Friday, July 31, 2015

Need Behavioral Support? Behavior Buzz with The Bender Bunch

Are you frustrated with behaviors? Are you at your wits end? Do you need some suggestions or advice? Is what you're doing not working? 

See this button right here >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
I have some exciting news! I am super duper excited to announce the launch of "Behavior Buzz with The Bender Bunch" today!!! 

If you're facing challenging behaviors with a student or in your classroom, just click on this button in my sidebar. You will be taken to a google form to complete and submit. Each month I'll feature a submission...or two...depending on the response I receive...on my blog with specific suggestions and recommendations for positive behavioral supports to try with your student/class based on the information you provide me with. 

I am the only one that will see your responses and will only use your first name in my blogpost, or you can choose to remain anonymous! Come back and use the form any time, as much as you need for behavioral support and refer your friends!!!

Are you as excited as I am?
Hope to Behavior Buzz with you soon!!:)

The Bender Bunch,

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Dealing with ED/ODD Students the First Week of School

Are you ready for back to school? It's our last week of the summer blog hop and this week is all about the first week of school. Originally, this post started as a post where I was going to share with you my BOY checklists and what I do the first week of school in my classroom, but then I received a message from one of my readers asking me a great question! 
      Quote: I accepted a position in a new district and it's a second grade behavior self-contained class. I am very excited, yet very anxious about the beginning of the school year. I saw on your blog that your specialty is behavior and was wondering if you have any pointers for planning the first week of school and any strategies to use with students who are ED and ODD. I would really appreciate it!

So I thought it would be perfect to use her question as the focus of this post and to hopefully benefit others as well that may be going into a new year with challenging behaviors!

Here are some pointers for tackling those challenging behaviors for your new students.

Prior to the start of school
1. Review the child's IEP and check to see if there is a BIP (Behavior Intervention Plan). There should be a BIP, but it is not uncommon for there not to be one. Familiarize yourself with what the child's behaviors are, the function, settings, reinforcement menus, etc. 
2. Designate a "safe spot" or a "cool down area" in your classroom where students can go to de-escalate. Make this area soothing and inviting, but safe and free of obstacles they could use to further hurt themselves. Also have an area where you can easily block and contain the student if needed.
3. Put a crisis management plan in place. Have a plan in case of crisis. For example, what will you do if the child if the child starts throwing things? Will you remove the students from the room, where will you take them, who will take them? What will the procedure be if you have a runner?
4. Have a classroom management system designed and in place to begin on the first day of school. How will you manage classroom behaviors as a whole? Clip chart, stoplight method, whole group token system, cards flipped, etc. 
5. Get organized! Your unorganization can cause chaos for the ED or ODD child. 
6. Share all of this information with your classroom aides and other staff that may be involved. I provide an instructional plan to my aides for each student. You can grab a copy of my instructional plan here

On the first day of school 
1. Begin building a rapport/relationship with the student from the start! Introduce yourself. Tell them how happy you are to have them in your class. Most of these students are used to not being liked and being rejected. Make them feel wanted. Begin building trust. You could even begin this process prior to the start of school, by sending them a postcard or dropping them a phone call.
2. Give the students a tour of the classroom, showing them all of the areas/centers and areas that may be off limits. Show them the cool down area and explain what it will be used for.
2. Review classroom procedures and set clear, concise expectations from the start. Remember, it is easier to lighten up than it is to toughen up! Check for understanding. For instance, after reviewing your procedures...ask the ODD child, "Ok, what are you going to do if you need a drink of water?" Child: "Raise my hand." Make sure they understand and post visuals of these rules and procedures in your classroom that they can understand.
3. Practice, practice, practice!!! Spend the first day practicing procedures. Practice walking in line, practice fire drills, practice center rotations, etc. Make it fun by making it into a game. 
4. Be consistent!! Set your rules and guidelines and stick to them. Never negotiate! Consistency is key!

