What Else Can I do With You?: Helping Children Improve Classroom Behaviour

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Fiona Wallace

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    • Session Record Sheet
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    Dedication

    For Odile, with happy memories

    Introduction

    About this Book

    Nearly 20 years ago the Elton Report (Discipline in Schools. Report of the Committee of Inquiry, HMSO, 1989) described the problems that most concerned teachers at the time. These were not major behaviour difficulties such as violence and fighting but the persistent low-level disruption of behaviours such as talking out of turn, being out of seat, being disorganised, hindering others, lack of concentration and so on. These behaviours are still the focus of the DfES, which aims to ‘help schools promote positive behaviour and tackle the issue of low-level disruption’ (http://www.dfes.gov.uk/ibis/Department_policy/Behaviour.cfm). The issues tackled in What Else Can I Do With You? link well to the Change for Children agenda as well as the five outcomes in Every Child Matters, 2004.

    These worksheets and activities are for those youngsters who are skilled at creating this low-level disruption. They have been devised to help staff working with primary and middle school age children in settings such as schools, learning support units, play schemes, before and after school clubs and mentoring groups. The worksheets provide a means of encouraging children to think about their behaviour and the effect of their actions in a constructively critical manner.

    Some of the principles that guided the development of the materials are listed below:

    • Staff must be able to deal effectively with a child in trouble without automatically attributing blame to the child or their actions.
    • Adults can help children improve their behaviour without resorting to punishment or strategies based on deprivation of pleasurable activities or learning experiences.
    • Children should take responsibility for their own actions, both those that get them into trouble and those that they can take to change their behaviour for the better. The worksheets provide a set of activities that encourage children to think about themselves and their actions in a constructive and critical manner. They provide opportunities to learn new skills that are less likely to get them into trouble.
    • No child should be written off as beyond help and neither is any child perfect. There is always the chance to develop or strengthen skills and relationships and improve behaviour.
    • Resources for busy staff must be easy to use. These sheets only need copying, which can be done freely within the purchasing establishment. The CD version enables sheets to be tailored to particular situations and put on the purchasing establishment's computer network, thus enabling easy access to the materials by a wide range of staff. The blank borders allow new sheets to be quickly designed to complement the published pack.

    Before You Start

    These worksheets can be used in any way that will help children facing difficulties in group or classroom-type settings. However, they are not a shortcut solution to troublesome behaviour, nor are they an alternative to considering the effect of the environment and practices or how the behaviour of an adult or peer can set off a problem. Staff should keep their minds open to the idea that their own behaviour may need to be changed. The principle of using the least intrusive intervention to improve a situation should be adhered to – use a nutcracker not a sledge-hammer!

    Before using any of these sheets with an individual pupil a period of observation should take place to ensure you are quite certain of exactly where changes need to be made and what those changes need to be, what behaviours should be encouraged and those that need to be changed.

    Observation will, for example, clarify if the ‘problem child’ does indeed shout out more often than others in his or her group or if they just shout more loudly and are therefore heard every time, the others being a little quieter but calling out just as often. An approach to reduce shouting out might, therefore, best be targeted at the whole group rather than the loudest individual.

    Observation would also indicate why a child is out of seat. This could be for a variety of reasons: because they are unable to do the activity and are asking for help from others, because they do not have all the equipment they need; because they are unable to maintain their attention; or because they have a low opinion of their skills and need frequent adult encouragement. Each of these reasons might require a different type of intervention, for example making equipment more accessible, building self-esteem, encouraging self-organisation or tackling a learning gap.

    It is difficult to find time to step back and carefully observe and record what is going on in the setting but with planning and support from others this should be possible. A few 10-minute sessions at different times of the day, during different sessions or when the focus child is with different groups of children, will be time well spent; careful observation will mean the real difficulty can be addressed.

    After gathering information through observation, you might use the following questions to guide your planning:

    • What alerted you to the difficulty in the first place?
    • What did you learn from careful observation?
    • What is the behaviour you would like to change first?
    • What has the child got to say about this behaviour?
    • What plan have you and the child agreed on?
    • When are you going to check on progress?
    • How will you both know when you have successfully changed the behaviour?
    • How will you celebrate and pass on the good news?

