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You Have to Build the Plane as You Fly It!: Core Components of an Evidence Based Behavior Support Program Part 2 Functional Skills
Kaye Otten, PhD, BCBA,
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If you are a teacher working with students
with significant language delays,
but who are verbal, students who are low cognitively,
curriculum is delivered individually
or in a very small group,
and tied to alternate curriculum standards.
Very heavy resource support, multi-cat classrooms,
or ACP classrooms.
Today, we will be sharing some social skills topics
we focus on, and reinforcements
you can use in your classrooms.
As you all know, these two topics can be talked about
for hours, we will try our best to have you walk away today
with some ideas that you can try in your classrooms.
I am Kristen McKearney.
And I am Steph Kopecky.
We are currently Level Three placement teachers
at Brook Valley South,
we have currently been resource teachers as well.
Why social skills instruction?
All environments are social, as we know.
If a student learns incidentally,
he or she would already have learned these skills.
Obviously that's not the case
for our students in special education.
It provides strategies to present
and replace problem behaviors.
Social skills instruction teaches students
appropriate interpersonal communication skills,
self-discipline, and problem solving skills.
Poor social behavioral skills correlate highly
with low academic achievement, which is why
it is extremely important to make sure that all classrooms
in all schools have built in social skills instruction
for all students.
social skills instruction
should be taught daily.
We currently teach it during morning meeting,
SHARK group, which is our current social skills group,
and during circle time.
Opportunities to practice social skills,
they are taught all day long.
They're easy to squeeze in during transition times,
recess, breaks, or lunch.
A set of social skills time
is definitely necessary for all students
with any behavioral disorders to participate in.
A recommendation would be every day
for at least 20 to 30 minutes,
or a minimum of three days a week for 20 to 30 minutes.
These topics can be taught in any order.
However, we have found that they flow nicely
when taught in this order.
We know you have heard of many of these topics
and use them in your classroom.
We will be sharing different ways
we have taught and reinforced,
and practiced these topics in our classroom setting.
Please know that we take a lot of time
on each one of these skills and topics.
These six topics build off of each other, and will be taught
the first semester of school, if not longer.
We always start our school year
with an Expected and Unexpected Behaviors.
We move into Zones of Regulation, Little Deal/Big Deal,
Breathing and Meditation, Size of Reaction,
and then Listen to my Body.
Starting the year learning the terms,
"expected" and "unexpected", is necessary in our classroom.
These terms are used multiple times a day, every day.
You can find these terms in the Superflex curriculum,
and there's also plenty of visuals
on the Jill Kuzma website for free.
This is just a great way to start every school year.
We connect all behaviors that we observe
to either expected or unexpected,
which is then connected to their daily goal card.
So that the kids in our classroom are hearing
and learning these words throughout the day
and throughout the school year.
This is the bulletin board we use in our classroom
when we are explicitly teaching
expected and unexpected behaviors.
You can see there are three areas
that we break our board into.
Adult interaction, peer interaction,
and classroom behaviors.
And then in each of those columns,
we have expected and unexpected behaviors.
A lotta times, teachers and adults assume
that kids just know what these terms mean,
but it's important to take the time to teach them.
Even as simple as teaching them
the difference between an adult and a peer,
is important at the beginning of the year.
Adding visuals on your board is important,
and those can be added throughout the lesson, and then
as well as throughout the school year when things happen.
We also use this board when we're doing role-play,
real life situations, and teach each term explicitly.
The color coding helps support our daily goal cards
with our students, and you can color code it
based on what the needs are in your classroom as well.
This is a fun I-spy bulletin board.
We call it, "I Spy Social Detective."
We use this bulletin board to teach multiple skills,
but one is expected and unexpected behavior.
A simple game of I-soy using different clues for items,
or pictures they spy that are expected or unexpected.
You can add pictures of items as needed and throughout
the year for different curriculum ideas or subjects,
as well as different social skill subjects that we teach.
Zones of regulation is not new to any of us
in the special education world,
it can be and should be used in any setting.
I mean, we just start with recognizing the colors
and emotions, and we tie it to the zone.
