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Leadership Manual


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Title: Leadership Manual


Leadership Manual
Creating a Positive, Strength-Based Culture in
Our Schools Understanding and Responding to
Students with Emotional Behavioral Issues Using
Strength-Based Theories and Practices

  • Charlie Appelstein, M.S.W.
  • charlieap_at_comcast.net
  • www.charliea.com
  • www.parentrapsody.com


Table of
Contents Introduction P. 4 The
Power of a Positive, Strength-Based Approach P.
5 The Importance of Motivation P.
6 Strength-Based Action Plans P. 7 Gus on
Pejorative Labeling P. 8 Understanding
Decoding Problem Behavior P. 9 Reframing
Exercise P. 10
Challenging Behavior and Pejorative Labeling P.
12 Action Plans P. 13 Providing Hope
Possibility Through Metaphors P. 15 30
Questions to Ask Your Students P.
16 Strength-Based Practice The Principles P.
17 Solution-Focused Questions P. 18 Self
Esteem Building (Doing vs. Understanding) P.
19 Action Plans P. 20
Helping Inflexible Explosive Students P.
21 Exercise P.
22 Seeing is Believing vs. Believing is
Seeing P. 23 Respecting Roots Cultural
Diversity P. 24 Millimeter Acknowledgment
Hellos/Goodbyes P. 25 Working with
Families P. 26 School/Parent Partnership
Questionnaire P. 27 Cueing P. 28
Cueing Exercise P.
29 Stretching (Repetitive behavioral
quizzing) P. 30 Externalizing Naming
Negative Behaviors P. 32 Using Humor P.
33 Humor Ideas P. 34 Creating Individual
and Group Incentive Plans P. 36 Strength-Based
Mission Statement P. 41
Managing Number One First P. 42 Action
Plans P. 43 Examining How it Feels to work
with Troubled Kids P. 44 Checking your
Baggage at the Door P. 45 The Observing
Ego P. 46 Strategies for Managing
Self-Esteem Injuries P. 47

Maintaining Staff Cohesion Avoiding Team
Splitting P. 61
Developmental Psych. Peer Relations P.
62 Personal Boundaries and Self-Disclosure P.
63 Pre-Talk Considerations P. 64 Core
Verbal Interventions P. 65 Proactive
Considerations for Teachers P. 70 Proactive
Strategies for Students with Learning
Disabilities P. 73 Behavior Management
Understanding, Prevention, and Principles P.
75 Limit Setting P. 76 Logical
Consequences P. 77 Self-Management
Strategies for Students P. 83
Review Quizzes P. 89 Teacher
Feedback Form P. 94 Personal Journal
Sheets P. 99 Transactional Analysis P.
104 Elements of Successful Leadership P.
105 Additional Training Sheets P.
The Affect Scale Feeling Zone
P. 48 Content vs. Massage Body
Messages P. 50 Power Control from a Trauma
Victim s Perspective P. 51 Power Control
Exercise P. 52 The Importance of
Support P. 53 The Ecological Map P.
55 Maintaining Support Outside of School P.
56 The Holding Environment P. 57 The
Developmental Perspective Putting in the
Bricks P. 58

  • Introduction
  • This intensive training regimen and
    training manual have been designed to provide the
    educational coaches with the content and skills
    necessary to effectively implement, model and
    sustain a strength-based educational culture in
    their schools.
  • Strength-based practice is an emerging
    approach to guiding students that is
    exceptionally positive and inspiring. It begins
    with belief that all students have or can develop
    strengths and utilize past successes to mitigate
    problem behavior and enhance social, behavioral,
    and academic functioning. It continues with
    practice methods that identify and marshal these
    strengths for necessary behavior change and
    continued excellence.
  • The course will teach the major components
    of the strength-based approach and demonstrate
    how the following eight training aides help to
    systemically weave the material into a school
  • 1. Modeling
  • 2. Visual Cues
  • 3. Film Clips
  • 4. Feedback Sheets
  • 5. Training Exercises
  • 6. Quizzes/Learning Games
  • 7. Literature (orientation ongoing material )
  • 8. Supervision

The Power of a Positive, Strength-Based
Strength-Based Practice Its all about Attitude
  • Educators maximize student potential when they
    convey an attitude to each and every
  • one that says
  • I believe in all of
    you and I am thrilled to be part of your life.
  • And then, through
    their daily actionsshow that they mean it.
  • Research has shown that a student entering high
    school with a history of violence,
  • is not likely to commit further acts of
    aggression (at his/her school) if the student
    believes there
  • is at least one educator at the school that
    thinks Im terrific!
    - James Garborino, Ph.D.

I was successful
because you believed in me.

- Ulysses S. Grant in a letter to Abraham
  • When youth feel better about themselves they
    are more likely to use and cultivate their
  • Genuine believing attacks self-doubt, makes
    students feel better about themselves and
  • hope Hope is Humanitys Fuel.
  • Under-achieving students often struggle with
    self-confidence Self-doubt kills ability.

  • -Degas
  • Excerpts from David Shenks The Genius in All of
  • But the new science suggests that few of us know
    our true limits, that the vast majority of us
  • have not even come close to tapping what
    scientists call our unactualized potential.
  • With humility, with hope, and with extreme
    determination, greatness is something to
  • which any kid-of any age-can aspire.
  • Most underachievers are very likely not
    prisoners of their own DNA, but rather have been
  • unable to tap into their true potential.
  • A smile is the faces way of giving an
    emotional hug.
  • Twenty years from now, the students you
    currently teach wont remember much of what you
    said to them, but theyll all recall how you
    made them feel.
  • Children youth with post traumatic stress
    disorder will shut down (i.e. become protective)
    when approached by an adult with a stern
  • Have you ever watched an actor in a bad mood?
    If youre in a bad mood, it might be prudent to
  • fake that youre not. Actors entertain for a
    few hours. Educators save lives.
  • A positive attitude sends the message I want to
    be here. I care about you. I believe in you. You
  • WILL succeed!

