New year and hopefully new (and appropriate) behaviors! This month, The Autism Helper is all about behavior. I recently got my act together for this this school year (only took until January…) and set up a behavior resource center for staff in order to better work with students who either have dedicated paraprofessional or need more intensive behavior needs. This area also became a paraprofessional resource center (please read Meredith’s blog post about her gorgeous paraprofessional station for tons of inspiration), but with a behavior focus, especially with prevention of challenging behaviors and establishing boundaries and expectations. Here are the steps I took to set up a behavior resource center for my classroom…
1. Scout Out A Location
Usually, finding a location is my go-to first step for everything I do in my classroom. As teachers, we all have different classrooms, students and staff, so this will look different depending on all those variables. I decided to utilize a corner in my classroom because I had a student previously working in that corner and now he’s able to engage in small group instruction, so he sits with the rest of his peers. I also like this area in my classroom for a behavior resource center because it is away from student work areas and has a wall for posting information. Honestly, the best location is what works for your own classroom. I’m storing data binders on the desks and materials needed for programs or any other specific materials a student may need (e.g. pencil grips). I also set up a desk nearby so any staff can run one-on-one instructional programs in a quieter location, away from small group instruction.
2. Find/Create Resources and Visuals
As always, The Autism Helper has you covered! Resources I have in my behavior resource/paraprofessional station include:
Paraprofessional Training Manual-I have a copy of the manual at this station, but I also put up selected pages in top-loading clear sheets on the wall so specific topics can be displayed. This is a must-have resource as a manual, but make an extra copy and display those pages that are the most relevant to your classroom for all to see!
Ultimate Packet of Behavior Visuals for Children with Autism & Positive Reinforcement System for Visual System for Children with Autism or Special Needs– I have parts of both of these resources, laminated, Velcroed, and ready for use in a clearly labeled bin for east access! This offers easy access to grab an “I’m working for…” star chart or a time out chart in a pinch.
Behavior Plan Flow Chart & Tools– This is a great resource to display for general behavior expectations or if you have students that need more specific and systematic behavior interventions. This resource is also editable!
And any other specific visuals you have…reinforcement choice boards; First, Then visual; or any other visual reminders that are tailored to your students.
3. Gather Materials
Get all the binders, containers, dividers and other items you need to make data binders and collect behavior data. At my behavior resource center, I color-coded the individual student’s binder to the container and to their hand counter for easy storage and identification.
Another must-have material for data binders are an index-tab system. I absolutely love Avery Ready Index Dividers (The colors! The index page!). Since these are a pricier item, do yourself a favor and laminate the index page and write on it in permanent marker. When you want to reuse it, erase the permanent marker with hand sanitizer and a Magic Eraser.
Let’s be honest, the Avery Ready Index Dividers are the height of luxury for any teacher, so feel free to make a more budget-friendly version using blank paper dividers you can reuse also.
In the desks at my station, as I mentioned earlier, I have plastic containers inside the desks labeled with the students’ names. Each box has materials they need to access the curriculum (e.g. Wiki Stix, pencil grips) or materials for students’ individual instructional programs (e.g. flashcards, counters).
4. Set Up Data Binders
Gather your tabs and data sheets and set up those binders! You can always make your own or use The Autism Helper’s Special Education Editable Data Sheets. My go-to data sheets are ABC chart, intervention log and independent work prompting. Using the ABC chart at first will help to determine the behavior and from there, you can find or make a data sheet more tailored to that specific behavior. The intervention data log is a key because it’s important to keep track of to see if the interventions are working. The independent work prompting data sheet is also helpful because you can see if a student’s behavior is negatively effecting their learning.
5. Maintain & Evaluate
This is always the hardest step. It’s not enough to collect data, make sure you are analyzing the data and checking in with paraprofessionals to make sure that the station works logistically and that the interventions are effective. Since my behavior resource center area with a bulletin board-type display, changing out certain reminders as students’ needs change is essential. As staff are demonstrating understanding of basic behavior functions and implementing preventative strategies, you can change out behavior flow-charts or reminders to be more specific to the students in your classroom or to some higher level behavior management guidelines.
I hope you are inspired to set up a behavior resource center in your classroom. Share ways that you organize behavior management visuals, tools and data sheets for you and your staff!