    The tasks should be enjoyable. The activities will be less effective if thrust in front of the child in an attempt to keep them quiet. It will it not help to give the sheets as a punishment for the unwanted behaviour the sheet is intending to change. Threats such as ‘If you don't remember to put your things away I'll make you stay in at break and do a sheet’ will not put the child in the right frame of mind to learn from the message of the worksheet. All completed worksheets should be valued by the adult helper and the message of the task discussed with the child before and after doing the sheet. An easy way of doing this is to ask the child to show the completed sheet to another adult and explain what they have done and learned.

    Many of the children who use these worksheets in school will be supported by a Pastoral Support Programme (PSP) or an Individual Education or Behaviour Plan (IE/BP) within the framework of the SEN Code of Practice. Careful record keeping will be needed. A suggested record sheet is included on the page following page xiii. Alternatively a note of any discussion with the child could be made on the back of a copy of the sheet, along with notes of your own thoughts and observations. Keeping a copy of the completed sheet will be helpful and it is good practice to ask the child's permission to do this. It is important to respect information the child has given as this may be confidential or could be misinterpreted if it gets out to a wider audience, for example, who the child dislikes or who gets him or her into trouble.

    How to Use the CD-ROM

    The CD-ROM contains a PDF file, labelled ‘http://Worksheets.pdf. You will need Acrobat Reader version 3 or higher to view and print these resources.

    The documents are set up to print to A4 but you can enlarge them to A3 by increasing the output percentage at the point of printing using the page set-up settings for your printer.

    All CD-Rom content from this title has been included in this ebook.

    Author's note

    Insolence can be found three times in the word search on Worksheet 19.

    The missing word for Worksheet 56 is ‘share’.

    Getting Going

    To complete any of the sheets the youngster will need a pencil and coloured pens or crayons. For some sheets scissors and a glue-stick will need to be available. Each activity should take the child around 10-15 minutes. The faster child should be encouraged to colour the borders to enhance the presentation of the finished worksheet. This activity will also keep them occupied for a little while allowing you to spend time with others and increasing the child's concentration span.

    There are three types of worksheets in this book:

    Problem Specific Worksheets

    These sheets have been designed to cover those annoying, everyday problems that are so familiar to staff working with groups of children and are so disruptive to children's learning in the classroom. There is no right or wrong way for the pupil to complete the sheets. It is important to talk through with each child why you have given them a sheet to do, how you hope their behaviour will change and what they can do to make those changes. You must make this really clear! A child struggling to behave appropriately needs just as much structured help as one struggling to learn to read or spell new words. You can learn about the child and get new ideas for ways to help from the way they complete the worksheets; do not push a child into completing the worksheet the way you think it should be done!

    The child who completed the sheet below (based on Worksheet 28, ‘Politeness’) was struggling with inter-personal relationships at an after-school club. The sheet was completed twice over a period of a few days, first relating to a Year 6 teacher and then for the person in charge of the after-school club when it was linked to a discussion about being polite to all adults. The child was helped to realise that other adults as well as teachers had a right to politeness.

    On some sheets the instruction Write has been given. If this makes it harder for a child to concentrate on the message of the task then simplify the task by writing the child's dictated words yourself or asking them to draw instead. These worksheets are not an exercise in writing or spelling; they are to help the child learn more appropriate behaviour and other learning may need to take a back seat until the behaviour skills are mastered.

    Remember there will still be instances where a more detailed approach is appropriate – using these sheets first will help in making the decision to move to a greater level of support.

    Open-Ended Sheets

    It is not intended that every problem behaviour encountered in the classroom will be covered. Several open-ended sheets are included which can be used for a whole range of difficulties and allow children to reflect on a particular issue or situation that has arisen. In particular, pupils can think about their part in causing the problem and what they might do to put it right or prevent the situation from arising again.

    Target Sheets

    The sheets in this section are in pairs, each designed to support children who need help to complete a number of tasks over part of a day, or longer. They can be used with the same child on several occasions. It is easy to change the level of difficulty of the task, either by increasing or reducing the number of tasks to be completed for each target sheet (more or less spots to be stuck on the ladybird) or by increasing or reducing the complexity of the tasks for each (longer or shorter activities on each playing card). Compare the three sets of targets on the next page.

