Hewitt Elementary


The Real Impact of Behavior Charts

Primary Researchers

Brianna Adams, Intern, Baylor University

Haley McAlister, MS Ed, Mentor Teacher, Hewitt Elementary, Midway ISD

Barbara Purdum-Cassidy, Ed.D., Intern Supervisor, Baylor University

 

Rationale/Introduction

In a third-grade classroom, it was observed that when students worked in math small groups, their engagement levels dropped significantly compared to whole group instruction. Kraft (2021) suggests that “interruptions and the subsequent disruptions…result in the loss of between 10 and 20 days of instructional time” (p. 2). The classroom behavior chart helps minimize these interruptions in order to maintain student focus. Research was conducted in the classroom, focused on two boys in different math groups who struggle in maintaining good behavior when participating in math activities. Baseline data were collected through a reflective journal and student survey.

Question/Wondering

How might behavioral charts affect levels of engagement during third-grade math small groups?

Methodology/Results

During the math portion of the morning when students are pulled out in different instructional groups, I worked with two students who struggled with behavior and focus during this time. I pulled these students out for a 30-minute guided small group. Before introducing the behavior charts, I took data on how frequently the students lost focus, distracted one another, or struggled with general behavior issues. As expected, the students lacked adequate behavior skills five out of the six times I checked in to record data. I ended the initial observation with a reflective journal entry noting the behavior I saw. Based on the results, I decided to introduce the behavior charts the next morning, showing students what I was looking for as far as behavior and parent signatures at the end of each day. We continued with the same guided small group process as before. Even though the students were aware of the behavior chart, the data did not differ very much from the day before with the students now lacking adequate behavior skills four out of the six times that I checked in. This pattern continued for a week, with each day about the same as before. In the following weeks, I decided to implement incentives along with a friendly reminder of the behavior charts each day, in hopes to see some progress with student behavior. When the students were consistently reminded about the process, and with the addition of a ticket reward incentive, their behavior began to improve. It improved so much so that by the end of the data collection process, both students lacked adequate behavior only once out of the six times I checked in to record.

Implications/Recommendations

Alone, the behavior charts did not engage and improve student behavior as much as I had hoped. Their improvement came later on, when the reward system was introduced. I recognized that since the behavior charts were not doing the students any good, they may have had the ability to do the opposite. The students recognized that the charts were not being implemented among the whole class, and may have felt singled out or targeted, thus distracting them from the actual math content practice. Going forward, I don’t see the use for behavior charts in my own classroom, unless incentives are consistently offered. At that point, the charts by themselves are useless and a waste of time, whereas the reward process alone would be more beneficial to focus on.

Reference(s)
Taylor-Cox, J. (2013). Solving behavior problems in math class. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315855424

Krach, S. K., McCreery, M. P., & Rimel, H. (2016). Examining teachers’ behavioral management charts: A comparison of class dojo and paper-pencil methods. Contemporary School Psychology, 21(3), 267–275. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40688-016-0111-0

 

 


No More Baby Books: A Study on Small Group Novel Studies for High Achieving Students

Primary Researchers

Emily Blackwell, Intern, Baylor University

Valerie Taylor, M. Ed, Mentor Teacher, Hewitt Elementary, Midway ISD

Barbara Purdum-Cassidy, Ed.D., Intern Supervisor, Baylor University

 

Rationale/Introduction

In a fourth-grade classroom, it was observed that five high achieving students were not engaged and expressed a disinterest in the books they were reading during small group time. This affected the students’ attitude and effort in their guided reading groups; “According to the National Reading Panel, the importance of motivation in the effectiveness of any reading program cannot be overestimated.” (Fountas and Pinnell 10). Research on the engagement of students during small group was conducted in the classroom with three girls and two boys of various ethnicities, interests, and socioeconomic status. Baseline data was collected through a pre-survey, anecdotal records, and STAAR and STAR AR data.

Question/Wondering

How does implementing a novel study involving student choice affect the engagement of five high-achieving fourth grade students during guided reading time?

Methodology/Results

This study focused on five high achieving fourth grade students- three girls and two boys. These students fall in low to middle class socioeconomic status, which leads to some differences in background knowledge. One student is Hispanic with 504 modifications and the other four students are Caucasians. Three of the five students are a part of the Gifted and Talented program and all five students have above a seventh-grade reading level. These students have a wide variety of personalities and interests although all enjoy fantasy literature.