The Power of Motivation As teachers, let
us commit to learning why unmotivated kids are
unable to find their drive and inspiration on
playing fields, on skateboard courses, in
poolrooms, in video arcades, on mall
concoursesor at nine thousand feet. What do
these settings provide that we do not provide in
the classroom? We constantly search for ways
that we can change the child. Perhaps the first
significant change should come from us. Perhaps
we should first analyze and change our policies,
procedures, and practices when dealing with
hard-to-reach kids. -
Richard Lavoie, The Motivation Breakthrough,
preface XIX Most teachers and parents
recognize that motivation is the key to
learning. Reflect for a moment on your favorite
teacher in high school. The chances are that he
was an effective motivator. He inspired you. He
was not merely a teacher, he was also a leader.
He did not necessarily make learning fun, but
he made learning attainable and purposeful.
Whether you serve children as a teacher, parent,
coach, or instructor, you will multiply your
effectiveness immeasurably if you learn how to
motivate your charges and maintain that
motivation throughout the learning process.

Richard Lavoie, The Motivation Breakthrough, p.5
  • Strategies for
    Motivating At-Risk Students
  • Greet each student with a smile
  • Send positive notes home
  • Call a students home and/or program after a
    good day or accomplishment
  • Get to know the strengths and interests of each
    of your students. Take an interest
  • in these strengths. (e.g. If a student likes
    NASCAR get on the internet and
  • learn about NASCAR) Do the same with their
    parents Ask your dad whether he
  • thinks the Patriots can win the Super Bowl?
  • Use self-deprecating humor (e.g. Dont look at
    me if the Patriots lose on
  • Sunday!...and then let them give you a hard
    time after a loss.
  • Play a game (e.g. basketball, cards, computer,
    etc.) try, but lose on purpose
  • and pretend to be ticked off Dont tell
    anyone that you beat me!
  • Ask their advice whenever possible (i.e.
  • Regularly post their work on a wall for all to
    see. Periodically celebrate successes.
  • Let them know on a regular basis how much you
    enjoy working with them.
  • Unexpectedly celebrate good days and/or
  • Keep things neat (Sends the message that you
    take the job seriously)
  • Use humor liberally. Play music during free
    time and/or weave it into the content.

  • Strength-Based Action Plans
  • Ask your staff members whether they believe
    there is a big difference between any one of
    them and the most troubled student they work
    with? Afterwards, cite the open-heart surgery
    example. (i.e. How would any of them feel if
    prior to be operated on, the surgeon said)
  • Id like to be honest with you. Im kind of in a
    bad mood this morning. I didnt get much sleep
    due to a research paper I had to write and, this
    morning, my broker beeped me on my way in. I lost
    10 grand on IBM! I told the sucker NO tech
    stocks! So Im ticked and irritable but I can
    cut your heart open.
  • Ask your staff members Would you say cut
    doctor! Discuss.
  • Retell the anecdote about the new teacher who
    thought her students locker numbers were their
    I.Q. scores. Ask your staff members to postulate
    why she did so well, why the difficult students
    all changed their ways?
  • Ask your staff members Have you ever worked an
    entire day where at least 2 or 3 times you didnt
    ask yourself What the heck do I do now? What
    do I say here?
  • Then advise
  • Next time and every time thereafter you find
    yourself in one of those What the heck do I do
    now situations, think
  • It doesnt matter what I say or do right now.
    Ill respond in the best way I can based on my
    knowledge and experience. But the most important
    thing I bring to this job is my attitude.

Gus on Pejorative Labeling
Look, I know some of us can be quite difficult.
I was a hellion my first six months, considered
quite obnoxious. But it was simply defensive
posturing. (Can you say defense mechanism?) Kids
arent bad. Theyre just screwed up. The kid
whos pushing you away the most is probably the
one who needs you the most. I think every
residential center would be better off if they
never used words as manipulative, lazy,
un-invested, controlling, and obnoxious. Theyre
pejorative adjectives. When you label one of us
in such a way, you contaminate the waters and no
one wants to swim with us any more. Manipulativ
e kids arent fun to work with. Theyre a pain
in the ass. Boy , is that kid
manipulative! Every time we get blasted for
being manipulative (or any other such term),
our self-concept suffers. We take on that word
we internalize a sense of badness. Yet the kid
you call manipulative might have come to your
facility with a history of manipulating his way
out of getting beaten. So, maybe manipulating
aint so bad. Maybe it simply needs to be
understood in the context of a childs
situation. Maybe people dont need to use these
words anymore. P. 24 I had been an
excellent math student, but the day she told me
I was spacey and unfocused was the
day I stopped connecting to
math. Note Throughout this handout will be
references to the manuscript Helping Traumatized
Children Learn produced by Massachusetts
Advocates for Children
The Gus Chronicles, Appelstein, 1994
Understanding and Decoding
Problem Behavior Life
isnt what you see, its what you
perceive! Pejorative Label Positive,
Hope-Based Reframe Obnoxious Good at pushing
people away Rude, arrogant Good at affecting
people Resistant Cautious Lazy,
un-invested Good at preventing further
hurts, failures Manipulative Good at
getting needs met Just looking for Good at
caring about and attention loving
yourself Close-mouthed Loyal to family or
friends Different, odd Under-appreciated Stubb
orn defiant Good at standing up for
yourself Tantrum, fit, outburst Big
message Learning disability Roadblocks Respond
ing to Misbehavior Understand (behavior is
always a message) gt Reframe gt Squeeze When you
change the way you look at a student with
emotional and behavioral issuesthe student
  • Reframing
  • Reframing involves taking a seemingly negative
    behavior and "reframing" it in a positive way.
    For example, a youth who appears hyperactive
    could be told "Billy, you have a lot of energy.
    You can probably do more things in an hour than
    most of us can. I wish I could move like you.
  • Try and reframe the following behaviors
    exhibited by troubled students.
  • Write down the reframe you might utilize
  • A student who is always looking for attention
  • 2. A youth who won't talk about his/her
  • 3. A student who acts rudely

