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Classroom Accommodations Behavior & Learning. Michelle Fattig-Smith, Ed.S. Interventions effective in helping low-achieving students. First ask “Why?”

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Classroom accommodations behavior learning l.jpg

Classroom AccommodationsBehavior & Learning

Michelle Fattig-Smith, Ed.S.

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Interventions effective in helping low-achieving students

  • First ask “Why?”

  • Define the concern: academic, behavioral, affective, medical, choice, lack of understanding, attention, attention seeking (It is always better to look ‘bad’ than to look ‘stupid’)

  • Use problem solving teams for support and suggestions for alternative strategies

  • Intervention strategies are not guaranteed to work; however, they are a step in the right direction

  • Keep trying new things until success is achieved

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Attention Deficits

Hyperactive=excessive activity that is age inappropriate

  • Consider behavior modification approaches with Positive Behavioral Supports

  • Use contracts with clear rewards and consequences (both signatures required)

  • Talk with parents and other teachers, are they seeing the same behaviors?

  • What are they doing that works?

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Attention Describes a number of activities

  • Focusing on one stimulus at a time

  • Resisting distractions

  • Sustaining effort over time

  • Paying selective attention to one thing to the exclusion of others

  • Maintaining focus over time

    • Naglieri, J.A. & Pickering, E.B. (2003). Helping children learn: Intervention handouts for use in school and at home. Baltimore, MA: Brookes Publishing, p. 39.

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Classroom problems related to attention

  • Limited ability to work for more than a few minutes on one thing

  • Failure to focus on relevant aspects of assignments

  • Difficulty in resisting distractions in the classroom

  • Incomplete work because the child could not sustain the effort

    • Naglieri, J.A. & Pickering, E.B. (2003). Helping children learn: Intervention handouts for use in school and at home. Baltimore, MA: Brookes Publishing, p. 37.

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Peer Pressure for Positive Outcomes

Consider a student who is consistently out of his/her chair and bothering neighbors:

  • Reward in seat behavior (i.e., verbal praise, token, extra free time, line leader, or designated activity)

  • Use consequences or peer pressure to “correct” the undesirable behaviors

  • Use the Premack Principle

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Example of Peer Pressure to Correct Behavior

  • Divide the room into four quadrants

  • When a student in a quadrant is out of seat or bothering neighbors, his/her name goes on the board under that quadrant

  • The quadrant with the least number of names (or tallies) receives a reward

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Premack Principle

  • Use a desirable activity to serve as a reward contingent upon completing an undesirable activity

  • “Grandma’s trick: Eat your peas and then you can have dessert.”

  • Finish your spelling words, and you can work on the computer for five minutes

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Stress Outlets for Psychomotor Agitation

  • Psychomotor agitation, hyperactivity, can be alleviated through physical outlets (e.g., taking a note to the office, walking around to hand out papers, quietly tapping toes inside of shoes, sharpening a pencil, and etc.)

  • Alternate quiet and active periods

  • Always replace the undesirable behavior with a desirable behavior

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Distractibility: Difficulty in inhibiting responses to stimuli. Attention is easily diverted to other stimuli.

  • Eliminate excess stimuli when possible (i.e., study carrels, earplugs, quiet distraction free area to complete written tasks)

  • Be specific and firm in directions, limit verbiage and number of steps involved

  • Change input mode, a multi-sensory presentation may be helpful in introducing new concepts or lecture

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Short Attention Span

  • Arrange material from easy to difficult

  • Allow time for attention to shift

  • Check to see if the student understands, “Tell me what I said in your own words.”

  • Use small, sequenced steps and gradually increase the length of desired tasks

  • Reduce the complexity of the task if appropriate (instead of 30 math mad minute problems, 10 per side of paper)

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Short Attention Span

  • Encourage self-monitoring “Give them a goal to shoot for.”

  • Find out if the student knows:

  • What to do,

  • How to do it, and

  • Why he is doing it.

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Impulsive: tendency to respond without careful consideration-activity without careful thought, or reflection.