I set up this novel study with a pre-assessment and asking the students what type of book they wanted to read. We decided on The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis. I collected student work and anecdotal notes as data for four weeks. I met with my novel study group during small group time twice a week. During this time, I focused on deeper comprehension, vocabulary, character analysis, predictions, and reading with fluency. We only met for about 10 minutes and either discussed the book or were taking turns reading aloud together. After the small group time, students would have small assignments or sections of reading to complete before the next time we met. This work was often completed as early finishers work since these five students frequently fall in that category. I finished the novel study with a post-assessment and some reflection on their new small group time.

This study proved to be an effective alternative to guided reading. It heightened the engagement of the students and continued to aide their academic growth. When polling the five students about their thoughts about guided reading during a pre-survey, many students responded being frustrated about being removed from independent work time with one student stating they were “bored because we read easy to read books.” When asked the same question at the end of the study, students reported that they enjoyed reading books that took more than one day to finish, “I feel interested,” and that they now enjoy small group time, most or all of the time. The pre-and-post assessments allowed me to get student feedback and allow the students choice in the types of activities we would complete and how I would set up the novel study in the future. I compared these in a chart placing each students pre answer next to their post so I could look for patterns and themes across all five students. The anecdotal records and gathered students’ work show a deeper understanding of the literature and an increased attention to detail and effort. Students that previously were barely engaged in discussion were now contributing frequently to the conversation. Students were coming up with more interesting and unique predictions about the text as well as making deeper connections to other subjects and literature. I was able to analyze these anecdotal records and notes for correlations between student understand and to track my observations about the engagement of the students through the process. Not only were the students now engaged, but they were also continuing to grow academically. STAR AR data from the start of the year, during guided reading, and during the novel study showed an average of 5.6 percent increase in their percentile rankings, which is easily seen when placed in a bar graph. So, all five high achieving students not only maintained their scores but grew even more all scoring at or above the 94 percentile when during guided reading they fell in the 82 to 97 percentile range. On the practice STAAR, these five students showed an average of 6.4% growth with all five students scoring mastered. On the third-grade star only three of the five students had scored mastery level. Overall, my findings align well with other studies showing the importance of choice and motivation in students’ academic growth.

Implications/Recommendations

I highly recommend novel studies for students of all reading levels. Four out of the five high achieving students recorded not liking the guided reading books during small group time: following the completion of the novel study, all five students recording either liking or loving the book. These students also rated the novel study in the 7 to 10 range, with one being the lowest and 10 the highest. I have already started My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George with the same group of students. Past this group of students, I plan to start a novel or chapter book study with my high achievers, as long as it is developmentally appropriate for the grade I teach. This study has emphasized the importance of listening to student feedback and opinions in the classroom. As a teacher when you do, the quality of work and engagement is greatly increased.

A strength of my study was being able to complete it during small group time with similar focuses as guided reading. I was able to use Fountas and Pinnell as a framework of skills that should be covered and focused on during small group. This ensured that my students would still grow and excel with small group attention on specific skills. A weakness of my study was not taking an engagement study before I started novel study work. An engagement survey would have provided me with more quantitative data to parallel my qualitative findings. After listening to student feedback, I have extended the small group time to 15 minutes twice a week and reduced the amount of work to be finished outside of small group time. Novel studies could be implemented with any group of readers as long as the text is skill level appropriate and not of overwhelming length. Having the students have choice with picking the novel helps them feel more ownership over their work and keeps them interested. If I were to do a study like this again, I would be interested in researching if using choice books, with structure, in kindergarten could help students learn to read faster.

Reference(s)

Pinnell, G. S., & Fountas, I. C. (2019). Research Base for Guided Reading as an Instructional Approach. Scholastic. https://ufhb-dptanglais.com/storage/webographies/402-master-2-individualized-instruction-2019-2020-doc-5.pdf

 

 


Group Setting and its Impact on Student Engagement

Primary Researchers

Kyndall Brown, Intern, Baylor University

Courtney Carlile, MS Ed, Mentor Teacher, Hewitt, Midway ISD

Barbara Purdum-Cassidy, Ed.D., Intern Supervisor, Baylor University

 

Rationale/Introduction

In a Kindergarten classroom, it was observed that multiple boys struggled with their ability to stay engaged and on task while working independently. This affected task completion and overall understanding of content taught. According to Origo (2021), “Many researchers have found that the student’s proximity to the teacher is associated with classroom engagement” (p. 2). Research was conducted in the classroom with three boys of multiple ethnicities and socioeconomic statuses. Baseline data was collected through a class background study, engagement observation forms, and classroom videos.

Question/Wondering

In what ways does a small group setting impact student engagement and task completion during independent work?

Methodology/Results

As an intern that observes or teaches students four days a week, I have been able to identify which students consistently struggle with their ability to complete independent work. These students are academically capable of completing the required work on their own, however are easily distracted by peers at their tables or other factors in the classroom. By conducting behavior observation forms on students in their normal seating arrangement, versus a small group setting, I was able to observe the effect seating placement has on student engagement.

