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Discipline without Stress (Cross Posted)
Old 07-06-2009, 08:23 AM
 
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**This message is cross posted in the First Grade board, as I'm hoping to hit two different groups and get as much advice as I can!**

I'm sure this has been discussed before, but I couldn't find it by searching the archives. Could anyone who uses this system please describe how they implement it and what the problem areas are? I'm teaching in a very rural, low income, Title One school system that uses a school-wide but not hugely enforced PBS system (the kids get "Caught Being Good" tickets to 'shop' at the school store). I used a ticket system in class last year, along with a color coded consequence chart, and I had a rough time. The kids weren't motivated, the consequences weren't effective, and the parents weren't happy.

My concerns are:
-Implementation (books that relate, effective presentation, etc.)
-Misbehavior before the system is fully explained
-Parent explanation (they're used to a stoplight system from kindergarten)
-Effectiveness on students with a history of defiance (the 'so what?' kids that don't respond to rewards or punishments and have checked-out parents) or kids that are just generally unmotivated (think it's funny to misbehave, borderline developmentally delayed, etc.)
-A potentially more effective system that I haven't heard of
-A nearly-nonverbal mainstreamed autistic student who spent much of his time last year throwing his shoes, refusing to go with the class (i.e. going limp on the way to lunch), and otherwise disrupting the class

If anyone has experience with any of the above while using DwS, could you help me out and give me some pointers? I like what I read (the book and Dr. Marshall's site), and I don't want to crash and burn on this one!

Thank you!


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An outline for introducing DWS to kids:
Old 07-07-2009, 08:47 AM
 
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Here are some thoughts about starting out with DWS for the first time and introducing it to students (of any age!)

DWS is more challenging to implement than most discipline approaches that are typically used in schools because it's based on the understanding that you can't control or force changes in the behavior of other people, if you want them to become personally/socially responsible in a genuine way. (There is good news though--you can INFLUENCE people to control themselves and make changes for the better.)

In fact, that's the first concept you would also teach to your students: People always have CHOICES in their behavior. How they choose to respond to any particular person, situation, stimulus, or urge is always up to them. (This is good news for students.... because it means that even in a bad situation there is always something they can do to get back on the road to making it better for themselves and others.)

Once you've explained this and discussed examples, you would then go on to teach the Hierarchy levels. There are many ways to teach the levels and every year teachers come up with new ways. Often people start with the idea presented in Marv's book, (drawing a picture for each level) and then as they feel more confident they come up with their own ways of explaining the levels to kids in subsequent years. My personal favorite way to explain the levels is with the "trash scenario" story, using the simple posters that go with it.

Here's the link to some ideas for introducing the Hierarchy to elementary students: http://disciplineanswers.com/introdu...archy-primary/

After you have explained the actual levels and the kids understand what each level is all about (and can give some of their own examples that demonstrate they understand correctly,) you would also explain that there are natural outcomes to behavior choices.

Basically, it goes like this:

Operation at Levels A and B is unacceptable. When you operate on Levels A or B, you are not in control of yourself. When you are not in control of yourself, then someone in authority will most certainly take control of you. This isn't a threat... it's just a fact of life.

(Sometimes people have the mistaken impression that DWS is a permissive approach because one of the principles of the program is "Choice." While it's true that all human behavior is a choice, it doesn't mean that all choices are acceptable in society or at school. When students make choices that are unacceptable in the classroom, they are not permitted to continue. Students must realize from the outset, that if they are not SELF-controlled, they will be controlled temporarily by the person in charge, for their own safety and well-being, as well as the safety/well-being of others. Again, this is not a threat, it's just common sense.)

Operation at Levels C and D are both acceptable. Level C is required, Level D is completely voluntary. There are great benefits to operating on Level C and even greater benefits to operating on Level D.

Here's a link that would help you understand what I mean by the outcomes of operating at Levels C and D:
http://disciplineanswers.com/benefits-higher-levels/

Something that my partner and I have found over the years is that people often feel that their initial lesson with the Hierarchy is a make or break situation. Not so. The understandings that I mentioned above need to be revisited over and over again in many ways throughout the school year. The younger the child, the more you will need to revisit. Therefore, the first lesson is not so crucial. The more important thing is for the TEACHER to understand the hierarchy so that they can look for daily opportunities to help the kids fine-tune their understanding of each of the levels and the outcomes/results of each of the levels.

Here's a link to an example of what I mean:

http://disciplineanswers.com/levels-math-corrections/

Hope this helps a bit!

Kerry in BC
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Old 07-11-2009, 09:31 AM
 
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Thank you for all your feedback on DWS. I ordered his book and have printed out several pages from his website. I am a bit overwhelmed as to how to begin implementing this but after reading your post I feel better. But do you feel I can implement this successfully with 5th graders or is it more geared to the lower grades? I have read mixed reviews but mostly everyone says positive things about DWS. Thanks!
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Thank You
Old 07-11-2009, 11:46 AM
 
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Thanks from me, too. I hate the format of yahoo groups, I wish we had a DWS group here. I am borrowing the DWS book from the library right now and I'm so afraid I won't know what to do when school starts. I have found a few picture books that relate to the levels, but I think I'll really need the DWS book to refer to all year long. Please keep sharing information at ProTeacher and please keep encouraging others to share here, too.
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Old 07-12-2009, 02:43 PM
 
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Hello!

I'm glad you find that my posts are helpful for you!

Quite typically, people ARE often a bit overwhelmed when they begin reading about DWS online and decide they want to try it out. You're not alone!

I'm glad you've ordered Marshall's book because that's really the solution. I think you'll feel a lot better once you read the book because you'll have all the ideas organized in a logical sequence. (By the way, the first four chapters are the critical chapters for understanding and implementing the program. The other two are interesting but not nearly as crucial as the first four.)

Although there is much information online regarding this approach, I personally found that I needed to read the book in order to see how all the separate ideas fit together. Then it made sense to me.

As for using DWS with grade fives--perfect! This approach was first developed when Marshall was working as a teacher himself, with middle and high school students. It's since been adapted for use with intermediate and primary students, although the only real adaptations are in terms of vocabulary.

At every grade level, the teacher chooses words––to explain the concepts––that are suited to the age and ability of their particular students. It would be much like what you would naturally do when your students ask you about something connected to global warming or to multiplication or to current events such as the recent pirate kidnapping off Somalia. You would choose different words to explain about these topics based on the age/maturity level of the child, yet you would get across many of the same basic ideas. I personally think that the older the child, the easier it is to teach DWS ideas simply because children become more capable in their thinking as they grow.

You noticed that sometimes there are people who give "mixed reviews" to this approach. This is just a guess, but I would say that those who who didn't feel they had much success with the approach may have misunderstood the goal of the program or may not have spent adequate time to study the entire Teaching Model before they began to implement it.

I'm not sure why, but sometimes people have the mistaken impression that this program promises that once you introduce your students to the concept of being internally motivated, you won't have any more discipline problems in your classroom. Of course, this perception sets them up for great disappointment!

This approach doesn't promise a complete end to discipline problems. Instead what it does is promise is a roadmap (that doesn't rely on rewards or punishments) to guide you in dealing with students who have discipline problems. That's the real goal.

Another unique thing about this approach is that you can use the same roadmap to benefit students who DON'T have discipline problems. These kids grow amazingly with this program because they are given an opportunity to learn the value of becoming internally motivated. To me this is a great gift!

It's also one of the main reasons I love this approach--it elevates EVERYONE. Unlike most other discipline plans I read about, it's not just focused on stopping unwanted classroom behavior. It's focused on teaching people (of any age) about the highest level of human behavior--that which is internally motivated--that which comes straight from the heart!