  • Reframing II
  • A student who is always looking for attention
  • R I apologize to you for anyone who has
    ever put you down for looking for attention. I
    think its great you look for attention good or
    bad. It means you havent quit on yourself. You
    probably havent received enough attention in
    your life and youre looking for it now. Are
    there better ways to seek it? Sure, and we can
    talk about them. But I dont want you to spend
    another minute of your life thinking that theres
    something wrong with looking for attention!
  • 2. A youth who won't talk about his/her
  • R Youre a real loyal daughter. I think
    you hold everything in to protect your family and
    I think thats quite admirable. Your mom is very
    lucky to have a kid like you. But this isnt us
    against your family, were on the same side
    (connecting statement see page ).
  • 3. A student who acts rudely
  • R You have an amazing ability to affect
    people! Or, I think youre pretty good at giving
    to others what youve received.
  • A student who makes funny noises at the wrong
  • R Youre a very creative kid. What range,
    pitch, resonance! These are great noises. How
    about saving them for the end of the day. You can
    put on a show for five minutes.
  • A student who acts in a stubborn manner
  • R Youre good at standing up for
    yourself and what you believe. Some of the
    greatest people in the world were quite stubborn
    about their causes Martin Luther King, Mother
    Theresa. But the great ones all new when to give
    in a little.
  • A student who seems unmotivated

Responding to Challenging Behavior the Negative
Effects of Pejorative Labeling What is the
strength-based protocol for responding to
challenging behavior? To provide hope and
possibility to troubled students in need,
strength-based wisdom advises a three-step
response (1) understand the behavior (all
behavior is viewed as a message), (2) reframe it
in positive terms, and (3) hydraulically squeeze
it into a benign place where it can be explored
and appreciated. At the same time, students who
break established rules are held accountable for
their actions. It is important to remember
that negative behavior generally comes for a
positive place, which in most cases is
self-protective. A student who always seems to
be looking for attention probably needs more than
the school can offer. Its not her fault that
shes been deprived of it. How does a
strength-based practice distinguish itself from
others, in purely practical terms? Perhaps
the key characteristic of a strength-based
approach is the reluctance if not outright
refusal to use negative labels when talking to
or about an at-risk student or group.
Pejorative labeling does young people a
disservice by negatively influencing the way
others think about them and the way they view
themselves. For example, call a teenager
obnoxious and people will not want to engage her
call her a courageous youth who happens to be a
master at keeping adults at a distance and folks
will be more inclined to reach out to her. As
mentioned, when students feel good about
themselves, they make better decisions. A
critical remark from a teacher can reinforce the
poor self-image many at-risk kids harbor and can
jeopardize future interactions. Many at-risk
youngsters blame themselves for the abuse they
endured, and believe they deserved it.
Kids who have abused by their parents still
love their parents. If my parents did this to me,
it must be my fault. The task of transforming
such children is to set the record straight
There are no bad kids or bad parents just good
people who sometimes make bad (sometimes really
bad) decisions. Using pejorative labels with
at-risk kids reinforces their negative
self-concept. Practitioners who speak
disrespectfully to or about a student are
encouraged to apologize. In the domain of
strength-based practice it is said Life isnt
what you see, its what you perceive.
Strength-based practitioners need to
perceive every at-risk child and youth as a
wonderful human being with great potential. By
doing this, practitioners make a positive future
for the students they service - more possible,
which in turn, makes it more probable.
Action Plans 1. Relate and discuss the
following anecdote Recall the two new teachers
who were tricked by the researchers. One was
told Youll be getting the two toughest kids
in the school and the other Youll be getting
the two honors students. When the students
were switched - each teacher responded to the
students based on their labels, and continued to
treat the students in the same manner after
the truth was revealed. 2. Conduct the
following exercise with your staff members Tell
them that they have an opening for one student in
their class, and that there are two kids on the
waiting list, and that a decision has to be made
You will give them a thumbnail sketch of each kid
and they must decide immediately whom to
take Youth number one is a thirteen-year-old
girl with burn marks up and down her forearms.
She wears long sleeve sweatshirts all year long,
even when its ninety degrees. She doesnt want a
soul to see her scars. She was terribly abused by
her stepfather who was imprisoned and is no
longer in her life. He held her arms down on a
hot stove multiple times. Shes described as a
sad and very troubled teenager. If we take this
girl, were under strict orders not to say a word
about her clothing. She just entered into therapy
and for the first time is dealing with her
abuse. Youth number two is another
thirteen-year-old girl who just got booted out of
a group home in the next county. Shes described
as rude, obnoxious, mean-spirited, and is quite
heavy. She has hygiene issues and is very lazy.
She was kicked out for slapping a staff member.
Ask Which girl would you take? Most will
choose the first youth. Ask them why? Have them
write down or call out their reasons for choosing
girl number one. Afterwards, tell them that you
just described the same kid. This exercise should
lead to a good strength-based discussion , as
well as being an eye-opening experience.
Reiterate the principle Life isnt what you
see, its what you perceive A good educator sees
every kid as an A kid.
  • 4. Ask your staff members
  • Why do you sometimes swear at and give the
    finger to a motorist who cuts you off in
    traffic? Is it because he cut you off? Most
    staff members will respond Yes
  • Tell them the answer is no.
  • Ask them to listen to the principle again
  • Life isnt what you see, its what you
    perceiveits what you think.
  • Now, ask them again why they give the finger?
  • After listening, state Because we think the
    motorist is a jerk! But you dont really know
    thatits our perception. What if God sent an
    email to your brain right before you opened your
    mouth and gave the finger Joan, this is God.
    This mans on the way to the hospital, his wife
    is dying? Would you still give him the finger?
  • Life isnt what you see, its what you
    perceiveits what you think..
  • Youve got to view every student as a beautiful
    human being.because they all are. Behavior is
    always a message.
  • Show the clip from Remember the Titans where
    Danzel Washington reframes Laskos
    self-defeating comment in the cafeteria. See if
    your staff members can detect the reframe.
  • A self-aware kind of guy. I like that.