I collected data on three male students of varying ethnicities and socioeconomic status, ranging in age from 5 to 6 years of age. I began my inquiry by collecting baseline data on my three students for a week. Students worked as usual at their desk completing one YEAR and one math assignment. I did not provide the three students with any redirection while collecting baseline data. I completed behavior observation forms on each student daily, noting their percentage on and off task. I compared their behavior to a baseline student, who was academically like the identified students. The off-task legend included redirection from teacher, praise from teacher, non-compliance, out of seat, playing with objects, talking, zoned out or watching others. I observed and recorded student behavior for time it took them to complete the required task. Student A completed morning ELAR with a 58% on task rate, and afternoon math with a 46% on task rate. Student B completed morning ELAR with a 38% on task rate, and afternoon math with a 56% on task rate. Student C completed morning ELAR with a 49% on task rate, and afternoon math with a 24% on task rate. The identified peer completed morning ELAR with a 71% on task rate, and afternoon math with a 75% on task rate.

After my baseline data was collected, I created a seating arrangement at the back table that each student would sit in during independent work time. Student B sat on my right, student C directly in front of me, and student A on my left. The seating arrangement was consistent throughout my inquiry. Students were expected to complete their work independently, as they would have at their desks, but in a small group atmosphere. I set clear expectations from day one to set boundaries for the small group. Students knew they were to complete work independently. I collected anecdotal notes on student behavior while completing their behavior observation forms. I also recorded videos to collect data on their actions and get a more concise understanding of what was the main cause of the students' distraction. Overall, students were able to stay on task 74.83% of the time. This is an overall improvement of 29.87%.

Implications/Recommendations

Throughout my inquiry, I was able to observe and analyze the effect that a small group setting has on student engagement and task completion during independent work times. Since all students were below or slightly below grade level, I knew they could work on their own academically, but struggled staying engaged with distractions in the classroom. I was pleased with the results obtained from the behavior observation forms and video data taken. Each student had a significant improvement in both time on task and comprehension when working in a small group setting. Through proximity to myself, students were able to significantly increase their ability to work, minimizing time out of their seats, talking to others and time zoned out. In the future, I will continue to seek out students who will work more efficiently in a small group environment. By providing students with a seating arrangement that sets them up for success, students can stay on task more efficiently. Throughout this study, I wondered how this study would be practical in a traditional classroom with only one teacher. My mentor was able to manage the rest of the class while I worked with the students involved in my inquiry.

Reference(s)

Dong, Z., Liu, H., & Zheng, X. (2021). The influence of teacher-student proximity, teacher feedback, and near-seated peer groups on classroom engagement: An agent-based modeling approach. PloS one, 16(1), e0244935. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0244935

 

 


Improving Engagement Using Brain Breaks

Primary Researchers

Ally Dorf, Intern, Baylor University

Wendi Singletary, Mentor Teacher, Hewitt Elementary, Midway ISD

Barbara Purdum-Cassidy, Ed.D., Intern Supervisor, Baylor University

 

Rationale/Introduction

In a first-grade classroom, it was observed that one student was off-task and unengaged during the interactive read-aloud lessons. This affected the lessons’ timing, and the student’s comprehension of the text; and therefore, I have implemented the use of brain breaks preceding each read-aloud. According to Terada (2018), “Breaks keep our brains healthy and play a key role in cognitive abilities such as reading comprehension and divergent thinking” (pg. 1).

Question/Wondering

How does implementing frequent brain breaks effect on-task and off-task behavior trends and comprehension of one first grade student during interactive read-aloud lessons?

Methodology/Results

This study was conducted in a first grade classroom with a seven year old, Caucasian male student. Baseline data were collected for one week prior to the study, focusing on the student’s engagement and comprehension before intervention was implemented. The baseline data revealed that the student averaged 77% engagement, mainly being off-task toward the beginning of the lessons. His readers’ responses also lacked detail and evidence of comprehension of the text. Based on the data, a yoga brain break was employed preceding each read-aloud over a period of two weeks in an effort to calm the student’s body before the lesson. A new yoga pose was introduced each day and was paired with breathing exercises. Data collection included videoing each lesson on an iPad, anecdotal notes, and 10-minute samples of student engagement. I also collected readers’ response writing samples from the student to assess for comprehension.

The implementation of yoga before the interactive read-aloud showed an increase of on-task engagement, supporting previous research findings on brain breaks. The student averaged 89% engagement across the two weeks of intervention, an increase of 12% from the baseline data. Additionally, the writing samples revealed that the student’s readers' responses increased in length, and heightened in depth and complexity, demonstrating comprehension.

