Hillcrest Professional Development School


Increasing On Task Behavior

Primary Researchers

Kristin Baker, Intern, Baylor University

Tamara Holey, BS Ed, Mentor Teacher, Hillcrest PDS, Waco ISD

Darlene Bolfing, MS Ed, Intern Supervisor, Baylor University

 

Rationale/Introduction

A first-grade student often has trouble staying focused during reading stations in the morning. The student continues to get out of their seat without permission, shouts out instead of raising their hand and becomes upset when the teacher does not respond right away. This student is a lower-level learning student who struggles with reading. This led to me to think about using personal incentives with my student to see if it could help increase on task behavior. By providing personalized incentives, I hope to increase their on-task behavior so that the student is able to reap the learning rewards of reading station time.

Question/Wondering

In what ways would a personalized incentive plan enable a student in my first-grade classroom to increase their on-task behavior during reading stations? 

Methodology/Results

Over the course of a three-week period, I provided my student with a different incentive each week to determine which method would help increase their on-task behavior during morning reading stations. Not only would this increase on- task behavior, I hoped this would also improve classroom management which includes everything the teacher does to arrange students including time, space and materials so learning can take place (Wong 2012). The incentives included personal time with the teacher, extra math manipulative time and extra recess time. Each week the incentive was monitored in a different way: with earning pom-poms in their favorite color, red, to be placed in their personal jar for each successful station, a sticker chart in which the student could earn two stickers for each successful station; or a punch card reward system in which the student could earn a punch for each successful station. At the start of each week, I introduced the incentive and monitoring system, which gave the student the full week to earn the incentive and, at the end of the week, reviewed with the student the progress that was made. At the end of each week, I completed an engagement form to determine if their on-task behavior increased, decreased, or stayed the same to be compared with the base-line engagement data. VanHousen (2013) states that building community within the classroom is critical to develop a strong relationship with each student “Effective Classroom Management in Student-Centered Classrooms.”  This was shown in my results. The student had the most success with the incentive of the extra individualized time with the teacher and earning the individual pom-poms. My on-task baseline data showed that the student was on task 61.6 percent of the time. When I implemented the incentive of extra teacher time the students on task behavior increased to 78.3 percent on task. This was the highest increase of on task behavior out of the three incentives that were tried. The second week, extra math manipulative time, also increased from the baseline on task data. It increased from 61.6 percent to 72.5 percent. Week 3, extra recess time had the lowest increase of on-task behavior, it increased by less than 10 percent to 70 percent on task. I believe that week 3 was the least successful because the student also was not as eager to get punches in their punch card compared to stickers and pom poms for the other week.

Implications/Recommendations

In the future, I will try to implement other individualized incentive plans for other students to increase their on-task behavior. One of the weaknesses of this study is that it took a lot of observation and individualized time for one student. One of the strengths is that it was customized directly for this individual. I now have a much better idea of what type of incentive will help this student be successful and remain on task during the morning reading stations.  

Reference(s)

VanHousen, Deena. “Effective Classroom Management in Student-Center Classrooms.” St. John Fisher College, Fisher Digital Publications , Apr. 2013, https://fisherpub.sjfc.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1275&context=education_ETD_masters.

Wong , Harry, et al. “Managing Your Classroom for Success.” Science and Children, vol. 49, no. 9, July 2012, pp. 60–64., https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ997836. Accessed 16 Jan. 2022. 

 

 


Coupons For Caring: The Effects of Positive Reinforcement on Student Behavior 

Primary Researchers

Kendall Clough, Intern, Baylor University

Karen Reeves, MS Ed, Mentor Teacher, Hillcrest PDS, Waco ISD

Darlene Bolfing, MS Ed, Intern Supervisor, Baylor University

 

Rationale/Introduction

One student in my 4th grade class at Hillcrest PDS struggles with negative behavior and disrupting class activities. Starting during the first week of school, the student would speak negatively about fellow classmates and make outbursts during instruction to distract other students. Traditional classroom management methods, such as missing recess quickly became ineffective and seemed to generate further defiance. I wanted to find a way to encourage positive behavior and respect for both fellow classmates and teachers. 

