What are a few contributing factors to success in your program? 

In an ED staff meeting not too long ago, an aid mentioned how her HS students had ZERO buy in with their program. I think this might be a common occurrence. It was my vocalized opinion that we have to CREATE an overall culture that HIGHLY rewards the successful student. What kid wants to earn 'enough points' to buy himself an ERASER!? This year we have put together some great field trips; Great America, Chico State and a Willy Wonka play, Gray Lodge, and Sunsplash are all things kids are excited about. A snowboard I picked up for $20 at Goodwill is the cheapest buy-in tool I can imagine per dollar spent. Our Smart Board is for our highest performing kids, fridge and microwave privileges as well as going on community based field trips, i.e. tennis at the high school, the Penny Candy store, visits to a small working ranch. None of us would work so hard in a similar environment for peanuts and I think its only fair that we reward the kids that are REALLY putting all their energy into behavior modifications.


Edited Thu, Apr 29, 2010 5:01 PM

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Another component that I feel is contributing to our success is regular discussions on behavior modification. We pretty much daily talk shop about a few acronyms or 'Behavior Tools' that we have learned or put together:

ITS-ME: (How to handle annoying behaviors from others) Ignore 3 X's, Talk (respectfully) to that individual with your request, Staff- discuss with a staff member, Move- away from the problem, Evaluate

BLEAK: (How to be in trouble) Body Language, Listen, Evaluate, Apologize, Keep quiet

SLANT: (how to be an attentive student) Sit up, Listen, Ask questions, Nod, Talk to the Teacher

FERB's: Functional Equivalent Replacement Behaviors

These have all been of great help in the progress of our students as we talk about them, refresh our memories and practice again and again.


Edited Fri, May 21, 2010 2:36 AM

Most people are familiar with this topic but maybe not so many with the technical terms: Internal and External Locusts of Control. These have to do with how each of us feel about how much control the world has over our lives or how much control we have over the world around us. "Am I able to do what I want how I want or does it not really matter what I want because I never get anything I want or need?" I would wager that the majority of kids in E.D. truly feel 'out of control' about their lives and their possibilities for each of their futures. In efforts of at least 'cracking the door open' for our kids in this area of control, we implemented a few basic activities that would allow our students to understand that pretty much everything in life has to do with practice and persistence, including the infamous 'behavior' component of their lives at school and at home. At the beginning of the year we started off with push-ups, multiplication mastery, and juggling and headed towards proficiency- all of which you can of course attach to standards. We practiced these religiously on a weekly basis and charted progress. Multiplication fluency levels increased by an average of over 200%, push-ups quadrupled, and juggling...well, we're still working on that one!) A poster in class is often referenced when the subjects of mastery or 'doing better' come up- "PERISTENCE: There is no GIANT step that does it. Its lots of LITTLE steps." We have since moved on to 4th, 5th and 6th grade Dolch site word mastery- again with charting/graphing to show growth. Clearly, this has not altered the stars and moon for these kids but it is my honest and humble opinion that they have all gained a very clear understanding of the time, effort, energy and mental fortitude that is necessary to find success, see growth, and have some control in at least some areas of their lives. Hopefully such experiences will empower them to push open a few of their own 'doors' in each of their own lives in the future...

Edited Thu, Apr 29, 2010 4:58 PM

I lived for several years as a group home parent of 6 (at a time) severely emotionally disturbed boys ages 8 to 18 in a level 12 residential facility.  Part of my training through the agency I worked with included extensive rounds of training in William Glasser's Reality Therapy and Control Theory, which we based our entire system of behavior modification on.  This theory holds that all actions taken by a person are what they believe are the best actions to obtain what they have need of in the moment. Every person has 5 basic needs that they are striving to have met.  These needs are: power or recognition, survival, love and belonging, fun and learning, and freedom.  We found that by teaching our children these needs and how to identify what need they are trying to meet with their behavior we could also teach them how to reflect on their choices and slowly start to buy in to better choices.  We kept the approach consistent across the home setting and the school setting, which was also run by the agency and caters to only severely emotionally disturbed children.  It was a slow process but it worked on both a cognitive and an emotional level for our children and our staff.

