Castleman Creek Elementary


Using Your Voice: Self-Advocacy Through Individual Conferencing

Primary Researchers

Madeleine Boschen, Intern, Baylor University

Jennifer Findley B.S.Ed, Mentor Teacher, Castleman Creek Elementary, Midway ISD

Jina Clemons, M.S.Ed. Intern Supervisor, Baylor University

 

Rationale/Introduction

“For gifted students to receive an appropriate education, educators must not only provide challenging opportunities, they must also help those students understand their needs, know the options, and become proficient at advocating for themselves” (Douglas, 2004). As an intern in a fourth-grade classroom with a cluster of gifted and talented students, I have observed a serious dearth of self-advocacy in my gifted students. In an effort to mitigate the harm that can befall unchallenged gifted students, I decided to conference one-on-one with my gifted students to promote their self-advocacy skills.

Wondering

How will five-minute individual conferencing during the morning-work period of class each school day disrupt complacency and increase self-advocacy for learning opportunities in gifted students?

Methodology/Results

This study involved four identified gifted learners in a fourth grade classroom, consisting of two Caucasian females, one Caucasian male, and one Asian male. I conferenced individually with each student for roughly 5 minutes during the 30-40 minute period of time dedicated to morning work, school announcements, and transitions into the class day. The format for each individual student conference remained the same, and my responses remained neutral to each student. The following questions were asked of each student daily during their conference:

  • How comfortable do you feel asking the teacher to change your work?
  • What do you think you should be challenging yourself to learn?
  • Will you do something today to challenge yourself?
  • Is there a way you would like me to support you in your challenge today?

Student responses were recorded on daily data sheets and marked on a scale of 1-4 with a qualitative rubric as a way to quantify student responses toward their comfort with self-advocacy. Following the implementation of individual conferencing during the mornings, a 50% improvement between the average of every student’s day 1 answers and every student’s day 11 answers occurred. Interestingly, the greatest improvement in student comfort with self-advocacy occurred during week two of individual conferencing, with a slight drop in student responses during week 3, however every student in the study demonstrated growth in self-advocacy over the three weeks of conferencing.

Implications/Recommendations

The implementation of one-on-one conferencing for gifted students results in measurable student growth in self-advocacy. The findings of this study support research that opportunities to build student confidence through speaking up and contributing to one’s education fosters student

self-advocacy (Zacarian & Silverstone, 2020, 125). Based on the results, I will be continuing this practice of individually conferencing with students as a strategy to improve self-advocacy. In the future, I would like to spend time during individual conferences discussing specific strategies to improve self-advocacy. It is crucial for gifted and talented students to be able to voice their needs within the classroom. Providing them with a daily opportunity to do so is a simple and effective way to meet their needs.

References

Douglas, D. (2004). Self-advocacy: Encouraging students to become partners in differentiation. Roeper Review, 26(4), 223-228. 10.1080/02783190409554273

Zacarian, D., & Silverstone, M. (2020). Teaching to Empower: Taking Action to Foster Student Agency, Self-Confidence, and Collaboration. ASCD.

 

 


Incentive Chart and Stickers

Primary Researchers

Casey Brooks, Intern, Baylor University

Monica Riegel, Mentor Teacher, Castleman Creek Elementary, Midway ISD

Lisa Plemons, M Ed, Intern Supervisor, Baylor University

 

Rationale/Introduction

I have observed that one student in my classroom is disengaged during read aloud, small group, and stations. I will use an incentive chart with the student during these specific times, and when he is engaged with work he will be rewarded with a sticker. When he earns 10 stickers, he will get a reward. I am hoping this system will increase engagement. The purpose of this chart is to increase engagement using a reward.

Question/Wondering

If I use an incentive chart to gain a reward, will my student be more engaged?

