember, all behavior has a function. It is to avoid something or obtain something. In order to change a student’s behavior, you have to understand the function. See my post Quick & Easy Functional Behavior Assessment.

 

 

All three samples have check boxes for Staff Member Interventions. This is to remind staff that many strategies exist before an office referral (note: all Level 3 behaviors are immediate referrals). If a student has a behavior plan, it should be noted (and reviewed). The Administrative Actions is a list of consequences ranging from less severe to most severe.

ORF detenThe next Office Referral form was used in a middle school that wanted it in triplet form to use as detention notice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ORF 1The last sample form is for a secondary school. Teachers wanted a place to write a comment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These forms are available in Word and are editable. You can personalize it for your school. By taking the time to clean up what behaviors go to the office and using consistent office referral form, you will be able to analyze behaviors. This fall, I will show you how to analyze behaviors using an Excel Pivot Table. It’s worth the wait….

THE UMBRELLA PLAN: A Counseling Strategy for Planning Ahead, Just In Case

umbrella

Have you, like most people, ever taken an umbrella with you just so it wouldn’t rain? You know the old adage about how it won’t rain because you are uncharacteristically prepared for it?!  That’s this strategy!

When a student seeks you out because of a current significant stressor, grab the Umbrella Plan Worksheet and fill it out together.  Students leave with a completed worksheet and a heightened sense of control. They have anticipated what “might happen” and have thought through what to do “if”…if his parents fight again tonight, if her sister starts an argument with her between classes, if that kid teases him on the bus. It is the student’s individualized plan so that hopefully it won’t “rain” (the problem won’t occur), but if it does, the student will be ready to “stay dry” (cope with the problem in a healthy manner)!

This strategy is really best used when there is a particularly sticky situation, one where the student cannot fully solve the problem because it involves people and issues outside the student’s zone of control.  An example of this might be parents fighting or a parent’s substance abuse problem.  Sometimes the student gets pulled in to the conflict, either willingly or unwillingly.  Often, even if not directly involved in the conflict, the student is directly affected.  If her parents are fighting, she might go to bed without dinner or without doing her homework.  The Umbrella Plan lets students anticipate what they will do IF someone else repeats a problem behavior that affects them.

The Umbrella Plan is an example of proactivity in action…Students cannot always control what happens to them, but they can think through options and make a conscious decision about how to handle the “what if’s” that may come their way.  Having a plan may not make the problem go away, but it will offer some degree of predictability in responding to the problem, which in and of itself, helps the student feel some relief and a sense of control.  The Umbrella Plan is not a solution…rain still happens…but it can keep students from getting “soaked” when the rain does come down.

The Umbrella Plan Worksheet, which is a great visual for students, includes four specific “sections” on the umbrella so that together you and the student can identify stressors, list coping strategies the student can do, list ways others can assist the student, and designate a planned time to follow-up with the student.  If you are interested in having the Umbrella Plan Worksheet, it is found by going to “Umbrella Plan Worksheet”.

SENT TO THE OFFICE? TAKE A NUMBER…

luanne_general[1]

When I was Behavior Consultant in my school district, one of my duties was to review the office referral data in all the schools. I noticed the administrators were overwhelmed with the number of students being sent to the office for disciplinary reasons. In one school, students were sent to the office for chewing gum or not having a pencil in class!

Goodness! I was amazed that the administrator had to deal will all kinds of behavior…chewing gum, having no pencil, horseplaying, name calling, bullying, cussing, fighting, etc. Because he had such high numbers of students to discipline, he spent approximately 2 minutes per student. He was simply reacting to the issues as he did not have time to effectively change behavior. This administrator had no time to help with curriculum or any other school issue. He managed student behavior ALL DAY! YUCK!

Following best practice and guidelines of Positive Behavior Instructional Support, Kentucky Center for Instructional Discipline and other proactive experts, I developed Levels of Behavior for our district.

