Preferred Activity Time (PAT) - ProTeacher Community





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Preferred Activity Time (PAT)
Old 02-06-2012, 05:15 PM
 
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What are some good ways to use PAT to help motivate students to want to learn and to control overall class behavior? And how do you use PAT in such a way that the motivation and good behavior aspects will be long-lasting?


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Old 02-07-2012, 07:23 AM
 
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I want to know this too! As a sub, I offer games, but how to do it as a classroom teacher is what I'm wondering about. I know one classroom teacher said they introduce an art activity and then during PAT time the students get to do it, but what if the student doesn't like art?
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Old 02-07-2012, 05:06 PM
 
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Preferred Activity Time (PAT) is primarily a motivation technique. If one is using it to control behavior a red flag should go up due to PAT being used outside its designed strengths. Basically Limit Setting is used to stop behavior and PAT to start it.

A comment heard often by teachers is "The game we played for PAT was the game I was going to use anyway to review for the test." Interestingly, JEOPARDY! was class' favorite PAT. If I asked them to reread, review or go back over previous material I would get about 30% compliance -- the same kids who always work. Using PAT the other 70% would hustle entering the room and transitions, forsake restroom breaks, borrow and lend pencils, show up with homework and have correct materials. They did this so they could receive, as a gift, more time to review for the test. What better motivator which costs the teacher almost nothing in time and energy than to reward the class with a learning related activity, and they will work for it!

"A good discipline technique should self-eliminate" - Fred Jones. The teacher should find herself using PAT less often as the year progresses. If it's June and one is still using PAT to get kids to hustle entering the room something else is amiss, probably structure. I would start class with PAT (after about 2-3 weeks of structure training), run it for about a month, drop and do something else then bring it back for month, drop etc. I found any worthwhile system will get boring due to its overuse and dependence.
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Old 02-07-2012, 09:46 PM
 
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I agree that how often I use it is used less and less through a year. This week I plan on giving the class some extra time; but I haven't done it much this last month. At the beginning of the year it is every week or even every day depending on the method the students are the most motivated by. I use it as time earned back. The children when moving quickly get PAT or extra time.

When things go well we get extra time to do as we wish. So sometimes it ends up being opportunities to share. Sometimes it is extra recess. Sometimes it is visual arts, music, or dance opportunities. Sometimes it is math games or language arts games. Every once in a while it might be extra choice time.

I disagree with switching motivation techniques every month. I think it is very confusing for the children and will instigate testing from the children. Also you would have to set up a new method of management which would take more than a month to fully set up and have running. I also know for me that would be very confusing also. If you mean switch the preferred activity, maybe, that depends on how well the current preferred activity is holding your class's motivation.

You might take a look at Tools for Teaching by Fred Jones.
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Old 02-09-2012, 06:26 AM
 
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"...I disagree with switching motivation techniques every month. I think it is very confusing for the children and will instigate testing from the children. Also you would have to set up a new method of management which would take more than a month to fully set up and have running. ..."

I hear your concern but in reality it, switching management plans, did not cause confusion nor testing. Teaching structure the first weeks of school is what, for the most part, builds the foundation for any technique or strategy to follow. As for the time involved I'm not aware of any real research which mandates more than a month to set up a management program. Some do (like Jones) advocate "practicing until students get it right". How long the practice takes is more likely based on the expertise of dissemination than on predetermined time. In my case the "other program" is something I've used for years and takes about one class period to set up and run. At Jones' seminar and in his book he advocates not dropping anything you are doing which is successful. His theme is pointed more at adding to one's repertoire of techniques to choose from.

If you are using PAT exclusively and realizing success I'm all for it.


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