Providing Hope Possibility Through Metaphors
Positive Predicting
The Melting Snowball
Life is like a poker game. Even if youre dealt
a bad hand, you can still win the game. Prison is
full of people who blame their upbringing for why
they broke the law. But for every one person in
prison who blames his/her family, there are 100
folks on the outside who were raised in similar
circumstances but chose to be good citizens.
See your fears and worries about (pending
issue/loss/transition) as a big snowball in the
middle of your chest, and understand that as each
day goes by, its going to melt a little. It may
stay foreverbut it will become so small
that you can build a great life around it.
The Roadblock
The 2011 Edition
Its not a learning disability, bi-polar,
Aspergers its a roadblock. All big cities have
them, but people get to work on time every day.
Why? They find away around it. You can to. Many
successful people have roadblocks similar to
Positive Predicting When you talk about
the future in positive terms, you make any
desired outcome more possible. And when its
more possible, it becomes more probable!
Youre big and powerfulbut youve gotten off
track. All great trains get off track. What can
we do to get to get you back on the rails? You
will get to a good place.
Cars improve every year. People get better
every day. Youre the 2011 Steven. You dont
over-heat as much as the 2010 Stevenhave a
sleeker design, follow the road signs better.
Dont give me this bull Same old me. You get
better every daywiser, more experienced, more
How should we celebrate when When we recover
the onside kick.
  • Relationship Building The Art of Engagement
  • 30 Questions You Could Ask Your Students
  • 1. Tell me the five best things about you?
  • 2. If you could have the following superpower
    which one would you pick?
  • a. The ability to fly b.
    super-strength c. could turn invisible
  • 3. If you were trapped on a deserted island and
    could pick one famous person to be with, who
    would it be?
  • 4. If a genie could grant you any three wishes,
    what would they be?
  • 5. What profession do you want to be when youre
  • 6. Who was the best teacher you ever had? Tell
    me why.
  • 7. What would the ideal teacher be like?
  • 8. Choose Live to 100 in excellent health or
    win10 million dollars in the lottery but pass
  • at age 70.
  • 9. If you are feeling sad, what meal would be
    the one that would cheer you up?
  • 10. Do you believe men and women are equally
    smart? Why or why not?
  • 11. Choose Live forever in good health or
    five people you pick live forever (in good
  • 12. Is there anything you pretend you
    understand, but you really don't? What is it?
  • 13. If a genie would give you only one wish,
    which would you pick, and why?
  • 1. Being world-class attractive 2. Being
    a genius 3. Being famous for doing something

Strength-Based Practice
  • What is it? An emerging approach to guiding
    individuals that is exceptionally positive and
    inspiring. It begins with belief that all
    students have or can develop strengths and
  • utilize past successes to
    mitigate problem behavior and enhance
  • It continues with practice methods that identify
    and marshal these strengths for
  • necessary behavior change.
  • Powerful combination of the strength-building
    model and solution-focused therapy
  • Emphasis is on Strength-building rather than
  • Doing rather than understanding
  • Believing in every student
    not believing is seeing
  • (Unconditional support Seeing is
    Believing) (Standard Behavior Man.)
  • which produces Optimism which feeds
    possibility, and motivates coping and
  • adaptive behavior, even in the face of
    difficult odds. Hope is humanitys fuel.
  • The Goal