Question/Wondering

How will using a token reward system increase the behavior motivation for a 4th grade male student within my classroom?

Methodology/Results

My research was conducted on a ten-year-old African American male student in my fourth-grade classroom. This student received a punch card with eight circles to be punched for on task behavior. He was able to receive up to two punches a day, one before lunch and another at the end of the day and was given these based on positive interactions with classmates and teachers as well as limited interruption of instruction. Once he received all eight punches, he was able to turn his punch card in for a choice of reward coupon. He was given twenty-one options including coupons for rewards such as sit in the teacher’s desk for a day and a fidget pass where he was able to use a fidget toy during independent work and reading time. This method was decided based on research by Shakespeare, Peterkin and Bourne (2018) that found “students’ behavioral levels after the intervention showed evidence that the use of tokens in minimizing disruptive behavior was very effective.” Over a three-week period, engagement data, frequency of negative behaviors leading to consequences and anecdotal notes on student behavior were assessed to gauge the effectiveness of this strategy to encourage positive behavior. When negative behaviors began to arise, I would give one reminder of the punches and then it was to his discretion to continue the behavior or switch to a more amicable choice. Most of the time this would reset his attitude as he was very eager to work towards a reward of his choice similar to the findings of another study “The students exposed a great interest in earning the tokens and exchanging them for favorite items such as homework passes, candy, computer time, etc.” (“Token Economy Systems”, 2017). Although he did not decrease the frequency of behaviors leading to consequences there was an increase in engagement and more frequent positive behavior displayed daily. 

Implications/Recommendations

After conducting my research, I have found that a positive behavior strategy such as a token reward system does have a positive effect on a student’s overall behavior. Despite the fact the quantitative data collected showed no improvement of behavior, the qualitative data collected showed improvement in overall habits. Some recommendations would be for a longer period of implementation as well as allowing student suggestions for possible rewards in order for students to have more influence over what they are working towards.  

Reference(s)

Shakespeare S, Peterkin VMS, Bourne PA. A Token Economy: An Approach Used For Behavior Modifications Among Disruptive Primary School Children. MOJ Public Health. 2018;7(3):89 ? 99. DOI: 10.15406/mojph.2018.07.00212 DOI: 10.15406/mojph.2018.07.00212

Samburgo, Norma. “Token Economy Systems to Increase Appropriate Behaviors.” National Association of Special Education Teachers , no. September 2017, 2017, pp. 1–18. Classroom Management, https://www.naset.org/fileadmin/USER_UPLOADS_PROTECTED/Classroom_Management/2017/classroom_management_series__September_2017_Token_Economy_Systems_to_Increase_Appropriate_Behaviors.pdf. Accessed 10 Jan. 2022. 

 

 


Motivational Writing in First Grade 

Primary Researchers

Sophia Frederick, Intern, Baylor University

Sue Garth, MS Ed, Mentor Teacher, Baylor University, Waco ISD

Darlene Bolfing, MS Ed, Intern Supervisor, Baylor University

 

Rationale/Introduction

In a classroom of 21 students, I have chosen to focus on one child who seems to have complete disinterest during writing time. This particular child has emotional needs that affect his motivation during this time. I have created a personal reward system specific to him. My plan is to give him a writing reward chart and if he earns a smiley face for each day of the week he gets to choose from an option of three rewards such as: extra iPad time at the end of the day, a special writing utensil for the next week, or two smiley faces on his reward chart for the classroom. This rewards system will begin on 02/07/22. For three weeks I will be analyzing how many words per week he is producing during writing time. 

Question/Wondering

In what ways would a personal reward system benefit a student with behavioral needs affect his focus during writing time?