It gives kids concrete information that will allow them to consciously understand the choices they have in their lives. In each and every moment we are making choices. The results of these choices gradually but surely form our lives. To me, this is perhaps the best part of DWS: I can give my students a method for assessing choices on a moment to moment basis. (Notice I didn't say that this approach ensures that they will always MAKE the highest choice. That's not a realistic goal. Instead my goal is to provide them with a tool that will allow them to MAKE DECISIONS for themselves--knowing full well their RANGE of choices.)

Some teachers are interested in taking time to learn how to use DWS well and others are more focused on just finding some new trick that they hope will easily ensure the obedience of their students. Those who are simply looking for a quick trick often try out only PARTS of the Teaching Model--the parts that deal with actual discipline situations. In so doing they ignore the most important steps in the Teaching Model--the steps that would proactively give them the eventual success they are looking for.

The more that I work with this approach, the more I realize that it's the first two parts of the program that make the biggest difference in creating a classroom that runs smoothly and encourages students to become self-disciplined.

PART ONE of the DWS Teaching Model explains the importance of good classroom management (which is different than student discipline.) In other words, a lot of discipline problems are actually CREATED when teachers don't proactively set up classroom routines and consistently have students practice them (with the expectation that they should be followed.) This is another DWS idea that I find very exciting and helpful... I can use PROCEDURES to teach students (in a positive way) to operate at an acceptable level of behavior (Level C in DWS language.)

PART TWO of the Teaching Model involves a study of the Three Principles of positivity, choice and reflection. Each year I understand better how these principles can help me create a classroom environment where students are happy to take on more personal responsibility.

Learning to use DWS is a journey. Think of it in that way and you'll find small successes right from the start as you start to implement each smaller part of the overall plan!

If you have found value in being internally motivated YOURSELF, you will be able to get the ideas of DWS across to your students--regardless of their age!

Kerry in BC


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Old 07-12-2009, 07:23 PM
 
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I am wondering if there is a lesson plan bank that people are using to share their ideas for teaching the heirarchy. I have purchased a few picture books to use from the yahoo suggestions, but not sure how to use some of them.
Also, I love the question suggestions in the book, but, like the author said, it is a skill that takes practice. I usually need a lot of practice but that means I'll need the questions nearby to refer to often. It looks like there is a lot of information on the discipline answers website. Thank you for that, too. I just don't understand how teachers remember everything! I have taught for four years FT and still need lesson plans in front of me to refer to often throughout the lessons.
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Books and the DWS Hierarchy
Old 07-13-2009, 07:52 AM
 
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Good morning, Daisyflower!

There are two ways in which teachers make use of picture books in connection with DWS:

1. As a way to INTRODUCE the levels....

They might read one or two books that have some connection to each of the four levels. Over four days they would explain a level a day to the kids and then read a book or two that illustrates the concept of each level. So on the first day they might read the book, "Miss Nelson is Missing" in which the students in Miss Nelson's class display Level A behaviors such as spitting spitballs and absolutely refusing to do school work.

On subsequent days, they would introduce the other three levels in the same way. Generally people start with Level A (the lowest level) and move in a positive direction toward Level D (the highest level.)

2. AFTER the students already understand the levels....

Many teachers have found that having a class that understands the four levels of behavior as described in the DWS Hierarchy allows the students to more deeply explore books that they read in class. In particular, it allows students to better discuss the characters in almost any story/novel. Since the Hierarchy is an assessment tool, it allows students to assess the behavior/decisions/choices of the character.


Personally, I don't use books to INTRODUCE the levels. The reason is this: I don't ever like to give much attention to the unacceptable levels. Although it's important for students to know about all four levels, I don't want to spend two days talking strictly about the lower levels (before I have time to balance that with a discussion of the more inspiring and positive levels of C and D.)

I find that spending 20 minutes on two days (especially in the first weeks of school) reading books about misbehavior sets kids up for glorifying such behavior. Before students understand the WHOLE Hierarchy, I don't want to be focusing on the bottom two levels. Reading and discussing such behavior at length is akin to encouraging it with young children. Instead I prefer to introduce the Hierarchy fairly quickly the first time and then focus almost entirely on the higher levels which motivates kids to want to be THERE themselves.

I do love to use books in the second way mentioned above... as a way to help kids do more thinking as they are reading. One of the traits of an excellent reader is the habit of thinking critically as one reads. An understanding of the DWS Hierarchy really gives kids a way in which to analyze the actions and thinking of book characters. Even grade ones can do this and of course older children become very skilled at it.

To return to the example of the Miss Nelson book....

I like to use this book several months AFTER I've taught all four levels of the Hierarchy. Then I can use the understandings of the four levels in a more balanced way. I can help the kids to understand that while the student characters in the book look as if they're having a whale of a time operating at Level A, they end up with results they don't like (but are quite predictable in terms of the Hierarchy)...

When people act on Level A, a bully often takes over; in this case, Miss Viola Swamp! Later on, as the students raise the level of their OWN behavior, the behavior of their teacher also rises. By the end of the story, the students are acting on an acceptable (and eventually even very high level,) which allows their teacher to do the same. The beloved Miss Nelson is able to return to the classroom! Naturally everyone is happier!

This book allows me to discuss (at a grade one level, using grade one words) how we often act non-consciously. When we act without being aware of our intentions (that is, what we really want) we often end up with results that make us unhappy. In the story of Miss Nelson, the kids never did connect their own behavior to that of their teacher.... that's what provides the humor in the story... but in real life it's very valuable for us to become more conscious about our own choices so that we can end up with the life results we want.

That's what DWS is all about--using the Hierarchy to assess our OWN choices so that we can choose most wisely and with awareness in our own life.

Assessing the choices of book characters allows students to practice this skill AND at the same time to get more deeply involved in books that they read.

Hope this helps!

Kerry in BC
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Introducing the DWS Hierarchy
Old 07-13-2009, 07:53 AM
 
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The link I gave previously (for a few different ways to introduce the DWS Hierarchy) didn't come across correctly.

I'll try again:
http://disciplineanswers.com/introdu...archy-primary/


Kerry
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Reflective questions
Old 07-13-2009, 08:14 AM
 
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Hi again, Daisyflower!

The questions in Marshall's book are meant to be examples, they're not meant to be memorized, so you don't have to worry about that. However, I can understand what you mean about having a lot to remember!

At first, it does seem as if you have to remember everything, but as you practice, it becomes second nature. That's why I encourage people to think of learning DWS as a journey. Each part of the Teaching Model requires first understanding and then practice on the part of the teacher. Remember, you're changing YOURSELF in order to better influence students in a positive direction.

Asking reflective questions is now easy for me but in the beginning it wasn't. My teaching partner actually wrote a chart of the questions in Marv's book and put them up on the wall for us to refer to when we needed them. Of course, we teach grade one and the kids couldn't read the questions in the beginning of the year... so it was fine for us to have these prompts up on the wall!

I do know of other teachers on the DWS mailring who xeroxed off the list of questions and carried them with them as they were teaching to refer to them when they were first learning how to ask reflective questions. It doesn't hurt for there to be a pause (as YOU think of what to ask) when you're dealing with a child in a discipline situation. During that pause (while YOU are thinking) they are naturally already thinking too!

Another thing my partner did was to challenge herself was to spend one entire day responding to almost anything a child said in the day, with a question! She found that really helped HER practice the habit of "asking" instead of "telling." Whenever a child said anything, she would try to find a way to respond with a reflective question.

If a child said (as they often do in Grade One,) "I found a staple on the carpet, what should I do with it?" she would say, "What do YOU think would be the best thing to do with it?" Of course they knew!

If a child said, "Which questions do I need to do?" she would respond with "Where could you find that information on the board?"

If a child didn't know what to do next (because they weren't listening for directions,) she would ask, "Who, in the room do you know who always knows what to do? How could looking at that person help you?"