Implications/Recommendations

According to this action research, the implementation of yoga brain breaks did lead to an increase in engagement and comprehension for the student; however, the final observations showed that there is still room for growth. Further studies might include conducting a yoga brain break proceeding the book, before the students complete their readers’ responses. Additional studies might explore the use of various kinds of brain breaks based on time-of-day and subject, to see which type yields the best results on the overall engagement of the student.

Reference(s)

Terada, Y. (2018, March 9). Research-Tested Benefits of Breaks. Edutopia. Retrieved March 10, 2022, from https://www.edutopia.org/article/research-tested-benefits-breaks

 

 


Intervention for Screaming

Primary Researchers

Destiny Duclow, Intern, Baylor University

Christina Cataldo, MS Ed, Mentor Teacher, Hewitt Elementary, Midway ISD

Joe Alford, MS Ed, Intern Supervisor, Baylor University

 

Rationale/Introduction

While working with a first-grade student diagnosed with Autism and ADHD in a special education classroom, I observed her screaming loudly when she appeared frustrated, needed help, or was not getting access to her preferred activity. Her continuation of screaming each day is very distracting for the other students. I am hoping to use a prompt fading procedure to teach her an effective replacement behavior for her screaming. This way, she can learn to communicate her needs in a more appropriate and useful way.

Question/Wondering

How effective will a prompt fading procedure be for teaching a replacement behavior to decrease the frequency of screaming?

Methodology/Results

To begin my research, I developed an operational definition of screaming so I could measure exactly how many times she screamed throughout the day. Screaming behavior can be defined as any instance in which the student engages in a vocalization louder than a normal communication level for any period of time. The behavior ends when there is a two-second pause without screaming. I observed this six-year-old female over four days to collect baseline data. Specifically, I took frequency observation data at fifteen-minute intervals across each school day. The average number of screams was 38 times per day. Next, I developed an intervention based on Applied Behavior Analysis in response to the baseline data and relevant research available. The replacement behavior I selected was hand-raising. I chose to implement this replacement behavior with a most to least (MTL) prompting technique since this type of procedure has particularly proved to reduce the number of errors made while students learn a new skill (Fentress & Lerman, 2012). Also, due to the fact that there was evidence to suggest that following this MTL procedure, there were successful performance outcomes and this procedure may be beneficial for increasing the maintenance of the new skill learned (Fentress & Lerman, 2012). Based on my student’s abilities, I began the first day of intervention by modeling the replacement behavior of hand raising. She screamed a total of 30 times and raised her hand independently 2 times. Each time the student would exhibit the replacement behavior of raising her hand independently, instead of screaming, I would reward her with verbal praise. I then began decreasing the level of prompting by moving to gestural prompting on the second day. She screamed a total of 21 times and raised her hand independently 3 times. After that, I decreased the prompt level even further to a verbal type of prompt for two days. I was sure to fade prompts at a level that aligned with the student's responses to the intervention which was modeled in the research I found based on the progress of that individual (Fentress & Lerman, 2012). The first day she screamed a total of 19 times and raised her hand independently 3 times. The second day she screamed a total of 13 times and raised her hand independently 5 times. Due to a gap of time in between intervention days, I followed verbal prompting for one more day before taking post-intervention data. She screamed a total of 7 times and raised her hand independently 4 times. After the five-day intervention was completed, I took a total of two days of post-intervention data using the same method of observation. The average number of screams was 4.5 per day. The average number of times she raised her hand independently in an applicable instance was 4. While analyzing this observational data, the comparisons of screams make the findings clear which indicates that the screaming decreased. Also, the results show that simultaneously the replacement behavior of hand-raising increased. These findings support my previous research which focused on utilizing a MTL fading prompting procedure to effectively implement a new skill.

Implications/Recommendations

Based on my findings, the intervention was successful due to her screaming decreasing dramatically. Also, the number of times she exhibited the replacement behavior of raising her hand increased. Therefore, I would recommend implementing a prompt fading procedure for teaching a replacement behavior and intend to follow the same research model in my future as a teacher. I believe the MTL prompting fading procedure is highly effective and in this research didn’t cause any known prompt dependency problems. However, I believe that the intervention could have been even more successful if implementation had been more consistent across consecutive days. Unfortunately, multiple absences occurred between the days of the study. Due to the absences, only two days of post-intervention data could be taken. I would have preferred to take five days of post-intervention data to further ensure my findings were as definitive as possible. I informally observed that since the study began, she has verbally communicated when she is upset, angry, or wants a reward like drawing with markers which has in turn also decreased the screaming. If I were to conduct this exact study again, I would have considered researching and including a goal of verbally expressing her feelings, wants, and needs. This would support an increase in her communication abilities which would help to replace her instances of screaming.

