Sunday, November 15, 2015

New Schedules

I have 3 new students this year that have very limited academic skills, are low, or not verbal, and/or have many behavioral issues (aggression, running, screaming, yelling and growling, hitting, hair pulling, biting, pinching, kicking, spitting, masturbation, clearing surfaces, throwing things, etc).

The schedule I originally had in place was just not going to work for these three. They are unable to sit in group settings and participate, they can't read, or have low to no academic abilities, poor fine motor skills, and they have very limited abilities to communicate anything. In addition, these 3 need one to one help and I just don't have that support in place yet.

It's a fine balance in creating a schedule that works for a group of students that can read and write and need direct instruction in these content areas, as well as science and social studies, can participate in groups, and can work independently (mostly), and students that cannot do these things and need  a dedicated work space and schedule, and very simple tasks. I have had to go through several changes to my schedule to accommodate these needs and my current lack of sufficient adult support.

This is the schedule I put together before school started. The color coding is for the adults, for example, I am yellow, so that we can tell at a glance which students we are working with, what class period, and what we are doing. I do put together a more detailed schedule of exactly what the Paras are doing with these students, etc. Each column is a student. The schedule changes every 15 min or so and students use either a wall schedule or a binder schedule to transition. There are several Para run centers in this schedule (fluency, Binder, Morning meeting).

 This was my second attempt  a schedule. We got a temporary 1:1 for a student and I added her to the mix. She is the one in Pink. This lasted for 1 day.

This is the current schedule. We went through several iterations of this. But we had a few students with too many needs and not enough help to do a lot of stations. The students that are able, have to do a lot of independent work throughout the day. My students that need more support, are in designated areas and work on a first/then schedule and get frequent breaks and rewards throughout the day. 

So far, this seems to be working. I am still putting together their designated areas and more appropriate tasks, because there is limited time in a day and I am only one person. I hope to have it all up and running smoothly shortly.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Behavior + freebie

We are well into our school year  and I am just now starting to recover. It's interesting how 3 new students can totally change everything, from classroom set up, to schedules, to what I am teaching, and to how much I interact with students. I also didn't fully appreciate the last two wonderful years I had in the same classroom.

Last June, I had 3 students move onto high school. Two were very high functioning, and one was my lowest student academically at that time. All 3 had minor behaviors at best, typical of students with autism. I have 3 new students to replace them and all three are lower functioning than my previous student, plus they have other challenges such as aggressive behavior, elopement issues, and no functioning communication. Their current IEPs did not adequately share their challenges (like not having  FBAs or Behavior support plans), so I have had to scramble to put things in place.

After a disastrous first day, I had my Paras start tracking multiple behaviors for each of them, as well as doing ABC tracking, and I was able to put a few things in place. Here are pics of the forms I used.

 It's so easy to put the the letter down versus writing everything. It's just a faster way to track this. Not sure where I got this form, otherwise I would share it.

  I typically use this form for anything from 1-3 behaviors. I have another one for more behaviors than that. I write specifics down so that everyone is clear on what they are tallying. You can get a copy of this form here.


I tracked the behaviors using excel, tracked all of the interventions I tried, as well as a narrative for each student, and then submitted it to the district in order to get more adult support in the classroom. I did receive one long term sub for one of my students due to aggression towards peers on multiple occasions.

 Here is one example of the behaviors I am tracking. I lumped a couple together since they occur at the same time

 Here is what this behavior looks like in graph form.

 Here are some of the interventions I have tried for this student. His main motivation is for sensory input so those are the bulk of the interventions I have tried. The list is longer than what you see here. All of them work, but only for a short amount of time. I am next going to put him on a  varied sensory diet all day long so we will see how that works.

Here is the behavior for another student. The interventions for him have been pretty successful, with the exception of when his 1:1 support person goes to lunch, so I am playing around with that. We tried putting in a male person, but the result was the same. Next up is to change the lunch time of his 1:1 from afternoon to morning, which changes all of our schedules (sigh), but he is calmer in the morning, so it makes sense that this might help.

 These interventions have worked fairly well for this student, but as in everything, we keep trying to improve.

More to come on this topic in a different post.