Methodology/Results

The student I chose to collect research on is a first-grade male who experiences behavioral needs and shows a complete lack of interest during writing time in our classroom. During journal writing time this particular child would only write up to one or two words, and on some occasions draw only a picture. I decided to brainstormed ideas to try to motivate him to write, and I chose to create a personal reward system specifically for him in order to meet the classroom writing goals (Jodi Durgin). The week I began my research, I pulled this student aside and discussed my special plan for him, and he was very excited to try to earn rewards and have a personal reward system only for him (Kautzer, K). My data collected how many words he should be writing each week, feedback from my mentor on changes she has noticed, and lastly pictures of my student’s improvement. The first week I immediately noticed a change in attitude my student had during writing time. He pulled out his journal without being asked and produced a complete sentence along with a picture. By the end of week one, this student wrote at least one sentence during writing time with a picture and totaled 22 words for the week. He earned a smiley face for each day during writing and displayed enthusiasm towards picking his reward for the week, which was to use a special writing utensil for the following week. For the second week my student was allowed to use his special 4-in-1 pen during journal writing and he was beaming with joy and ended up writing a total of 34 words this week. My student was so motivated to write with his special pen that he even asked to use it during math activities and reading stations. He earned smileys for each day on week two and decided to choose iPad time at the end of the day for the following week. Lastly, during week three when it was time for writing my student asked me if he would be allowed to use his special pen for this week as well, and of course I said yes. So, even though we discussed only receiving one reward I noticed the special pen is what triggered motivation for him to write, which was ultimately the goal. At the end of week three my student wrote a total of 40 words. By the end of my research I was able to see the capability my student had when he was truly motivated to write and how quickly he was able to form complete sentences. I believe that being able to create a motivational environment for students in a classroom is the golden ticket to academic success for children. 

Implications/Recommendations

Even though I saw improvement in my student’s motivation to write there were a few things that I would adjust in the future. During the end of week three I noticed my student just seemed to be going through the motions in order to earn a smiley face, so I plan on bringing a variety of special writing utensils and having him chose one each week to write with so he can have excitement for something new to look forward to. I also would like to implement the option of having two days of free choice writing instead of having a story starter, so I can see if he will produce more words from his own ideas. 

Reference(s)

How to Motivate Students to Write at the Elementary Level in 2022. (2018, January 7). Clutter-Free Classroom | by Jodi Durgin. https://jodidurgin.com/tips-for-teaching-writing-with-free-printable-pages/

 

 


 Super Scientist 

Primary Researchers

Raigin Green, Intern, Baylor University

Amon Harris, BS Ed, Mentor Teacher, Hillcrest PDS, Waco ISD

Darlene Bolfing, MS Ed, Intern Supervisor, Baylor University

 

Rationale/Introduction

Over the course of this semester, I have been getting to know my first-grade students as individuals and the class as a whole. One thing that caught the attention of my mentor teacher and myself was the lack of engagement of the class during science lessons. This has been an issue since the beginning of the school year. The time of day that we are required to teach science has a major effect on the students’ focus. Because of this, I am going to introduce a new and exciting incentive for students to earn based on their behavior during the lesson. 

Question/Wondering

In what ways would implementing a Super Scientist award after each science lesson improve the engagement of six first graders on the carpet?

Methodology/Results

For three weeks, I monitored six first grade students’ attention on the carpet during science lessons. The six students were chosen at random by pulling sticks out of a cup with every student’s number on one. I collected quantitative data by doing engagement samples. My mentor completed these forms at the back of the class as I taught science. For qualitative data, I took notes on the observations I had made regarding student behavior. My mentor teacher also provided his input on the behavior and engagement of the class. I used these three methods of data collection to get a baseline before implementing any changes. In order to motivate and encourage my students to be more engaged, I used strategies recommended by experts, such as using “instructional strategies that spark students’ interest. Initial curiosity (or “situational interest”) can then serve as a hook to create long-term, personal interest” (Kamil, 27). I wanted to see how incorporating some sort of personal incentive would affect student engagement. A Harvard Study discusses the pros and cons of incentives in the classroom. The study suggests that incentives given for inputs, such as behavior and engagement during class, are more effective than incentives for outputs (Allan, 15). I introduced the class to a new award called the Super Scientist. I explained that my mentor and I would be watching each day during science for a student who was following all classroom procedures and paying attention. This student would get a sticker of their choice and get to wear the Super Scientist goggles the next day during science time. After analyzing the results from over the course of the study, there was an overall increase in engagement. Based off of my mentor and my informal assessments and the engagement samples, all six of the students were significantly more engaged. All of them increased by at least five percent, however, one student increased almost eighty percent between the first and last sample taken. 