Methodology/Results

The incentive chart that was implemented for a 1st grade student was based off his off-task behaviors and not finishing his work in the time allocated. The student that I was working with is a 6-year-old white male. Before beginning my project, I talked with my mentor teacher, Monica Riegel, about the student and about the best way to approach this hopefully beneficial project. During the first week before implementing the incentive chart to his routine, I gathered data and observed the times when he was off task. I observed this off task behavior over a 4-day period. During this 4-day period I observed that the student was off task about 50% of the time. After gathering this data, I came up with a solid plan in how I was going to approach this project. I used 2 timers, one was for the time he was working, this was a 5-minute timer used on his iPad. The next timer was a 1-minute timer that was for his given breaks, this was a sand timer. CISS Newsletter states that visual timers help children stay on task for a short amount of time (CISS Newsletter, 2020). These timers serve as a visual aide for the student, this helps him know how much time he is working for and motivates him for that 1 minute break. Next, I made a chart of 4 different choices of a break, this included his desired behaviors which included getting water, going to the bathroom, tapping his pencil, and walking around. Then, I had my incentive chart which had stickers and boxes, if he completes the whole chart, he will be able to take his shoes off for a day. These stickers were given after specific times these included after stations, read aloud, writing, and math. Finally, I explained this to the student, and we came up with working expectations and break expectations together. The working expectations that we came up with was being at a level 1 or 0, being on task, not walking around, and being respectful to the teacher. The break expectations that we came up with was only choose 1 break, being at a level 1 or 0, 1-minute break, and go back to work and reset timer to 5 minutes. After giving the student instructions and explaining the expectations the student picked up on it really quickly and enjoyed participating in this. After 1 day of doing this routine and putting it to action the student was picking up his own timer, choosing his own break, and getting back to work. In 1 day, the student completed his station work in 10 minutes with having 10 minutes left in the station.

Implications/Recommendations

After completing this project over a 4-week period my results were that using timers and using an incentive chart was successful. The student I was working with was highly motivated with the reward given and the stickers each time. As I was doing this research project, I noticed over time the student could be focused for a longer period of time. This meant having a 10-minute timer and then getting a break for 1 minute. I also noticed adjusting the sticker method and giving him a sticker at the very end of him completing all four stations is more consistent than after every station.

Reference(s)

“Executive Function & Self-Regulation.” Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, 24 Mar. 2020, https://developingchild.harvard.edu/science/key-concepts/executive-function/.

Team, Triple P. “Incentive Program: Using Reward and Behavior Charts.” Parenting Now, 17 Mar. 2019, https://parentingnow.org/incentive-program-using-reward-and-behavior-charts/.

Ciss newsletter, and Ciss newsletter. “From the CISS Equipment Library: The Benefits of Visual Timers.” ACCESS Inclusion Newsletter, 10 Nov. 2020, https://cissnewsletter.ca/2020/11/10/from-the-ciss-equipment-library-the-benefits-of-visual-timers/.

 

 


Implementing Growth Mindsets in Potentially Gifted and Talented Students

Primary Researchers

Elizabeth DeVille, Intern, Baylor University

Vanessa Maxwell, Mentor Teacher, Castleman Creek Elementary, Midway ISD

Kaiti Firkins, Mentor Teacher, Castleman Creek Elementary, Midway ISD

Jina Clemons, M.S.Ed. Intern Supervisor, Baylor University

 

Rationale/Introduction

I am currently an intern in a fourth grade classroom. The 21 students are widely diverse in background, race, educational abilities, and socio-economic status. Two of these students caught my attention in my first semester teaching them. Both are Caucasian males that come from the middle class. Neither are identified as gifted and talented, but they show many characteristics of gifted and talented students, so they have been nominated and will be tested in the Spring 2022 semester. These two students are high-achieving students, and are hyper-focused on the fact that they are not labeled as gifted and talented students, as many of the small groups in which they are placed also include gifted and talented students. Whenever these students get an answer incorrect or do not make a perfect score on a test, they become extremely upset. This is exhibited through frustrated outbursts, crying, negative self-talk, or lack of motivation. Therefore, by facilitating this study, I hope to have a positive impact on the academic self-concept and motivation of these students, especially in mathematics, that is then reflected in the quality of work produced. If the outcome of this study is positive, then I plan to incorporate the activities and discussions from this study into my future classroom because I believe it has the potential to benefit all students.

Question/Wondering

How might implementing a growth mindset curriculum benefit the academic self-concept and motivation of two potentially gifted and talented students?

Methodology/Results

I met with the selected students every day for 5-10 minutes during their station time. We completed lessons and activities to build and foster a growth mindset in the classroom. Many of them were from the book, Mindsets in the Classroom. I kept all of the activities done as well as took anecdotal notes in each lesson.

I observed the students each day by keeping a journal to document negative self-talk and moments of explosive frustration. In addition to this, I gave students a survey at the beginning and end of the research time to reflect on how they feel in different areas of mathematics. This was based on the Self-Description Questionnaire for Early Childhood Longitudinal Study and included additional information pertinent to the study. Lastly, data was collected through students' daily and major assignment grades as motivation and self-concept are reflected in the quality of work produced.