If a child left their coat on the floor, she would ask them, "Do you see anything in the cloakroom that you need to do something about?" etc. etc.

This constant practice got her in the swing of making it a habit to ask questions whenever she could. From there it became easier to ask questions in discipline situations too. It's really a case of learning to "bite our teacher tongues!" As teachers, so used to teaching and telling, it's hard to get in the habit of not blurting out whatever we think of saying. We often try to tell kids the answer to all their problems. But once you see how effective it is for kids to think of their own solutions, you'll find it easier to ask questions that get them thinking for themselves!

Here's a link to some of the questions my partner and I have used often over the years. They might be helpful to you.

http://disciplineanswers.com/reflect...esponsibility/

Kerry in BC

Last edited by cvolcteacher; 07-13-2009 at 08:23 AM.. Reason: Fixing up sentences that were too long!
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another big Thank You
Old 07-13-2009, 10:43 AM
 
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That was so helpful, Kerry. Thank you so much. I feel more relaxed about this now. I will be teaching second grade so I'm sure I will have many opportunities to practice.
I had just finished the book recently, when I went on a trip to town with my 17 y/o daughter. She drove and I still get a little nervous as a passenger. She was following too close and I frantically tried to think of a question, but couldn't under the stress, so I ended up telling her she was following too close. Then, I thought, how am I ever going to find the questions in my mind when I need them?
I believe I will print out some example questions to carry around with me.
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Have concerns about DWS as well
Old 07-30-2009, 01:04 PM
 
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I've read the book and understand the point of internal being more important that external. However, I teach in a self contained class with kids that are moderately cognitively delayed. I will have autism in the classroom. I will have kids with oppositional defiant disorder in my class. They will not have internal motivation for a while (they CAN get it, for sure but I do worry about the meantime.) What are thoughts about this in self contained? Currently I use a level system and there are privileges on each level and I've been reading DWS and Love and Logic to just help me pump up the positive and put more responsiblity on the students. I already do this stuff quite a bit and it is the way I raise my children. I am just trying to think about its effectiveness and how it should be tweaked. Any thoughts or suggestions?
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Autism, ODD, ADHD etc.
Old 08-01-2009, 06:16 AM
 
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Hello kbach,

Nice to meet you!

Just recently there was another thread on ProTeacher that might help in answering your question. Scroll down on this link to the post called, "Concern: Working with Autistic Students."

http://www.proteacher.net/discussion...d.php?t=170902

I want to encourage you in your efforts with challenging students! I think you seem very realistic about your teaching situation and are not going into this naively. You understand that it will naturally take longer for your students to become self-disciplined--each one has special needs. Nonetheless, you see the value in going that more challenging teaching route. Your students are bound to greatly benefit from your vision and patience! I take my hat off to you!

If you already raise your own children with the belief that it's far more beneficial to be internally motivated in life (as opposed to thinking the world owes you something for every action you take) you are probably able to see that "steps in the right direction" are infinitely more valuable than the "instant success" that tends to come along with bribing kids with treats. Which is more of a gift in the long run to the child? Which will YOU feel best about in the long term?

Here is a link to a section of questions/responses that have to do with special needs students:
http://disciplineanswers.com/categor...al-challenges/

Best wishes!

Kerry in BC

Last edited by cvolcteacher; 08-01-2009 at 06:35 AM.. Reason: Fixed a typing error
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Old 08-01-2009, 07:41 AM
 
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My question is - in the primary grades do you use some sort of display in order to remind students of the levels and/or to indicate where children are operating? I would like to be able to communite to parents in the daily behavior calendar about how their child is doing. In the past I've used a sticker to indicate C/D behavior and then have written a short note on the calendar if the child was acting out or needing "bossed to behave." Is it totally off base to put something up in the room for the kids to have as a visual reminder about where they are operating? If it's not off base - what would you recommend? It seems unfair to NOT have something up in the room in first grade but then to put something on their calendars at the end of the day. My parents really want to be communicated with in terms of how their child is doing behavior-wise.

Thanks for any input you can give me!

~Tangerine
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Thank you
Old 08-02-2009, 05:34 AM
 
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I think I am going to take this slowly. My thoughts are that there will be activities associated with the levels (because most of my kids aren't ready for internal motivation just yet) but it will be explained to them. For example, the students operating on level D will be allowed to play basketball during recess (the goals aren't in the "recess" area although I can still see them) because these are the students that I know I can trust to do the right thing when not with me. I've always talked to the students about the fact that being fair doesn't mean everyone gets the same thing, it means everyone gets what they need and most of understand this concept (after MUCH explanation etc.) I will have to use stickers etc with some students because of comprehension and language. I think those students that complain that it isn't "fair" will be given the choice to participate with the classroom (which will mean some privileges such as the basketball mentioned before) or do the stickers (which will mean they won't get to do the independent activities that others are doing because they aren't operating on level D because they are choosing to do the right things for stickers instead of choosing the right things because they are the right things.) Does this make sense and sound doable?
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Hi Tangerine,
Old 08-02-2009, 09:13 AM
 
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You wondered...
In the primary grades do you use some sort of display in order to remind students of the levels and/or to indicate where children are operating?

The only display I would personally use is the Hierarchy chart. I find that this chart is what helps me inspire kids, helps me explain situations, and it helps me deal with problems. My teaching partner and I have several versions in the room but they aren't all up at the same time or for the entire year.

1. One is the full size on chart paper that's remains posted at the back of the room. We use this one to introduce the Hierarchy to parents on our Meet the Teacher evening. As the kids learn to read during the year, we also use it with the kids. It has all the descriptors for each level.

2. We have a small version (with just a few descriptors of each level) that has magnets that sticks to our chalkboard. We use this one all the time. Since it's portable, we can carry it to wherever we might need it in the room to enable us to talk about the levels.

For instance, if we were going to be at our calendar area when we introduce a project/activity (and we want to set up expectations for the activity or want to remind kids of the choice they have to operate on the highest levels) then we can easily take it with us.

Also, if a pair/group of kids is having a squabble at free center time, we might take this small hierarchy over. We would include a discussion of the levels in solving the problem etc.

3. In the earlier part of the year we have a great set of visuals for introducing and reminding kids about the levels. It's a set of four simple stick figure pictures that show each of the levels in a very concrete way. For lack of a better word, it's called "The Trash Scenario" because it depicts the various levels. It shows how a person might respond to finding trash on the floor. If you're interested, you can find out about that here:

http://disciplineanswers.com/introduce-hierarchy-trash/

As for putting up a display of children's behavior on the wall, this doesn't fit with the DWS philosophy for a number of reasons:

- The DWS Hierarchy is a tool of self-assessment for the student (rather than assessment by the teacher.)

The reason for this is that it's impossible for a teacher to assess what a student is thinking. In essence, the only difference between operation at Level C or Level D is the child's THINKING (Their reason/motivation for doing what they do.) Level C and D usually LOOK the same to an observer. What makes them different is the person's motivation for doing what they do:

Are they motivated to impress someone else? (Level C)
Are they motivated because they are worried because the teacher is watching? (Level C)
Are they motivated genuinely inside to do what seems right to them? (Level D)

This link explains it a bit more with some examples:
http://disciplineanswers.com/goal-discipline-program/


Although I realize that many schools give out a daily or weekly behavior grade/report to parents, this doesn't match a DWS philosophy.

Here's why:

-Again, it's impossible to use the Hierarchy to determine whether an action is Level C or D simply because you can't see what a person is thinking. Thinking isn't observable behavior that you can report upon to parents.

-The levels are meant to assess individual actions/choices throughout the day, rather than over a long period of time. The ultimate goal of the program is for kids to know the hierarchy levels so well that they begin to think about/assess their own choices before they act. That way, when they come to choice points in their lives (in effect, choices are open to us in every moment of the day!) they will start to internally refer to the levels.

