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Behavior: save time by teaching skills!

Date: August 10th, 2016
By: Polly Bath

Polly Bath: First and second grade, bell rings, recess, WINTER! [laughs] What’s it look like in the cubbies? It’s a mess. There are boots, snowsuits, Velcro, buttons, zippers, ties, hats, and mittens. If the kids don’t know where anything goes, that creates behaviors.

I will spend the first week of recess, during winter, teaching kids how to dress. I’ll even do a bulletin board, take a picture of the child in each stage of getting dressed for recess. You put your snow pants on first, then your boots, then your coat, then your hat, then your mittens. You have a picture at each stage.

When they come to you saying, I can’t get my hat on. I can’t get my hat on my feet. All you have to say is, go look at your picture, and see where your hat should be. Then they go, and say oh, yeah.

Do we spend more time on that? Do we lose some classroom time in the beginning because of that? Absolutely. Is it worth it in the end? Yeah, because I gained that classroom time back two weeks into it versus losing it every single day!

Often the argument I hear is, “But I’m losing instructional time by teaching this skill.” This is true. But if you don’t teach the skill, then you will lose instructional time EVERY SINGLE day! So, front load it! Teach the social types of things the students need to know, that way you can up front those behaviors. Then, you will get your time back.