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“Much of children’s and adolescents’ behavior is developed by emulating the behaviors of adults who play significant roles in their lives. Research indicates that individuals are more likely to model the behaviors of people whom they view as possessing competence and control over resources, and who are major sources of control, support, and reinforcement–characteristics possessed by teachers.” (Comprehensive Classroom Management: Creating Communities of Support and Solving Problems. Vern Jones and Louise Jones.)

Modeling is a natural part of our routines and practices as teachers. Marlene Bergan, art teacher at Damascus Middle School, incorporates modeling as an instructional strategy often. During a recent lesson, she used modeling to show her students how to create a foam printing project. Ms. Bergan masterfully wove behavior expectations into her lesson. While she explained to kids the process of printing, giving examples and non-examples, she also modeled what to do. Additionally, Ms. Bergan had written out the directions step by step at the work station for kids to follow on their own. As students transitioned into work time on their projects, she offered reinforcement, encouragement, and help as needed to her students. By modeling the project process along with her expected behaviors, students were able to complete their art assignments independently and all enjoyed a safe, respectful learning environment while doing so!

PBIS Tip: Regardless of the grade level or subject area you teach, it’s likely you include modeling among your many strategies. This week, choose one expected behavior to model as well. Are cell phones allowed in class? Consider locking yours away during the school day, too. Are students expected to sit quietly and show respect at school assemblies? Be an example to your kids by sitting among them and participating appropriately. Time and resources are shorter than we’d all like; modeling is a no-prep, free resource we all have that can be very effective with students of all ages. Pick one positive behavior you’d like to encourage in your students and make a point to model it daily.

Courtesy of Danielle Triplett, PBIS Coordinator for the Gresham-Barlow School District

Have you ever noticed a sense of welcome when you enter some retail stores? Maybe it’s the layout, the music, or even the scent. At my local grocery store, there is someone positioned at the entrance who greets me every time I come in (which is pretty often). This greeter serves two purposes. One, it is intentionally inviting to customers like me; you feel welcome and know that help is there if you need it. A secondary benefit: it deters crime. My local grocery store has had its share of shoplifting, and having a person at the doors sends a message: we’re here, and we see you. In other words, we support positive behavior!

In their book Comprehensive Classroom Management: Creating Communities of Support and Solving Problems, Vern and Louise Jones emphasize the value of creating intentionally inviting school environments. “Teachers make many inviting comments to students. For example, teachers often greet students at the door, state how glad they are to see a student, and respond positively to the quality of student work. Some of this inviting behavior occurs unintentionally because teachers are positive people who care about their students. On other occasions, teachers consciously consider the impact of positive invitations and intentionally invite students to be positively involved in their classes.”

PBIS Tip: Make an effort to greet students at the door at least one day this week. Do this at the start of each day, the beginning of each class period, or after lunch or a break. You are extremely busy, and it can be challenging to make time to do this. Think about it this way: if it’s important, you’ll find a way; if not, you’ll find an excuse. I hope you’ll consider this important and worthwhile step to invite your students into your classroom and set a positive tone for the day!

Courtesy of Danielle Triplett, PBIS Coordinator
Gresham-Barlow School District

Author Trudy Ludwig is passionate about teaching young people ways to stand up for themselves and one another when bullying occurs. When Ms. Ludwig talked recently to elementary and middle school students in a Portland area school district about cyberbullying, she emphasized two words: public and permanent. Texts, pictures, and online posts feel very of-the-moment to kids. Each day there is new information coming their way, and yesterday’s status update is old news. However, Ms. Ludwig made it clear that even when you delete unkind texts or inappropriate pics, they are never completely gone. There is a record in cyberspace and the information is indeed permanent. She also discussed the idea of public vs. private. She told kids, you may think you are only texting your BFF, but you have no way of knowing who else it may be forwarded to or shared with. Whether using a smartphone, laptop, or other device, information sent online is public and permanent.

PBIS Tip: These days, more students have access to technology than ever before, but too often little instruction occurs with how to use these tools appropriately. Ms. Ludwig compared it to handing over the keys to your car. We have a system for teaching young people how to drive; shouldn’t we offer guidelines and education when we give kids a cell phone? This week, consider taking time to talk to your students about appropriate use of technology. While they may know more than you do about the latest social networking site or what LOL and ILY stand for, you know best when it comes to teaching kids about their behavior. Look for teachable moments to discuss this with your students. Emphasize two words: public and permanent.

TTYL (talk to you later)

Courtesy of Danielle Triplett
PBIS Coordinator for Gresham-Barlow School District

This month, schools across the country will be making an effort to raise awareness about bullying and teach kids how to treat one another with respect, tolerance, and compassion during October.

Part of raising awareness can include educating staff and students about what bullying is (and what it isn’t). Bullying definitions can vary, but generally include three key components:
• the behavior hurts or harms another person physically or emotionally
• it is one-sided and intentional
• the behavior is often repeated and continuous
There are countless resources available for schools, students, and families online. The PACER Center has an excellent one: http://www.pacer.org/bullying/. Wednesday, October 10, PACER is promoting Unity Day to unite people against bullying and to show support for those who’ve been bullied. Students and staff can participate by wearing orange on October 10. On their website you’ll find free posters you can download and print to promote Unity Day in your school. They also have websites about bullying for kids and teens. You might consider linking these to your school’s website.

PBIS Tip: Look for ways to raise awareness about bullying in your school and classroom this week. You might consider promoting Unity Day in your school. It could be an effective way to begin having conversations with students about what bullying is, and the power they have to stand up for one another. Bullying is an on-going problem that sometimes feels very difficult to solve; by raising awareness and uniting kids and adults against bullying, you’re taking an important first step to make a difference.

Do you know of someone who’s making a positive difference regarding bullying in your school? I’d love to hear about it and share with others!

Courtesy of Danielle Triplett, PBIS Coordinator Gresham-Barlow School District

Across the country, students are returning from summer break to our classrooms. Over the next several weeks, as you and your students get to know each other, you will be teaching them classroom and school-wide expectations. Plan for a positive start to the year by showing kids how and why to follow expectations, and acknowledge them often for doing so. Here’s a quote you might reflect on or share with your students this week to set a positive tone:

“Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words.
Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior.
Keep your behavior positive because your behavior becomes your habits.
Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values.
Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.”
–Mahatma Gandhi

PBIS Tip: Start off the new school year on a positive note! Make a point this week to encourage your students early on for following expectations. This is a crucial time as you set the expectations and routines in your setting for the school year. And your students are a captive audience this first week. Use their interest to everyone’s advantage by being explicit about expectations and classroom agreements. During this time, remember the foundation of PBIS: focus on the positive. Shower students with positive recognition for lining up quietly, getting to class on time, raising their hands when they have a question, and following classroom-specific procedures. Students of all ages will benefit from hearing positive feedback. Plan to start the year by showing kids how to do the things you expect, and acknowledge them often for doing so. You’ll all end the week feeling successful.

Courtesy of Danielle Triplett, PBIS Coordinator
Gresham-Barlow School District