Reference(s)

Fentress, G. M., & Lerman, D. C. (2012). A comparison of two prompting procedures for teaching basic skills to children with autism. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 6(3), 1083-1090. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rasd.2012.02.006

 

 


Increasing Work Production Among 5th Grade Resource Students

Primary Researchers

Lauren Hayden, Intern, Baylor University

Angela Scarborough, Mentor Teacher, Hewitt Elementary, Midway ISD Lisa Plemons, M Ed, Intern Supervisor, Baylor University

 

Rationale/Introduction

In a fifth-grade math resource classroom, I have observed that many of the students lack focus, both when being instructed and when doing independent work. This impacts their work output which ultimately leads to lower grades. Often times I redirect them back to their work. According to Fitzpatrick (2020), “Engagement is [the] key predictor of child academic success” (p. 2). Due to this, I would like to focus on my students' academic performance through a student survey, tracking of their grades and anecdotal records. I currently implement a system where students would receive a piece of candy for completed work. However, I began to notice in some students that that was no longer a motivator for them so I wondered what I could do to improve this situation. Giving students an option of their reward was what I came up with. I already knew the students were motivated by food so letting them choose what food they would receive would ensure increased work output and higher grades.

Question/Wondering

Does motivating students with a snack of their choice increase engagement during instruction and improve academic success?

Methodology/Results

I co-teach for an hour in my fifth-grade math resource classroom with 8 students, 5 female and 3 males. My mentor and I split the 8 students into 2 groups where one is getting taught the days current content while the other is reviewing a previously taught content on their own with minimal guidance. The students receive a piece of candy when they complete their work with high effort. Due to this working up until recently, I will keep the criteria the same but change the food of choice To begin my data collection, I continued to let the student select candy from a bucket and collected my baseline data. To do this, I took the grades for their work of the day for a week straight.

This data shows me that 6 out of the 8 students were getting an average of around 60 to 70 on their work while the other 2 were getting an average of around 90 to 100. After seeing that the majority of students were barely passing their assignments, the students took a survey asking what food item would motivate them to do their work fully and to the best of their ability. Takis and pickles were the 2 most common answers among the students. After finding that out, I went and got some and began using those to give to the students when they finish their work the best they could. I did this for 3 weeks and each day I saw gradual improvement among all 8 of the students. The first week 2 of the students were still not trying all the way therefore they weren’t receiving either Takis or a pickle. However, by the end of the 3rd week all 8 of the students’ grades increased due to their effort and focus. They are now getting an average of around 90 to 100.

Implications/Recommendations

The final results show me that allowing the students to have a say in how they receive their reward increases their motivation. I found it surprising that they didn’t get tired of the snack as weeks went on. I will continue to use this as a strategy as it allowed me to see that the students really can do the work if they try. The most important aspect of the implementation to this is to make sure that the student isn’t just getting rewards with the chosen snack if they didn’t try their best on the assignment. However, if they try their best but didn’t get them all correct, they should still get a reward because of their effort. If you fail to do this, their motivation will more than likely go down since they weren’t given an award. On the other hand, if the student doesn’t finish their work and aren’t doing their best, they shouldn’t receive the food of choice as you are rewarding the wrong behavior.

Reference

Fitzpatrick, Caroline et al. “Preschool cognitive control and family adversity predict the evolution of classroom engagement in elementary school.” South African Journal of Childhood Education10 (2020): 9.

 

 


Reward System to Promote Attention

Primary Researchers

Eliza Lee Intern, Baylor University

Angela Scarborough MS Ed, Mentor Teacher, Hewitt Elementary School Midway ISD

Lisa Plemons, M Ed, Intern Supervisor, Baylor University

 

Rationale/Introduction

The issue that I was trying to address with my research was helping to promote the engagement of two of my student’s, during small group math instruction. The way that I wanted to go about promoting engagement was through promoting a reward system. I provided a reward tracking system to my students and set a timer for 7 minutes. If the student was focused for the 7 minutes I would color in their star. If 4 out 5 stars were attained, I would provide my students with a reward of their choice, this was either a piece of candy or the treasure box. It is important that my student’s engagement is increased to help promote more work being completed.

Question/Wondering

During my 5th Grade, small group math instruction two students are disengaged in the lesson. They are not on-task and are avoiding work by not completing the tasks that need to be done. I wonder what would happen if I implemented an on-task behavior chart that serves as a reward system to help improve my students’ engagement during small group. How does implementing an on-task behavior chart impact two students’ engagement during small group mathematics instruction and increase tasks being completed?