We use zones when students are in a good place,
calm in the classroom, and also use zones
when a student is struggling to have them recognize
their emotions, and tie it to a zone at that time.
One thing with zones is visuals, visuals, visuals.
These are the different ways
that you can incorporate the zones of regulation
into your classroom easily and quickly.
The first on the top left
is just our morning meeting message,
this is projected onto our whiteboard every morning.
Each of our students has their name on a magnet clip,
and they attach their name to what zone they're feeling
in that moment when they enter our classroom.
This is a great way for the teachers to just quick look,
see where each student is at as they walk into our morning,
and then we can check in with students from there.
The second picture is an example of one of our charts we use
to help problem solve when students
are feeling big emotions.
So if they're feeling like they're in the blue or the yellow
or the red zone, they can pull out their chart,
and they can see what tools help them.
Each student does this one-on-one with the teacher
at the beginning of the year,
and it can be changed as needed throughout the school year.
The bottom left bulletin board
is a great bulletin board idea
for a whole school or a classroom.
We took each adult in our building,
had a Bitmoji made for each zone color.
This is a great way for students to just see the variety
of different emotions that can be in each color of zone.
In the middle there, you can see the popsicle sticks
with the color circles, this is a great way for students
to check in what zone they are.
They can do this at their desk,
or in closing circle, or morning meeting.
You can also use these during instruction time,
by watching different video clips
or reenacting real-life situations.
Or even looking at a picture book
and the students can hold up what zone they might feel
the character or the picture or the video is showing.
And then finally on the right, these are just good,
quick visuals to put in your badges as teachers,
and making sure every adult in the building has one.
So if they see a student
that's struggling around the school,
they can stop and connect to the color zone that they feel,
and what tool they might need to feel better.
Big Deal/Little Deal.
A little deal is something that can solve a problem,
a student can solve a problem by themselves.
It can take less than an hour to solve, usually seconds,
maybe a few minutes.
You can move on with your day and not be upset,
and there is less than three people involved.
Big deals are someone is hurt, it could be dangerous,
and it is an emergency.
These are terms that can be used to teach size of problem.
This is basic terms, but can be very difficult to understand
for lower functioning students.
This is a number one issue we see in our students,
they can't recognize if something is a problem,
and what the reaction is in that moment.
These are posters that we have made
to teach Big Deal/Little Deal,
we start with just a blank poster board.
We use visuals that connect to our students,
their needs and our classroom structure.
As you can see, we have some pictures of iPads.
Oh, spilled milk, a broken pencil, on Little Deal,
some emergency situations for Big Deal.
This particular lesson took about three weeks
of 20 minutes a day social skills lessons.
We then added, after we added our pictures,
we added index cards and wrote down scenarios
that are actually happening in our classroom
during different lessons that we would see.
We would have students be the teacher
in different scenarios, and have the students
tell if it was a big deal or a little deal.
After kind of learning Little Deal/Big Deal,
and practicing some of those sides of problems,
we move into learning a little bit more
about breathing and meditation.
Breathing is when you breathe deeply,
it sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax.
Meditation is a set of techniques that are for your mind
and body to find more awareness and focus your attention.
We spend a lot of time with our students
practicing these two things, especially the breathing.
We assume everyone knows the correct way to breathe.
However, when students or adults even are worked up
or feeling anxious or angry,
and they're not able to take a deep breath,
it can affect how long it takes them to calm down.
So we really take the time to practice taking deep breaths
up through their nose and out their mouth daily.
This is also a really good thing to do
when they're in a good place.
So when they're in the green zone or blue zone
and they're calm and they're in the classroom,
participating, "Let's practice taking some deep breaths,"
and there's lots of different ways
that you can practice in a fun way.
And then we do a daily meditation.
We choose to do that after recess every day,
because our students get a little bit more squirmy
and off task after recess.
So it's just a great way,
we all go to our designated spots
and then we listen to a quick meditation, nothing too long.
And it's just a way for them to kind of practice
those deep breaths and calm their body.
Here are some different websites and apps
that we use for meditation.
You can register for a Smiling Minds account, this is free.
These are great quick meditations for all ages,
The Calm app is free for teachers, you can download that.