Level 1 behaviors are minor behaviors that the teacher can handle in class. If a student is chewing gum, have him spit it out if it is against your school’s policy. Better yet, let him chew the gum. Chewing gum helps some students focus. If a student doesn’t have her materials, the teacher can loan her a pencil. Other minor Level 1 behaviors include: cheating, running in the hall, talking in class, off task, etc.

Let’s jump to Level III behaviors. They are severe behaviors. Level III behaviors are illegal acts, physically dangerous acts, or severe acts of defiance. Level III behaviors include: alcohol, drugs, vandalism, fighting, inciting violence, etc. The administrator is immediately involved. Often the School Resource Officer must also be involved. If the behavior is illegal, court involvement may follow.

Level II behaviors are the moderate behaviors. Office Referral paperwork is entered for future data analysis. The administrator talking directly with the child is optional. Whether or not the child sees the principal depends on the behavior. A third tardy may automatically have the consequence without the involvement of the principal. On the other hand, a student with an office referral for harassment/teasing/threatening should definitely speak to the principal.

By understanding the different levels of behavior, staff is better prepared to manage behavior. The administrator will now have the time to address Level II and Level III behaviors. The administrator can work with the student who has been disrLevels of Behaviorespectful to a teacher and who may have underlying issues which are causing stress. The administrator will also have time to work on long range goals for school improvement.

My Levels of Behavior can be downloaded for free. Use it to develop your own levels. Stop by next month, I’ll show you how to turn the levels of behavior into an office referral form.

THE RIPPLE EFFECT: A Strategy for Analyzing Conflicts

The School Psychologist

rip·ple ef·fect (n.): The continuing and spreading results of an event or action. www.oxforddictionaries.com

A simple technique I frequently use with students is the “Ripple Effect” strategy. Often, I work with students who are impulsive in their decisions, resistant to authority, quick to anger, or easily baited by peers to say or do something inappropriate. The “Ripple Effect” strategy helps students systematically and visually dissect what happened and readily shows them where in the unfolding of the situation they could have said or done something differently, resulting in a more favorable outcome. While it’s too late to undo what has already happened, this strategy shows students how their behavior affects others and how others’ behavior affects them, causing the ripples to grow wider and wider, like ripples that spread outward when a rock is thrown in water. The hope is that by processing a conflict that has already occurred, a future conflict can be avoided or, at the least, minimized.  Additionally, this strategy helps the student identify her role in the conflict, thereby assuming responsibility for her actions/words and recognizing how they contributed to the conflict.

Here’s how it works.

I begin by listening to what happened. Oftentimes, the student shares the story from what she perceives is the beginning but what, in reality, is several steps into the event. It usually requires some questioning to get to the actual “beginning” of the story. Once the story is shared, I ask the student if she has ever thrown a rock into a pond, and if so, what happened. This leads to a short conversation about the ripples the rock creates in the water. I explain that we are going to use the idea of ripples in water to discuss what happened to her, and we plug the situation into the “Ripple Effect” worksheet.ripple effect

I then point out how the ripple grew from one to two to three to however many ripples because there was an INTERACTION going on between the student and someone else. Typically with every other “ripple”, the student had a choice in causing the ripples to grow (the conflict escalates) or stopping the ripples from increasing (the conflict stops). As we process each ripple, we write out what was said or done at that point.  Once all the ripples are created based on the conflict being processed, I ask the student, “During which of the ripples were you saying or doing something?” We circle all of the instances that were student’s actions or words.  I then systematically ask the student what she could have said or done differently at each of these circled points which may have stopped the ripple from growing.  In other words, what could she have said or done that would have been more appropriate?  Students typically are very good at identifying more appropriate choices once they are calm and removed from the conflict.

Another key point to make when using this strategy is to help the student realize that she only has control of some of the ripples (typically, but not always, every other ripple).  Most conflicts fall into an action/reaction category. The first ripple is the action, the second ripple is a reaction to the first, and the third ripple is a reaction to the second, and so forth.  Although she only creates the first and third ripples, her actions are fueling the reactions from others.  IF she says or does something that reduces the chance of the problem escalating, the other person may still add a ripple (i.e., say or do something to make the situation worse), but it is less likely.