Methodology/Results

Data was collected for three weeks, during math small group with two 5th grade students. The way that I went about my method was setting a timer for 7 minutes if the student was on task I would color in the star and if 4 out of 5 stars were colored in it would allow for the student to choose a reward. The results are listed in this chart attached below. The two participants are both in 5th grade, one male and one female. The method allows for the qualitative data to be collected by seeing how many stars a student received based off if they received the qualitative observation on being on task. The observations that were collected were based off completion of informal assignments or formal assignments if a test was planned. Data was collected by first discussing with my two students how the reward system worked and how I would track their engagement and on-task behavior, then I would set a timer for 7 minutes observing if the student stayed on task, during the given interval. If they did they would be rewarded with a star, if 4 out of 5 stars were received they would get to choose a candy or treasure box prize. I analyzed the data by cross checking with Mrs. Scarborough to assure that she also saw the students on task to use comparison of observations. After reading through the study of “Randomizing multiple contingency components to decrease disruptive behaviors and increase student engagement in an urban second-grade classroom” by Hawkins McKissick, F.E. Lentz, J. Hailley, and S. McGuire. This study showed how using a reward system can help to promote positive behavior. In the case of my study, I used a reward to increase the behavior of engagement. The results revealed that my question of if implementing an on-task behavior chart would help to promote motivation proved to be successful. I could see that as the behavior chart was implemented my students were completing more of their assignments and showing on-task behavior.

Implications/Recommendations

The finding of my studies will encourage me to continue to implement behavior charts to help promote engagement in the classroom. This can be modified to any reward system or prize that would be enjoyed by. The strengths of the study were that it did help to solve the wondering that I had with my students. The weaknesses were that it was sometimes difficult to tell if the student was engaged for the whole time. If I were to redo this study I would make the increments smaller to help determine if my students were on task. I wonder if this could help solve engagement in work for whole class work. Now that I am in a 1st grade class I would enjoy implementing this into independent work time and providing behavior charts for students who struggle to stay on task.

Reference(s)

McKissick, Hawkins, R. O., Lentz, F. E., Hailley, J., & McGuire, S. (2010). Randomizing multiple contingency components to decrease disruptive behaviors and increase student engagement in an urban second-grade classroom. Psychology in the Schools, 47(9), 944–959. https://doi.org/10.1002/pits.20516

 

 


Effectiveness of a Student-Led Reflective Behavior Management Intervention

Primary Researchers

Kelsey Rae Ragnini, Intern, Baylor University

Tammy Johnston, B. S., Mentor Teacher, Hewitt Elementary, Midway ISD

Barbara Purdum-Cassidy, Ed.D, Intern Supervisor, Baylor University

 

Rationale/Introduction

In a first-grade classroom, it was observed that two students demonstrate consistent off task behavior throughout the day. This affected student ability to participate in lessons and complete work. Authors van Lier, Muthén., van der Sar, & Crijnen, (2004) found that in a universal trial of behavior interventions for children with behavior issues, “students showed improvement in behavior compared to those students who did not receive behavior interventions” (p. 475). Research was conducted on two Tier 2 behavior students (one male, one female) of multiple ethnicities and socioeconomic statuses.

Question/Wondering

How do individualized behavior interventions affect the frequency of on task classroom behavior among two identified Tier 2 behavior students?

Methodology/Results

Baseline data was collected through behavior charts, student goals and reflections, and anecdotal notes. Research was done on two students. Student 1 is female, Grade 1, Caucasian, and lower-middle class. Student 2 is male, Grade 1, Hispanic, and lower middle class. Behavior charts tracked student behavior by marking a “+” for on task behavior, and a “-” for off task behavior at 30-minute increments throughout each school day. Baseline data was taken for a week with no reflective behavior intervention. Anecdotal notes identifying what disruptive behaviors occurred were also taken for each corresponding time slot on the behavior tracking chart. After one week, an intervention was introduced where students were aware that their behavior was being tracked and they participated in a daily reflection where they rated their own behavior. Students were introduced to the behavior intervention, which was presented as a daily reflection where each student had the opportunity to meet with me at the end of the day and identify if they thought they had earned a smiley face (on task) or frowny face (off task) during each section of the day. The student reflection chart matches the behavior tracking chart. Students were also asked to create a “glow”, or something they were proud of/did well, and a “grow”, or a goal for the next day. This process was repeated every day for three weeks.