    Care needs to be taken to ensure the number and difficulty level of the tasks is realistic and achievable for the child. Nothing breeds success like success!

    Blank Borders

    These blank borders enable new sheets to be designed for specific situations or with particular individuals in mind. The CD version of the book makes this even easier. Personalising the child's task will encourage them to do their best and will make it more memorable. You may wish to combine elements of two of the existing sheets or design a new one altogether. You are free to alter these sheets so they work as well as possible for the youngsters you are trying to help. Any new sheets you design should be kept with your master copies so that you or others can use them again, or perhaps even modify them in future to make yet more new sheets. Before you know it you will have a second book of sheets targeted at difficulties specific to your setting or pupils!

    Further Reading and Resources

    There are, of course, numerous resources both printed and online addressing problem behaviour in the classroom and other settings. A selection of those with very practical advice and suggestions is given below. Unless otherwise mentioned the publications are available in the Incentive Plus catalogue.

    The Incentive Plus catalogue is full of posters, games books and other resources (including Lucky Duck Books) in the area of behaviour and emotional literacy.

    Incentive Plus
    6 Fernfield Farm
    Little Horwood
    Milton Keynes
    MK17 0PR
    Tel (UK) 01908 526120
    http://www.incentiveplus.co.uk

    Many of the photocopiable activities in Not You Again! by Fiona Wallace and Diane Caesar will also help the child struggling with appropriate ‘classroom’ behaviour. A third book, Just Stopand Think!, by Fiona Wallace, provides a range of activities, also photocopiable, aimed at helping children plan improvements in their behaviour in a step by step manner. Both are Lucky Duck books published by Paul Chapman Publishing.

    Managing Successful Inclusion -The Pastoral Support Programme in Practice (E. Smith and W.D. MacPherson, 2000), guides you through the PSP process and gives all the necessary forms. It is available from:

    AMS EducationalTel (UK) 0113 258 0309
    Woodside Trading Estatehttp://www.senter.co.uk
    Low Lane
    Horsforth
    Leeds LS18 5NY

    In Celebrations, a book of photocopiable certificates from George Robinson and Barbara Maines of Lucky Duck, there are enough certificates for every school day of the year, even a leap year! They cover a wide range of behaviours, including many that are not traditionally rewarded. Enjoy browsing the website at http://www.luckyduck.co.uk.

    Classroom Survival Skills and Student Survival Skills Audit are two of several highly practical resources written by Rob Long. Classroom Survival Skills contains a number of photocopiable booklets for use with secondary pupils who want to improve self-control, organisational skills and so on. Student Survival Skills allows a primary or secondary pupil working with an adult to produce a visual profile of their strengths and weaknesses in areas that affect school success, such as learning skills and friendships.

    For those of you wanting ideas for staff development activities in the area of behaviour management, get hold of a copy of 100 Activities for Behaviour Management TrainingDays by Dave Vizard, the founder of Behaviour Solutions. These activities have been tried and tested in schools across the country and cover issues such as understanding the importance of body language and developing a consistent approach. There is a long list of useful links on Dave's website at http://www.behaviourmatters.com from which you can also order his books.

    ‘Framework for Intervention’ - This project, initiated in Birmingham, helps teachers tackle concerns about students’ behaviour in schools and nurseries, using school improvement, staff empowerment and environmental change. It works for all ages and in all settings, promoting ‘Learning behaviour together’: http://www.frameworkforintervention.com. Project materials are available through the website or from Incentive Plus.

    For those of you who never have time to read anything other than the back of a cereal packet, there is a series of DVDs presented by Bill Rogers covering ‘Prevention’, ‘Positive Correction’, ‘Consequences’ and ‘Repair and Rebuild’. The DVDs are easy to watch and each is about 40 minutes long, presented in a different style. You could dip in and out of them, but time taken to view ‘Positive Correction’ would be time well spent. Watching as a staff group would lead to a valuable discussion about managing behaviour in your setting.

    Session Record Sheet

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