  • These students tend to guess rather than using reflective thinking processes

  • Impulsive ‘blurting’ is often an issue

  • Teach, “Stop-Think-Act” strategies

  • Provide “think time”

  • Consider response cost procedures-

    • When a student makes impulsive errors, he/she “loses” a privilege

    • When a student uses his/her S-T-A process, he/she gets a reward or gets to avoid a distasteful task

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Memory Deficits: difficulty remembering what has been said or demonstrated

  • Overlearn-repeated practice, consistent review, with distributed practice

  • Rehearsal-repetition of small amounts of information immediately after receiving it (repeating “Bob, Bob, Bob” after meeting a new person named ‘Bob’)

  • Teach the use of: highlighting, advanced organizers, establishing relationships/associations between old and new materials, mnemonic devices, tape recorders

  • Reduce the number of items to be memorized or learned, and gradually increase as success is achieved

  • Make the materials meaningful, relevant, and useful

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Disorganization: Inability to structure or order work, time, or surroundings

  • Encourage asking questions for clarification

  • Help eliminate time wasters

  • Prepare checklists of what needs to be done, and what needs to be first

  • Prepare assignment notebooks

  • Provide routine and structure

  • Provide home to school communication

  • Provide specific and consistent directions

  • Provide written assignments

  • Provide list of materials needed for assignment

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Poor Learning Skills: Difficulty in knowing how to learn

Teach the student how to organize the problem:

  • What does the problem require?

  • What am I asked to do?

  • What am I given?

  • What shall I do?

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Poor Learning Skills: Difficulty in knowing how to learn

  • These students tend to equate learning with memorizing.

  • Teachers need to help develop coping skills: identify key words, how to take notes, outlining, summarizing

  • Teach the student to search for clues that organize the problem and the data

  • Separate the problem into meaningful parts

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Poor Learning Skills: Difficulty in knowing how to learn

Provide test taking strategies:

  • Examine entire test before answering to understand expectations.

  • Estimate how much time will be needed in each area of test.

  • Answer first those that you know.

  • Essay questions: write down key ideas, main points, in brief form for outline.

  • If stumped, move on. Try to give your best guess if not penalized for wrong answers.

  • If you guess on an answer, don’t change it! Your first guess is usually best.

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Poor Learning Skills: Difficulty in knowing how to learn

Analyze difficulties in problem solving

  • Ability-consider modifying difficulty of problem, possibly moving from the more abstract to more concrete

  • Motivation-consider the degree of frustration

  • Information-help to relate information to that the student already knows to help solve the problem

  • Experience-begin with less difficult problems and progress to more difficult

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Poor Learning Skills: Difficulty in listening

Listening skills can be enhanced by:

  • Classroom discussions regarding how listening skills affect school work, out-of-school living, and behavior

  • Read interesting articles, ask the students to write down what they heard, have the students compare the original article to what they wrote. Ask, “does your report cover the news?”

  • Provide verbal steps to problem solving, and have the students repeat back in their own words

  • Proximity teaching with prompts to attend frequently

  • Multi-modal presentation

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Poor Learning Skills: Difficulty in knowing how to learn

  • Help students develop realistic goals

  • Examine actions needed to reach goals

  • Involve parents in responsibility training

  • Reinforcement opportunities

  • Understand strengths and weaknesses

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Poor Study Habits: the inability, particularly when working alone, to use proper procedures in the studying process


  • Purpose-determine purpose of material

  • Overview-survey the material

  • Read-relating the material to the purpose

  • Consider-ponder the significance

  • Underline-important points as you read

  • Paraphrase-put into your own words

  • Invent-ways to remember such as mnemonic devices, imagery, analogies

  • Need-Evaluate in relation to need and purpose

  • Elaborate-what are the implications

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Poor Study Habits: the inability, particularly when working alone, to use proper procedures in the studying process

SQ3R (reading)

  • Survey

  • Question

  • Read

  • Reflect

  • Recite

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Poor Study Habits: the inability, particularly when working alone, to use proper procedures in the studying process

Cognitive Behavioral Approach (self-monitoring)

Talk it through!

