Friday, November 21, 2008


Another student has been weighing on my mind recently. I’ll call her Seesaw because she shifts up and down so frequently and so quickly. She does not really seem to have a middle ground. Sometimes she is on, really on. She is engaged, thoughtful, verbose, willing to take risks, and smiling. Other times she is withdrawn, sulky, defiant, and completely unwilling to participate.As an outside observer I think it would be fascinating to observe. As her teacher I find it painful.

For another student we’ve been doing a Functional Behavior Analysis (at least that’s what I think FBA stands for) and a Behavioral Intervention Plan (again, I think that’s a BIP). This is an in depth process by a committee (teachers, counselor, administrator, school psychologist, and school social worker for our committee). It has taken us about six hours to finish the process. We look at the child’s behaviors, the consequences of them, and what preceded the behaviors. This is done in the hopes of determining causes and/or results which could be modified or manipulated by the teachers in order to change the behavior. We’ve had a couple of outside observers come in to watch this student as well as our own thoughts and notes.

I’d love to have this happen for Seesaw. Maybe if we could pinpoint the consequences and antecedents of her change to the downside, we could find ways to help her remain on the upside more often. However, academically she’s doing just fine. There’s not really any way to justify the time and energy for so many people for this student. Instead, I’ll continue to feel frustrated and helpless regarding her.


Anonymous said...

hummm, might be interesting to see what outside (outside of school that is) factors might be influencing her behavior. I have a girl who is pretty wacky, but I usually see it more in the afternoon after lunch. On the mornings where her family routines are disrupted, and she gets to school late, she can just start out wacky and it goes downhill from there.

Anonymous said...

Definitely interesting. I have a student that is similar, but I can tell right when she walks in the door how it is going to go. Following your description, I definitely worry for this student. Hopefully it is temporary and she balances out.

The Girl said...

I have four kids that I'm going through this process for. Their behaviors are affecting the learning of the class as a whole, and that's my justification. I only have 12 kids, but when 4 are disruptive and disrespectful towards me and others during lessons consistently, it's a huge issue.

Sometimes having just another teacher pop in periodically and observe helps--maybe during his/her plan tiem? Might give you the outside "eye" you need to help her on your own...

organized chaos said...

there's no reason we can't informally go through this process. we have copies of some of the forms and we can sit down and think about what's going on. now that we know what factors to consider it may really help us get to the bottom of it all. and our fabulous guidance couselors i bet will be willing to help.

Jenny said...

@teach5 I think outside factors must play a pretty large roll here. Yet another aspect I feel I don't understand for this little one.

@mrteachus I'm always amazed at how much we recognize our students in other classrooms everywhere. That recognition actually gives me hope because it suggests that others have dealt with the same concerns and will have many strong ideas.

@Teresa Four kids would be a lot in any class, but when that's a third of your class that is quite significant. Good luck! I think we might ask our counselor to come in an observe. That outside eye could be quite helpful, as you say.

@organized chaos Thanks for the encouragement. We'll talk.