Questions A model of questions that help
students recognize and build upon inherent
strengths. Its the language of hope and
possibility. Explorative Historical I cant
do this assignment! Its too hard! How many
difficult assignments have you been given that
made you nervous just like this one? Quite a
few, right. And how many did you get done? Just
about all of them, right? So what are the odds
youll get this one done? Go back to any one of
the difficult assignments you received that you
did well on. How did you get it done? Did you
ask for help? Break it down? So, I guess you
could do that this time, eh? Ill never make
it at that new school! How many kids in
America, a year ago, where in your same
shoesnervous about attending a new school? How
many of them adjusted okay and are doing well
today? So if most of them are doing okay, why
cant you? Qualifiers I hate this class!
gt So youre saying you hate this class right
now. Past Tense Im stupid! gt So you
havent been feeling real smart lately. When
Will Ill never make a friend! gt When you
do, what will it be like? Scaling Questions
On a scale of one-to-ten, ten being that youll
make lots of friends at the new school zero,
you wont make any.what number are you at now.
When its higher in a month, how will you
feel? Identifying In-Between Change What
will be the first sign that youve turned the
corner. Amplifying Change Using
Speculation Youve had some great weeks. Do you
think the reason youre doing so well has
something to do with getting older and more
mature? Perhaps youve outgrown the little-kid
stuff? Changing Perspective Question How
come youre not doing worse? Exception
questions Have there been times recently when
the problem did not occur?
Visit www.bobbertolino.com
Activities Self Esteem Building(Doing vs.
To help students enahnce self esteem, provide
tasks and activities that offer a
Universal Opportunity for
Individual Success P.57 Every child has an
area of strength in which he or she excels,
Whether it is in academics, art, music, or
sports. When educators can identify and focus on
a childs strength, they afford the child the
opportunity to experience success, with all the
emotional implications of doing something well.
This is an important starting point in mastering
academic content and social relations, which in
turn serve as a basis for success at school.
  • Examples
  • Modify or devise sporting endeavors that
    facilitate success, such as a basketball game
    where the
  • ball has to be passed three times before it
    can be shot.
  • Academic tasks they understand and can
  • Physical fitness pursuits (e.g. create a chart
    for walking/running)
  • Art work that is doable music dance
  • Special chores and/or work opportunities (e.g.
    helping in the office, cafeteria, with the
  • maintenance staff)
  • Games, often of chance, they can all win
  • Helping or mentoring younger kids or those less
  • Community projects

Every student
needs his/her own special niche!
Trumpet Success
-Call home when a challenging student has a good
day. -Have school personnel write congratulatory
notes to a student who accomplishes a significant
feat. -Post accomplishments on walls
  • Action Plan
  • 1. Give each of your staff members two dice.
    See who can throw the most
  • consecutive rolls without getting doubles. They
    can start again when they get doubles.
  • Play for around five minutes. Afterwards, ask
    them why it was fun?
  • The answer
  • The activity provided a universal opportunity for
    success. Explain that we increase the odds for
    all students to function well and learn, when
    they have ample opportunities for success on a
    daily basis.
  • Ask your staff members what steps the school
    could take to increase student success
    opportunities and, in particular, for the more
    challenging students? (e.g. community projects,
    volunteer opportunities, creative vocational
    endeavors, more after-school sports, clubs and
    activities, in-house jobs, student government,
    school newspaper, etc.

Helping Inflexible/Explosive Children Youth
  • Characteristics of Such Kids
  • Display deficits in frustration tolerance
  • Generally do not respond well to consequences
    and rewards
  • (i.e. traditional motivational approaches)
  • Symptoms are thought to emanate more from
    neurological as
  • opposed to psychological factors
  • Prone to stubborn, inflexible, explosive
  • Often display genuine remorse after an episode
  • How to Help
  • Create user-friendly environments to clear the
    smoke (take the air out of the
  • balloon)
  • Determine which behaviors need to be addressed
    and how best to respond. Categorize behaviors
    and responses into one of three baskets
  • A Non-negotiable B Compromise
    Negotiation C Ignore
  • As kids meltdown and approach vapor lock,
    immediately distract, empathize,
  • and offer aid. Help them to downshift into a
    calmer state (i.e. make the cognitive
  • shift).

Most of this
material is from The Explosive Child by Ross
Greene, Ph.D.
Exercise Creating User-Friendly
Environments 1. Pick a student who is often
inflexible and can act in an explosive manner.
Discuss How user- friendly is the current
environment to him/her? What changes could you
make? (think baskets). _________________________
______________________ ___________________________
____________________ _____________________________
__________________ _______________________________
________________ _________________________________
______________ ___________________________________
____________ _____________________________________
__________ _______________________________________
________ _________________________________________
______ ___________________________________________
____ _____________________________________________
__ 2. Pick a time of day or particular class that
is struggling or problematic. How could you
create a more user-friendly environment to
better meet their needs?__________________ _______
________________________________________ _________
______________________________________ ___________
____________________________________ _____________
__________________________________ _______________
________________________________ _________________
______________________________ ___________________
____________________________ _____________________
__________________________ _______________________
Strength-Based Practice Principles

  • Seeing is Believing

  • Unconditional support

  • If you visit the
    home of family that has a toddler or two what do
    you see everywhere? Toys. Did
    the children need to earn them? No. They were
    offered unconditionally.
  • This act of unconditional love
    and kindness strengthens bonds, facilitates
    object constancy (my parents
    are always there for me), and enhances self-image
    someone of value!)

  • vs.

  • Believing is Seeing
  • Standard
    behavior management
  • (If I do
    well, I am rewarded. If I dont, I am not)
  • Seeing is believing
    produces Optimism which feeds possibility, and
    motivates coping and adaptive
    behavior, even in the face of difficult odds

Seeing is
Butch, you Da man! Were excited that youre

NOT Believing is Seeing!
Well treat you
nicely once you put that slingshot down,
lose some weight,
and get rid of that ridiculous hat!
Seeing is believing examples
Have lunch with a troubling student Do
something fun with a group that is struggling
bring in a special snack give the group extra
recreation time even if they havent earned
it. You dont always have to behave great for me
to treat you great. I love working with you
guys and I care about you regardless of your
behavior. Of course, I like good choices and
fine acting but Im behind you either way.