  • “Now the first thing I need to do is get my materials together.”

  • “Second, let’s see, I’ll turn to page 46.”

  • “I now survey the material. Okay that’s done.”

  • “Now I should read to answer certain questions.”

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Intervention Techniques:

  • Consider appropriateness of the form of testing. (oral vs. written, open ended questions vs. forced choice answers)

  • Consider appropriateness of grading or structure of some test items (verbiage, abstract vs. concrete)

  • Utilize short term goals, small increments of change, peer tutoring, teaching style changes

  • Task analysis regarding expectations and grasp of prerequisites

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Intervention Techniques:

  • Consider conditions of learning: formal vs. informal, directive vs. nondirective

  • Concrete examples vs. abstract

  • Need for increased time on task

  • Special techniques such as: programmed instruction, special learning activities, student involvement in planning, frequent feedback, alternative reading materials

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Intervention Techniques:

  • Reward-after successful completion of tasks

  • Behaviors that are reinforced are most likely to reoccur

  • Learning processes which involve experiencing, doing, and reacting promotes retention

  • Deliberate recall, immediately after learning, and in the students’ own words, reduces the possibility of forgetting new material

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Intervention Techniques: Auditory Vocal-inability to learn by use of words or sound symbols

  • Use visual stimuli

  • Use sight word methods in reading

  • Use sight words and flash cards

  • Use context clues

    Present a printed model of a word. Have the child trace the model with his/her finger, saying the respective phoneme for each grapheme as he/she traces it. He/she should say the total word at the conclusion. Repeat several times.

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Intervention Techniques:Auditory Receptive-inability to understand what is heard

  • Use short, one-concept phrases and have the child repeat them

  • Tell the child to listen before you say something that is important

  • Have the child close their eyes, then make a noise and have them try to identify it

  • Have the child write from dictation

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Intervention Techniques: Verbal Expression difficulty generating or expressing ideas or concepts

  • Begin a story and have the child invent the ending.

  • Provide story prompts.

  • Ask the child to complete open-ended sentences: In the morning I wake up _____________________ I hurry to dress so I can _______________

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Intervention Techniques:Vocabulary Strategies


  • List the parts

  • Identify a reminding word

  • Note a LINCing story

  • Create a LINCing picture

  • Self-test

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Intervention Techniques:Word Identification


  • Discover the context

  • Isolate the Prefix

  • Separate the Suffix

  • Say the Stem

  • Examine the Stem

  • Check with someone

  • Try the dictionary

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Intervention Techniques:First Letter Mnemonics


  • Form a word

  • Insert a letter

  • Rearrange the letters

  • Shape a sentence

  • Try combinations

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Intervention Techniques:Studying and Remembering


  • Look for clues

  • Investigate the items

  • Select a mnemonic device

  • Transfer information to a card

  • Self-test

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Learning Atmospherenine conditions for success

  • High expectations

  • Freedom-mistakes are okay

  • Respect-right to be heard and have an opinion

  • Warmth and Acceptance-safe and supportive learning environment

  • Student Value-everyone needs to feel important

  • Leadership-friendly and fair, but in control

  • Success-atmosphere of success rather than failure

  • Encouragement-techniques to promote not discourage

  • Promotion of peer acceptance-feelings of belonging and acceptance

    Fisher, R. I. (1987). Learning difficulties strategies for helping

    students. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Co.

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Students Arriving Late to Class

  • Provide incentives (rewards or privilege

  • Set up fun, short “bell ringer” activities before class to motivate students to show up on time

  • Set up class wide reward system where students “clock in” and tally their time to earn a group privilege (early birds add to the total and late arrivals subtract)

  • Late arrivers must make up their time, preferably with an undesirable task

  • Open and frequent communication with parents

  • Check with other teachers to make sure that they are actually being released with adequate time to get to your class

    • Classwork & homework: Trouble student problems from start to finish. Retrieved Dec. 21, 2006


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Students forgetting necessary work materials

  • Remind students at the end of class about books or other materials they will need