When we are finished filling out the worksheet, the student is able to keep the worksheet as a visual reminder of the process as well as share it with her parents or teacher.

If you are interested in using the “Ripple Effect” strategy and would like clear instructions, several user-friendly worksheets, and a few scenarios illustrating its implementation, wait no longer! I have, for years, drawn concentric circles on scrap paper, which works in an informal way, and truthfully, it would for you. But, if you want a more comprehensive, sequential way to use this strategy that includes all the “bells and whistles” my scrap paper circles lacked, here it is: The Ripple Effect Strategy—A Strategy for Analyzing Conflicts.

 

 

 

Bugs and Gaps- what’s the connection?

eva_general[2]

eva_general[2]Achievement gaps.  Those reports, the watch lists, and strategies to help ensure all students are successful.  I wish that we could add “attendance gap” to the list but that’s a topic for another day…

So what do bugs have to do with gaps?  Maybe quite a bit.  When I started in school nursing, I came across lists that a savvy former nurse had kept regarding follow up for students diagnosed with “live lice”.  Her record-keeping was quite telling.  Children were being excluded from school for weeks at a time, the school bus would refuse to pick them up, and there weren’t enough nurses to do all the checks so there were really no guidelines as to who was diagnosing the children. I imagined her frustration as she had to deal with the issue day in and day out.  Why were these practices so telling? At the time, the district had one of the highest dropout rates in the state.  I couldn’t help but believe that had a lot to do with the way kids were made to feel about school early on.

Anyone who has been subjected to standing in a room full of kids having their heads checked, and then later asked to go home from school can understand the dread associated with these practices.

Does it happen this day and age? Absolutely.  Scan the internet for policies related to head lice in school districts and see what practices exist.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Academy of Pediatrics and Harvard School of Public Health have been quite clear regarding the harm of no-nit policies and school exclusion for head lice, yet districts continue to send children home.

If you look at the children in your classroom or school struggling academically, often they are the ones with the most obstacles to overcome.  That’s why the identification of “gaps” even exists.  Those families living in poverty often end up living in close quarters with other extended family, sharing rooms and beds and have circumstances where lice is easily transmitted from one child to the next. Sometimes getting treatment is difficult, and since lice are often resistant to the products Medicaid and CHIP insurances are most willing to  cover, the problem is not easily corrected.  Parents are then often accused of neglecting to care for their children.

I had a parent (a local minister) call  one time wanting to know what I was going to do to take care of the “lice problem” at his daughter’s school.  In conversation I found  the “problem” was that his 6 year old daughter was telling him  a girl in the class had head lice and she wasn’t being treated.  His complaint was that the district did not have a “no nit” policy to make sure his child wasn’t exposed.  I explained to him that the school nurse would do follow up with children who have lice and his daughter would not know that he/she had been checked.  I also explained that nits cannot be passed from one person to the next.  His response?  “I don’t want my daughter around THOSE children!” (Also bear in mind he was getting his information on what was and wasn’t being done from the perspective of a 6 year old!!)

In our jobs there are just “children”.  Children who all deserve a chance.  When we set them up to miss school repeatedly, we set them up for failure.  When they fail, they become a burden to local resources in our communities and the cycle is perpetuated.

There is a way to deal with head lice, using national guidelines and science.  It doesn’t mean ignoring the issue altogether- it means following up in a way that helps resolve the problem.  It means taking a look at other practices that might be impacting the gaps in our schools and finding new approaches to intervene. The most basic of which is not looking for ways to keep them out of the classroom.

I find it helpful to use a flow chart to help keep on track with students that have ongoing issues with lice.  The flow chart allows a nurse to document what treatments have been utilized, along with what teaching has occurred for parents.  It won’t cure the issue- anytime children are together in one place (and can put their heads together) we will have head lice.  But it can help ensure proper treatment and support for children to be where they learn best, in school!