Those are a little bit longer meditations,
but you can find some good ones in there as well.
And then Cosmic Kids has plenty of different yogas,
but they also do quick meditations that the kids like.
Also just look on YouTube, there's plenty out there.
Different books we use when we're practicing mindfulness
and breathing, are listed off to the right there,
if you wanna write any of those down.
Those are just really fun,
interactive books to kind of teach, you know,
what is mindfulness, how do we calm our bodies,
and how do we use our breath to help us throughout the day?
We then move into Size of Reaction.
Size of reaction is, what is your body and mind doing
when a problem happens?
Does it match what the problem was?
And if it doesn't, what should the reaction have been?
We size up problem needs to follow big deal and little deal.
Teaching reactions to problems can be difficult.
The best way we have found is to use examples again,
that happened in our classroom and demonstrate
what the students' reaction is
to a problem that they may have had.
We always practice as a group
what their reactions should have been.
This is one of the bulletin boards that we like to have,
we have this up in our classroom, it's called Sink or Swim,
it goes along with our SHARK group.
The concept is that your reaction is going to help you sink
to the bottom or swim to the top.
All the ocean animals that you see up top,
they have a coping strategy that is taught to our students,
to help them swim.
All of the little black rocks that you see at the bottom
are things that happen in our classroom.
Possibly hitting somebody, throwing a chair,
not completing your work,
those kinds of things that will help you sink to the bottom.
So we always wanna teach them how to swim.
The next board is, we used this last year
to practice size of problem and reactions.
We decided against using it this year,
the concept was just a little too much for our students,
having five different five, six different reactions.
Glitch, little, medium, big, gigantic, emergency.
Little Deal/Big Deal sat better with our students,
but this is absolutely a good way to teach students
that are maybe a little bit higher functioning.
They can kinda understand when more people get involved,
the bigger the reaction possibly could be,
or the problem probably could be.
That X, that box at the bottom, the X,
is a reaction that we would put that should not happen
regardless of what the problem was.
Even if it's an emergency and your house is on fire,
we shouldn't be throwing things in,
those kinds of examples is what we put down there.
Then we would move into Listen to My Body.
So this part of the year,
we're really focusing on, how does my body feel?
Does my face get red and hot when I'm upset?
How does my stomach feel?
What do my muscles do?
What do my hands do?
We really go through all the body parts
and attach feelings to each.
This is probably the hardest thing for students
in special education, especially students
who are on the autism spectrum to understand.
You know, a lot of times they're very good at saying,
"I feel sad," or, "I feel angry," but they have no idea
what their body's doing in those moments,
and how it's not allowing them to calm down.
So we really spend a lotta time with visuals and using
their own bodies and then helping them kind of describe,
so it's easier and more explicit for them to understand.
One idea you could do is you could
just have a frame of a body.
You can use this body to label the different parts,
and maybe they could color or draw pictures
or attach the feelings that their part of their body
feels in those moments of distress.
And then also demonstrating it when they're in a place
of happiness or calmness.
These are two great books that you can use
when you're teaching Listen to My Body.
One of them is "I Can Handle It",
and the other one is "Listening To My Body".
Any classroom without reinforcements
would not be a functioning classroom,
especially a special education classroom.
We want to frequently give reinforcements,
individualize them with group, tangible and intangible.
Make sure there's visuals.
Visuals, visuals, visuals.
If then, short tasks with quick reinforcement,
frequent opportunities for reinforcement,
and reinforcements can be tied to a classroom level system.
One of the things that we really make sure that we do
is that the reinforcement is tied to our level system,
as well as it's individualized to each student.
These are some reinforcements that we use in our classroom.
At the top, you will see our SHARK bucks.
Those get handed out each day throughout the day
for expected behaviors we see in our students,
as well as it's connected to the end of the day checkout.
That next picture is our checkout system.
If you're on green,
you get in the treasure box and get money.
If you're on blue, you don't get the treasure box,
but you still get money.
And if you're on yellow,
you do not get the treasure box and you get no money,
hopefully the next day will be better.
That next picture with the palm tree,
is just our little break area,
we make sure students have a place to go for their breaks.
