Monday, December 16, 2013

Behavior in the Speech Room

                            Affiliate links are included at the end of this post. 
There are times when even Speech Kids get a little unruly!  Here is my "tried & true" way to keep them on task:
At the beginning of every year (regardless of how long he/she has been in speech), I review my procedures, which are posted in my room.  You can see them in the top right corner of this picture:
At my other school, I have them sitting on a round decorative table right by the door. 

 The procedures are simple:  Check book, sit down, complete activity, get sticker, walk quietly back to class.  I have a picture beside each procedure as well.
During the session, I have "Super Job Slips".  I got these when I first started working (in the dark ages!); they were part of a book that featured Willard the Worm:  Pick a Peck of Lessons (Kathy Shurley).    The book has open-ended games (some of which I still have) that included some seasonal games.  Anyway, the slips have an apple with a worm coming out of it (that would be Willard!) and the words "Super Job" on them.  Each kid is given 5 slips.  I'll give them 1 verbal warning so that they will know the behavior that is not appropriate (talking when it's someone else's turn, not sitting in his seat, etc.).  The next time the behavior occurs, I don't say anything, I only take a slip away.  They have to have 1 slip left to get a sticker on their sticker chart.  (I use the sticker charts from Super Duper's Year 'Round Lifesavers & Timesavers.)  
When the student gets a row filled up with stickers, he is rewarded with a trip to the prize box.  The student can earn an extra sticker if he brings back his speech homework with a parent's signature.  When I first started using this reward system, I let them pick a piece of candy, but then the schools started getting away from giving out candy, so I switched to a prize box.  (That's probably a good thing, because I would end up eating the candy the kids didn't like!)  In recent years, I would rotate the rows between prizes and fruit snacks, but, since I have to buy those out of my own pocket, I've switched to just the prize box.   At the beginning of the year, I use some of my money to buy prizes from Super Duper.  
If a student should happen to get a "sad face", they don't get to go to the prize box when the row is completed...they have to wait until another row is completely filled with stickers.  I have very rare occasions where a student will get 2 sad faces in a row.  If that happens, I put the sad face in the next row.  It sounds kind of harsh, but it works.  I have very few students who ever get more than 1 sad face, and, after they get that 1st sad face, they never get another one!  There are ways to get an "automatic sad face":  laughing at other speech students, arguing with me, and not following hallway procedures (walking quietly back to class).  Again, this very rarely happens, and I often will warn the student before I give them a sad face.  I forgot to mention:  if a child gets down to just 1 slip, I will point it out to them and tell them to be very careful.
I usually only have to use the Super Job slips for the first few sessions, then I don't have to put them out once the student understands behavior expectations.  In fact, the other day I asked one group if I needed to get out the Super Job Slips, and they said, "no" rather emphatically!  Their behavior was perfect the rest of the session.
I give my groups time to get out all of their extra talking (telling me about their weekend or their plans) on the walk from their room to the speech room.  By the time we get to my room, they're ready to focus on speech, and we can dedicate "most" of the 30 minutes on speech.
I'm trying something a little different with my 4th graders this year.  I thought the sticker charts were a little babyish for them, and I ran across these on TpT:
It's the same concept as the Sticker Chart, except once the dollars go in, they don't come out until they've earned the number of dollars that I set.  If the student is seen individually, she has to have $6.  If there are 2 kids in the group, they have to have $12; 3 kids- $18.  They put the dollars into a cup:  I found some plastic cups at the Target Dollar Spot and decorated them with Washi tape.  Once they earn the specified amount, they decide as a group whether they want to go to the prize box or have some iPad time.  Surprisingly, most of them choose the prize box.
I do have some fruit snacks on hand...for my walk-in preschoolers.  I make sure I have at least a couple of activities per session so they will stay busy.  That cuts down on a lot of behavior issues!
That's my behavior system in a nutshell.  How does this compare to what you do?


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