This sort of thinking: "Hmmmm, someone is asking me to play with them.... how will I choose to respond?

Will I be kind and include them in my play? (Level C or D)
Will I just ignore them and run away? (Level B)
Will I tell them to forget it and say something mean to them? (Level A)
Who will I choose to be in this moment?

Since it's meant to use as a moment-by-moment, decision-by-decision making tool, it's not very meaningful to try and find an "average" for a whole day of behavior. For example, I've had special needs kids who would act on Level D one moment (Give someone a genuine hug.) and in the next moment, throw a desk across the room (Level A). How could I "average" this out at the end of the day in any meaningful way? Would I ignore the desk throwing and say that his "average level was about a B or a C? or Would I ignore the efforts at genuine kindness and say that he was at a C or B level? Neither option would be very satisfactory.

Instead, when I had this child, I would make frequent contact with the parent, explaining that there were good parts of the day and some that weren't so good. Then together we would talk about how we could work together with the child to improve things overall. Perhaps frustration drove him to desk throwing (Is there anything we could do about his program to help avoid this frustration? Is there any procedure we could teach him that would help him deal with frustration in a more appropriate way? etc.)

Just a thought: Another problem in displaying behavior grades of some sort is that it can take away the positive aspect of the program for those who have trouble operating well at school. Would displaying their grades make them feel better or worse? Marv reminds us that people do better when they feel better, rather than well they feel worse. As well, I would imagine that it leads some kids to brag if they have higher behavior "grades" than others. This is counterproductive in terms of DWS because bragging is not a high level thing to do.

I don't have any experience with parent expectations in this department. Where I live, it's unheard of for parents to expect daily communication regarding behavior, unless the child has some sort of special needs. I think this is because the school/district has never conditioned them to expect such information. Parents in my area expect to be contacted if there are extreme problems but not on a daily basis. They are content with report card behavior information.

Just as an aside... We don't use the DWS Hierarchy levels to assess for report cards. Again DWS is a self-assessment tools for kids, not a way to mark kids. Instead we use our provincial Social Responsibility Standards to give kids a behavior grade. This is a good tool because it assesses only OBSERVABLE behaviors.... not the motivation behind them. I can assess their actions easily (but I can't make accurate judgements about WHY they are doing what they do) so these standards are good assessment tools for reporting to parents.

My teaching partner is an amazing person and I've learned a lot from her. She begins the year by making positive phone calls in the first week of school and continues throughout the year. She probably phones every parent a least once a month and typically has only good things to say because she's proactive--she doesn't wait for problems to make contact.

She especially phones the parents of kids who look as is they might be going to be a challenges during the year. By the time she has to phone them for a problem, she already has a positive relationship with the parent (from all her previous positive calls which the parents don't expect and are delighted to receive!) When she does phone for a problem, they are keen to work with her to resolve it. For me, this method has been a real eye-opener and I try to follow suit now that I've seen what a great teaching approach it is.

Just an alternative idea for you that might work:

These days we routinely phone home (either talking to the parent or leaving a quick message) every time a child passes a reading level test. This is a sure way to be positive, it doesn't take much time and it gets parents motivated and excited about school. In grade one, kids go through a large number of levels in a year so we are in frequent (positive) communication with parents. It takes some effort but it's not so hard because positive phone calls are quick... and fun to make. It feels good to be relaying good news!

As I've said, I have no experience with daily behavior reports, as is common in your area, but I wonder if parents simply want some type of communication.... maybe not always strictly behavior related is necessary to keep them satisfied. Maybe if you tried something like what my partner does--phoning when a child goes up a reading level--they would be satisfied with that type of communication. After all, it's less stress for them too.

It must be stressful for parents to have to anxiously look for a behavior mark every day. By the way, I've also noticed that it really helps with academic progress too. Why? Because each time we phone, the parents are encouraged to continue reading with their child at home and this consistent practice makes a big difference to the kids reading skill. As well, each time we phone (both the better and the less able students) we are able to give some "teaching tips" to the parents, which helps them help their child in the best possible fashion. We notice our parents are becoming excellent reading tutors because of the "training-in-small-shots" that we give them during our phone calls.

Just some ideas that might help you think through your situation. I hope something here might help you with that!

Kerry

Last edited by cvolcteacher; 08-02-2009 at 09:28 AM.. Reason: Fixed a typing error
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Hi again, kbach
Old 08-02-2009, 10:11 AM
 
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I can understand your concerns but I don't think I can offer much advice. You have more experience with your actual job (working with cognitively delayed kids, autism etc.) and would best be able to figure out how you might be able to incorporate the concept of internal motivation into your own setting. I've completely left behind the idea of rewarding in my own teaching for about 12 years now so I don't think I could offer any advice on doing that, although I understand your situation.

In the past, I just found that offering rewards (either to individuals or groups) brought so many problems with it that I would get totally frustrated. It never seemed to be positive to me. I couldn't stand the problems that came along with handing out treats--that got me so off the track from where I wanted to go, which was to concentrate on the classroom, the kids and learning. (This isn't fair! What do I get for doing this? He got one, but I didn't! Ha-ha! I've got more than you! What's the prize going to be? When do we get the prize? etc.) These days I still give treats but don't connect them to behavior or achievement in any way.... http://disciplineanswers.com/reward-vs-treat/

The problems you face stem from trying to combine two completely opposite ways of working with kids--behavior mod (based entirely on external motivation) and DWS (based entirely on internal motivation). It's like trying to mix oil and water! I think you already see that based on some of your comments above. You're in a bit of a bind with wanting to go the DWS route with your more capable students, but understand that it may not be possible for your very lowest students. It sounds to me like you have quite a range in your group! Like I said, I take my hat off to you! Maybe it's a matter of treating each child differently depending upon their ability level. Maybe a whole class plan won't be the best option for your students. As you said, going slowly with whatever you try is probably a good idea. Experiment and see what you feel comfortable with.

Actually your idea about offering the kids TWO different plans might just work... Dr. Marshall often does suggest that when kids ask about receiving rewards (like other teachers give) he describes the hierarchy, explaining that there are two levels of acceptable behavior. He teaches them the difference between Level C and D--one is where you are in charge of yourself and one is where the teacher is in charge of you (by virtue of the fact that the teacher is controlling you with stickers.) Then he provides them with the choice: How would they prefer to be treated? Do they prefer to be in charge of themselves? or Do they prefer to have the teacher in charge of controlling their behavior with stickers?

He explains that either option is fine with him. He is very happy to work with students who are mature enough to be in control of their own behavior, and he is also happy to provide stickers for those who feel they need to have this in order to behave themselves. Either way achieves a minimum of Level C behavior (the goal of the teacher) so it makes no difference to him.

In his experience, a few kids will choose to be given stickers in the beginning, while most say they do not want them after all. Eventually though (also in his experience,) the "sticker kids" decide to drop the sticker plan too. They would prefer to see themselves as mature enough to handle their own behavior.

I don't know if your students would be cognitively able to handle this type of discussion, but if so, it's an idea that goes along with your own suggestion.


Just one thought....

An article at this link might also be of value to you. It's a story from my own classroom about dealing with a very oppositional child using this approach. Scroll down for the piece titled, "Special Article for Elementary Teachers and Parents."

http://www.marvinmarshall.com/newsle...lity_10-08.htm

Best wishes!

Kerry

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Old 08-03-2009, 06:30 AM
 
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Cvolteacher, thank you so much for the information! I think I'm going to need to go in to my Principal and see what he think about the idea. The idea of eliminating a "behavior board" in the room is lovely to me. I do, however, like the calendar in the take-home folder as a means of communication for parents so I've still got to mull that over.