Dealing specifically with the ED or ODD student
1. Conduct a reinforcement assessment immediately on the first day. Hopefully if the student had a BIP, you already have a good idea of powerful reinforcements for the student. If not, you will want to conduct an assessment right away! To do this, sometimes you can just ask the student what their favorite things are. You can also ask their parents. Another way is to provide the students with free time in the classroom providing a variety of toys, games, activities, crafts, computer,etc. and sit back and watch. Let them have the run of these things.What does the child seem to be enticed by? What are they playing with the most? At the end of the school day, take these items and put them away and make them only available contingent upon good behavior. Sometimes the most powerful reinforcement for a child may even be a particular snack or even a squeeze or verbal praise, so take note of these reactions during your assessment as well. Since I'm on vacation, I don't currently have access to my reinforcement assessments, but you can locate many online.
2. Give frequent positive praise. Catch them being good constantly. Be proactive. Don't wait for them to misbehave. Ex. "I love how well you're following directions. Great job!" "I love how you raised your hand to get out of your seat."
3. Always provide immediate feedback whether they're doing it right or wrong. In number two, I gave examples for if they're doing it right. If they're not, you might say, "I asked you to get out your notebook, but you're not following directions, can you please get out your notebook?" "Ok, now you're following directions, awesome possum!" Be funny, make them laugh when they're following directions! 
4. If they continue not to follow directions, planned ignoring and recognizing students that are can be a great tool. Ignore the student, and maybe walk around the room saying to the other students, "I love how you're following directions," and place a couple of M&M's (one example) on that student's desk or something you know the defiant student really loves. 
5. Don't give attention when the student is misbehaving (planned ignoring). We want to teach the student how to seek attention appropriately. Most of them are used to only getting attention when they misbehave and it is our goal to change that.
6. Because these students are so used to negative attention in their lives and living in a punitive world, don't be negative. Rather than using negative consequences, ignore when you can, and praise the good behaviors. Praise the best, ignore the rest. Many times you will not be able to ignore behaviors that become severe, but this is when your crisis management plan will come into place.
7. Never take something away that the student has earned. If they earn it, it's theirs. Remember, these children are used to everything being taken away and losing privileges.
8. Also, moving a clip down on a clip chart or flipping a card for bad behaviors, do not work well with ED and ODD children. Most of the time, asking a child that is ED or ODD to move a clip down or flip a card will only escalate their behaviors. Avoid it! While I use a clip chart in my classroom, my ED and ODD students are exempt from it. They use a token system instead or a cool points chart. You can read all about my "Cool Points" charts here and find token boards here. You can read about my whole group token board here.
9. Put a positive reinforcement or token system into place asap once you've completed your reinforcement assessment. It may not be possible to have this in place right away, as you need to get to know the student, but do it as soon as possible.
10. Positive reinforcement must be POWERFUL! Don't just assume because you think all kids love gummy bears that this child will. That is why the reinforcement assessment is so important. It must be something that is powerful for them!!! Something they want so bad, they are willing to do anything to get it. Always make these reinforcements available only contingent upon good behavior. 
11. Increase and decrease the frequency of reinforcements as needed. For example, an ODD student that is disruptive every 10 minutes will need opportunities for reinforcement more frequently than a student that is disruptive every hour. 
12. Be proactive by seating the child near positive role models.
13. Teach the student calming techniques and strategies through the use of social stories and providing them with their own calm down kit. Autism Adventures has a good one here that also includes a social story that I use in my classroom.
14. Be a good listener. Encourage them to talk about their anger and frustration once they have de-escalated. Provide them with replacement behaviors. Build that trust!
15. Begin collecting data right away on the frequency, duration, and severity of behaviors to assess the progress of the reinforcement system. If progress is not being made, then you need to make some adjustments. You can find some timesaving charts here that I use to take data on behaviors in my classroom.  

These are just some quick tips to help you with the first week of school! Remember, no two students are the same. What may work for one, may not work for the other. Get to know the child and make adjustments as needed! If it's not working, change it!  

Here's to a great first week of school!

Now head over to My Special Learners for more tips!