We also tie our breaks into our level system.
If the students are on level one,
then they get a daily break that they get to choose.
If they're on level two, they get a daily break,
but it's teacher choice, usually a break box or a book.
If they are in level three, it is still teacher choice,
it's pretty minimal,
and they use the safe room to take that break.
That last picture right there
is a picture of a canister of little sharks.
If the student did not go to the safe room that day,
they get a little shark in the canister.
This is a classroom reward system that we're using.
So if the classroom altogether gets up to one spot,
they're working for donuts,
and then the next they're working for pizza.
Right now, we decided to change it up a little bit,
and they are now working for pajamas and a game day.
In the middle column, you can see,
first there's an If Then chart, this can be used
for many different reasons, but also for reinforcements.
They can use this with visuals, or you can write words
depending on the level of your student.
Next to that, you'll see a work chart,
token board is something else that they can be called,
it's just made on Boardmaker.
Each incentive to get something done would then end
with the end result of getting M&M's, or an iPad time,
or preferred task for that student.
Having a student have their own break box has been
really helpful, where they can choose different fidgets
and different things that they like.
Everyone's break box looks a little different.
This is a good incentive for them, reinforcement,
but also a good tool for when they need a break
or when they need to calm down.
And then on to the right, this is just our daily...
Also with their daily checkout, if they haven't gone
to the safe room that day, they earn a sticker.
When they fill up their chart, they earn something big,
like a lot of SHARK bucks, a candy bar, things like that.
So just one more thing at checkout that kind of reinforces
their positive, expected behaviors that day.
The next two pictures
are just of our SHARK store.
This is just showing the door,
and then inside, the toys that we have.
They get to shop every Monday for about 20 minutes,
and they get to use the SHARK bucks
that they've earned throughout the weeks.
They can save their money if they want to for bigger items.
The next one is a reinforcement board,
these are just things that the students can pick to work for
during individualized instruction, like reading math.
And there is just a picture of our break box.
This is our WH board, these terms are so important
for us, they're important for our students.
Because a lot of times when we're processing with them
after a behavior has happened,
they have a hard time answering these questions.
Who was involved?
When did it happen?
Where did it happen at?
Number one, and why?
Answering these questions involving (inaudible),
they have a really hard time
answering any of these questions.
We teach these consistently, model and practice
with repetition, and we use boards, visual story maps,
WH board, et cetera, to do these.
This bulletin board right here,
is one of our boards that we use.
All of the students bring in different pictures,
we asked parents to send pictures
on who, what, where, when, or...
Yeah, who, what, when and where.
And so you can see some of these pictures,
they are all personalized to our students.
They might miss sibling, or parents, or their dogs,
or their bedroom could be their kitchen,
the outside of their house,
a bike that they ride, their trampoline.
So we discuss those,
all of their pictures that are personalized to them
and where we would put it on the board.
And then we use their pictures to ask them
personalized questions, for them to start understanding
what those WH questions mean.
These are just some further lessons that we've
just really liked that connect to different books.
The first one is the brain.
We love teaching about the brain,
as it connects to mindfulness and all of those things
that we're working on with our students.
Two books that we use in that
are "A Walk in the Rain with a Brain",
and "Your Fantastic Elastic Brain".
To teach size of reaction lessons,
we use "What if Everybody Did?"
or "What if Everybody Did That?".
Those are two similar type books,
but just kind of different levels,
depending on what your classroom looks like.
And they're really funny, interactive books
that the kids kind of, you know,
can giggle with and connect their behaviors to,
and really reflect on what their choices are.
Teaching all things behavior, of course,
Superflex and Social Thinking Books,
those are great tools for every special education classroom,
if you can get your hands on any of those.
And then finally, the mindfulness practice and lessons,
we use the "I Am Human, I Am Peace, I Am Yoga, I Am Love".
Those are such wonderful books for every classroom to have,
and really can focus on those areas of mindfulness.
I think she has a new one out called "I Am Courageous".
We would like to thank you for listening
to our presentation today.
If you have any questions about anything,
please feel free to email us,
our email is on that second page of our slides.
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