A copy of the flow chart mentioned above can be found at:

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Headlice-Follow-up-1117152

Lice is often to blame for high emotion and distress.  Hold firm to your mission of advocating and supporting all children. Follow the guidelines and  remove barriers which can help in your work to reduce gaps in the children you serve.

 

 

Anger Outbursts

luanne_general[1]

Does it seem like your student explodes instantly?

Actually there are many signs before an explosion. This handout, The Cycle of Anger, will help you and the student recognize these signs in order to avoid the explosion.

Cycle of anger

 

 

Step 1: High Risk Situations-this identifies what was going on and where the student was when the problem started. By analyzing this data, you may notice a student always has a problem in a specific activity (math, PE, free time, etc.) or in a certain location (bathroom, hallway, music class, etc.).

Step 2: The Trigger-what happened that triggered a student? What set him off? It could be as simple as the teacher giving a direction or another student making a face.

Step 3: How are you feeling? The student’s body is giving him signals. At first, it will be difficult for the student to recognize these signals. You need to pay attention and help him identify what his body is doing. It may be increased breathing, increased heart rate, tightening of the jaw, tapping fingers on desk, etc.

Step 4: EXIT-this the first opportunity to get off the cycle of anger. What can the student do to avoid blowing up? The de-escalation strategies listed here should be want works for this student. Don’t just make a generic list. What specifically will work for this one student?

Step 5: How are you feeling now? This is similar to step 3. It’s recognizing body signals. The signals may be huffing and puffing breaths, slumped body in chair or rigid body, grumbling, etc.

Step 6: EXIT-the student has another opportunity to get off the cycle of anger. Again, what can the student do to avoid blowing up? He may need to take a walk, take a time out, etc.

Step 7: Harmful Behavior. This is what happens when the student does not use an exit behavior and get off the cycle of anger. It’s an unacceptable behavior. It may be talking back, slamming a book, fighting or threatening others. The harmful behavior will following with discipline.

Step 8: How can you avoid the problem next time? This is the whole reason for processing behavior. Step 8 should connect to Step 1. You want to encourage the student to avoid high risk situations.

Once I had a 4th grader who would yell, knock over chairs and desks. In the heat of the moment, I could only hope to contain the student to keep everyone safe. After he calmed, we reviewed what happened. We used the Cycle of Anger to help process what happened. We discovered his body was giving him signals…he squinted his eyes and squeezed his lips tightly when getting angry. We finished the worksheet and he had a consequence for his outburst. Days later, he started to get angry…his eyes squinted, his lips squeezed in a line. Because we had analyzed his behavior and body signals earlier, I was able to point out what his body was telling him. I let him know that this is the time to make good decisions (take 10 deep breaths, etc). He was surprised and was able to stop his explosion.  This was a wonderful breakthrough; it was the first time he changed his behavior! We praised him and he was happy. Several days later, he again was getting angry. When he squinted his eyes and squeezed his lips, he gasped when he recognized what his body was telling him! He was able to change his behavior on his own!!! He had very few disruptions after understanding his outbursts and being able to control them.

Just the other day, a young lady in high school used the Cycle of Anger after just one introduction to it. It was her first day our program. I reviewed the Cycle of Anger and explained part of the program is understanding behavior in order to control it. Later that day, she was irritated by a boy in class. She told me she remembered the Cycle of Anger and instead of “going off”, she closed her eyes and took slow calming breaths. Now THAT’S excellent control!

 

YOU SCRATCH MY BACK, I’LL SCRATCH YOURS: The Give and Take in Relationships

pam_general[2]

balance pictureWith the approach of Valentine’s Day, a very busy day for counselors due to broken or lonely hearts, I thought it would be worthwhile to consider the importance of practicing reciprocity, the ability to give to and receive from others.  The ability to give and take in a balanced manner will pay off large dividends in all types of relationships, be it friendships, parent-child, dating relationships, spouses and even co-workers who share a very small office…right, Eva?