My observations showed that the frequency of negative outbursts decreased during the research timespan. Initially, the outbursts occurred almost daily - 1/24, 1/27, 2/7, 2/8, 2/10, 2/15.

After we began meeting, the outbursts seemed to slow to a halt by the end of the research period on - 2/16, 2/17, 2/22, none following. We met daily from 2/15/22 through 3/3/22.

The surveys showed results that were mostly stagnant from the beginning to the end of the research time; however, there were a few questions that showed a slight positive change. Student A indicated a rise in his self-rating for the statement, “Learning math is easy for me.” Student B indicated a decrease in his self-rating for the statement, “I get frustrated when I struggle learning new things in math.” Student B also indicated a rise in his self-rating for the statement, “I am interested in math,”

In comparing the students’ average grades to their test on 3/3/22, at the end of the research period, there was an increase. Student A had an average test score of 87.3%, and he scored a

90% on his test. Student B had an average test score of 85.6%, and he scored a 90% on his test as well. Student A had an overall grade of an 85 in the fourth six weeks and currently has a 95 in the fifth six weeks. Student B had an overall grade of an 84 in the fourth six weeks and currently has a 96 in the fifth six weeks. Both of these shows significant improvement in motivation to complete work to their abilities.

Implications/Recommendations

Despite the survey results not showing drastic and deeply reflective improvements, I did still see a glimpse of my action research heeding positive implications in these students. With the decrease in negative outbursts, the few slight changes in the survey, and significantly improved grades shown in these two students, I feel as though the ideas of the four-week program, if implemented in my future classroom at the beginning of the year and continually reinforced, could make for a more positive self-concept and more motivation in my future students.

References

Ricci, M. C. (2017). Mindsets in the classroom: Building a culture of success and student achievement in Schools. Prufrock Press.

Spring 2004 self-description questionnaire. (2004). Retrieved December 6, 2021, from https://nces.ed.gov/ecls/pdf/fifthgrade/childselfdescription.pdf.

 

 


Social Emotional Support for Disruptive Behavior

Primary Researchers

Noelle Helms Intern, Baylor University

Ruthanne Morris, MS Ed, Mentor Teacher, Castleman Creek Elementary Midway ISD

Lisa Plemons, M Ed, Intern Supervisor, Baylor University

 

Rationale/Introduction

In my first-grade classroom, I have observed a student’s behavior that will often cause disruption throughout the entire classroom. This disruption has shown to negatively affect the way all students maintain on-task behavior which leads to instructional time lost. According to OECD (2015), “Children and adolescents need a balanced set of cognitive, social and emotional skills in order to achieve positive outcomes in school”. The emotional development of students at this age plays a huge role in how they, and their peers, perform in school and retain information.

Question/Wondering

Can supporting a student’s social emotional needs decrease the number of and duration of emotional episodes?

Methodology/Results

I co-teach or full teach within my first-grade classroom weekly. From the first day I was in the classroom, there were evident behavioral struggles amongst a few students. Those behaviors caused a great number of educational times lost across the classroom. To begin my data collection, I would allow the emotional episodes occur without intervening of any sort. While the episodes would occur, I would begin a stopwatch and collect the duration of each episode while also keeping track of how often they occurred throughout the day. I collected this data over the course of two weeks. From the data collected, there would be an average of 3 episodes a day with a duration of approximately 4 minutes and 30 seconds. The total amount of time for the student(s) to be fully engaged in the activity or lesson occurring from the start of the emotional episode was an average of 7 minutes.

Following my data collection initially, I began to implement three different interventions. The first implementation was catching the emotional outburst as soon as I saw it happening and began using positive language and communication. My goal of this was to help the student(s) identify what they were feeling as well as what caused those feelings to take over their actions. The next intervention was allowing and encouraging students to identify that they were beginning to feel emotions that would cause an outburst. If they were able to come and share that with me, they would then be able to follow that up with asking for a short 3-minute break in the quiet zone by my desk. The final thing I began doing was taking time to go through a pathway in the hallway. All three of these interventions were used, sometimes simultaneously, and there was tremendous growth. When I began these interventions, I took the following three weeks to allow students to adjust to them and grow from them. I kept anecdotal notes over the course of these three weeks including how often and the duration of each emotional episode. Over time, these notes showed that there was a decrease in the duration of outbursts, but the frequency stayed about the same. Following the three weeks of intervention, I collected official data again. This data showed that the average amount of episodes that occurred were 2.5 a day but the duration lowered to approximately 1-minute and 24 seconds. The amount of time for the rest of the class to be fully engaged lowered to approximately 4 minutes.