  • Keep a collection of ‘loaners’ they can use (pens, pencils, papers, and writing paper)

  • Encourage parents to supervise book bag preparations before students leave for school

  • Teach the class a general system for organizing work and storing materials

  • Use ‘peer buddies’ (Share, borrow, check in)

  • Set up a self-monitoring system

    • Classwork & homework: Trouble student problems from start to finish. Retrieved Dec. 21, 2006 from:

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Teaching self-monitoring Now Where Did I Put That?!Organization and Day Planners

  • Been there? Done that? Lost dozens? Using a day planner is one of the most essential coping skills that a student with attentional issues or disorganization struggles can develop; however, it is also a skill that they must practice and develop over time. Actually, using a day planner is not a single skill, but involves a set of skills that can be worked on one-by-one.

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Why Can’t I Just…“It’s in the car.” “I haven’t gotten to Wal-Mart yet.” “I forgot it today.”

  • When I am working with a student to develop the habit of using a day planner, I hear many excuses as to why it is not with them. The only way for their day planner to become a life planner and manager is to become so attached to it, they can’t live without it. If it is not in their arms, they should feel a sense of loneliness!

    • Put it in the same place every night

    • Reach for it before you reach for your jacket, purse, wallet, etc.

    • Look for it before you ever get out of the car, off the bus, etc.

    • Teach parents, friends, teachers to remind you if it isn’t present.

    • “If found please return to….” Emblazed in bright bold letters across the front and back.

    • Back up system. Stop think act! If you leave it behind, find it before you have gotten too far in your day! It’s easier to ‘trace your steps’ when it has been one class period, than when it has been a day or week!

    • Rehearse, rehearse, and rehearse.

  • Write EVERYTHING in your day planner.

    • Develop the unwavering habit that all assignments, events, materials, etc. are written in your day planner before your hind end leaves your seat! Do not rely on the ‘I’ll remember to write that later’ philosophy. You haven’t in the past, and you won’t in the future!

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How’s That Working for You So Far?The only true definition of crazy is repeating a behavior proven to be unsuccessful in the past, and expecting it to succeed, then being devastated when it does not!

  • Stick ALL of your papers in the planner, and at the end of the day sort, complete, file, and protect! Don’t stick your papers in your books, under your bed, in your locker…you won’t remember!

  • Teachers and Parents: set up a system with your teachers and parents that they will ask you for your papers if they don’t receive them. If you’ve got them done, you should develop and support a plan to get the credit! Ask mom or dad to sign homework when you are done, and ask your teachers to sign your planner when you have assignments written down!

  • At first, parents and teachers should be responsible for this oversight. If successful in habit forming, the student might be able to take over some of the responsibility. But never ASSUME!! They have and will always have the disability…it is not a CHOICE and should not be punished!

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Lists Are Our FRIENDS!

  • Learn the beauty of lists! Write everything down, check everything off as you complete. This should be a DAILY activity for you for the REST OF YOUR LIFE!

    • You may have multiple lists-keep them all on the same paper! Examples:

      • Homework to do’s

        • short term projects papers

        • long term projects papers

          • long term projects need a timeline, teacher or parent to ‘check in’ on progress, and extra discipline on our part!

        • family activities coming up

        • extracurricular activities

        • personal goals

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Procrastination is the ENEMY!

  • Developing our ‘to do’ list includes creating your daily action plan, weekly action plan, monthly action plan, and long term plans.

    • Prioritize…ask teacher or parent for help in the beginning

    • Define actions or tasks which need to be accomplished

    • List materials needed in order to accomplish tasks

    • List the time needed to accomplish

  • Learn to become a better time estimator

    • Taking items from ‘to do’ list and placing them on daily action planner, with assigned times, forces us to begin thinking about how long things take and making realistic goals

    • When making daily plan, allow for the ‘what have I forgotten scenario’

  • Learn to plan for contingencies

    • To-dos become not-dones when we fail to plan for the ‘what have I forgottens’

    • Traffic happens

    • Books are forgotten at home

    • Papers are lost

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Take a Deep BreathStop the ‘why can’t I just’ voiceFollow Your Plan!