Implications/Recommendations

This study showed that the six students selected did have an increase in engagement. I would like to believe that by introducing this incentive, I helped foster a motivation within my students to be more engaged during science lessons. However, if I were to do this study again, I would change a few aspects. I would have more controlled variables such as the lesson style. Each of the science lessons that I took an engagement sample from were very different. Some of the activities may have been more engaging to the students without any incentive at all. I would also make sure that science was taught at the exact same time each day- which is a bit difficult to control some days. These are two factors that I believe could have played a role in the results of my study.

Reference(s)

Allan, B. M., & Fryer, R. G. (n.d.). The power and pitfalls of Education ... - scholar.harvard.edu. The Hamilton Project. Retrieved March 14, 2022, from https://scholar.harvard.edu/sites/scholar.harvard.edu/files/fryer/files/092011_incentives_fryer_allen_paper2.pdf?m=1362410519 

Kamil, M. L. (2008). Improving adolescent literacy - Effective Classroom and Intervention Practices. Retrieved March 8, 2022, from https://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/Docs/PracticeGuide/adlit_pg_082608.pdf 

 

 


The Star Student System 

Primary Researchers

Suzanna Jinks, Intern, Baylor University

Katherine Weaver, BS Ed, Mentor Teacher, Hillcrest PDS, Waco ISD

Darlene Bolfing, MS Ed, Intern Supervisor, Baylor University

 

Rationale/Introduction

At Hillcrest PDS, I have noticed an ongoing issue with a female in my fifth grade classroom involving reluctance to complete required work. The student is consistently off task and corrected for this behavior. This incompleteness of work is a problem because this student is behind in her assignments and is missing many grades. Additionally, she has a negative attitude towards school. Throughout this time of collecting data and research, I’m going to implement a sticker chart reward system. I anticipate that this method will improve my student’s motivation and attitude towards schoolwork. 

Question/Wondering

In what ways would implementing a concrete and consistent reward system improve the completion of required work of one female within my fifth-grade classroom?

Methodology/Results

I conducted my Action Research project on a student in my fifth grade class, and collected data from January 31- February 17. I collected my data in the form of monitoring my student’s engagement during class, kid- watching notes, and her grades throughout the three week time period. I kept a record of my student’s achievement and completed work by using a star chart that had a column for each subject and each day of the week. When she did her work, I would share the star chart with her and show her that I had put a star in the square for that subject and day, I would let her put the star in the appropriate square, or I would tell her that I had given her a star. It was my hope that my student would “show interest and increased participation in everyday classroom duties and responsibilities” with the new reward system (Dawe, 2021, Motivation for Full Effort on Classroom Tasks section, para.1). The initial purpose of implementing this reward system was to motivate my student, who lacked the desire to get her required work done when given time in class. Kyle Curtis (2020) says that “if your students…often come to class with incomplete or no homework, a reward system can push them to do their assignments” (Benefits of a Reward System in the Classroom section, para. 2). Not only had she not been doing her homework, but she wasn’t doing her classwork either. My student did respond well to the reward system sometimes, but not consistently. My student achieved the goal of doing her work for a majority of the first week, and was able to pick one of the prizes. Additionally, she was able to achieve her goal of doing a majority of her work for the next two weeks. The difference between the first week and the second and third weeks is that she didn’t seem interested in the prizes the last two weeks. Before she was introduced to this system, she was completely unmotivated and there was nothing that Mrs. Weaver or I could say or do to motivate her to do her work. A pattern I found in my data was that my student would respond to affirmation and the reward system, but this would only go so far. The data shows that even with a promise of reward, she sometimes still lacked the inner drive to complete her work and focus. 