Implications/Recommendations

Overall, the implementation of the three interventions was beneficial and improved the classroom as a whole. I have loved seeing my students grow tremendously over the course of just a few weeks. One of my main goals throughout this entire process was to create a space that was safe allowed my students feelings to be validated. Something I did not want to happen was for my students to think that they are not allowed to have feelings or that I don’t care about them as a person. Allowing space for my students to understand the expectation of how to go about behavior in the classroom has shown to be exactly what they needed. While each student has shown a different amount of growth and improvement in the journey of handling emotions, there has been improvement and that is what my overall goal was. The relationship I have with my students has grown an immense amount which is a testament to how much this has helped each student in the classroom.

In an overall effort to improve my students ability to identify and feel their emotions, as well as lower the amount of disruption to their academic growth, the implementation of each of these strategies works. In addition to the positive growth, these interventions did not always show to be successful. There were still emotional episodes that occurred similar to the ones prior to intervention. This method is one that I believe can be challenging if in a classroom with just one teacher, but because I had the ability to take time to intervene one on one with a co-teacher in the room, it was very successful. A way to make these implementations easier if providing them in a one teacher classroom would be to introduce them as early as possible in the school year. If students are aware they are allowed to ask for a break if they feel emotions arise or feel comfortable to share those feelings and create a space to allow the teacher to practice using positive language with them, it will keep students from getting to a point in the school year that feels inevitable to escape what is occurring. I am curious how these methods would benefit students if being used over the course of nine months rather than a short three months. I plan to use these methods in my classroom so I am able to teach and value each child that steps into my classroom as a whole student rather than a child I am trying to only grow academically.

Reference

Goldberg, J. M., Sklad, M., Elfrink, T. R., Schreurs, K. M. G., Bohlmeijer, E. T., & Clarke, A. M. (2018, October 30). Effectiveness of interventions adopting a whole school approach to enhancing social and emotional development: A meta-analysis - European Journal of Psychology of Education. SpringerLink. Retrieved March 13, 2022, from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10212-018-0406-9

 

 


Timing Transitions

Primary Researchers

Karson Holley, Intern, Baylor University

Jordyn Pottinger, BS, Mentor Teacher, Castleman Creek Elementary, Midway ISD

Susan Godfrey, M. Ed., Intern Supervisor, Baylor University

 

Rationale/Introduction

Within the first week of joining a kindergarten classroom, made up of 11 female and 13 male students between the ages of five and six, I noticed the class was almost always waiting on the same boy while transitioning between daily routines and activities. The student’s slow transitional response was significantly interfering with instructional time. “Avoidance, decreased attention, or resistance are all signs of a student’s struggle with transitions” (Bunker, 2021, para.1). I conducted research to find a strategy that will help a five-year-old student, who struggles with transitions, learn to self-monitor his time and how that time is spent. Baseline data was collected by timing the transitions and recording my observations.

Question/Wondering

What strategy can I implement during transitions between daily activities for a five-year-old male student that will ensure a smoother transition process and allow for more instructional time?

Methodology/Results

I created a chart for each day with each transition listed. If the student transitioned successfully, I added a checkmark to the chart. To aid in teaching the student how to self-monitor his time, I incorporated a star chart to serve as a visual of his progress. Each time I added a checkmark to my chart, he added a star to his. Allowing him to keep track of his transitions motivated him to want to do better by turning it into a “challenge.” Each morning before class started, I met with the student, and we discussed his goals and what he needed to do to be successful for the day. At the end of the day, the student and I would meet again and discuss that day’s progress. If the student had shown progress for the day, he got to choose his daily reward. I made it the student’s responsibility each morning to pull the stars down from the day before as a way for him to reflect. For the first week of implementation, I set an attainable daily goal of five stars for the student to earn with hopes to motivate him early on with attainable successes. At the beginning of the second week, I increased the daily goal from five to seven stars. Because the student only met the goal two days that week, I worked on the same goal again the next week. In the meantime, I noticed that the transitions that were not successful were typically back-to-back. Because the third week ended up being a short week, I was only able to record data for two days. The student successfully met the goal both days. I learned from the data chart and through daily observation that the student struggled the most while transitioning to lunch and to recess. During the fourth week, we continued our progress of working towards seven stars with a “mini” goal of improving those two particular transitions. At this point in my research, the student had successfully met the goal of earning seven stars, seven out of nine days. Once reaching seven stars was easily attainable, I challenged him to work for nine stars to earn a reward. The student met the goal each day the last week. The student made significant progress and improvement in his transitions in the five weeks of using the star chart strategy. The first week of implementing this strategy, I reminded the student each time he had an opportunity to earn a star before the transition began. Over time, however, he needed fewer of these reminders. By the end of week five, the student was successfully transitioning independently.