  • None of us wake up in the morning hoping to forget things, disappoint people, or feel stupid. We, like every other person in this world, have our strengths and weaknesses. Unfortunately, our weaknesses sometimes look like laziness or defiance to those around us. Learn to self-advocate! Plan ahead for those contingencies and don’t let setbacks get you down! Some of us have tried for so long to mask our poor planning skills, we haven’t learned to tell people what we need or what we struggle with.

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Define Your ‘Why Can’t I Just...’ Moments

  • Learn to resist impulses and distractions!

    • Don’t stop to see what is on television, IT’S A TRAP, you will become transfixed!

    • Don’t answer the phone when you are starting your homework, ANOTHER TRAP, you will forget to get back to the initial task! (Once it is out of our mind, it is done in our mind!)

    • Don’t forget to refer to your list and cross off completed items, BUT NOT UNTIL YOU HAVE ACTUALLY FINISHED! If you cross it off before you are done and you get distracted or interrupted, you will not remember to go back!

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Define Your ‘Why Can’t I Just...’ Moments

  • Does a task, responsibility, or action need to be a part of your life, or are you simply conforming to peer pressure or others’ expectations?

  • If you truly dislike or are unable to accomplish a task, talk with your parents or teachers, maybe a more tolerable task could be substituted? (Example, if writing is laborious and you can’t seem to get your thoughts on paper, maybe a teacher would let you tape record your report or your parent could transcribe it for you? Maybe you could work with graphic organizers to develop your story, rather than facing a blank sheet of paper, which can be very overwhelming!)

  • Maybe there is a way to creatively problem-solve or make the task less time-consuming and more interesting!

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Self monitoring system

  • If used correctly, a day planner works for you…you don’t work for it! A day planner is a tool, which will help you in life and relationships with others. Less stress and more success is a life long goal that is obtainable for us! Make sure to plan for enjoyable activities as well. Keep a list of positive to-do’s and balance your day accordingly!

  • Adapted from: Nadeau, K. G. (2006). Using a day planner as a life planner. Attention Deficit Disorder Association: The World’s Leading Adult ADHD Organization. Retrieved 11/14/06 from:

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Student appears unmotivated to complete in-class work

  • Assess skills in order to determine is “unmotivated” is masking skill deficits (it’s much better to look bad/bored than stupid)

  • Allow students to earn points or rewards for work completion (offer incentive/reinforcement survey to determine what is the most motivating)

  • Use cooperative learning and hands on projects as social motivators

  • Weave high-interest topics into lessons to capture student attention

  • Offer choices regarding where they sit, who they sit by, what books to use for an assignment, or the type of ‘product’ the agree to produce (e.g., writing essay, newspaper article, letter to the editor, political speech, etc.)

  • Allow class to ‘vote’ on structuring the lesson (i.e., spend class period working in pairs in the computer lab or in classroom in larger groups finding key concepts in text or lecture notes)

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Student appears unable to complete in-class work

  • Survey student skills to determine strengths and deficits

  • Adjust instruction to match skill level

  • Adjust groupings

  • Provide strategies/review sheets

  • Provide highlighted or restructured notes

  • Rewrite or reword tests

  • Provide materials at his or her skill level

  • Target and practice key skills taught in course

  • Provide the student answer keys to self-check independent work

  • Provide glossaries with key course terms and their definitions

    • Classwork & homework: Trouble student problems from start to finish. Retrieved Dec. 21, 2006 from:

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Student does not participate in large-group discussion

  • Establish rules of no teasing for incorrect answers

  • Encourage differing viewpoints

  • Allow ‘think time’ and draw names for responses (allow for ‘passes’ if a student is very shy and doesn’t know an answer)

  • Set up ‘life-line’ options (if a student doesn’t know an answer, can call on someone he or she thinks might know, the student using the life-line option must then judge the answer to be correct or incorrect)

  • Allow students to refer to notes or text for answers

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Students refusing to comply with teacher requests to do work

  • Survey for skill deficits (never assume)

  • Keep it positive, provide options

  • Create a reward system

  • Avoid power struggles!

