Positive Behavior Supports: Rapport

classroom_rapport_blog_post_02_960x480First and most important, build rapport with students. Rapport is building a bond with your students that helps them to associate you with positive things. It helps them to feel safe and wanted in your classroom; without this, learning is likely to be more difficult. For some students, learning is not possible in an environment they feel is hostile. Students can read your mood, facial expressions, tone of voice, and other non-verbal cues. Often these cues can incorrectly tell a student that you do not like them or that you are upset with them. When a student feels unwanted in the place where he is expected to be part of a learning team, the students ability to learn is significantly hampered. Additionally, students with learning disabilities, neurological differences, and emotional disorders respond best to adults with whom they have an emotional connection. In order to establish and maintain rapport with students on a daily or even hour by hour basis it is important to:

  • Make eye contact when speaking to a student.
  • Listen attentively to them when they talk to you.
  • Respond with “what I hear you saying is____”.
  • Make connections between your personal experiences and theirs.
  • Take time to clearly explain your expectations.
  • Give students an opportunity to journal when appropriate and respond to their journal entries with respect and concern.
  • Know them well enough to recognize when they are struggling not just academically, but emotionally.
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Alphabet of Thankfulness: G is for Graphing Activities

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Apple variety for sampling

One of my wonderful classroom Aides, Dawn Dill, put together this apple activity to introduce our students with Autism to the taste, smell, texture, sound, and sight of apples in a few different varieties, namely red delicious, golden delicious, and granny smith.

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Bites of golden delicious, granny smith, and red delicious

It’s a great opportunity to document student opinions regarding their likes and dislikes versus those of their classmates. It’s also a way to introduce graphs and charts to your students in a fun and entertaining environment. Often my students are apprehensive about learning a new skill, but this teaches it to them without it feeling like they are learning. The following apple graph can be found at http://www.teachwithme.com/downloads/item/3767-apple-activities-and-crafts.

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Chart for graphing favorite apple type.

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Chart for documenting adjectives regarding what we found with the apples.

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trace and color student work sample

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trace and color student work sample

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trace and color student work sample

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Student work and graphs displayed in the hallway

Alphabet of Thankfulness: F is for Freebie’s!

I am thankful for teachers who post free items on their blogs and their Teachers Pay Teachers sites. So, to pay this forward, the following Dolch Sight Word Read Trace Write Paste are all FREE on my TpT site:

My students typically cut the Read column into individual words and paste them on the paste column in line with the correct word so they are also doing a matching exercise with this activity. Each link takes you to the entire set of words for that level. There are 7-9 pages for each set. My students do a sheet a day while we are working on these words in isolation before we move into putting them into sentences. Enjoy!

Alphabet of Thankfulness – E is for Electronics

ipad-apps-for-teachersI am thankful for electronics in my classroom. Almost 4 years ago the district invested in iPods and iPads for all Special Education classrooms. This has allowed us to add several more learning opportunities to each day. Following is a list of just a few of the FREE apps that I use in my classroom:

  • Shapes Toddler Preschool by Toddler Teasers
  • Tiny Hands Sorting 3 by Tiny Hands apps
  • Amazing Coins by Joy Preschool Game
  • Articulation Station by Little Bee Speech
  • Paint Sparkles Draw by Kids Games Club
  • ABC Magnet Board Plus by Tatiana Churanova
  • Baby Sign and Learn by Baby Sign and Learn
  • Spelling Bug by Power Math Apps
  • ABC Phonics Rhyming Words Lite by Abitalk Incorporated
  • Spelling City by Spelling City
  • Stack the States Lite by Dan Russell Pinson
  • Toddler Counting Free by iTot Apps, LLC
  • Preschool Memory Match by Darren Murtha Designs
  • Mathmateer Free by Dan Russell-Pinson

Two of my favorite developers with free apps to check out are:

GrasshopperApps.com 

  • ABC Alphabet by Little Sorter
  • Rhyming words
  • Little Reader
  • Little Speller
  • Things That Go Together
  • Sight Words by Photo Touch

Kindergarten.com

  • ABA Receptive Identification by Class
  • ABA Which go Together?
  • ABA What Rhymes?
  • ABA Alphabet Flash Cards
  • ABA Animal Flash Cards
  • ABA Food Flash Cards

I paid nothing for each of these apps over the past 4 years, but there is a possibility they are no longer free. There are great free apps available all the time and make great remediation and practice for students or your own children.

Thankful Heart 2013: Day 10 – Personalities

Our Crowded Heart

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My three daughters look so much alike that even though they are 14 and 22 months apart, when dressed alike for pictures, people often think they are triplets.  However, they are very different on the inside. Each has their own unique personality.  I found that this required different parenting styles as they were growing, which they tended to see as favoritism. However, I believe that even the Bible calls us to treat each one with the level of care and discipline they require as an individual in I Thessalonians 5.

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As a teacher, the same is true. I need to approach each student as an individual and not only treat them, but teach them, according to their individual need. Raising children who are each so different has prepared me to be a better teacher. I am thankful that they taught me how to teach and nurture children with not only…

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Alphabet of Thankfulness: D is for Daily Routines

Children learn best through repetition. So, it is important to offer repetitive activities for reinforcement of skills you are teaching. In younger grades and in every level of special education, a morning calendar time is important for so many areas of learning. Click here to for more on Morning Meeting – Circle Time.

In addition to  morning meeting or calendar circle, there are other daily routines that students need to be taught. These include social skills and things as simple as toileting or hand washing. When students of any age or level know what is coming next or what is expected of them, they find it easier to focus on what they are doing now. Many times, student misbehavior is caused by perceptions of things to come. To alleviate negative behaviors, students need a routine in which they can relax and know their time frames and boundaries. Some example of these would be as follows:

Toileting Routine:

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Obviously you could add more or less to this as needed.

Picture Schedule:

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This is a small section of a full day schedule

Hallway Procedures:

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Students change the location they are headed to before they leave the room each time.

These picture cards were created in Board Maker, but could easily be created with clip art or by taking actual photo’s of activities and locations. Each has velcro on the back so it can be removed and manipulated as needed.

Thankful Heart 2013: Day 4 – Co-workers

Reblogged from my first blog at http://www.OurCrowdedHeart.WordPress.com

Our Crowded Heart

I am so thankful for the team of people who make up the Special Education staff at North Riverside. They are some of the most talented and amazing teachers, para-professionals and specialists with whom I have ever come in contact. They make my job so much easier because I know they are taking care of their pieces of this puzzle so that I am not picking up the slack. Just a few of the things that make them awesome are:

Mrs. D is a certified teacher working as an Aide in my classroom, but acting like she is in her own classroom and taking responsibility to the educational needs of our students in every aspect imaginable.

Mrs. R is also a certified teacher, working as an Aide in our Resource classroom. Her compassion for all the students at NRES is clear from the way she greets students in the hallway…

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