The PBIS Tiered Fidelity Inventory (TFI) features 1.3 – 1.6 focus on teaching behavioral expectations and emphasizing consistency in defining and responding to behavior. Providing resources that assist and empower staff and students to teach expected academic and social behaviors ensures we are creating a positive climate for learning.
- Turn the Tables: Ask Students to Teach their Peers
Based on the locations where spikes in behavior may be observed, employ student models, gathering students who represent different student-groups in the building, to create a resource which showcases students leading the re-teaching of expectations. For example, a Public Speaking class at a middle school in York County, VA created videos highlighting positive ways to follow expectations in the cafeteria, classroom, hallway transitions, and on the bus, which were “hot spot” areas revealed in the data. Each team decided which location they’d like to work on. The students brainstormed a list of unacceptable behaviors based on their own experiences, such as screaming and yelling on the school bus is unsafe because it is distracting to the bus driver. Then, each team recorded a real-time example of the students following expectations in each location based on the school’s matrix. When all areas were completed, they were compiled into one video, and this movie was shown on the school’s morning show. Check out this example from Tabb Middle School.
- Involve Students in Using Data to Reinforce Expectations
High expectations begin with empowering students to track and make sense of their own data, to include their own data, like test scores, behavioral data, and attendance, guides them in being proactive and gives them the necessary background information to assist with decision-making. This also helps them understand the causes and effects of their own behaviors. Look at some of these great examples from this Edutopia article (Boryga, 2022); altering this same approach with behavioral data would be a great way to have developing learners gain better understanding of their own lives, inside and outside of school. Having students troubleshoot and problem-solve for themselves shifts the ownership and increases a sense of empowerment.
Especially at the secondary level, inviting students to view monthly school-wide data trends related to discipline and attendance can help to inform how and when expectations will be reviewed school-wide. Students can also collaborate with staff to set goals that will address school-wide trends.
- Support Staff With Targeted Lesson Plans
When teams extend the scope of data collected and review discipline data and detailed feedback from multiple staff groups, such as bus drivers, cafeteria staff, SROs, and the custodial staff, a more comprehensive view of the students’ day is captured. Using this whole-school approach will give insight into targeted data that will show specifically where reteaching and opportunities to emphasize behavior specific feedback are most needed.
Providing teachers with various types of matrix-based lesson plans that they can utilize throughout the year can make it easier for staff to reinforce expectations as needed. Linked here are several lesson plan examples: lesson plan for “respectful” behavior, hallway lesson plan, and lesson plans for multiple locations. Creating a fun game, such as BINGO, to review expectations can also encourage increased staff involvement and consistency of teaching across the school. When reviewing expectations, consider guiding students to specific locations to practice and provide feedback and reinforcement until students are demonstrating the expectations.
As expectations are being reviewed, be sure to ask students how expectations compare to their lived experiences and home expectations. This can assist staff to develop expectations that are responsive to students’ cultural backgrounds and provide greater understanding of our students.
- Use a Flowchart to Promote Consistency
Taking the guesswork out of how to handle behavior as part of your building’s procedure can provide a breath of fresh air for your teachers, along with all other stakeholders. Not only does this provide predictability for the teachers, students, and administrators, but it also conveys transparency to families. Adopting this consistent way of working within a school can help create the culture of “it’s not personal, it’s policy,” shifting away from a culture of discipline towards one of intervention and support. When this flowchart of action-steps is made known from the beginning, it eases staff and student anxiety and gives them the ability to predict what’s going to happen. The flowchart also will create a system that helps instill expectations for communicating with families about behavior, also helping teachers understand what is appropriate to send to the office and what needs to be handled at the classroom-level. When implemented with fidelity, a clear, consistent process can alleviate stress for everyone involved and takes the guesswork out of the way you do business. Using this template found on pages 51 and 52 from the 2021 VDOE Model Guidance for Positive, Preventive Code of Student Conduct Policy and Alternatives to Suspension (Virginia Board of Education, 2021), you can tailor yours to showcase your specific details. Consider adding hyperlinks for matrix lesson plans and associated teaching videos within the flowchart to promote ease of access for staff.
- Build Social-Emotional Vocabulary and Communication Skills
As you are developing and teaching expectations, consider how expectations align with the social emotional skills that are prioritized in your school/division. If relationship skills are social emotional skills that your school is focusing on, when discussing group work in a classroom setting, guide the group to elaborate on what they might mean by “don’t be rude” or “communicate effectively”. Do they mean polite, courteous, kind, thoughtful, or collaborative? Should the students remain patient, quiet, observant, or poised for response? Role-playing a conflict guiding them to use specific sentence stems, instead of lower-level words like bad, mean, hurtful can provide explicit support for communication. Also consider publishing an initial Word Wall listing some words and sentence stems that you expect the students to use when conversing with each other, highlighting those that could elevate their social emotional vocabularies and overall communication skills. Check out the following Edutopia video which shares 4 Ways to Build Emotional Literacy (Edutopia, 2022).
Along with your co-created class rules, consider how expectations can be included that will assist the students in identifying their feelings, and give them the tools to manage their emotions in specific situations. Here is one matrix example on page 5 of the following pbis.org brief: Creating a Classroom Teaching Matrix (Robbie et al., 2022).
Edutopia. (2022, April 19). 4 Ways to Build Emotional Literacy. Edutopia. Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/video/4-ways-build-emotional-literacy/
Boryga, A. (2022, July 22). Fun Ways to Get Kids to Generate, and Manipulate. Edutopia. Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/article/fun-ways-get-kids-generate-and-manipulate-their-own-data/
Robbie, K., Santiago-Rosario, M., Yanek, K., Kern, L., Meyer, B., Morris, K., & Simonsen, B. (August, 2022). Creating a Classroom Teaching Matrix. Center on PBIS, University of Oregon. www.pbis.org
Boryga, Andrew. Edutopia. (2022, July 12). Fun Ways to get Kids to Generate, and Manipulate,
Their Own Data. Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/article/fun-ways-get-kids-generate-and-manipulate-their-own-data/
Lee, Katie. Mental Health America. (2022, August 31). 10 Tips for Teachers to Practice Social Emotional Learning in the Classroom. Retrieved from https://www.mhanational.org/blog/10-tips-for-classroom-social-emotional-learning
Virginia Board of Education. (Rev. 2021). Model Guidance for Positive, Preventive Code of Student Conduct Policy and Alternatives to Suspension. Retrieved from Student Behavior and Administrative Response Collection | Virginia Department of Education