In a way (thinking "out loud" here), I don't see it as being much different from you calling home. I call home for "good phone calls" already - trying to make several a week, and I call home on occasion if there is a behavior issue that requires addressing and it's too complex for a note. I also send "happy notes" home in calendars and take-home folders as well. However, due to a weird situation at our school with telephone lines (as in to save money they eliminated a number of them), it is nearly impossible to get a phone line out before school or for the first hour that school has ended. In addition, so many parents have cell phones as their landline that are considered "long distance calls" in this area or are commuting from D.C., that I can't make those calls from my room anyway. We can only make local calls. So I'm stuck either using my cell phone - which I don't like to do in some cases (depends on the parent) - or I have to head down to the office and wait for a line to open up that I can place a long distance call on.

All of that is to say that telling a parent on the calendar "repeatedly talking during instruction" or "roughhousing at lunch" isn't much different than calling the parent to report the same behavior, is it?

My method last year was basically this: if the child operated all day on C or D behavior, they got a sticker on their chart. I wasn't assessing if it was C or D because, as you said, it's not possible to tell. The kids and I would talk about the levels, but of course I can only assess behavior, not motivation.

If the child had a repeated issue (talking during instruction/refusing to get back on task when prompted) OR what I considered a big issue (hurting someone else, cheating, drawing an inappropriate picture, etc.) then I send a note home on the calendar indicating the behavior. If there was an issue during one part of the day but not another, I would indicate that too (i.e. talking in a.m./much better in p.m.!)

As to the behavior board, I tried to at least lower the "look whose misbehaving" feature of it by keeping it near my desk where the kids generally don't go and also just having it numbered - no names on it of any kind. Noone touches it but me. Of course the kids do learn the numbers and occasionally someone comes over to look but for the most part they stay away from it.

The positive I see in the behavior calendar is that I have documentation that parents have been informed, and I can look at patterns more easily that way. If a kid has repeatedly difficult Mondays, it is quite obvious with a glance at the calendar. If their main issue is talking, that is pretty obvious too. If someone is out of their seat a lot and I'm annoyed about it, but I notice it isn't noted on the calendar, then it's a reminder to me to pay better attention and figure out why I'm feeling annoyed and if I'm being consistent with that child.

The behavior section of the report card is also observable-behavior oriented (turns in homework/following classroom rules/works independently/exhibits self-control, etc.).

Thank you, again, for the information. I'm going to do some reading from the links you posted and then have a chat with the principal about changing my behavior plan.

~Tangerine
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Hi again,Tangerine!
Old 08-03-2009, 07:59 AM
 
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Nice to hear back from you and be able to carry on our conversation!

Like you, we call home for serious issues, and like you we send positive written notes occasionally too and make positive phone calls. But probably different from where you live, parents where I teach, wouldn't expect to hear frequently about small issues... and my partner and I don't feel we need to report on small issues either.

Although no one in my area sends home daily reports to parents, I do notice that there are some teachers in my school who do phone home almost every day with small problems with their most challenging kids.... and I don't see them getting positive results. The small problems continue and both parents and teachers get more stressed. To us, this constant reporting seems to focus more on the problem than the solution. To us, the solution can best be found at school, with the thinking of DWS.

We don't feel it's very positive (for child, parent or us) to be reporting frequently on things that are small. To us it almost seems like complaining to send home notes every day if a child is doing small things they shouldn't. We wonder how we would feel if the principal phoned our husband every day to report on small things we'd omitted or done poorly. Would we feel better or worse about the situation?

Here's our thinking...

What could we expect from sending information home about minor problems? Can we realistically expect that a parent at home can solve small problems that come up at school? We see that as our responsibility... we use the procedures part of DWS to help a kid live up to our behavior expectations at school.

Most parents I know, receiving regular notes from the teacher that Johnny was doing something wrong at school, would punish their child in some small way. They would remove tv privileges or have them go to their bedroom for a time-out etc. They wouldn't do it to be punitive. In their mind, they would think they were supporting the teacher. To us this would be counterproductive to helping the problem. Some parents might be able to "solve" small problems at school by giving consequences but it would be through fear, rather than because they had moved their child to a higher level of self-discipline.

We don't ignore those small issues, such as the type you mention, we just see them as something we can best deal with at school. (We find that introducing kids to DWS thinking works for that.)

These days, we're finally starting to understand (from Marvin Marshall,) that the answer to small problems is to go back to procedures. Maybe you've already read the article I posted (for kbach, above,) and would understand what I mean by this but if not here's a few links giving real examples of using procedures to work on improving small problems:

Look down on this page for "SPECIAL ARTICLE"
http://www.marvinmarshall.com/newsle...lity_10-08.htm

Tell me how procedures are used in discipline situations:
http://disciplineanswers.com/procedu...lf-discipline/

A story about how we used procedures-thinking instead of punishment to solve a problem of misbehavior at lunch time.
http://www.marvinmarshall.com/newsle...responsibility

A wise teacher from the DWS group's story:
http://disciplineanswers.com/teachin...ures-homework/

We're also learning that relationships are key to improving discipline. Not only developing strong relationships with the very kids who are annoying to us but also with their parents. We find that written notes often send a message we don't intend, simply because they carry no tone of voice, no smile, no laugh etc. We prefer to deliver negative messages by voice, rather than by writing.

I've had experiences in the past where parents misinterpreted the severity of a little written note, whereas in-person conversations don't hold this same problem. Tone of voice says a lot! For that reason alone, we don't send little notes about negative things. Even phone messages are not as good as a face-to-face conversation where a parent can see exactly whether a problem is big or small.

We try to talk to parents when they pick their child up if we can manage it. That way they can see our genuine feelings for their child... we're concerned for the child, we're not just complaining. In a conversation, we can ask for their thoughts, we can ask to work with them as a team to come up with a solution etc. It achieves more positive results we find. (Often though, the parents of these most challenging kids are not ones who come to school regularly though, so phone calls are our typical habit.)

Please understand that I'm not saying that people who send daily behavior reports are only complainers. I understand that they are genuinely concerned too.... it's just that the "genuine concern part" often doesn't come through when a parent receives a quick little note.

The only parents we send notes back and forth to are those with special needs because they are more open about the needs and problems of their child and understand from (IEP meetings etc.) better the direction we're going. We do have frequent face-to-face meetings with parents of special needs students so the relationship is strong with people like this. They tend not to take offense at little notes in our experience.

I'd be interested to hear your thoughts, if you have time to write again, Tangerine!

Best wishes for another great day of summer!

Kerry
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Old 08-03-2009, 06:42 PM
 
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Thanks for getting back to me Kerry. I'm enjoying the exchange, too!

I don't feel like I complain to parents. I make it clear to parents that I handle discipline issues in class in the moment - what I tell/write to them is so that they are kept in the loop (which I find for this town seems to be very important for some reason) and so that there are no surprises on the report card in the behavior areas. It's not that different from sending home a grade on the spelling test or the homework calendar, is it?

I ask parents to support the message by talking to their child about their day and anything that I might have noted on the calendar, but I assure them that the consequence portion was taken care of on the spot, and I'm not asking them to ground their children or dole out any other punishment. I'm aware that there are still parents who probably do, and I also know that I probably tend to tread a little more carefully in notes home with those parents.

If anything, I find that my talkative or "difficulty sitting still" students who I really have no big issue with - can sometimes end up having big issues in 2nd grade because other teachers may view it differently than I do. I see a kid who simply isn't the type of kid who can sit for very long and they see a kid who is being disobedient.

I agree with you that phoning home for small issues seems ridiculous to me, as does sending them to the office for what I consider to be fairly typical behavior that many kids this age go through (for instance, every year there is a curse word or two uttered by someone and every year there is a student or two who cheats on a spelling test). I talk to the kids about the behavior. In the case of cheating, I reiterate that what I want to know is what they know - not what their neighbor knows and that I never have and never will scold a child for doing poorly on a spelling test. If it happens again, I take their test.