I think I found a new motto for our class for this upcoming year: FAIL FORWARD. Its focus is to help students understand that when they experience failure they should use it as a learning experience and make adjustments so they will be less likely to experience failure in the future. I am in the middle of reading some literature for a project and have read through some interesting material focusing on the effects that service learning has on behavior and academics. The article is titled: Tandem Pedagogy:Embedding Service-Learning Into an After-School Program.

Here is a good example of something memorable from TED.COM pertaining to SUCCESS.



If you check in at CSU Chico with Laurel Hill-Ward or Dr. Terri Davis in Tehama 4th floor, they can get you all kinds of information on service learning projects and resources.  Dr. Davis completed her doctoral work and has written a book and contributed many scholarly articles on service learning and Laurel Hill-Ward is an active participant in many service learning projects in Butte and Glenn Counties.  There may be some grant money available to your program if your service learning activity falls into certain categories as well. 

I am going to be looking into service learning projects and grants for my own classroom as I begin the new school year researching cooperative learning, science based inquiry, and the natural environment around Lake Francis and how I can incorporate students with special needs into the classroom without a pull out model.



Something I failed to share with our classroom visitors over the past couple days is that we have a level system that is really out of balance, at least as far as it appears on the board. But it is a good out of ballance: Level 4 is clearly weighted heavily in our classroom culture. We HIGHLY REWARD and talk about Level 4 as if it is THE ONLY place to be.


When appropriate (maybe once a week) we try to find an alternative negative consequence to moving a student down a level on our 1-4 system. The group 'SYNERGY' (or behavior 'VORTEX' as we call it) and individual student VISUALIZATION that they are on Level 3 or 4 helps create a pattern of 'I can be successful'. Beyond that, we have a chart on the wall that displays each students level on a weekly basis on an ongoing calendar. This probably is not a good thing to if your class is not maintaining a high level of behavioral success i.e. Level 3.5 average or so. The last thing our ED kids need is 'another' reminder that they are sub-par, 'can't do it', or are worthless.

Edited Thu, Nov 18, 2010 1:12 PM


Mon Feb 7, 12:21 pm ET
Teaching kids social skills pays off in grades
By Liz Goodwin

By Liz Goodwin liz Goodwin - Mon Feb 7, 12:21 pm ET

A comprehensive analysis of 33 studies finds that teaching kids social and emotional skills leads to an average 11 percentile-point gain in their academic performance over six months compared to students who didn't receive the same instruction.

That's a big jump, equivalent to a student at the middle of a class's performance curve moving into the top 40 percent of his or her peers, Sarah Sparks at EdWeek notes. The study's authors, led by Joseph Durlak, suggest the dramatic gain could be rooted in the physiology of the brain; social-skill instruction "may affect central executive cognitive functions," he notes-and improvement there helps kids to gain greater control over their impulses and actions.

The classes emphasize self control, responsible decision-making, and how to form and keep positive relationships with friends and authority figures. One lesson plan from the "Caring School Community" program asks kids to think about "some things you can do if you're not included in a game"-or if you see someone else on the playground who is left out. Many of the programs have an anti-bullying focus.

The study found the programs help kids form bonds with their teachers and may make students feel more attached to their school-factors that correlate positively with student achievement. Teacher-led programs that encouraged student involvement and role-playing were most successful in these aims, the study found.

About 60 percent of public schools addressed their students' emotional and mental health with special programming. The study was published in the scientific journal Child Development.

(Elementary students in a Bensalem, PA school-wide anti-bullying program: AP)


Success? People put a lid on it, especially for E.D. kids. But then again, I think people don't even know they have their own self-embedded ceilings in life.The bar is set too low, too often for everyone. And even when it's hit- there is not nearly enough celebration and recognition.!youtube/c21kz




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