Implications/Recommendations

In the future, I will do more follow up with the student to pick prizes. One weakness of this study is that the engagement data was taken for ten minutes out of the whole day; there were days when this data was representative of the entire day, but other days when it was not. One of the strengths of this study includes the fact that kid watching notes are an accurate representation of how my student reacted to the reward system on a day to day basis.  

Reference(s)

Curtis, K. (2020, July 27). Should You Adopt a Reward System in the Classroom? Student Assembly. Retrieved March 11, 2022, from https://www.studentassembly.org/reward-systems-in-classrooms-what-you-need-to-consider/ 

Dawe , T. (2021, November 20). The Advantages of Rewards in the Classroom. The Classroom | Empowering Students in Their College Journey. Retrieved March 11, 2022, from https://www.theclassroom.com/advantages-rewards-classroom-7870588.html

 

 


Teaching Kindergartners to Count to 100 

Primary Researchers

Caroline Thompson, Intern, Baylor University

Whitley Quigg, MS Ed, Mentor Teacher, Hillcrest PDS, Waco ISD

Darlene Bolfing, MS Ed, Intern Supervisor, Baylor University

 

Rationale/Introduction

During the kindergarten year, a required number of counting goal to 100 is set. One way the students practice for this counting goal is by participating in active counting videos. Several of my kindergarten students were not focusing on counting during this activity, rather they were just dancing. These same students rated with the lowest proficiency when assessed. By implementing one-to-one intervention that will allow them to practice counting using manipulatives and other resources, I believe this type of intervention will be beneficial for them to increase their learning capacity to accomplish the required kindergarten counting goal. 

Question/Wondering

In what ways would intensive specialized instruction help four of my kindergarten students (two male, two female) be able to reach the kindergarten standard of counting to 100? 

Methodology/Results

The small group of this study was four students in a kindergarten classroom ranging from 5 to 6 years old. These four students participated in one-on-one intervention 4 times a week for 3 weeks for 15-20 minutes at a time. In this study these students had the lowest proficiency on rote counting to 100. Two of my students are Hispanic and two are Caucasian. Also, two of my students are in speech therapy. During my study I would pull individual students to come work on counting outside of the classroom one-on-one. Students would begin each instructional time by rote counting. Next, the student would complete activities that involved putting numbers in order, a number sort, writing numbers on the whiteboards, and using one-to-one correspondence when counting objects. (Platas, 2017) After a student completed the mini lesson with activities they would go back into the classroom and keep working on math centers. Over a 3-week period of kid watching, mentor notes, and grades, the students were assessed to see the effects of the one-on-one instruction and to assess if the student was able to rote count to a higher number than before the intervention. Out of the 4 students, 1 of my student’s rote counting skills increased. Student A remained the same in his rote counting to 12. Student B remained the same in his rote counting to also 12. Student C remained the same in her rote counting at 29. Student D increased from 26 to 57 in her rote counting skills. Through my kid watching and mentor notes, I found that each student was excited to work one on one with me during our one-on-one intervention. 

Implications/Recommendations

This study showed the benefits of one-on-one intervention with my early childhood students. Although the majority of my students rote counting did not increase, the study did show the students engagement and grades increased over a short period of time. A recommendation that future researchers of this study would benefit from is to start earlier in the school year. (Powell, 2012) I think starting this intervention earlier in the school year would allow my students to progress at a higher rate. A few of my students had periods of absence during the 3 weeks of study that I believe hindered their rote counting skills as well as their grades.