It's precisely because I feel that the little things are just that - little things - that I have appreciated the behavior calendar. It's so much less confrontational to write "talking" on the calendar than it is to call and say that little Johnny keeps talking and now we're to the point that it's a problem. Maybe it's too little of a thing to even ever mention to parents in your opinion, but I guess my feeling is that it is important if it is noticeable enough to stop my teaching and it will definitely be noticeable enough next year in 2nd grade. More than once a parent has said to me of their new first grader "but his K teacher never said he talked to much" and then when I talk to the K teacher, she says that yes indeed Johnny talked a TON but she was nervous about telling the parents because our parent population can be hard on teachers. Well, I think it's better to say something up front in the spirit of communication. I make it clear when we talk face to face that it's not upsetting, I recognize it's that child's personality, it's something we're working on, and I'd like their support from home. Usually I find out that yes indeed mom/dad realize that Johnny talks incessantly at home, too and we all get on the same page and try to help him realize when is a good time to talk and when is a bad time to talk.

I really am still mulling this all over. I like the idea, as I said, of getting rid of the behavior board and of focusing even more (because I really believe I have to some degree) on encouraging intrinsic self control. I'm going to ask my principal what he thinks of eliminating the behavior board and will ask him about the calendar as well, though I must admit that I am unsure about giving that piece up. I've had nothing but positive comments and thank-yous from parents in regards to my behavior plan in the past (which admittedly borrowed Marshall's levels without getting rid of the behavior board). It feels a little scary to abandon it altogether.

Thank you, again, for being willing to go back and forth with me on this. It's very helpful!

~Tangerine
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Old 08-04-2009, 05:12 AM
 
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These are just my thoughts and they may be unpopular to some. While I do understand the point of implementing a program as described to keep the integrity, I think one problem Education has is it focuses on the small details and forgets the big picture.

When I get my students they have often been rewarded every 30 to 45 minutes for good behavior. The type of children I teach do need behavior mod at times. Kids that have been severely abused often don't trust their internal motivators because of the mixed external motivators they've received for years. In these cases, the short term rewards might need to be there but there should always be the goal to get rid of them. I've never kept a student on the 45 minute schedule for more than 9 weeks. I have to move the rewards to every few hours, then daily and then longer.

I think behavior mod system and DWS do belong together because DWS would always be the goal. Even during behavior mod, the teacher should be posing the questions and training the students to understand the levels. The teacher will help the students learn ways to deal with anger that don't put them in the A or B levels. The teacher can begin introducing the concept of doing the right thing because it is the right thing to do. However, in the real world, there are consequences to all behavior. If you make sad choices you can lose friends, lose a job, get a fine, go to jail. If you make good choices, people tend to trust you more. You might have more friends, get to do things independenly, get job promotions which will mean more money. Of course the internal feelings are most important but these other things are the natural consequences to behavior. So I don't feel that if a student that is operating on level D comes to me and asks to play basketball for recess (which isn't something most kids do) and I say, "sure, because you make the right choices because they are right, I feel I can trust you to play away from me," that I completely compromise the program. I make the program fit my needs and my students. Education is a marathon. I may not totally get rid of all "rewards" during their time with me but I can ready them to move to that step once they reach my team member in the next grade.

I am not writing this because I feel like anyone has come down on me about this. I am writing to encourage. I just see that there are many of us that are trying to find a program to "fit" our situations. This could mean trying to meet the needs of special students, team members or inflexible administrations or districts. I think that even if we have to change a few things, the students will still benefit from learning the language of the program and will respond to any extra responsiblity they get to take for their behavior. Children thrive when they have some control and some choices.

Good luck to all of us next year. I am sure many of us will have a challenging time because of the economy. I have no doubt we can rise to the occasion and meet those challenges!
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Old 08-04-2009, 01:47 PM
 
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I just wanted you to know that I have been a lurker on this thread and to let you know how much I appreciate your time and effort in educating us and answering questions.

I've read DWS once and now I am rereading the first 4 chapters carefully. This is exactly what I have been looking for, but I know that I will have questions when school stars. I do have one question now about introducing the hierarchy.

I teach 2nd grade. Would I plan to introduce all 4 levels the first day of school? It seems like that would be the first thing to do so that when you practice a procedure, you could discuss what each level would look like. Am I on the right track there?

Also, I love your portable board. I am definitely going to make one. I am wondering what is on the magnets that you have on it?

Thanks so much! Marsha
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Hi Tangerine,
Old 08-05-2009, 08:11 AM
 
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Your message really brings home to me the fact that there are real differences in where we teach.

You said: It's not that different from sending home a grade on the spelling test or the homework calendar, is it?

Well, here's the crunch! We don't ever send home grades! Even our report cards hold no grades. Letter grades aren't used until grade four in my province. Although primary teachers are constantly assessing kids, we don't have many formal tests that are reported to parents.

The only tests my students/parents are aware of are our leveled reading tests, done orally, one-on-one with the teacher or learning assistance teacher. The kids have no concept in grade one of a written test, no concept of passing or failing, no concept of cheating in school... None of these things apply.

We do have the expectation that families should read at home each evening and occasionally we send home some project that we might loosely call "homework" but that would be about it. All homework is essentially optional--in fact I believe it's still a law in my province that there should be no homework in the primary grades at all.

The teachers in my province have worked diligently to stand up for a more low-stress, developmental approach to teaching in elementary schools and so far we've managed to avoid formal primary testing and letter grades, despite the fact that our provincial government is always leaning strongly in that direction. We have quite a bit of autonomy in our teaching... even mandated things can be taught as we see fit, in our own way... there are very few particular textbooks or programs we must follow. We seem to have quite a bit more freedom in our own teaching styles than what I notice (from these boards) other people have in North America. For that, I'm very grateful.

So, we're probably comparing apples and oranges here, you and I! That's why my parents would be quite shocked if we started to send home a daily behavior grade. It really would cause a lot of stress for all of us that we don't currently have.

Besides the daily behavior report, I would say that your approach sounds very similar to the one my partner and I use in communicating with parents. We too talk to parents in September. We have an evening meeting to discuss many aspects of our program and ask for parent support, much in the same way as you do. We focus on the Hierarchy in our discussion of discipline and ask the parents not to punish at home, just as you do with your parents. We also individually try to get the parents onside in a positive way with phone calls etc., and like you, find that often they are willing to work as a team with us because they understand that we genuinely care. This really benefits the child.

So all and all, as kbach says, don't get rid of things that don't feel right to you.

And too, we all have an individual comfort level for change.

Long ago, I gave up rewarding for behavior--- it just never sat right with me, probably because my own parents never used that kind of thinking as I grew up.

(That story... the one of my journey towards DWS is here if you're interested:
Part Two of this article:
http://www.marvinmarshall.com/pdf/Phi_Delta_Kappan.pdf


But for many years I still tried rewarding as a motivational technique for academics. (I was in grades 4-6 at that time)

You know: Do extra work in your free time for points/win a prize. Read books and win pizza coupons! etc. Become a spelling STAR by getting 100% on six out of seven tests, get your name up high on the wall! Awards for the most improved or most effort on a weekly basis. Even though I could see that these sorts of things actually seemed to discourage the very kids I wanted to encourage (the lowest ones) I never really understood why.

Then I bumped into Alfie Kohn's book, Punished by Rewards. Instantly, I understood the negative things I was seeing. I knew that the rewarding mentality was to blame. But still, having that COGNITIVE understanding wasn't enough. I needed time to really think about it before I felt I could let it go with assurance. After all, almost everyone around me was pushing more awards, more stickers, more rewards, more incentives.

