Caught your attention with that title didn’t I? I’m sorry, I don’t have a magic wand pill or some type of special ed teacher sorcery to share. There’s no quick fix in the world of behavior change. But there are a few important things you can do from the start that will have a major impact on the positive and negative behaviors in your classroom.
I just can’t stop talking about staff training right now, guys. I can’t stop, won’t stop. I’m on a mission. I am on a mission for all of you to have the best year ever. And having the best year ever means going beyond just ourselves and our students. It’s about our team. We are part of two important teams in our jobs. We are part of the whole school community team and our classroom team. And you NEED to do staff training with both groups. I know the reasons why you can’t. You have no common planning time, you are nervous, nobody listens, etc. But this year – no excuses. Head over to my Facebook Page and watch my last two FB live videos. I talk you through all the steps for initiating these meetings, share a free editable powerpoint, and what to included for content. I promise you – you won’t regret spending the extra time on staff training and it will make such an impact.
All About that Reinforcement
The next step is a hugely important one. You want to work on establishing yourself and your classroom as an amazing, incredible, love it so much it hurts place. I always say – be a chocolate chip cookie. Everyone loves a chocolate chip cookie. I’d eat one for breakfast everyday if it wasn’t unhealthy. Work on becoming that. Also take the time this month to give preference assessments, do observations, and try out new preferred items to start to figure out what reinforcers work for which kids. When teaching routines, plug in TONS of reinforcement. That means loads of tokens, praise, breaks, iPad, etc to show your kids which things they are doing that are great!
Learn more about pairing and preference assessments in this post!
Function First, Intervention Second
Many of us are ‘do-ers’ – we want to get stuff done and get it done now. It’s tempting to jump in on day two of school and throw a boatload of interventions at that new problem behavior that popped up over the summer. But hold your horses my friends. Figure out the function or the why of the behavior so you can develop an intervention that is function based. Check out this post for tons of info.
Give It Some Time and Space
Nobody feels like jumping right into work 2 minutes after their alarm clock went off. That’s why the snooze button was invented. Give your students some time and space. The first few days of school may feel like a perpetual Monday morning and your students are still waking up. Their norm over the summer was likely very different than the expectations at school. If you come in hard and fast with demands, it won’t end well.