Perform Deliberate Acts of Kindness
Respecting Roots
Cultural Diversity The search for
and healing identification with ancestors, people
of the sam race, color, gender,
and/or religion. People who INSPIRE and provide
Franklin D. Roosevelt

Harriet Tubman
Amelia Earhart
Martin Luther King
Cesar Chavez
Explore Customs, Traditions, Holidays,
  • - Have students explore their roots. Help them to
    learn about and hang pictures of inspiring
  • Read stories aloud of inspiring historical (or
    current) figures who
  • overcame great odds to make a difference.
  • - Bring in foods, art, and other items that are
    endemic to a
  • particular culture. Attend a concert. Bring in a
    movie, etc.
  • Other ideas______________________________________
  • __________________________________________________
  • __________________________________________________
  • __________________________________________________
  • __________________________________________________
  • __________________________________________________
  • __________________________________________________

Michael Jordan

Strength-based practice does not assume that
ownership of guilt is somehow automatically
The Millimeter Acknowledgement
Admitting guilt is very difficult for some kids,
especially trauma victims. Heres an effective
approach to helping kids accept more
Do you think its slightly possible that
perhaps, maybe. Could, maybe, 1 of this have
something do with
Honoring Hellos and Goodbyes
SB goal Change rather than insight and
Yet, behavior is always a message, and oftentimes
the message of misbehavior can be rooted in an
unresolved or faulty hello or goodbye.
You cant say hello until you have first said
Stages of grief Shock Denial, Anger,
Sadness, Acceptance
Examples Goodbye to Home Hello to
School Goodbye to Teacher
Assistant Hello to New adult in their
Tip Replace cognitive distortion (stinkin
thinkin) Example Angry that staff member
is leaving, but feeling lucky that we got to
work together for so long.
Life and a classroom is a series of hellos and
goodbyes. Take them all seriously from daily
transitions to the loss of a family or staff
member. Older teenagers often struggle with
saying goodbye to the childhood they wish they
had enjoyed.
Working with Families
Key Principles, Terms and Concepts
The more the relationship between
families and the school is a Real partnership,
the more student achievement increases.
When Schools engage families in ways that are
linked to improving learning, Students make
greater gains. When families are engaged in
positive ways, rather than labeled as problems,
schools can be transformed from places where only
certain students prosper to one where all
children do well. Excerpt from Into, p.1,
Beyond the Bake Sale
School personnel and parents form Interlocking
Partnerships Teachers s view parents as
Collaborators Family work is Cultural rather
than Compartmental All school personnel can
reach out and make a difference with a family
  • The Continuum of Parental
  • Engagement
  • - Focus on the strengths and passions
    of each family member
  • Understand appreciate resistance
    (i.e. cautiousness)
  • Take an active interest in who they
  • Assist with socio-economic support.
  • Participation
  • - Invite parents into their childrens
    schools. Create parent
  • centers for collaborative learning
    and support
  • Empowerment
  • - Actively seek their advice when there
    are important issues/questions regarding their
  • 4. Graduation

What is a Family School Partnership
Supposed to Look Like? Rate how your
school measures up in this area
1 Never 3 At times 5
Most definitely
  • 1. Home visits are made to every new student_____
  • 2. Home visits are often made to the home of a
    struggling student_____
  • 3. Activities honor families contributions_____
  • 4. Building is open to community use and social
    services are available to families_____
  • 5. Most family activities connect to what
    children are learning_____
  • 6.School staff, families, and community members
    share recreational time together
  • (e.g. holiday party, bingo, movie night,
  • 7. Parents and teachers look at student work and
    test results together____
  • 8. Community groups offer tutoring and homework
    programs at the school_____
  • 9. Students work goes home every week, with a
    scoring guide_____

From Beyond the Bake Sale, P.15
SB Principle Big problems dont always require
big efforts for solutions
Cues to Use (Coping
Thoughts/One-Line Raps) Encourage kids to
create and practice coping thoughts - in the
form of cues or one-line raps - to diminish or
eradicate problem behaviors (i.e. bad habits).
Cues are more successful when they rhyme, are
rhythmic, humorous and repeated often. Practice
makes perfect! The brain is designed to
change in response to patterned, repetitive
stimulation. Social Take turns when you talk, if
you dont the kids will walk. Give kids their
space, its their place. Dont poke, its not a
joke. Think how they feelthats the deal. Stop
and think, dont be a dink. Stop and listen,
cause you dont know what youre missing. Stay
arms lengths awaytoday. Its wise to look folks
in the eyes. Always remember to say thanks and
pleaseand cover the cheese! Think about you
thinking about meits as easy as 1,2, 3. Control
the toneor they might groan! Use an indoor
voice, thats a good choice, Line up quiet, dont
cause a riot. Anxiety Dont be in a hurry to
worry. Encouragement/Affirmations Im smart.
Its in my heart. Learning is your (my) ticket
to a good life. Its my turn to learn. Done it
before, will do it again. Im great, just you
wait! I can make it if I choose. Only I can make
me lose. If it is to be, its up to me! Anger
Control NBDeasy as 1-2-3! NBDeasier than 1-2-3!
NO BIG DEAL! Breathe in, breathe outstay calm -
no shout. Let it Go. Let it go, Joe (Just stay
cool no need to blow) Let it goso (So I can be
happy or earn things, etc.) When you get
maddont do bad (or dont get sad)just talk or
walk. Talk, walk, or squawk! Heres some advice,
talk real nice. Stay in control, thats the goal.
I can, I will, I gotta chill. Organization
Distractibility Inch by inch lifes a cinch. Yard
by yard life is hard. Make a list, it will
assist. Stay on track, Jack. Hocus, Pocus,
Focus! Like a King on a throne I can do it on my
own. Step after step, thats the prep. Dont move
all over the place, sit and learn with a happy
face. No need to groan, I can start (do it) on my
own. Sit and relax, learn to the max!
Use Bongos!
Create a cue (rap) or two for some of the
students you work with Bad Habit_______________
_____________________________________ ___________
_____________ ___________________________________
__________________________ Bad
________ ________________________________________
_____________________ Cue_______________________
_____________________________ ___________________
__________________________________________ Bad
_____________ ___________________________________
__________________________ Cue__________________
________________________ ________________________
________________________________ P. 31 The
prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain
primarily responsible for the development of the
executive functions, has been shown to be
adversely affected by trauma. Fortunately the
brain is an amazing organism and even when it is
impaired, it often has the ability through
environmental interventions such a s cueing -
to be rewired. Neurologists call this
characteristic of the brain synaptic plasticity.
When a child or youth repeats a cue (coping
mantra) over and over again with a set rhythm -
dramatic behavioral gains can occur. The
desired behavior, in essence, becomes imbedded in
the individuals neuropathways.
Practicing the Desired Behavior
  • Athletes always stretch their muscles before
    exercising or playing a game. For some students,
    a similar kind of preparation is necessary before
    engaging in an evocative activity.
  • Children and youth who appear inflexible and are
    prone to
  • explosive outbursts often have trouble
    functioning in
  • physical activities that can be rough and
    unpredictable, such as touch football and
  • Asking or requiring these students to Stretch
    prior to one of these activities,
  • might prevent an injury or two!
  • Example 2
    Minute Stretch
  • Warm-up Form
  • Is football a very physical and unpredictable
    game? Yes or No
  • Is there a chance someone is going to hit, grab,
    pull, step-on, or
  • trip me? Yes or No
  • If something rough happens to me, what do I