It probably took two more years of giving fewer and fewer rewards until one day I realized with certainty that I no longer wanted to use rewards to motivate kids--it didn't feel good anymore. Finally, I knew in my heart what I had known in my head for several years. I can honestly say that since then I haven't used one incentive or reward in my teaching for the past 12 years or so. And then eventually I found Marvin Marshall's DWS and I learned even better how to motivate kids internally.

One thing that really helped me to finally let go of rewards was the realization that I could still have fun treats in my class... I didn't HAVE to use fun things as "rewards." What had been holding me back was that initially I thought that if I gave up rewarding altogether, I would also have to give up having fun treats/special surprises in the classroom. Of course this isn't the case at all!

More on that idea here: http://disciplineanswers.com/reward-vs-treat/


So, each person has their own road to go! Do whatever seems right to you!

Best wishes!

Kerry

Last edited by cvolcteacher; 08-05-2009 at 08:16 AM.. Reason: I can always find a better way to say something!
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Thanks for your thoughts, kbach...
Old 08-05-2009, 08:20 AM
 
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...and best wishes for a great year!

You mentioned that this year might be a challenging year for economic reasons. You're right! Many families in my area are out of work and the shelves of our local food bank are empty.

I think that teaching gets more challenging the longer I'm in the business!

Kerry

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Hi Marsha,
Old 08-05-2009, 09:26 AM
 
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Nice to meet you! I'm glad that you find some of my thoughts helpful! I enjoy sharing on boards like this during the lazy, hazy days of summer!

You asked about introducing the hierarchy with grade twos.

There are no hard and fast rules about this at all. Different people find success in different ways. In fact, almost every year my partner and I introduce it differently because we learn from past experience and change accordingly or just switch it up to keep it novel for ourselves.

The bottom line is that teaching about the Hierarchy and relating it to everyday events goes on all year long. In fact, it's only successful if you add meaning to it all year long. There's no magic in the Hierarchy. It's frequent meaningful discussion that moves kids forward over time. You can start on the first day of school or you can delay it. You can briefly introduce all four levels on the first day or you can wait and introduce it six weeks later. Either way works.

If it's your first time using DWS, you might want to start with a brief overview of all levels on the first or second day of school but spend ample time on procedures too. Personally, my advice, if you're going to do this, is to introduce all four levels at once, rather than one level a day. I say this because, who wants to spend the very first days of school telling the kids just about the bottom two levels???? It's not very positive and I've heard lots of other people say that actually doing a slow intro leads the kids to focus on anarchy and bossing/bullying--behavior sometimes worsens instead of getting better! Not a good way to start the beginning of the year!

That's not the goal of the program. Instead, you want to be focused on the two higher levels almost exclusively, so that the tone in the class is one of motivating/inspiring/giving examples of high level behavior.

The best way I know of for quickly giving an overview of all four levels is THe Trash Scenario using the stick figure drawings. You can find these visuals on the DWS mailring. Directions for accessing these photos is here:

http://disciplineanswers.com/introduce-hierarchy-trash/

In my school, we use these very simple posters from K-6.

When I first started using DWS I started with the Hierarchy. These days, we start with the procedures because that's the most pressing need in the first weeks of school for us. It's the procedures that help us get the classroom running smoothly in the beginning, not so much the Hierarchy. That's why it's Step One of the Teaching Model:

http://www.marvinmarshall.com/teaching_model.html

You asked:

It seems like that would be the first thing to do so that when you practice a procedure, you could discuss what each level would look like. Am I on the right track there?


I tend not to focus on how a procedure looks at the lower levels when I'm teaching it--I don't want to accidentally plant any bad ideas by discussing how the procedure looks if it's being done improperly in the first days of school! I simply focus on the procedure itself. I teach and re-teach and practice--this is how I establish my expectations. I expect them to follow the procedures that I teach. Learning to follow them right is automatic operation at Level C. That's my teaching goal.


On the other hand, if I don't teach a certain procedure well or forget to create one in the first place, and we run into problems because of my lack of proactive teaching, then down the road I might then have a discussion of the four levels with regard to that procedure.


So... How do teaching procedures relate to the Hierarchy levels? Basically, it boils down to a couple of simple things..... If you learn and follow the procedures that the teacher sets up, you will be operating at Level C. If you follow the procedures when you're not directly supervised, you will be on an even higher level because you will be self-disciplined (as opposed to relying on a teacher to discipline you.) As in any situation in life, you can make the choice to operate on the highest level and be in control of yourself if you want to feel most capable, mature and responsible.


Another couple of points to consider:

Time wise: There are so many procedures to teach in the beginning of the year, having a 4-level discussion about each one would take a great deal of time. It already seems to take hours and hours so I don't want to add time to this (vital, but) time-consuming activity.

Boredom: One initial mistake I ran into was that I could really kill the value of the program by be-laboring the Hierarchy levels. I learned to use it in discussions where I most wanted to motivate kids... and even then put my focus on the two top levels almost exclusively. Most often my partner and I don't even discuss the options of operating on the lower levels, more than briefly and usually not even at all. We concentrate on the fact that there are two acceptable levels. One is ho-hum--but there's this higher level you can CHOOSE... if you want to be higher than ho-hum!!! (And who doesn't want to think of themselves as better than ho-hum?)

These are just my own personal preferences and like I said, try it one way this year and if you think of a better way, change next year. There's a learning curve involved in switching over to DWS. It's important to realize that and stay positive about trying things out!

You asked about our portable Hierarchy:

I didn't really explain it well. The magnets are on the back... simply so that it sticks to our chalkboard.

It's made of a black rectangle with three boxes on it. It's about 20 inches tall and about 8 inches wide.

The top box is green (It simply says Level D- Democracy)

The middle box is yellow (Level C - Cooperation/Conformity)

The bottom box is red and includes two levels because they are both unacceptable. (Level B/A - Bossing/Bullying and underneath Anarchy)

We explain the color symbols in this way:

Level A and B are both unacceptable: When you choose to operate on Level A or B, you can be assured that someone in authority will take over for you. If you're not SELF-controlled, and are out-of-control, the way of the world is that someone steps in to control you to make things safe for everyone. Red, just like on a stoplight, signals "Stop."

Level C is yellow. Level C is the level of external motivation: Level C is the level where you are following the lead of others. Whenever you follow the lead of others you must use caution (indicated by yellow.) Maybe the person you consider following is a leader you can trust (the teacher, your parents, a responsible friend etc.) but perhaps the person you consider following is not a good example. Use caution. Level C is the middle of the Hierarchy in this chart. It's almost like the center of a teeter-totter. You're balancing... You could go either direction..UP to Level D (thinking carefully and wisely for yourself) or DOWN to Level B (following someone who is setting a an irresponsible model or is suggesting a poor choice) At this level, you often have to make choices like this because you're at the level of looking externally for guidance.... use caution when making choices.

Level D is green. Level D is the level of internal motivation: Level D is the highest level of behavior. When you think for yourself and do what you know to be right, (or you put in your best effort, or when you genuinely want to be kind or helpful) then you are on Level D. Essentially, when you operate on Level D, it is following your inner conscience and making decisions based on what will be best for you and for others. Since you're sincerely following what you know to be right, GO FOR IT, you're on the right track. Green often means go.


Best wishes!

Kerry

PS Did you know that Marvin Marshall puts out a free newsletter every month? There's additional information, stories and many things that pertain to developing responsibility, good relationships, improving learning etc. The next one comes out on this coming Saturday, the second Saturday of the month. Many people find it interesting. If you want to sign up, see the yellow box on his website home page (or it's on my blog too)

Last edited by cvolcteacher; 08-05-2009 at 09:38 AM.. Reason: Added an idea
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Thanks, Kerry
Old 08-08-2009, 05:34 AM
 
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I subscribed to the newsletter. What a valuable resource! I found your blog on the site as well and I have printed and reread so many of your answers. The more I read, the more I am convinced that this is what I have been looking for.