Let’s look at reciprocity using the familiar saying, “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours”.  Growing up it was a fairly common practice for my siblings and me to tickle each other’s backs when we were on long road trips in the car.  And, you can be sure of one thing, there was an equal amount of giving/taking going on. No one was going to receive a back tickle without giving equally back to the giver.  Not if they ever wanted a turn of receiving again! We were even known to use our watches or number of songs played on the radio to be as “fair” as possible. Without a perceived balance, back-tickling would have been abandoned, likely after arguing.

So, what are the possible variations to this quote? Really, there are three:

  • You Scratch My Back, I’ll Scratch Yours—two people in a relationship who want to have a mutual, balanced amount of give/take.  It may not always be 50/50. In fact, that is unlikely. But there is clear evidence of each person giving and receiving in an equitable way. Typically, both people in this relationship are content with the relationship. This relationship has a good chance of enduring over time and providing both people with happiness and satisfaction.
  • You Scratch My Back, I Won’t Scratch Yours—two people in a relationship wherein one is a giver but not a receiver and one is a receiver but not a giver.  This relationship is vulnerable because while the receiver typically remains satisfied, the giver may struggle with feeling unappreciated. The relationship may start out okay but gradually becomes problematic as the giver’s needs for nurturance and attention go unmet or met at a very low level.
  • You Won’t Scratch My Back, I Won’t Scratch Yours—two people in a relationship where neither gives and both take.  But, what is there to take? Neither is giving. So, while this might work in the short-term, this relationship is set up for failure. These relationships tend to be volatile because although each person is not giving, both likely want to receive. Therein lies the tension. Indifference, frustration, anger and resentment brew.

To point out the importance of balancing the act of giving/receiving, whether it be back rubs or sharing a quality conversation or anything, really, I use a great activity that leads to lots of discussion by the participants. This activity is good for intermediate elementary, middle school, high school, and college students.  Adults in a group setting would also find it revealing.  Click the following link if you are interested in previewing the whole-class or small-group activity:  YOU SCRATCH MY BACK, I’LL SCRATCH YOURS: The Give and Take in Relationships

Diabetes Tips

eva_general[2]

Things have sure changed since I went to school.  Some may say for the good, some may say for the worst but either way life is different than I knew it. I was raised in an era where the lunch ladies made home cooked meals, the president’s wife wasn’t worried about how much sodium we had and it was unusual to see an overweight child.  We never heard of peanut or tree nut allergies, there didn’t need to be laws allowing student to carry their epi pens and (gasp) we really did walk to school no matter what the weather.

I wouldn’t trade those years for anything.

I was also a student with type 1 diabetes. And as I see what children encounter with their diabetes in schools I am thankful I grew up when I did.  I took my insulin at home, in the morning and evenings, watched what I ate and when I did check my blood sugar it was at home.  There were no school staff reviewing numbers making me feel “good” or “bad” based on a reading I often couldn’t control.  My sister and friends looked out for me, and the one time I drank a regular Pepsi in front  of a teacher she called my dad (who also happened to be a principal).

Diabetes care has advanced tremendously since that time, but it’s also made things a bit more challenging for both students and teachers.  For students, it has to feel somewhat like being under a microscope.  Over the years I have had well-meaning staff do things that would make any child hate to come to school.  Checking blood glucose becomes an ordeal as does taking insulin.  Counting carbohydrates is a challenge and well-meaning people question what kids are eating.  With that, I would just like to offer school staff a few thoughts about children with diabetes from the perspective of someone who has been around the block a bit.

1- Diabetes is always there.  Kids do not get a day off.  24/7 children with diabetes are living with this often exasperating condition.  Please do all you can to make their routine “normal”.   Depending on the age and developmental ability of kids some are fine checking blood glucose in the classroom.  Often they know much more about their bodies than anyone else. Give kids as much flexibility as you can in making those decisions.

2- Don’t refer to children as “the diabetic”.  Granted, I hear this more in my nursing peers than I do from other school staff.  As someone with diabetes I am offended when someone tries to define me with that label.  I happened to develop a condition that I didn’t choose but it does not describe who I am.  It’s much less offensive to use language like “the child with diabetes” etc.  Just be aware of the impact of your words.