Reference(s)

Powell, S. R., & Fuchs, L. S. (2012). Early numerical competencies and students with mathematics difficulty. Focus on Exceptional Children44(5). https://doi.org/10.17161/foec.v44i5.6686 

Platas, L. M. (2017, October 3). The why and what of counting. Development and Research in Early Math Education. Retrieved March 1, 2022, from https://dreme.stanford.edu/news/why-and-what-counting

 

 


Wiggle Worm

Primary Researchers

Rebecca Wessman, Intern, Baylor University

Kendal Rabine, MS Ed, Mentor Teacher, Hillcrest PDS, Waco ISD

Darlene Bolfing, MS Ed, Intern Supervisor, Baylor University

 

Rationale/Introduction

During carpet morning time, new sight words are introduced, and previously taught words are reviewed.  The sight words taught are words that the students are expected to use every day and in their writing assignments.  Five students are having difficulty focusing and practicing these words with the rest of the class. They will wait for their classmates to respond and then repeat them and are achieving a lower number of known sight words. By implementing a daily pull-out instruction, my goal is for these students to gain confidence and focus by working with peers of a similar level of sight word knowledge. 

Question/Wondering

In what ways would the implementation of a small group pull-out during a designated afternoon time benefit five (2 African American males, 1 Hispanic male and 2 Hispanic females) Kindergarten students in my classroom to increase the recognition and automaticity of previously taught sight words? 

Methodology/Results

The focus group of this study was 5 students in a kindergarten classroom. Three of the five kindergarten students were males, and two of the five kindergarten students were females. Students were pulled once a day for three weeks to practice their sight word automaticity. Prior to my small group, these students were learning 3 new words each week, and were not recognizing the first set of words before learning new words. This caused frustration, and a study done called the AR theory states that, “teaching students a number of words that exceeded their individual limits resulted in an inability to learn new information and reduced retention…” (Burns, 2020). My research was conducted in the morning before specials from February 7th – 24th 2022. I used three sources: kid watching/ anecdotal notes, grades (sight word test), and mentor notes. To best assess their learning and equip them in their automaticity, I used hands on letters, flash cards, whiteboards, and elbow spelling. We started the first week out with reviewing words and elbow spelling them. This is where they touch their elbow for each letter and then punch the air for the word. This helps them to know how to spell it and say the word. Before we ended our 10-15 minute pull out each day, the students had to read the sight words I showed them as an exit ticket. By doing this I was able to see which words needed more attention throughout the week. This led to the second week which gave me data to work with. I saw the words we still needed to work on, and words that were too easy. We began to use hands-on alphabet arch mats to create the sight word as well as white boards. The alphabet arch was used for students to pull down each letter that was in the sight word. Many struggled with creating the words (either on the mat or white board), which helped me to see they were not able to create the word on their own. This showed an insufficient understanding in their orthographic mapping which is when, “readers form connections between written units and spoken units”, (Murray, 2018). Because of this, they were not fully learning the sight words. The last week was a combination of all instruction type. Over the course of the three weeks, all five of the students improved. Because we test sight words as we add them, the data shows some variation in growth, but overall, the five kindergarten students are more confident and successful in their sight word automaticity. 

Implications/Recommendations

After conducting this research, I have found that pull out instruction for certain students does have a strong effect on their learning. While the data shows fluctuation in their learning, the students gained knowledge in both the content, as well as their confidence. Having done this, my mentor teacher has asked that we continue with the intervention with the same students and possibly others, to continue to build confidence and number of sight words known. It is important that they not only can read these words, but also write, create, and have the confidence in reading them when they appear in text. 

Reference(s)

Burns, M. K., Aguilar, L. N., Warmbold‐Brann, K., Preast, J. L., & Taylor, C. N. (2020). Effect of acquisition rates on off‐task behavior of kindergarten students while learning sight words. Psychology in the Schools58(1), 5–17. https://doi.org/10.1002/pits.22429 

Murray, B. A., McIlwain, M. J., Wang, C., Murray, G., & Finley, S. (2018). How do beginners learn to read irregular words as sight words? Journal of Research in Reading42(1), 123–136. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9817.12250