I am looking for a reflection form for a primary student. I know that it won't be used for a while but I wanted to have something ready to go. Can you suggest what one might look like?

Thanks so much for all your work! Marsha
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Hi Marsha,
Old 08-10-2009, 07:06 AM
 
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Nice to hear from you!

At the grade level I teach - Gr. One - the children have very few writing skills, especially at the beginning of the year. Beginning writers find it a challenge to get even a simple idea down on paper and it requires their full attention and concentration to do so- sounding out letter by letter. Since it requires such a lot of effort for them to write, I think that quite likely my young students would view a reflection form as a punishment for displeasing me. Instead of that response, I want them to see that I consider their misbehavior as an opportunity for them to learn something - an opportunity to grow. I want to make sure that I'm approaching behavior issues with positivity. In addition, I wouldn't want to do anything that would lead kids to associate writing with something negative and punishing.

Because the actual process of writing requires such extreme concentration and effort on the part of a young child, I think that using a reflection form in early primary may actually defeat the purpose of the form itself. The purpose of the form is to guide a child in self-reflection. If a child's attention is primarily (or entirely) focussed on the act of putting pen to paper, there may not be any "brain-power" left over to fuel the self-reflection. Without self-reflection, there isn't likely to be true change.

While it's quite possible that in the future the child may choose to act on Level C more often, his/her motivation for doing so may well be a desire to simply avoid "punishment". Instead, I want to ensure that a child realizes that the highest level (D) involves the motivation or desire to "do what is right simply because it is the right thing to do", as opposed to doing something right in an effort to avoid disapproval.

So for these reasons, I personally find it's far more valuable to have a personal discussion with a young child who is misbehaving. In that way, I can guide the process of self-reflection and make that the key focus. If the discussion is likely to be lengthy, I generally put it off till lunch time or after school. Marv says somewhere in his book that this "postponement of the discussion" itself actually encourages the process of self-reflection. The misbehaving child automatically starts to engage in self-reflection, knowing that a discussion is forthcoming.

Without a doubt, this does take time--usually some of my lunch hour--but I find it is time well spent. I know that this investment of time with an individual will pay off, not only for them, but for me too. By dealing thoroughly with a misbehaving child and going step by step through the reflection form, it's likely that I'll spend less time dealing with misbehavior with this child in the future.

In the back of DWS book there is an Appendix entitled, "Forms." I use the forms on Page 275 and 276 to guide me in my discussion. At first, I absolutely needed the book open beside me to keep me on track but now I can "wing it"! These forms are meant for older children so I don't use the exact wording. I just use them to remind me of the general direcion in which I want the conversation to go.

Basically that direction is this....

-Tell me about what has happened? What was the problem you created? (This is a great one for getting the child to think about the fact that the problem didn't just HAPPEN TO him/her but rather his/her behavior has created this problem.)

-On what level were you operating? (If ask in a pleasant way, the child feels no need to self-defend and therefore will usually, correctly and honestly tell you the level. If not, then more questions help them to arrive at the correct level. For examples, see DWS p94.)

-Tell me about why you see yourself at this level? ( In other words I want the child to verbalize TO ME - not the other way around! - that what they were doing was unacceptable. Admitting something like "I was bumping into people on the monkey bars so they would get off and let me have a turn. That was bossing them around," promotes ownership of the problem. The child is acknowledging that what they did was at Level B.)

- Is acting at Level B ever acceptable? (No)

- How must the teacher treat you on this level? (What kind of a relationship do you have with someone--the teacher or a classmate--when you operate at this level? How are the feelings between us? I want the child to realize that they have PUT THEMSELVES into this position of being at loggerheads with me, or the noonhour supervisor or with another child.

- On what level should you have acted? How would the situation have been different if you had acted on a higher level? (One thing I want them to think about are the relationships that they have with others. Through the guided questionning strategies, I want them to realize that they are putting these relationships into jeopardy. Kids naturally WANT to have friends, WANT to have their teacher like them, WANT to have the noonhour supervisor enjoy being with them etc. I think it's important to get them to reflect on their actions and help them understand that they can choose to create better relations with others by raising the level of their behavior.

-Let's think about how you might deal with a similar situation in the future. (Perhaps the child needs to come up with a PROCEDURE to help them through a similar situation in the future.)

OR...

-"What should happen now?" - (If the situation is quite serious and a consequence is deemed necessary then that would be dealt with before going on to discuss a procedure for a future situation.)

-Most often it doesn't seem necessary to elicit a consequence for the immediate situation but rather to elicit a future consequence, should the child choose to repeat this same type of misbehavior. Then you've prepared yourself in case this should happen again. As always the DWS philosophy is to ELICIT the consequence from the child with regard to a specific situation. As Marv says, if the consequence comes from the child, they take ownership - people don't argue with themselves!

If you're unsure what I mean by proactively eliciting a consequence should the child repeat the misbehavior, this link might help. Interestingly enough, when a child has gone to the effort of imagining the repetition of the misbehavior and goes through the process of logically creating a consequence for doing so, they rarely misbehave again. They see it's just smarter not to go down that route.
http://disciplineanswers.com/consequ...s-misbehavior/

After having said all of the above though...
there are DWS teachers who use reflection forms with very young students that they have created themselves. You can find some examples on the DWS mailring (link available on the home page of my blog) in the "Files" section. You'd have to look at them yourself to judge if they were something you would want to use.

Sorry not to be able to directly offer the help you were looking for!

Kerry
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thank-you kerry
Old 08-10-2009, 04:02 PM
 
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that really helped me.
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Old 08-12-2009, 07:10 AM
 
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Hi Kerry,

I have been reading Marvin Marshall's book and love it. I will definitely use this program this year. I have a question regarding the links you posted. I am trying to access the photos for the Trash Scenario through DWS mailring. I signed up as a member and have received the monthly newsletter but for some reason I am not finding this. Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks.
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mailring/newsletter
Old 08-12-2009, 07:22 AM
 
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Hi gunther!

If you've joined the DWS mailring, then you should be able to access the pictures. Here's how:

Go to the home page of the DWS group.

Look on the left hand side bar for "Photos." Click on that.

That should take you to a page showing 5 photo albums. Click on the one that says "DWS Trash Photos."

Hopefully that will work!

If you aren't able to access the "Photos" page, maybe your application for membership in the group didn't go through for some reason. Just try again or let me know and I can contact the moderator for you to see what the problem might be.

I wasn't sure if you understood that the newsletter and the mailring are two separate things. Signing up for the newsletter doesn't mean that you're a member of the DWS mailring. Perhaps you only signed up for the newsletter??

Let me know if you're still having trouble accessing those pictures!

Kerry

Last edited by cvolcteacher; 08-12-2009 at 07:23 AM.. Reason: typing error
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Hi Kerry
Old 08-12-2009, 05:29 PM
 
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Thanks for such a quick response! I do need your assistance in signing up for the mailring. Yes I only signed up for the newsletter. I'm not sure where to sign up for the mailring? Thanks again, I really appreciate all of your help with this.
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Hi Gunther,
Old 08-12-2009, 09:25 PM
 
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I've emailed you in a private message... hoping that the links go through.

Kerry
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Hi Gunther,
Old 08-12-2009, 09:25 PM
 
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I've emailed you in a private message... hoping that the links go through.

Kerry
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Kerry - Thanks so much for the info. I am all
Old 08-14-2009, 06:58 AM
 
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set with the mailring. Wonderful resources! I love DWS! I do have another question/concern that I hope you can help me with. In conjunction with DWS I also wanted to implement using Homeworkopoly. If you're not familiar with homeworkopoly it is a game students can play at the end of the week if they have perfect homework. Would this system go against the methods of DWS where you are not suppose to reward the students? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. Thanks!
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