3- Learn what to do.  The biggest worry in school is low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Know the signs and be prepared to respond.  I would hope that everyone has nurses in the schools to help provide training (but as we know this is an area sorely lacking in our prosperous country).  If you don’t have someone to train you, talk to parents and access information available for school staff on the American Diabetes Association website.

4- Make sure you have what you need to respond to a low blood sugar reaction.  Parents should supply snacks and supplies but unfortunately not every child has parents who do so on a regular basis.  Rather than spend your time fighting, ask the nurse or principal to get a tube or two of glucose gel.  You can also use cake gel (it must be GEL, not icing, the icing has more fat and takes longer to absorb).  That way you have a cheap and quick way to respond and prevent an emergency situation.

5- Know that if he/she has high blood sugar then there will need to be extra trips to the bathroom.  I’ve heard lots of staff talk about how kids abuse the system to “take advantage”.   There are lots of psychological issues than can come with diabetes that become classroom management issues.  That is a topic for another blog!  But do know that it is very real for a child to need extra trips to the bathroom when blood sugars are running high.

6- Low or high blood sugar levels can interfere with test-taking abilities.  These kind of things should all be addressed in a health plan, and often students with diabetes will also have a 504 plan.

7-Families are taught to count carbohydrates not limit foods.  Children with diabetes have the same nutritional needs as any other child.  They can eat cupcakes and other treats, it just has to be covered with insulin (either via pump or by an injection)- they should have access to the same treats the other students have.

Over my years in school health I have seen the number of students with type 1 diabetes increase.  It’s the rare occasion for schools not to have at least one student with diabetes. Please know they often feel “alone” in their condition.  When I was a child my parents packed me off to “Camp Kno-Koma” for two weeks every summer (I am NOT making the name up- that’s what it was called) where for once I was not the weirdo. We all had to do the same thing and I didn’t feel like everyone was staring.  Be aware of those feelings in your students.  Those thoughts will vary by child but sometimes kids just want to have a “normal” day.

Diabetes care at school is a team effort, and some days are easier than others. The more you know, the more comfortable parents will feel sending their child to school and the more confident you will feel in being able to respond to the needs of the kids in your care!!

 

 

 

 

 

TIME OUT GUIDELINES

luanne_general[1]

IMPORTANT:  In order for time out to work, you must first understand the function of the student’s behavior. If his behavior is to avoid work, then time out is giving him what he wants. Make sure he has the skill to perform the task and try to motivate the student.

  • The location of your time out should be in an area you can easily supervise and is not in view of other students. Some students are embarrassed and need privacy to recover. Some will enjoy disrupting others and try to create a power and control battle with you. I always made my time out spot with a sturdy shelf (would not turn over) against a wall with room for a beanbag, or file cabinet and beanbag, or 3-sided wall partition and a bean bag. This is NOT an isolated time out room. There are specific laws about isolation rooms and, frankly, I don’t believe they belong in school.

 

  • My rules were:
    • I don’t hear you.
    • I don’t see you (means student stays in time out spot).
    • Time out is 2 minutes.

These rules are unusual in that they are negative and go against the “dead man rule” (if a dead man can do it, it’s not a good rule). However, I did not care if the student was rolling on the floor, hiding under the beanbag (happened often), was trying to stand on his head, or was lying on his back with feet in the air. I did not want to engage in a power struggle on how to sit in time out. I just want him to stay in the time out spot and to be quiet in order to not disrupt the rest of the class. That’s all. The general rule for minutes in time out is 1 minute per age of the child. I found two minutes was usually enough. If a child was calm and compliant in two minutes, why wait another 6 minutes just because he was 8 years old? If a child was not compliant in two minutes, I waited until he was compliant. Sometimes that would take several minutes, but I would check on him every two minutes. It sounds time consuming but it is not. Takes seconds.

 

  • On a desk or shelf outside the time out spot is a basket with Time Out Notes and pencils.

