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30 Sep: Manage Energy, Not Behavior

By Dr. Will Henson The term behavior management is ubiquitous in education. However, great behavior managers don’t manage behavior – they manage energy. When they are working with a behavior that is unwanted, they don’t focus on changing that behavior right then and there. Instead, they direct their energy to the tone and mood of the situation. Since most challenging behavior is intense, rapid, reflexive, and survival oriented, most responses need to be regulatory instead of confrontational. If you’re having trouble with challenging behavior in your classroom try this: Present a calm and focused energy yourself. Keep the tone and mood of the classroom positive and feeling safe.  If you start with that foundation, you can move on to academics and changing students’ behavior much more easily….

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17 Sep: Personal & Professional Boundaries: Self-Disclosure

By Dr. Will Henson In writing our Personal and Professional boundaries video for the ParaSharp© series, we outlined several important boundaries educators needed to be aware of. One that needs some important discussion as the school year gets started is maintaining healthy boundaries around self-disclosure. Self-disclosure is talking and sharing information about yourself.  Here are some things to remember to keep self-disclosure healthy and helpful to your students: The Headline Rule: Before you disclose something, think about how it might sound as the headline on tomorrow’s newspaper. Imagine that you tell students that since you are an adult you drink beer and think this is okay. The headline might read “Mrs. Smith Defends her Drinking Habit.” The Political Campaign Rule: Before you disclose something, imagine you…

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06 Sep: Starting the Year Off…Hard or Soft?

Starting the Year Off…Hard or Soft? by Dr. Will Henson It’s time to meet this year’s group of students.  How do you start the year off right?  Some say you start with a softer, relational approach, get to know students and then lay down the law. Some say you start off hard, and let kids know you aren’t messing around.  So, who is right?   Well,  the answer is neither.  It’s just as bad to be too soft as it is to be too hard. Here are three things you need to know to set the year off right: Make your expectations clear: From the start, let the students know what you expect out of them.  Don’t wait until they mess…

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26 Aug: Willow’s Cousin Luna

Willow’s Cousin Luna by Dr. Rick Robinson My friend and colleague, Will Henson, beautifully described the attunement and connection process in his wonderful blog, My Friend Willow.  He relays to us the importance of our nonverbal presence and how we can signal safety to another being with the tone of our voice, pace of our movements, facial expressions, and body posture. And critically, when Willow is allowed to approach people at her own pace she has a much better chance to successfully manage feelings of threat. It turns out that, in a coincidence far to big to ignore, I too have learned a lot from a little white rescue dog.  Luna was feral during her puppyhood, and the spunk and…

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12 Jan: Hello and Happy New Year

Hello and Happy New Year from 321insight! As you can see, we have updated our website!  You will notice not only a new look and feel, but you might notice that we have restructured the way we present our solutions. In our ongoing work with school district administrators and staff, we have determined that effective paraeducators need training in 6 key areas, as seen in this diagram. We are in the process of re-organizing our ParaSharp and Diverse Learners content, and added some great new tools to help increase paraeducator effectiveness in these 6 areas. In addition, we will be including some exciting new content to our ParaSharp product, including planning tools, data tracking sheets, graphical reference guides, and quizzes….

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29 Nov: Reward Systems

When we try to get students to change their behavior we often take a “motivational approach.” We find something the student wants and offer that as a reward for doing well. People use the term reward to talk about something that you get after you have done what you are supposed to and reinforcement to describe something that occurs in the moment to make a behavior more likely to occur in the future. Thus, a reward for doing your work might be that, when its done, you get some extra free time. A reinforcement would occur while the student is doing their work and might include verbal praise, being handed a prize ticket (etc…). There’s a problem with this “motivational” approach: If a student doesn’t have…

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12 Jun: Does Fear Work To Motivate Students?

“If you don’t learn this, you aren’t going to pass…and you aren’t going to graduate with your class.” How many times do we as educators say something like the statement above in hopes its going to be the thing that gets a student working? Maybe we use it because we as adults are often motivated by our own fears or maybe its because we think its a quick way to motivate someone. Turns out fear isn’t a great motivator at all. According to a study done at Edge Hill University in Lancashire, England teachers who used fear tactics like the one above to motivate students were less effective and produced students with less motivation and lower grades (School Psychology Quarterly, April 2014). Remember the old…