Swearing vs. Music

Listening to the musicLast night was Open House for our school, and as I talked with the one parent who came, I couldn’t help but be reminded how parental support is huge in helping students succeed!  Ginger, from last week’s post, had the support of both parents and her grandmother, which along with the No Bull 5-Tiered Level System© helped her to eventually be successful in school.

We left off last week with Ginger being trained on how she could earn up to 14 minutes per day listening to music when she used appropriate language.  Her Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) was revised to work in conjunction with the No Bull 5-Tiered Level System© used in our classroom.  These strategies not only work in the classroom, but at home, too. They take careful planning and consistent execution of said plan.  The Proactive Strategies section of her BIP looked like this (pay particular attention to number six):

Proactive Strategies (Individualized Positive Behavior Change)-

1. Teachers will use verbal and non-verbal cues to re-direct Ginger when she is off-task or acting inappropriately.

2. Teachers will communicate to Ginger the daily expectations; this may be oral discussion or an assignment.

3. Ginger will receive positive verbal feedback for following adult directions, engaging appropriately with peers and adults, and not engaging in tantrums.

4. A good behavior note will be written at the end of the day on Ginger’s point sheet if she has earned it.

5. Ginger will be redirected to use calming techniques when feeling upset which may include: counting to 20, asking if she can color or read for a few minutes, or requesting to leave the area and go to another location (i.e. her TOR, special education facilitator), or go for a walk around campus with an escort.

6. Ginger will earn privileges as she shows appropriate behaviors. Many of these are built into the level system used in the Seriously Emotionally Challenged (SEC) program.  However, Ginger will also be able to earn time to listen to school appropriate music on her CD player.  If while on each level Ginger engages in

Team Member-3 or less incidents in each period of inappropriate language, she will earn up to 7 minutes of music

Dept Rep-3 or less incidents each period of inappropriate language, she will earn up to 9 minutes of music

Manager-2 or less incidents each period of inappropriate language, she will earn up to 10 minutes of music

Supervisor-2 or less incidents in a two period time frame of inappropriate language then she will earn 12.5 minutes of music

Director-In-Charge-2 or less incidents in a three period time frame of inappropriate language then she will earn 14 minutes of music

Ginger kept a chart at her desk each day to monitor her behavior.  I have tried, unsuccessfully, to figure out how to attach the actual charts to this post to show you how they work.  If you are interested in seeing the charts, please email me by clicking on “Contacts” above.  Each CD on the chart represents a different amount of time, and each CD increases in the time gained or lost as Ginger goes up the No Bull 5-Tiered Level System©.  The amount of times she can use inappropriate language (without a serious consequence) goes down as the duration of time goes up, while she ascends the level system.

Using this type of monitoring system makes it possible to shape new, appropriate behavior, have it occur for a longer duration of time, and see the frequency of inappropriate behavior drop significantly.  If she did not meet the criteria, then she would cross out one CD picture which would lower the amount of time she could listen to music at the end of the day.

The amount of time Ginger listened to music was directly related to how many times she engaged in appropriate language.  As she stopped using inappropriate language and replaced that behavior with appropriate language, she started to earn higher levels in the No Bull 5-Tiered Level System©.  In her second year in our program, instead of staying in the lowest card (Team Member) more often than not and only on occasion earning her way to the next level of Dept. Rep., she more often than not earned the level of Dept. Rep. (the second to lowest level) and only occasionally was demoted to Team Member.   On average, we began to see her inappropriate language decrease from 27 times in a 55 minute period, to 13 times per day by the end of first quarter (she averaged 6 minutes of music at the end of the day as a Dept. Rep.), to 10 times per day by the end of second quarter, 8 times by the end of third quarter and 7 times per day by the end of the year (she averaged all 9 minutes of music at the end of the day as a Dept Rep).

As she improved her language, she also improved her ability to make and to keep friends.  She started to blossom and teachers started to tell me they could see a change in her behavior.  As a teacher, this is wonderful news to hear.

But, try as I might, I could never convince her that if she changed her daily personal goal from, “Get to Director-in-Charge,” (which is the highest level) to something that was more specific and easily attained she would be more successful.  So, when, on the last day of her second year she was on the lowest level (Team Member) and she wrote, “Get to Director-in-Charge,” I knew my work was not done.  I sat down at the end of the day and cried because I felt that I had failed her in some very important ways.

Come back next week to read about what I did the following year to help her be one of the most successful students in my program-EVER!

Be kinder than necessary, be grateful, and create a peace-filled week,

Ms. Brown

P.S.  Ms. Brown, The No Bull Teacher will celebrate our one-year anniversary on the 17th of October.  Each week, throughout the month, we will draw for one subscriber to win a FREE No Bull Teacher polo shirt.  We will notify you through this blog if you are the winner.  Thanks for supporting Ms. Brown, The No Bull Teacher.

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