    • Classwork & homework: Trouble student problems from start to finish. Retrieved Dec. 21, 2006 from:

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Power Struggle management

  • There is no one way to manage a power struggle. Each power struggle situation is unique. A power struggle occurs when the participants work hard to win in order NOT TO LOSE! Students often evade responsibility by making the power struggle the focus.

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Power struggles are most difficult to manage when:

  • There is a lack of clarity in expectations and consequences (be explicit, do not engage in arguing or negotiation, be firm and calm)

  • There are time pressures (be aware of limitations, don’t lose your temper, remain calm, have a plan ahead time, follow through without anger or irritation—the student ‘wins’ if they can push buttons!)

  • The disruption factor is HIGH (talking out during lecture or etc.)

  • People are angry, fearful, or frustrated

  • Vulnerabilities are unguarded

    • Everyone can be pulled into a power struggle (I’ll win to prevent a loss)

    • Vulnerabilities vary (Students can be very sensitive to being controlled by authority figures)

    • Students initiating power struggles have an expert ability to find another’s vulnerabilities (button pushers)

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Managing power struggles:

  • Ready yourself and the situation!

  • Be vigilant of high risk times (transition, when asked to do work, or other)

  • Build a ‘positive bank account’ with known power strugglers:

    • Frequent use of positive, encouraging statements

    • Quick positive comments to diffuse embarrassing or conflicting situations

    • Identify shared interests

  • Model self-control

    • Be aware of and in charge of your vulnerabilities (don’t get sucked in)

    • Maintain a positive perspective about the student (find likeable qualities and focus on them)

    • Maintain self-control at all times! (Never let them see you sweat)

  • Respond with Purpose

    • Encourage thoughtful choice rather than compliance (would you like to use a pen or pencil to complete this worksheet?)

    • Call attention to student behavior in a simple way

      • Head off power struggle when warning signs are observed

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  • Shut down

  • Stop working

  • Depressed/flat or angry affect

  • Refusal to talk or respond to questions

  • Break pencil or jam into paper/desk

  • Stubborn or sullen look

  • Comments under the breath

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  • Identify the feelings

  • Offer help

  • Give options available (break, different activity, etc.)

  • Predict a positive choice and its consequences

  • Refer to success contract

  • Offer ladder of success (talk it out)

  • Walk away while student makes choice

  • Cross-talk with other staff (may be part of predicting)

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  • Pointed fingers, arms crossed, loud voice, etc.

  • Creating a visual block (can the student easily make an escape? Don’t crowd or corner)

  • Emotional expressions of anger or frustration (tense body language, intense looks, scowls)

  • Touching in the attempt to lead or direct

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  • Never call attention (call student aside or discuss quietly)

  • Arrange a “cool off” time and space

  • Acknowledge feelings (If I thought someone was bossing-pushing me around, I might get angry too)

  • Use active listening, paraphrasing

  • Maintain a friendly attitude (Being friendly is different from giving in)

  • Use humor in a timely manner (no sarcasm, just diffusing comments)

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  • Discharge unpleasant emotions constructively (discuss, decide, dismiss)

  • Use friends and colleagues as supports

  • Adopt the attitude, “If it didn’t go as I hoped, I will have another opportunity to try again.”

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Students seeking help when he or she can do the work

  • Premack principle

  • Keep interactions brief and business like

  • Reinforce only when working independently

  • Post essential information that students will likely need and direct students to it to find the answers on their own

  • Praise for independent work

    • Classwork & homework: Trouble student problems from start to finish. Retrieved Dec. 21, 2006 from:

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  • The best way to promote a bullying school environment is to outlaw tattling Lempke, E. (2006), Personal communication.

    Define what is a ‘tattle’ and what is ‘reporting’

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Redefine & Reduce Tattling

  • Establish and accepting classroom atmosphere

    • Collect personal information about each child and use the information in quick informal exchanges utilizing body language to show warmth and acceptance (eye contact, extending palm of hands outward when greeting students, standing in close proximity)

    • Let the students know you as a person, not just a teacher

    • Try to spend some individual time with every student every day

    • Give honest praise

    • Establish a risk-free classroom, mistakes are OK!

