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Ginger rated her behavior during carpet time

Hi! and welcome to What Works Wednesdays where a success story from clinical files is shared. Today’s story is about a little girl named Ginger who happens to be a typically developing 3rd grade. Ginger’s teacher contacted Applied Behavioral Strategies to assist her with Ginger’s behavior because Ginger had difficulty paying attention during morning meeting, sitting quietly during group instruction, and staying on task during independent seat work.

Record Review

A review of Ginger’s academic records indicated that she was performing at grade level in all areas. While she had some struggles learning to read, with focused intervention, she has remained on a 3rd grade reading level. Ginger is also very active and has difficulty keeping her hands, arms, and legs still. Finally, Ginger is highly distractable. Her focus is disrupted by butterflies, peers walking by, and particles on the floor.

Ginger’s teacher felt overwhelmed because she had tried verbal reminders, notes home to parents, and seating arrangements. She felt that none of these strategies worked effectively.

Student Interview

The behavior analyst asked Ginger why she had difficulty sitting quietly, completing her seat work, and listening to teacher instruction. She responded that, “I try to sit still and listen but my friend talks to me” and “I try to do my work but I have to sharpen my pencil” and “I sit away from my friend but she comes to sit next to me”.

ABC Observation and Analysis

Direct observation revealed that a variety of consequences followed these target behaviors. Sometimes Ginger received a verbal warning, sometimes the class received a reminder, and some times, no consequence occurred at all.

Self-Management

The behavior analyst needed more time to complete the assessment

so she developed a brief self-monitoring plan for Ginger to use until the assessment and behavior intervention plan could be completed. The self-monitoring plan consisted of Ginger evaluating her own behavior following each instructional activity. Her teacher reviewed the evaluation and confirmed if the evaluation matched reality. Ginger received praise and positive feedback for desired behaviors and her parents provided additional positive attention each day when Ginger shared her rating at home.

Additional Tips

The form was printed and put onto Ginger’s favorite color of construction paper. Then it was laminated so that one side showed the seat work and the other side showed the carpet time. Using a dry erase marker, Ginger could self-rate each day and then the chart could be wiped clean for the next day.

Ginger rated her behavior during seat work

Success

After 2 weeks, the assessment had to be put on hold because Ginger’s behavior improved. As with any student, Ginger continues to have difficulty when substitute teachers are present. However, this simple intervention worked to focus on Ginger’s strengths by reinforcing desirable behaviors.

Readers, have any of you tried self-management? What worked? Parents, have any of your children been placed on self-management plans? Did you like it? Did your child?

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After reading our post yesterday on ABA in General Education settings, a few people emailed asking us about the Good Behavior Game. So we thought we would share.

Use of the Good Behavior Game in classrooms dates back to the late 1960s and early 1970s. Since then, it has been used with great success in a variety of settings, across different ages, and with different types of students. Most recently, it was identified as an evidence-based strategy for educators. Thus, it is one that can and should be used by teachers to help manage classroom behaviors.

In the Good Behavior Game, students work together to obtain reinforcers. This is different from some reinforcement systems where each child receives reinforcers for his or her own behavior.  In the Good Behavior Game, the teacher divides the class in to teams. After reminding the teams about the rules, the teacher then proceeds to count the number of challenging behaviors in the class. The goal is to have the lowest number of behaviors at the end of the day. Each day, the team with the lowest points wins a reward. At the end of the week, the team with the most daily wins is eligible for a special award.

At the start of any good behavioral program, reinforcement rates are high and reinforcers are often tangible. Over time, these are faded to lower rates of reinforcement and intangible reinforcers such as social attention (e.g., displaying winning team members’ names on the bulletin board or in the parent newsletter). Teachers can supplement the Good Behavior Game with other types of learning such as direct instruction regarding positive behaviors, negative behaviors, and social problem solving.

For additional information, readers may turn to:

  1. Elswick, S. & Casey, L. B. (2011). The good behavior game is no longer just an effective intervention for students: An examination of the reciprocal effects on teacher behaviors. Beyond Behavior, 21, page 36-46.
  2. Sweizy, N. B., Matson, J. L., & Box, P. (1992). The good behavior game: A token reinforcement system for preschoolers. Child and Family Behavior Therapy, 14, 21-32.
  3. Lannie, A. L., & cCurdy, B. L. (2007). Preventing disruptive behavior in the urban classroom: Effects of the good behavior game on student and teacher behavior. Education and Treatment of Children, 30, 85-98.

We hope this has helped our readers. If you would like a copy of the Good Behavior Game manual, you will find it here.

Teachers, have any of you utilized this approach in your classroom? Behavior analysts, have you taught teachers to use it? Parents, do your kids mention playing this game at school? How do their teachers manage classroom behaviors?

We are hanging out over at Yeah Write. When we hang out we are not in competition. Hop on over there as well as the challenge grid to get some read on!

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