    Time out note

 

  • When the child is ready to follow directions, he steps out to get one Time Out Note and a pencil. He goes back into the time out area to fill out the note. The first line, “I chose time out when,” helps the child understand he had a choice and it was his behavior that led to time out. The next line, “next time I will,” helps him choose a replacement behavior. The next line, “I need to apologize to,” helps the child understand his behavior affected someone else and he needs to correct that. Some adults feel a child should only apologize if the apology is sincere. I think it is good practice to apologize whether it’s sincere or not. When a student is still agitated, he may yell out for help or complain he doesn’t understand the Time Out Note. This is another sign he is not yet compliant. Calmly tell him you will help when he is in time out quietly for 2 minutes.

 

  • The student does not choose when to come out of time out. The teacher invites the student to return by giving the student a request, “Sam, come talk to me, please.” DO NOT ASK “Are you ready to follow directions?” or “Are you ready to come out of time out?” Some of your toughest kids will be ready to come out of time out but are not ready to be compliant. When I request a student to come talk to me, I am observing if he is being resistant or compliant. I often will also give a quick request as he is walking towards me (“Please push in that chair”, “Please bring me that book,” “Please throw that paper in the garbage”). This is to give the student practice following my directions. I can immediately assess if he is going to be complaint by doing that. If he is not compliant, I simply tell him it seems he is not ready and send him back to time out. Sometimes you will have a student who refuses to come out of time out. That’s ok. He’s just trying to get in a power struggle. Don’t play. Just tell him you will check on him in a couple of minutes…then ignore him. He eventually will get tired of being in time out and will be willing to be compliant.

 

  • After you and the child quickly review the Time Out Note together, politely tell the child what he needs to do to get back engaged in class. For example, “Joe, after you apologize to Bob, join the blue group for this science project.” You want to make sure you help the student be successful.

 

  • Some students need time out often. That’s ok. Four 2-minute time outs are better learning experiences than one 20-minute time out. I remember when I sent a student to time out for the fifth time, he yelled, “I’m sick of time out!” I calmly responded, “Then simply follow directions.” That was his last visit to time out.

 

  • There is absolutely no justification for a teacher to be angry when putting a student in time out. Nor should a teacher feel like she “got him”. Time out is not a matter of the teacher winning and the student losing. If you have these feelings, you are misusing time out. Time out is an absence of reinforcement. It is an opportunity for the student to recover and change his behavior. So, when a student returns to the class, he has a clean slate.

 

 

Line Up AND Learn Some Math!

luanne_general[1]“SHE CUT ME!”

I heard that a number of times when students were lining up in my classroom. One of the worst possible crimes in elementary school is when a student cuts in line! Oh my! Other crimes while lining up were pushing, crowding, elbowing, complaining, name calling, etc.

It is tough to get 25 young children to line up quickly and peacefully. Soooo I developed the Stand-On Footprints to help students line up.

 

footstep

The footprints give a specific spot to put feet. While standing, there are many math skills available for incidental learning. The top left corner has the numeral and the number word in English. The top right corner has the numeral and the number word in Spanish. Between the feet are the ordinal number and ordinal number word in English. Below the ordinal number word is the number in Roman Numerals. At the bottom of the page is the number represented in dots. The Stand-On Footprints also have a color pattern: blue, green, blue, green….  Whew, this one piece of paper is full of math concepts!

I taught ordinal numbers using the stand-on prints. “Bob, stand in 4th place. Sue, stand in 8th place, etc.” While waiting in line, my students kept busy looking at the numerals below, number words, and counting dots. It simplified lining up AND my students learned additional math skills in the process.

If you have a class that needs high structure, give each student an assigned number. Students will not have to jostle around to find a spot. You can spend less time directing and correcting students and spend more time reinforcing positive behavior and teaching math concepts.

Simply print out Stand-On Footprints on a color printer, laminate, and tape to the floor. There are many different types of decorative duct tape available at your local home store. I find sticking the tape to your clothing before sticking to the floor lets you remove the tape without leaving residue. Decorate your floor, improve your students’ math skills and reduce conflicts in line with Stand-On Footprints!