The brain is designed to change in response to
patterned, repetitive stimulation
1, Anger is a good emotion? YES NO 2. People
like Martin Luther King used their anger to
positively change the world? YES NO 3. Anger
needs to be let out right? YES NO 4. When
my anger starts to grow, its helpful to Take
some deep breaths or count? YES NO Think
about a pig in a mink coat? YES NO Say to
myself Stop and think, dont be a dink,
YES NO NBD, or Let it go,
Joe? Take a step back and think whom am I
really mad at? YES NO Think about me being
in a calm, beautiful place? YES NO 5. Sometimes
we get too angry because of stinkin thinkin
We overreact to situations, thinking the very
worse? YES NO 6. Its often helpful to replace
negative with positive, more YES NO
hopeful thoughts? 7. If I get angry and make a
lousy choice, there will be serious
consequenceswhich make life miserable? YES
NO 8. If I control my anger properly,
like Ive done many times in the past, well
all feel pretty good. YES NO 9. Im an awesome
kid? YES NO 10. Im going to
make something of my life! YES
Externalizing Naming Negative Behaviors
Giving life and a name to a problematic issue or
bad habit (i.e. externalizing it) can help
kids rid themselves of problematic
tendencies/habits/compulsions. Examples A
student who needs to do things perfectly Get
lost Mrs. Perfecto! Get out of here. Get off my
back, you loser! A student who is prone to
behavior outbursts Get out of here Mr.
Fitz! A student who talks rudely Get lost
Rudy! Youre nothing! A student who argues
incessantly Go far Mr. R! Youre through Mr.
R Gue! A student who is reluctant to
write Get out of town, Mr. No Write! A
student who skips school or is frequently
tardy Are you going to let I.B. Truant/Tardy
get you into trouble next week? A student who
is often provocative Why are you letting I.B.
Provokin get you in trouble? Create your
_______ __________________________________________
_________________________ ________________________
____________________________ _____________________
_______________________________ __________________
__________________________________ _______________
Humor in the
Classroom Role of Humor Forms a bridge between
adult/child world (i.e. counters resistance)
De-mystifies individual persona/reduces power
messages Enhances relationship building Tension
reducer Provides effective modeling Improves
self-esteem Enhances identity formation (e.g.
niche theory) It's FUN! It's reflective of
the environment Demonstrates caring
Rules Try! But give up quick Do not view the
use of humor as an extra it should be an
integral communication technique. Make no
assumptions about who can or can't be humorous
for everyone is
capable! Avoid sarcasm Forms Self-Deprecating
Slapstick Joke Telling Grandiose
Praise Humorous Games Musical
Expression Poetry Transitional Objects
Humor Sustain "humorous" moments via The
written word Photos Recordings Videos
Humor needs to be taken seriously!
A study by Stanford reported that students
learn 700 more in a classroom when humor is an
active part of the teaching.
Comic Ideas 1. The Sherlock Search When
checking desks or lockers, wear a Sherlock Holmes
cap and use a magnifying glass! 2.
Rap-it-to-them Deliver announcements to the kids
in rap style. Maybe dress-up a bit. 3.
Magic/card tricks Most toy stores and all joke
shops sell these items. 4. Special dress
day Have the staff and/or kids all dress in the
same color, etc. 5. Unusual objects Bring in
funny pens, wind-up toys, invisible ink, big
playing cards, large sunglasses, etc. 6. Trivia
questions Periodically ask interesting - if
not funny - trivia questions. They can be a great
tension reducer. Occasionally, they can be
self-deprecating Which teacher once cooked a
turkey upside down? (Obviously, be careful with
boundary limits) 7. What's Morton up to? (i.e.
Getting the monkey off our backs) A
stuffed-monkey can represent the monkey-on-our
back that tends to give us negative messages
about why we're not good enough, why our ideas
won't work, or why blame belongs to someone
else. Have a stuffed monkey available for
times when kids have self-defeating thoughts.
Converse with him at these times. Morton stays
silent. Example Are you telling Carl not to
try because he's not good at this? Shame on
you, Morton. Carl is one cool dude. He knows that
no one can be perfect at everything! What?
....you think I need to brush my teeth? Well,
I think you stink and need a bath! This form
of humor helps kids to practice better
self-management. (See cognitive behavioral
8. Nonsense Sayings Be quick to intersperse
nonsense sayings, particularly to reduce tension.
Example Okay, Mary you have a choice. You can
clean your desk now or you take the curtain, or
spin again, Vanna. Sun of a gun, we're gonna
have fun, on the bayou. 9. The
Translator Pretend a kid is from a foreign
country that no one has heard of, and speaks a
language no one can understand. Pick another kid
who will translate for him/her. Have other kids
and staff interview the foreign kid. The foreign
kid will speak in gibberish. If he/she gives a
short answer, the translator will give a long
reply and vice versa. Example Questioner
What is her favorite food? Foreign Kid Yop
ka be dokee Translator She says that in
her country there is a wide assortment of foods
but that it is outlawed to have a favorite food
because it might disrespect the other foods. If,
on the other hand, you were to have asked her
what food she likes, she would have most gladly
replied, Why, the devil dog, of course. 10.
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire Take the academic
material you are teaching and put into the
millionaire format. Offer class dollars that
they can trade in. Suggestion Purchase the
book The Laughing Classroom
Creating Group
Individual Incentive Plans
Key Principles for using incentives
  • Reward Improvement.
  • Create an incentive system thats easy to
    administer, and follow through!
  • Make incentive systems time-limited unless they
    are part of an ongoing plan.
  • If used for one or two kids, keep charts in a
    private place. Be discreet!
  • Award incentives in a private manner.
  • If other students complain. Why dont I get
    checks and rewards? be honest with them,
  • explain that every student is unique and that
    some have special needs. Ask for their help
  • in getting the student back on track.
  • Slowly raise expectations for incentives but
    dont act too fast.
  • In general, the more troubled a student appears,
    the greater the frequency he/she should be
  • rated and rewarded. As kids improve,
    frequencies should decrease.