Monday, July 20, 2015

SpEd BTS Blophop {Free e-book & Lots of Giveaways!}

Back to School is just around the corner for many! I know I say that rather fluently, but it is what it is I guess! I am in no means ready to go back! I'm leaving tomorrow for Indiana and once I come back, I'll have a little less than two weeks to get everything on my "summer to-do list" done and prep for my year! {GASP} Yikes is right!? Writing that made it just hit home people! I might be going into panic mode right at this moment! 

Well if you're feeling like me right now, I'm glad you're here. I have teamed up again this year with my special ed blogging buddies to not only bring you some fabulous giveaways, but this year we've also compiled an e-book for you! This e-book is loaded with freebies and tips from 25 special ed teacher/bloggers and will provide you with some shortcuts for starting your new year out! Click on it to download!

 This e-book is amazing...but wait! Before you get indulged in all of the awesomeness of it, hop around to all of our blogs and enter our giveaways! All 25 of us have a giveaway for you! 

I'm giving away a $25 TpT gift certificate to spend in any store you choose! Spend this gift certificate on any of your BTS wishlist needs! 

Now click on the blog after mine and just keep going until you've entered all 25 giveaways! This link up will be displayed on all of our blogs to help you easily advance through the hop! 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

SPED Summer Bloghop {Week 4: Paraprofessionals}

 I hope you have been enjoying our sped summer blog hop! This week is all about working with Paras! Ahhh, a question many of us special educators struggle with! 

Some of us get lucky and get great paraprofessionals, and some of us aren't so lucky! I have experienced both! I feel very fortunate at this time to have two of the best aides I could ask for! But I've also had some bad experiences as well! 

One mistake I found I made when I first started teaching was not being a part of the interview process. Be a part of this process!

My school just hired people for the position as they were referred from the district office, and being a new teacher, I didn't know any different.

 My first year teaching at this school, I got an aide that could not stand germs, she couldn't stand stinky kids, and heaven forbid a kid draw back a fist and attempt to hit her. This lady was at the sink washing her hands more than she was working with kids! Really? That doesn't work in my classroom! My class consists of snotty nose, stinky kids that come to school unbathed and wearing the same clothes, and kids that hit, kick, spit, scratch, throw, and I even had one one year that would pee on you! 

I decided at that point, that it was time to get involved with the process! I went to my principal and requested to be a part of the interview process in the future and expressed my concerns. She was more than fine with it and was in fact pleased that I wanted to be involved. 

So this led me to come up with some tools to better prepare myself and prevent this from happening in the future! I knew she was transferring at the end of the year and that I would be getting someone new again. So I prepared some Interview Questions, a Paraprofessional Code of Ethics, and a Para Checklist for myself. Don't worry, you'll get to download all of it!

Here are my Interview Questions

I wanted to make sure that the applicant's I would be interviewing understood what my classroom was like and what they were going to have to deal with. Their reactions say it all when some of these questions are asked. It also gives them the opportunity to back out if they do not think they can handle the situations discussed in the interview. My principal even asked me if she could have a copy of my interview questions last year to use at an interview she was conducting for another teacher. ((Smiles)) 

If and once they were hired, I wanted to provide some guidelines and code of ethics to them, as one of my first aides had broken many code of ethics in my classroom....which was my fault because I was not prepared and had not participated in the interview process! So now that this was changing, I prepared this Code of Ethics that I go over with them upon their employment!

And then, to help me remember everything that I need to do to get them acclimated, I made a personal checklist for myself!

I have been using these documents for the last 3 years, and they have been very beneficial for me! I hope they will help you too! You can click on each one to download it for free! 

If you'd like to see how I utilize and schedule my paras during the instructional day, you can read all about that here.

I also use this communication log in my para's centers for them to write notes to me about my aha moments, or something a child may be struggling with in the center, etc. I really love that I started doing this! It's been great and I also used it as evidence for one of my Professional Standards during my evaluation. 

And of course, what's a blog hop without a giveaway, right? 