Implications/Recommendations

Using a star chart, to allow a student to self-monitor his own progress, is a tool that I will use in my own classroom, and I recommend them to other teachers who have students who struggle with transitions. By using the chart, I was able to help him build self-awareness. The student began to realize whether or not he transitioned successfully and was able to self-monitor that himself. If he completed his task and other students were still cleaning up, he knew he had earned his star. This was because I was consistent with the expectations. Using the star chart to improve transitions must be consistent each day to be successful. I kept my data sheet out on my desk to serve as a reminder to monitor the student. It was also convenient because I was able to quickly update it.

Reference(s)

Brukner, L. (2021, July 9). Strategies that help students manage transitions. Edutopia. Retrieved

March 20, 2022, from https://www.edutopia.org/article/strategies-help-students-manage-transitions

 

 


Improving Time Management Skills and Focus

Primary Researchers

Jillian Martin, Intern, Baylor University

Anna Beth Blake, BS, Mentor Teacher, Castleman Creek, Midway ISD

Susan Godfrey, M. Ed, Intern Supervisor, Baylor University

Rationale/Introduction

In a third-grade classroom, it was noticed that one male student struggled to focus and manage his time when completing independent, academic tasks. This affected his conceptual understanding of content and his overall academic success. According to Lynn Meltzer, Ph.D., president of the Research Institute of Learning and Development, (2020), “when we teach children strategies for time management from an early age, they internalize them, which sets them up for lifelong success” (p. 2). Research was conducted in the classroom with this third-grade student as he completed independent, academic tasks across all subject areas. Baseline data was collected through a student survey, engagement forms, and a log tracking the percent of assignments completed with anecdotal notes.

Question/Wondering

How would implementing a digital timer to serve as a visual aide affect the attention span and time management skills of a third-grade, male student who intensely struggles to stay focused?

Methodology/Results

This action research was conducted to help support the academic success of one third-grade, white, male student. In order to assist this student in focusing on completing independent, academic tasks, I incorporated a timer into his routine. When the student was working on paper, the timer would be propped up on his iPad. When the student was working on his iPad, the timer would be pulled up on my iPad, or we would use a ten-minute sand timer. At the start of each independent, academic task, the student and I would discuss a reasonable amount of time to complete the assignment. Then, the student would set the time on his iPad. When time ran out, he would bring his iPad and assignment to a teacher in the room, so that they could record how much of his assignment was completed and how much time he had left. If the student did not complete the assignment in the amount of time given, we would discuss how many more minutes were needed and repeat the process. Data was collected in the form of a Likert scale student survey, engagement forms, and with a log that noted the percent of an assignment completed as well as anecdotal notes throughout the entire action research process. Baseline data was collected before the intervention in order to assess and analyze student habits. To introduce the intervention, I discussed what the intervention process would look like and why we were doing it. He self-reflected prior to intervention using the Likert scale student survey. Data after implementation of the intervention revealed that the student’s ability to complete independent, academic tasks within a reasonable amount of time drastically increased. Baseline data showed that the student was able to complete anywhere from 0%-14% of an assignment in the amount of time given. After implementation of the intervention, the student consistently completed 80-100% of the assignment and, oftentimes, did so with time left over. Analyzation of completed assignments indicated that accuracy, thoroughness, and quality of work also significantly increased. Data from the engagement forms suggested that the student was able to focus more when a timer was used as a tool. Baseline data from the engagement forms indicated that the student was able to focus 10%-20% of the time during a 10-minute sample. Data after the intervention was implemented showed that the student was able to consistently focus 90%-100% of the time during a 10-minute sample. Findings that were not anticipated but celebrated include the increase of participation from the student during whole group lessons. Because the student was able to focus on completing independent, academic tasks, he was, in turn, able to reflect on his findings and content knowledge practiced during whole group discussions and reflections. Practicing the content during times of independent study increased his conceptual understanding and overall academic success. This is evident when analyzing his classroom grades. The student also displayed a great deal of pride in himself and his accomplishments. On several occasions, the student has voiced his newfound confidence in school. The student has surprised himself with his abilities and accomplishments, and that has only propelled his academic success further.

