Positive Behavior Is Not a Dream...It's a Plan!
Ms. Amber Weston’s 6th block class comes in noisily. Suddenly, they calm down and start reading. Then I notice the doc camera projecting on the board: 1. Sit down quietly; 2. Complete your agenda; 3. You need to be silently reading within two minutes! You will need your notebook. They did that. I wonder what magic she used. After a few minutes, she begins the lesson: Narrative writing. “Today you have the opportunity to earn two points by completing today's portion of your story." She begins modeling by writing her own section of the story. "By completing the rough draft by tomorrow, you will earn 40 points." She prompts students to call out the rules for writing workshop. Students respond, “Write the whole time.” “You may confer with others only by going to the corners and waiting for another student.” “Only one question is allowed at [peer] conferences.”
I also visited Block 1, Ms. Weston’s Public Speaking and Debate CELT class. During the morning announcements, she prepares the activity on the doc cam which the students are to copy on their journals. Then, she asks the students to pair up using their clock appointments, for a listening/speaking lesson, and announces that student with the shortest hair in the pair will go first. The students will have a minute to talk about "puppies." The listening student has to listen for mistakes in clarity. What a fun way to start the class! The students had a blast with this drill. Today’s main activity, in preparation for a future debate, is called "Rock the Vote," to tie-in with the current presidential election.
With admiration, I ask Amber to describe her magical, effortless management style. First and foremost, her secret is designing engaging lessons, as you can tell from the observations above. She further explains that her PBIS is based on participation points, which are factored into the grade. The number of points is flexible and changes throughout the year. Each instructional unit has a point value which is determined by the duration of the unit and the average number of point the students have earned, so it's a grading curve that is within reach for all. The details seem complicated, but they are crystal clear to the students. The evidence is the enthusiasm with which they respond. “The kids are constantly checking to see how many points they have. They set goals periodically about the number of points they will earn,” she explains. Her successful class management formula is not effortless but it is duplicable. Thanks Amber for your magic, hard-working efforts for our students.
By José Manso
How to Talk to Kids to Improve Behavior
(This article is an excerpt from a Post on October 12, 2016 by Rachel Wise. Click here for full article).
I can tell you from over 19 years of experience, that being calm, encouraging, positive, patient, and consistent far outweighs yelling, punishment, and threats in any situation with any child, regardless of what you believe has or hasn’t worked in the past. Research and experience show that positive parenting/teaching strategies win every time and why is that?
Just like adults, kids want their opinions, feelings, ideas, and choices to be heard, validated, and at least sometimes honored. Many times adults push kids’ feelings to the side “I don’t care how you feel. You will do it because I said so.” Some children handle this type of treatment well and still grow up to be kind-hearted, responsible, adults. Other children, especially those who are very strong-willed will push back and fight you to the death, regardless of how much you yell, punish, or medicate them. And my question is…can you blame them?
Yes, they are children and are expected to respect “authority” but just like adults, if something does not feel right to them, they resist it. It is the nature of free will which is “human nature.”
Compromise, meeting a child half way, and being understanding about just how little control they have and what frustration this causes, is key. Through this type of thinking, you can provide a child with as much freedom and independence as possible while still guiding them to make good choices, have good values, and eventually be productive, contributing members of society.
When anyone feels like their feelings are ignored or dismissed, thoughts are not heard, and desires are not cared about, they feel frustrated, angry, and disappointed.