Pin the very first image up top to Pinterest, leave your pin URL in a comment below, and one random winner will get to choose any item from my store! 

Thanks a Bunch!

Now head over to......
Yo u AUT-a Know 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

BTS Freebies!!!

Oh Snap! It's almost August!! As much as you hate's time to start thinking about the upcoming school year! Well I'm featuring SEVEN BTS freebies here to ease your thinking and planning!
My open house sign in sheet...which has been downloaded almost 16,000 times! Wowza!! :)

Beginning of the year student info sheet! 
Includes everything you'll need to know from custodial issues, to allergies, to how they get home!

A line up chart
I love this and rotate it each Monday so every student gets the opportunity to lead the line. It also allows me to separate and place students away from students that should not be together. 

A check out list
This is helpful for creating and tracking books, toys, or a supply checkout system. 

An accommodations flip book
If you're in special Ed, this allows you to have accommodation suggestions right at your fingertips when writing IEPs or planning for your students.

Student desk name tags!
Simple, yet trendy name tags for your students. Print on sticker paper to easily affix to students' desks or laminate for durability. Even have students write their own names and then compare this to their handwriting at the end of the year!!  

Inspirational subway posters freebie!
Start your year out by displaying some cute, colorful, and inspirational quotes in your classroom. 

This is just a glimpse of the BTS freebies in my store! You can head over to the freebie section of my store here to download all of these freebies and even more freebies and BTS items! 

You can also click on the button below to check out other teacher deals and dollar steals in other teacher stores or even link up your own deals!!!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Viva Las Vegas {Behind the Scenes}

Where to start?? Vegas was soooo much fun! I only live an hour or so from Vegas, so it wasn't my first rodeo, but this was my first year attending the conference and I'll never miss another. It was so worth every bit! It was so much fun meeting all of my virtual sped buddies in person and so many of the TpT celebrities! So much inspiration....and the Venetian is just amazing!

Our Suite

Our View

My virtual sped buddies that I've been collaborating with online for over a year......I finally got to meet them in person!! :)

A few other sped teachers I had the privilege to meet!

The blogger meet up was just amazing! I got to meet the Go Noodle students will love this picture!

 And I finally got to meet this girl! My sweet friend Susan from "School Bells & Whistles."

And holy cow...look at all this swag we got when we got there!!! Big shout out to all of these companies for sponsoring the meet-up and to all of the bloggers that spent so much time organizing it!

The sessions were so informational and inspiring! These are the sessions I attended, except I switched "Do this, Not that" to "First Grade Blue Skies" session and so happy I did! Jennifer is a fabulous and funny presenter and super sweet!

If you plan to go in the future, I highly recommend a binder like this. It was the best thing ever for staying organized!

Jennifer White from "First Grade Blue Skies!" Just loved her. She has the sweetest twang from Alabama!

And the infamous Deanna Jump and DeeDee Wills! I still can't believe I actually have a picture with them!! I was so nervous, but they are super sweet ladies!

And OMG, saving the best for last....yes I got a picture with Paul, the founder of TpT!!! OMG, his arm is on my shoulder! This picture definitely shows the pure look of excitement on my face! Does it not?

I also got a pic with "The Teeny Tiny Teacher," but it's just too horrible (of me, not her) to share!

Erin Cobb is the sweetest, most genuine down to earth person ever! Her session was phenomenal! She shared all of her secrets and I took so much away from her session....including this awesome custom planner that she GAVE all of her attendees! I am so super excited to own it! She also included a CD in the back with tons of clipart! Just wow!

I didn't do alot of shopping while I was there, but I am super excited to get these photo cubes I've been wanting for super cheap and these mini pointers for my kiddos!

Hubs and I hung out in the evenings and he won $1800 on this machine!

So we figured that called for a limo ride to Fremont Street with these lovely people we met on the game! :)
Now that's the way to end Vegas! 

So much fun, good times, inspirations, collaboration, good food, and good friends!

Thanks to "The Elementary Entourage" for putting on this linky! Head over to their blog to read about other experiences or to link up your own experience if you were there!