    • Discourage one-upmanship or competition if possible

    • Encourage class support and cooperative learning

    • Define what is an appropriate ‘report’ and what is a ‘tattle’

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Defining a tattle

  • Use class discussion to define (hurting self, hurting others, hurting property, hurting emotionally or physically, etc.)

  • Let the class define

  • Provide Hassle Log or other reporting device (if it’s worth a report, it’s worth completing the paperwork!)

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What happened:

Somebody teased me __

Somebody took my stuff __

Somebody told me to do something bad __

Somebody did something I didn’t like __

I did something wrong __

Somebody started fighting with me __

Somebody started fighting with someone _

Other __

Who was that somebody:

Another student __

An adult __

Staff __ Teacher __

What did you do:

Hit back __ Told adult __

Ran away __ Walked away __

Yelled __ Talked it out __

Cried __ Told peer __

Broke something __ Ignored __

Was restrained __ Used anger __

Used my words __ Cried __

How did you handle yourself:

Poorly Not too well OK Good Great

How angry were you:

Burning Mad Really Mad A little Mad

Not Mad At All

Example Hassle LogName: Date: Time: Setting:Classroom __ Bathroom __ Meals __ Art __ Music __ Gym __ Playground __Bus__ Hall __ Other __

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Relieving Frustration in students

  • Warning signs: biting nails or lips, grimacing, muttering, mumbling, appearing flushed, barking at neighbors

  • Strategies to prevent

    • Antiseptic bounce: sending student from the room on an errand or task

    • Provide quiet spot, calming area, sensory options for self-calm

    • Identify system for notification

      • Strategies for working with emotionally unpredictable students. Retrieved 12/30/06 from:

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  • Warning signs: lashing out verbally, withdrawal (emotional or physical), challenging authority, refusal to comply, blaming

  • Strategies to prevent or reduce

    • Avoid “who is right” or “who is in charge” discussions

    • Approach student privately, make eye contact, address in a quiet, calm tone

    • Use humor to defuse the conflict

    • Provide ‘forced choice’ options (would you like to work at your desk or in a quieter area)

      • Strategies for working with emotionally unpredictable students. Retrieved 12/30/06 from:

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  • Warning signs: verbal threats, abusive language, threatening posture, striking out

  • Strategies to react to, or respond

    • Remove other students

    • Adopt a supportive stance (slightly to the side and at a 45 to 90 degree angle

    • Respect ‘personal space’-a least a leg length away

    • Maintain calm tone and body posture

    • Do NOT block the door (if possible)

    • Deliver clear statement of choices

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Clear statement of choices

  • Two clear choices with consequence. Give ‘teacher preferred’ choice last-

    “John, you can refuse to participate and written up, or you can start the assignment and not be written up.”

  • If fails to comply within a reasonable amount of time, clearly restate what you want the student to do (calmly). Include a time limit and location.

    “I want you to return to your desk now and begin your work.”

  • If fails to comply again, enforce alternative consequences as selected and discussed earlier.

    • Strategies for working with emotionally unpredictable students. Retrieved 12/30/06 from:

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  • Natural step toward independence

  • Shift from external to internal locus of control

  • Behavioral or academic

  • All ages and disabilities

  • Select and define target behavior

  • Record, analyze, set target goal, strategies, evaluate, reinforce

    • Series on highly effective practices-self monitoring: Teaching students to self-monitor their academic &

    • behavioral performances. Darden College of Education retrieved 12/30/06 from http://education


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Managing transitions

  • Using effective transitions help teachers to minimize disruptions and behaviors

  • Most successful are rapid and have clear ends and beginnings

  • Clear routines for everyday tasks

  • Post and adhere to daily schedule

  • Provide visual or auditory signals or cues to notify students transition is coming

  • Provide ‘wait time’ for those who struggle with change in routine or transition activities

  • Use proximity, reinforcers, and/or incentives

  • Watch for signs of frustration, defensiveness, withdrawal, etc. and address appropriately (diffuse)

    • Successfully managing student transitions. Series on highly effective practices-Transitions. Darden College of Education. Retrieved 12/20/06

    • from

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Teaching Social Problem Solving

  • “Students with disabilities and behavior problems often have difficulty dealing with interpersonal problems, which further limit their academic and social success at school.”