  • Suggested Rewards
  • Educators must provide rewards based on
    available resources (i.e. "best possible").
  • Ideally, the best pay-off for a kid is
    individual time with an adult. Allowing the youth
    to invite a friend is even more motivational. If
    circumstances and/or resources do not
  • allow for kids to earn one-to-one time, than
    earning computer time or time doing
  • something else that's enjoyable is preferred to
    paying-off with material items.
  • Other non-material rewards include
  • Special activity trips, additional free or
    recreational time, additional time at a favored
  • activity, earning a special chore or
    activity, watching a video or having preferred
  • played.
  • If material items need to be used as incentives,
    here are some options
  • Comic books, pens and pencils, baseball
    cards, games, art
  • supplies, puzzles, candy, gift certificates,
    money, food,
  • cassettes, CDs, DVDs

Keyshawn Dollar
Billss Good Choices Plan
Sit and Relax, Learn to the Max Let it Go, Joe I Can you Know Controls anger, make good decisions, respectful to kids and adults) Outside the Room Bring JOY, not Doom Good transitions, uses proper language at all times, trustworthy. Acts Properly in hallways and lunchroom.

Bonus Checks
Stays in room more often, takes breaks inside of
class, focuses on work without involving others
Daily Totals
Total for week______

Did some of my homework at home 1 bonus point
Completed all of my home- work at home 3
bonus pts
3 Great choices in this area 2 Okay choices 1
A few good choices -- Train off track
Monday am
Staying on Track, Jack!
Goal(s) for the week
M T W Th F
Attend school 4 days
Be more respectful to French teacher
8 checks Pizza and soda on Friday
Self-management tool
Tracking Form
Homework Assigned?
On time?

Yes No Yes
No Excellent Fair Off-Track
Yes No
Key for Behavior
Off-Track 1. Consistently follows classroom
rules. 1. Follows classroom rules
most of the time. 1. Chooses not to follow
classroom rules 2. Actively listens.
2. Listens at
least 75 of the time. 2.
Chooses not to listen to the teacher. 3.
Volunteers in class discussions/activities. 3.
Participates when called upon.
3. Chooses not to participate in class- 4.
Speaks respectfully to others.
4. Speaks respectfully to others some
room discussions/activities

of the time.
4. Chooses
not to be respectful to

Strength-Based Mission Statement
We believe there is no such thing as a bad kid
or bad parent just bad luck and bad
choices. We believe that all of our students
possess core strengths that can be utilized to
help them make good choices and be effective
learners. We strive to help students help
themselves. Our approach involves mutually
identifying, developing, encouraging, practicing,
and maximizing the inherent strengths in every
student we welcome through our doors. To
accomplish our academic goals we establish a
positive, upbeat, and safe environment that
instills hope, provides multiple opportunities
for success, and, at all times, adheres to the
golden rule. We believe a good life is all about
making good choices. Although we have deep
respect and empathy for those students who have
encountered difficult circumstances in their
lives, our focus is on the present and the road
  • Managing Number One First!
  • Ask your staff members the following
    question Who is the most important person in
    any interaction you have with a youth? Answer
    You are! If you dont respond well, the youth
    has no chance.
  • Staff members need to manage their own
    behavior before they can appropriately deal with
    the behavior of others (e.g. students,
    colleagues, and administrators).
  • Any feeling a school staff member experiences
    on or away from the job is normal and often
    diagnostic. Feelings teach us about others. If,
    for example, a teacher feels anger towards a
    student, its quite conceivable that the youth
    has elicited this feeling to push the adult away
    or to displace anger felt towards others. Either
    way, the angry feeling reveals something about
    the youth.
  • Most educators see themselves as helpers
    individuals who take pleasure in reaching out to
    others. A persons self-image (i.e. how one sees
    and/or defines oneself) is a sacred possession.
    Both new and experienced school personnel often
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