Implications/Recommendations

Because of the success of this intervention that I have witnessed for this one male student in the third-grade classroom, I will use this intervention in future classroom settings when I am faced with a student who lacks time management skills and the ability to focus on independent tasks. A strength of the study that I will continue implementing when using this intervention in the future is including the student in the study and allowing them opportunities to reflect on their success and growth as much as I do. Oftentimes, I showed the student the percentage of assignments that he completed with the timer versus an assignment from the baseline data. Because I did this, he was able to reflect on his progress and accomplishments which only increased his amount of self-assurance and confidence. I would recommend this intervention to any teacher who is looking to help a student with time management skills, staying on task, or focusing on independent, academic tasks. Through my study, this intervention has proven to instill time management skills, increase content knowledge, academic success, participation, and self-confidence of the student.

Reference(s)

Estroff, S. (2021). The age-by-age guide to teaching kids time management. Scholastic. Retrieved March 9, 2022, from https://www.scholastic.com/parents/family-life/parent-child/teach-kids-to-manage-time.html

 

 


Improving Engagement and Quality of Work

Primary Researchers

Caroline Roessler, Intern, Baylor University

Christy Baish, BS, Mentor Teacher, Castleman Creek, Midway ISD

Susan Godfrey. M. Ed, Intern Supervisor, Baylor University

 

Rationale/Introduction

I became aware of a particular male student who struggled to be engaged in class activities and assignments. As I further observed, I found that he has difficulty participating and struggles to complete assignments. When tasks are completed, they often don’t reflect his true ability or intelligence. According to Theesfeld (2021), “I have found that the majority of my students had a more positive experience with our assignment where choice was offered.” (p. 31). Research was conducted with one boy in the first-grade class. Baseline data was collected through engagement forms and anecdotal notes.

Question/Wondering

How might a menu chart affect student participation and quality of work? How might this incentive affect the students’ view on the value in doing acceptable and appropriate high-quality work?

Methodology/Results

This action research was conducted with the intent to improve the quality of work and motivation to complete activities among a 1st grade, white, male student. To encourage this student to participate in activities, focus academic tasks, and compose high-quality work, I implemented a menu choice chart. When a lesson was over and it was time to begin station work or other independent activities, I would visit the student and prompt him to circle the reward he would like to work for. Once he had made his choice, we would discuss the expectations for the assignment and what the quality should look like. Before leaving him, I would remind him that the criteria we discussed would determine whether or not he received the reward. The more the chart was used, the more independent the student became as he would automatically go to his seat and pick his reward and get to work. If the student did not fully complete the assignment, if it took an extremely long amount of time, or if it was not acceptable quality work, the student and I would discuss why he should or should not receive the reward. Data was collected in the form of engagement forms, timers indicating the amount of time it took to complete the work with no incentive, a log of student work, as well as anecdotal notes throughout the research process. Baseline data was collected prior to any implementation. Before beginning this process, I took the time to talk with the student privately and discuss this tool I had created to assist him as he learned. I explained what the process would look like and the reason why it was taking place. The student responded well to this intervention. I found that he was excited to have a choice chart and it immediately increased motivation. His work was being completed in the amount of time set for the entire class to finish the work and move on to the next activity (roughly 10 minutes). The largest growth I saw from this process is the quality of work which the student created. Prior to intervention, the student was turning in unfinished, unacceptable work. Now, the student writing is thorough, neat, and contains capital letters at the beginning of the sentence, spaces between words, and punctuation. Engagement forms prove that he is now able to focus 90 to 100% of the time whereas the baseline data indicated 40%. I was able to share these results with the student and he seemed enthusiastic about his growth. Unexpectedly, the student showed further growth in his work and motivation after seeing his progress. Another finding was the connection the student and I developed through this process that contributed to his desire to want to please me and celebrate his achievements together.