To analyze the data, I calculated the percentile of positive behavior for each day and averaged the percentage for each week. This data demonstrates a quantitative view of how positive behavior changed over the course of this research. For both students, positive behavior frequencies increased over the three weeks that the student-led behavior initiative took place. Both Student 1 and Student 2 also wrote increasingly more specific goals for the “grow” portion of the behavior reflection. The frequency of tantrums and physical alterations decreased throughout the behavior intervention, and on task behavior increased. At the end of this research, Student 1 and Student 2 also reported their own behaviors more accurately compared to my notes on their on-task/off-task behavior.

Implications/Recommendations

This study indicated an increase in the frequency of positive/on task behavior throughout the three weeks of data taken. The implications are that an individualized, reflective behavior intervention increases positive, on task classroom behavior and decreases off task or disruptive classroom behavior. One of the strengths of this study is that the behavior is easy to track and quantify. However, a challenge is that it may be subjective to determine what constitutes on task or off task behavior for any student; this can look different depending on student personality and temperament.

This study will impact my instructional practices by highlighting how important it is to guide student self-reflection. This is an essential skill for student development, and especially for those who struggle to control their behavior. An additional wondering that I have is whether student self-awareness of behavior is affected by a reflection process.

Reference(s)

van Lier, Muthén, B. O., van der Sar, R. M., & Crijnen, A. A. M. (2004). Preventing Disruptive Behavior in Elementary Schoolchildren: Impact of a Universal Classroom-Based Intervention. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 72(3), 467–478. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-006X.72.3.467

 

 


Addressing Spelling Concerns in an Elementary World

Primary Researchers

Emmeline Rockford, Intern, Baylor University

Kristen Holland, MS Ed., Mentor Teacher, Hewitt Elementary, Midway ISD

Barbara Purdum-Cassidy, Ed.D, Intern Supervisor, Baylor University

 

Rationale/Introduction

In a fourth-grade classroom it was observed that most students encountered difficulty with spelling high frequency words below their grade level. This affected the way in which students performed on writing assessments and assignments in all subject areas, as students spent much of their writing time attempting to figure out the spellings of words. In turn, this has also affected their writing volume and completion time of such assignments. According to a study conducted by Elliot and Rietschel (1999), it was found that “organized word study has positive effects on spelling performance” (p. 17). Research was conducted in a classroom with eight boys and nine girls of multiple ethnicities and socioeconomic statuses. Baseline data was collected through student work samples, spelling pre-tests, and the word volume of a matched assessment.

Question/Wondering

How do fourth grade spelling interventions in the form of daily word wall mini-lessons and personal spelling folders impact students’ writing volume?

Methodology

This study was conducted in a mixed-ability fourth grade classroom. The study focused on seventeen students: three identified as Gifted and Talented, two identified as Special Education, and ten with no identifications. Baseline data was collected on student spelling ability and word volume through two spelling pre-tests, a timed essay, and anecdotal notes on student work samples. Baseline data revealed not only the current word volume and spelling ability of students but assisted in the selection of the final fifteen words for the intervention. These words contained irregular spelling patterns, and most were below grade level.

Results/Share Findings

During my research, it was evident that students enjoyed the word wall mini-lessons and personal spelling folders. In addition to this, after administering the final spelling test and writing volume matched assessment, I have found that fifteen of the seventeen fourth grade students participating significantly improved in their spellings. While the number of correct spellings ranged by student, it was found that students greatly improved in regard to graphophonemic patterns, with letters and letter sounds chosen to spell the words on the post-test lying closer to the correct spelling of the word. Looking at the results of the writing volume matched assessment, I found there to be an increase in writing volume for sixteen of the seventeen students. In addition to this, the average word count per student increased from 105.65 to 140.1 words, showing a massive amount of growth. I noticed students using more academic and sophisticated vocabulary, composing longer responses and more complex sentences, and saw improvements grammatically with punctuation and capitalization during and after spelling administration.

Implications/Recommendations

Overall, the implementation of the intervention was a success, as it positively impacted student writing volume. Though it was a success, we had some setbacks with student absences and administration of word-wall lessons due to unforeseen snow days. In the future, I would most likely be clearer regarding the usage of personal spelling folders and encourage their use more frequently. Looking forward, my mentor teacher and I will continue this intervention with vocabulary words that students will be encountering in future grade levels. However, this will be slightly different than the original intervention in the fact that there will be more of an emphasis on definition and application.

Reference(s)

Elliot, J., & Rietschel, K. (1999). (rep.). The Effects of Word Study on Students' Application of Spelling and Phonics in Their Independent Writing. (pp. 1–35). Retrieved October 14, 2021, from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED429301.