    • Successfully managing student transitions. Series on highly effective practices-Transitions. Darden College of Education. Retrieved 12/20/06

    • from

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Teaching SocialProblem Solving

  • State the problem

  • Gather information from self and others

  • Think of possible solutions

  • Evaluate each solution

  • Choose the best, mutually acceptable solution

  • Try out the solution

  • Evaluate the solution

  • Decide what to do next time

    Successfully managing student transitions. Series on highly effective practices-Transitions. Darden College of Education. Retrieved 12/20/06 from

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Social Skills

  • Students with social skills deficits experience long term consequences: cycles of failure, peer rejection, poor school outcomes, and adjustment problems as adults (Successfully managing student transitions. Series on highly effective practices-Transitions. Darden College of Education. Retrieved 12/20/06 from

  • Explicit instruction-social skills/strategies games tend to be too subtle for some students

  • Peer mentors - positive social interactions with facilitation and practice opportunity

  • School-wide/Class-wide

  • Thoughts and feelings activities-understanding feelings of self and others

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Explicit Social Skills training

  • Clearly introduce and define the skill

  • Model the skill and sequence of steps

  • Rehearse, role play, practice

  • Review in natural setting or created opportunity

  • Provide individual feedback

  • Promote, remind, reinforce

  • Teach students to ‘self talk’ –prompt, encourage, and reinforce themselves

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  • Planning is a mental process by which the individual determines, selects, applies, and evaluates solutions to the problem.

    • Select relevant information in the task

    • Select relevant prior knowledge

    • Use a strategy to approach a task

    • Monitor progress

    • Develop new strategies when necessary

      • Naglieri, J.A. & Pickering, E.B. (2003). Helping children learn: Intervention handouts for use in school and at home. Baltimore, MA: Brookes Publishing, p. 37.

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Here are the words for Friday’s test:










How will you learn the words?

Start today

Study 15 minutes per day

Study with a friend

Write each word 10 times

Make flashcards

Make a word search puzzle

Make a copy to tape to your desk and study during free time

What other ways to learn these words can you think of? Write them down!



Naglieri, J.A. & Pickering, E.B. (2003). Helping children learn: Intervention handouts for use in school and at home. Baltimore, MA: Brookes Publishing, p. 37.

Planning ExampleThis Week’s Spelling Words

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Classroom problems related to planning

  • Disorganized completion of assignments

  • Failure to switch strategies according to the demands of the work

  • Failure to correct misinterpretation of what is read

  • Inconsistent application of spelling or math rules when solving problems

  • Failure to devise or use aids when completing work

  • Lack of preparedness with materials needed to do work

  • Uncertainty about how or where to start school work

    • Naglieri, J.A. & Pickering, E.B. (2003). Helping children learn: Intervention handouts for use in school and at home. Baltimore, MA: Brookes Publishing, p. 38..

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Teaching planning skills

  • Teach about plans and strategy use

  • Discuss the importance and how it will benefit them (organization, finishing on time, being successful, etc.)

  • Encourage development, use and evaluating their own strategies

  • Ask questions related to planning, such as:

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Questions relatedto planning

  • How did you do the task?

  • Did you make a plan before beginning?

  • What did you do last time? Did it work?

  • Why did you do it that way?

  • These are hard, how could we make them easier?

  • Is there a better way, or a different way to do this?

  • What strategy worked for you?

  • Do you think you will do it differently next time?

  • How can you check your work?

    • Naglieri, J.A. & Pickering, E.B. (2003). Helping children learn: Intervention handouts for use in school and at home. Baltimore, MA: Brookes Publishing, p. 37.