Implications/Recommendations

Due to the success of this action research with my 1st grade student, I plan to use this intervention strategy in the future when I discover a student who lacks motivation to participate and complete their work. A result of this study that I have found to be extremely impactful is the connection that is built with the student when intervening. I believe this to be a hidden key to action research. Getting to know the student, having real conversations, relating to their interests, and conforming to their sense of humor has created a safe and fun relationship. I would also recommend sharing the progress and achievements with the student to increase self-confidence and encouragement. The implementation of a choice chart would be beneficial for a teacher who is struggling to get a student to complete work in a timely manner as well as to their full potential.

Reference(s)

Theesfeld, S. (2021, May 14). Minnesota State University Moorhead Red: A Repository of ... Effects of Student Choice on Student Motivation and Engagement within an Elementary Classroom . Retrieved March 20, 2022, from https://red.mnstate.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1528&context=thesis

 


Implementing a Rewards System for Bettering Behavior

Primary Researchers

Madisen Sickles, Intern, Baylor University

Lindsay Nixon, MA, Mentor Teacher, Castleman Creek, Midway ISD

Susan Godfrey, M. Ed, Intern Supervisor, Baylor University

 

Rationale/Introduction

In a second-grade classroom, I became aware of my student’s lack of self-control, especially when he is expected to be working independently. He creates a distraction for other students through work avoidance, argumentation, shouting out, and making noises. According to Larkin and Thyer (1999), “Typically behaviorally disordered students exhibit behaviors that significantly interfere with academic and social functioning, indicating decencies in self-control and in social skills.” (p. 148). Research was conducted in the classroom with one boy who is an only child of Caucasian race throughout the school day when he is supposed to be working on academic tasks across all subject areas. Baseline data was collected through a spreadsheet with tallies of disturbances.

Question/Wondering

How does implementing a system of rewards impact second-grade students’ ability to behave and increase their self-control in the classroom?

Methodology/Results

This action research was conducted to help support the success of one second-grade, white, male student’s behavior. In order to assist this student in controlling himself and focusing on his work, I implemented a tally system for a reward. When the student was focused on working without blurting out, distracting other students, making noises to draw attention to himself, or arguing with me or my mentor teacher, he would earn a tally. However, if he started to exhibit these behaviors a tally would be taken away. If ten tally marks were earned, this student would be allowed ten minutes of free time at the end of the day. Data was collected in the form of a spreadsheet tracking the number of times the student began to use any of these behaviors. Baseline data was collected before the intervention began in order to see when to intervene on this student’s habits. To introduce the intervention, I met with the student to explain how the tally system would work and how he would earn a reward at the end of the day. Baseline data showed that this student was more disruptive in the morning than in the afternoon. After implementation of the intervention, the student exhibited more self-control. After a week, I changed the tally system so that every tally earned, it would equal one minute of free time. This increased his motivation. There were days where he only earned two tallies and others where he earned all ten. He is already high academically in this class, but because of the intervention, he was able to complete more of his assignments when he chose to follow the system. This student has expressed that he enjoys the free time he earns and likes the system. However, he sometimes became discouraged when he did not earn ten tallies. I had to remind him often about the benefit of the tally system so he can get his reward. With that he worked on his behavior more.

Implications/Recommendations

My intervention was successful on some days, and on other days it was not for this male, second-grade student. I have learned as an educator that not all systems you create will be perfect and adaptation is very important. Through the changes I made to the tally system regarding the number of tallies equaling the number of minutes in free time, I saw my student’s motivation for the system increase on most days. There were still some days that my student continued to act out and refuse to follow the system. I may use this system in the future for other students. However, I will have to make sure the system works best for him/her. I want all of my students to be successful, and if there is a behavior issue in my class then that may not happen. Because of that, I know that I must implement a system to fix that behavior, and that system may need to be altered to better meet the needs of the student.

Reference(s)

Evaluating cognitive–Behavioral Group counseling to ... (n.d.). Retrieved March 21, 2022, from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/%28SICI%291099-078X%28199907/09%2914%3A3%3C147%3A%3AAID-BIN32%3E3.0.CO%3B2-H

 

 


Increasing Percentage of Completed Assignments Using Visual Rewards Charts

Primary Researchers

Alex Trenor, Intern, Baylor University

Emily Nelson, Mentor Teacher, Castleman Creek Elementary, Midway ISD

Lisa Plemons, M.Ed., Intern Supervisor, Baylor University

 

