Tuesday, July 9, 2019

High-Leverage Practice 7: Social/Emotional/Behavioral

 I am going to discuss High-Leverage Practices as mentioned on the CEC website organized around four aspects of practice. I hope you will join in the conversation!

“HLP7 -  Establish a consistent, organized, and respectful learning environment.”

I feel that establishing a behavior plan is one of the most important things to do before planning any instruction. Without organizing the students behavior, the result will be chaos and little learning.

At the beginning of the year, I like to establish my classroom rules on the first day. I also like to label these rules as a Job Description. I think this has a better connotation than rules and it is preparing them for the workplace. I also try to keep the rules to a maximum of 6 items so that it is easier to enforce. Then when I share it with the class, I encourage the discussion about what each expectation means. We discuss them until all of the students appear comfortable with the rules and understand my expectations.

Many teachers like to have the students help come up with the rules together, but I like to establish the rules myself. I want the students to know right from the start that I am in charge and that my classroom is not a democracy. By doing this, I’m setting the tone for my classroom that these expectations are important to me and that I feel they are necessary in order for every student to succeed in my classroom.

Next, I discuss what the consequences are for not meeting the expectations of the job description. I call these things “fines” so they could equate it with breaking the law in real life. I also create these consequences without the students. These consequences are things that I feel are appropriate and help the student to remember to meet my expectations.

Then I end this discussion with sharing what rewards are given. As a big fan of a token economy, I like to give my students a mock salary for meeting the job expectations. Again, this is preparing them for the work place. When students fulfill their job requirements, they will get a paycheck.

All of these items are given in writing that the student and parent must sign and return. This also gives the appearance of a contract which again simulates the work place. The student is given a copy of the signed document to keep. This helps later when they want to dispute that they didn’t know what the expectations or the consequences were.

The most important part of this is to be consistent with following this plan. If a student earns a consequence or reward, it needs to be applied as soon as possible. It is also important that this plan is applied to all students equally. When I am fair and consistent, students are more receptive and willing to accept the consequences that they earn.

How do you feel about a behavior plan? Please share a description of what your plan is and how you implement it.

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