 

 


What Zone Are You In?: Effects of Self Reflection on Student Behavior

Primary Researchers

Angel Yeung, Intern, Baylor University

Marianne Anderson B. Ed, Mentor Teacher, Hewitt Elementary School, Midway ISD

Joe Alford, M. Ed, Intern Supervisor, Baylor University

 

Rationale/Introduction

I am in an academic development self-contained classroom serving third and fourth grade students. Research was conducted with one student with frequent disruptive behaviors during academic tasks that presented as crying, screaming, and hitting objects Baseline data was conducted to record the duration of the disruptive behaviors and the frequency. An intervention was deemed necessary to increase academic learning time and improve self-emotional regulation. Using a modified zones of regulation chart, I hope to decrease the duration of his disruptive behaviors and implement an emotional regulation tool for the student to continue to use when he engages in disruptive behaviors. As the student continues to progress in school and develops into a young adult, it is important to “develop behavioral independence by self-regulating emotions” (Lyons 2020).

Question/Wondering

Will self-reflective techniques decrease the duration of disruptive behaviors? How will self-reflective techniques impact student emotional regulation?

Methodology/Results

The study was conducted with a fourth grade ten-year-old male diagnosed with intellectual disabilities (ID), autism, and speech language impairment. To quantitatively record the student’s disruptive behaviors, frequency and duration baseline data were conducted for five days during academic settings in the special education classroom. Disruptive behaviors presented as crying, hitting objects, and screaming. Baseline data showed the student engaged in disruptive behaviors for 2 minutes to 62 minutes with an average duration of 18 minutes per behavior. The disruptive behaviors ranged in frequency between one and four occurrences per day. Using previous ABC data taken by his teachers and paraprofessionals, the function of his disruptive behaviors was to escape academic tasks and seek adult attention. In conducting teacher interviews, teachers and paraprofessionals identified the student’s lack of awareness of what caused him to engage in disruptive behaviors. The intervention was developed to decrease the duration of disruptive behaviors and to develop emotional regulation through self-reflection. In the student’s classroom, we utilized a whole class Zones of Regulation chart to develop students’ emotional intelligence and social awareness skills. For the intervention, I created an individualized and modified zones of regulation chart. On the chart, the student would identify which zone he was in, why he was in this zone, and what he can do next time. Picture icons were created using ABC data and teacher interviews. While the student engaged in the disruptive behavior, he was prompted to fill out the chart using the picture icons and prompted to use emotional regulation calming strategies. By using a familiar tool, the student was able to quickly learn how to use the chart. After six days of intervention, the student engaged in a range of 1-3 disruptive behaviors per day. The duration of the disruptive behaviors ranged from 5 to 31 minutes with an average duration of 16 minutes per behavior. After intervention, the student would independently complete the chart. Post intervention teacher interviews and observations showed the student’s improved ability to identify his emotions and identify what caused his disruptive behaviors. Once prompted, the student would engage in emotional regulation calming strategies. The duration and frequency data showed a small reduction in the disruptive behaviors. However, observations and interviews showed improvement of student self-reflective skills in emotional regulation.

Implications/Recommendations

The results of the study showed great progress in the student’s self-reflection skills and increased use of emotional regulation techniques. Going forward, I would recommend fading out the use of the visual zones of regulation chart. At the end of intervention, he was able to orally identify his zone and why he was in that zone; however, he relied on teacher prompting to engage in emotional regulation techniques. A strength of this study was the student’s familiarity with the Zones of Regulation curriculum. He has been in his current classroom for the past three years where they have used this chart daily to develop student’s emotional intelligence and social skills. Since he has such familiarity with the zones, he was able to learn to use the modified zones of regulation chart quickly and further develop his emotional regulation skills. A weakness of this study was the lack of implementation of the chart with other professionals and lack of use when I was not present. Other professionals did not use the chart because they chose to use other methods to support the student during his disruptive behaviors. I would recommend the additional use of this chart with other professionals so that the student may generalize self-reflection techniques in other settings. Another weakness of this study was the short amount of time the study was conducted. I was only able to conduct intervention for six days which resulted in the results showing little progress of duration and frequency of his disruptive behaviors. If I were to change this study in the future, I would extend use of this chart into different settings and to be implemented by family and other professionals closest to the student. It would be a great tool for the student to generalize self-reflection and emotional regulation to nonacademic settings, further increasing the student’s independence and social-emotional development.

Reference(s)

Lyons, Jordana BSc, MSc, BCBA. (2020). “Using a Modified Zones of Regulation Curriculum to Teach Emotional Regulation to Young Adults with a Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder.” Zones of Regulation, Beyond Autism. Retrieved from https://www.zonesofregulation.com/uploads/3/4/1/7/34178767/beyondautism_-_zones_of_regulation_case_study.pdf.