Rationale/Introduction

In a resource classroom, it was observed that a student has a high percentage of incomplete assignments during a thirty-minute resource block. Off task behavior is a factor in how much work this student completes during class and interferes with other students’ learning. I noticed a trend of incomplete assignments, so I began to contemplate how to create a resource that would assist this student in staying on task and completing assignments on time. After a series of informal observations of the student and anecdotal notes, I determined that a rewards chart with visuals might increase the percentage of completed assignments. According to Iwata and Bailey (1974), “both reward and response-cost token systems can be highly effective procedures in maintaining classroom social and academic behavior.” It is also important to note that this rewards system would help increase the student’s executive function skills. According to The Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, “some children need support to develop skills” such as working memory, mental flexibility, and self-control. By implementing a visual chart rewards system, this student would be able to self-regulate in a way that establishes independence in the classroom. To increase the amount of completed assignments, I implemented a visual reward chart during both the reading and math resource time. With the implementation of this visual chart, the percentage of completed assignments increased.

Question/Wondering

How might a rewards chart increase the percentage of completed assignments during a thirty-minute period?

Methodology/Results

In order to research my wondering and implement an effective strategy to increase the amount of complete work, I began observing one of my students within the resource classroom. This student is a third grade, male, special education student who qualifies as a student with Autism, Speech Impairment, and Other Health Impairment (ADHD). In this student’s IEP, it was noted that he responds well to positive reinforcement. To begin my study, I observed this student for one week, February 14-17, to brainstorm how to help him complete his assignments on time. During this observation period, I tracked how many times this student was being re-directed during the lesson and whether he completed his assignment. After spending the week tracking the number of redirections during a thirty-minute block, I determined that incomplete assignments were due to student misbehavior, not academic inability. I noted that the student needed constant redirection, but once he was re-directed, he remembered what he was supposed to be working on. During this week, the student completed one out of five weekly assignments, resulting in 20% of assignments completed for Week 1.

Using my background knowledge of special education as well as background knowledge of my student, I determined that a rewards chart with visual cues might help my student become more successful in the completion of his assignments. This system would allow him to be re-directed quickly, and he would have a visual reminder that is easily accessible. This chart would also increase executive functioning and allow the student to establish a routine rooted in a sense of independence.

I began to implement the rewards chart during Week Two, February 22 through February 24. With this rewards system, the student uses a chart to determine whether he will get a starburst candy at the end of the lesson. There are three different charts that are used throughout the week – spelling, reading, and math. The math chart is used daily and does not differ. On Monday and Wednesday, the student uses a reading chart that matches his guided reading lessons. On Tuesday and Thursday, he uses a spelling chart that matches the spelling assignments. Each chart has a picture that correlates to the activity, and a space where the student can circle whether he completed the assignment or not. The chart also has a series of faces that the student will circle at the end of the lesson to show how he felt about his progress that day. At the end of the lesson, if the student has completed all daily assigned task, he will receive a starburst reward.

During the first week of implementation, I noticed an increase in the percentage of completed assignments. At the end of Week One, the student completed three out of five assignments. By the end of Week Two, he completed four out of five assignments, increasing his percentage of completed assignments to 80%. During this time, it appeared that the student did not have to be redirected as many times as he previously had. I believe this is due to the visual cues that accompany the chart. This system also provides positive reinforcement that the student needs. This system is still being used daily, and the child is benefitting from it. After reviewing the data, it was evident that the implementation of the rewards chart with visual cues was advantageous. Overall, the results of this study support the use of visual cues as well as rewards charts within the classroom.

Implications/Recommendations

If I were to repeat this study in the future, I would alter the way I collected my initial data. Instead of focusing more on redirections and reasons for off-task behavior as related to the percentage of completed assignments, I would focus more on the quality of the assignments. I would also take more anecdotal notes on the student before implementing the rewards chart.

After completing this study, I do believe my instructional practices will be influenced by this project. This project has shown that students benefit from a rewards chart with visual cues, and it can be applied in any setting. In my future classroom, I would like to incorporate rewards charts and visual cues in a whole group setting so that all students may benefit.

Reference(s)

“Executive Function & Self-Regulation.” Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, 24 Mar. 2020, https://developingchild.harvard.edu/science/key-concepts/executive-function/.

Iwata, Brian A., and Jon S. Bailey. “Reward versus Cost Token Systems: An Analysis of the Effects on Students and Teacher.” Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, vol. 7, no. 4, 1974, pp. 567–576., https://doi.org/10.1901/jaba.1974.7-567.