RtI update

Some of the Teach Social First strategies are being used to help a struggling 1st grade class with several students on Tier plans. For more about TSF and the RtI connection, click here.

Students on Tier plans (6 total) were given a goal to keep their brains and bodies in the group. If they met their goal (individual data sheets for each student) then they got to have a Superflex lunch with me or Ms Ginny.

Yesterday was check in day, and I am proud to report that 5 of the 6 students met the goal and had lunch with me. I watched the one student that was not called for the special lunch and could tell he wished he was coming with us. The teacher reported that he had not earned any Xs for the day (a first for him), so maybe he was testing a bit to see if the adults really were going to follow up on what was established. I am crossing my fingers that he earns lunch the next time.

We ate in Ginny’s room and talked about how they have been working specifically to keep their brains and bodies in the group. One student *really* has a hard time keeping her body in the group during circle time (she rolls around on the floor while the teacher is talking). We talked about the fact that if you are rolling around, chances are that your brain and body are both out of the group.

After lunch we played a game, which was a great chance to see if Destroyer Of Fun was going make an appearance at our lunch. We talked about fair ways to decide what color game pieces students would have, who would go first, etc. We also talked about Collider and how he can sometimes creep into a game when students are super excited 🙂

Mr. Mouth was a hit, and I hope the lunch was too.

My daughter happens to be in this class, and she was a little disappointed she could not join the group with her mom. Thankfully she is a natural “thinking about others” kid and understood her friends have some things they are working on that are not hard for her. I am having lunch with her (just as mom) today to try and make it up to her. It can be hard to wear more than one hat at your kid’s school.

it is in the mail!

Yep, that big envelope you see in the photo is the Teach Social First book proposal ready to go to Social Thinking Publishing. I asked the person at the Pak Mail to treat it as if it were breakable, which prompted her to ask what was inside…haha. We only had a PO Box, so I was not able to get tracking. I am telling myself it will get there just fine (repeating each time I visualize it stuck in between seats of a mail truck).

We submitted a proposal outline and 6 chapters with visual supports, teacher/parent/student handouts, as well as some video clips that show us introducing the concepts to students.

I really think what we have put together looks good. I felt this even more so after reading Ginny’s marketing section of the book proposal (you have to compare and contrast your book with 5 others).

Now we have to wait 12-16 weeks for a response. I keep singing that Tom Petty song in my head….the waiting is the hardest part 🙂


writing a book

Ginny and I are submitting a book proposal to Social Thinking Publishing. Is that neat, or what? We have gotten great advice and guidance from the product development manager, and are finally getting things down on paper.

The hardest parts: the chapter by chapter outline and all the details that need to come together.

We want our book to be more of a procedural manual (think how to book) so we want all the information to be clear to the reader. This gets challenging since it seems really clear to me just as it is.

The kids are out of school 2 days this week, which limits my time to commit to writing. Oh, and I have that pesky thing called a j-o-b that I need to attend to…undergrad students can be a bit needy sometimes. But, I am determined to get the lessons (AKA chapters) cleaned up and ready to submit ASAP.

Wish me luck…sometimes I feel like the girl in the picture 🙂


the RtI connection

One of the 1st grade classes we are in this school year has a lot of struggling students. Some have recently been put on Tier plans and after some good brainstorming, strategies from lesson 3 (brains and bodies in the group) are going to be included as some of the interventions. How neat that Teach Social First strategies can be connected with RtI.

This is how it will work: The visual below will be at each table in the classroom.

When students need to be reminded about keeping their brains and bodies in the group, the teacher can simply prompt “eyes in the group,” for example. We also talked with the students about their peers prompting, since it is sometimes easier to get a reminder from a friend vs a teacher. And, tattling on friends for not keeping brains and bodies in the group would definitely be a “Thinking About Me” kid.

Students on a Tier plan will also have a small visual to hold during circle time. We talked with the teacher about reminding students about circle time expectations before each activity, and that often holding a reminder card can help keep bodies in the group (i.e., it is hard to poke another student if both of your hands are holding a reminder card).

When we explained the strategies to the class, we told them that they had been selected as the only class at Perry Harrison that was going to get to try this out…how lucky they are to be in this class 🙂 And, we really need them to try hard to help us see if these strategies could help other classes. The kids LOVED it.

I was in the classroom to take the picture of the table visual, and the teacher reported that students were already prompting each other to keep brains and bodies in the group even without all the visuals in place…score!


We are back!

We are back in classrooms this week with lesson 6 – Destroyer Of Fun. We are doing a role play with the game Candy Land as a way of introducing DOF. The students have really enjoyed watching the role play, and some are shocked at my poor sportsmanship. Check out the role play.

I think one of the reasons students enjoy our role plays (beyond the great acting…haha) is that they can see and comment on behaviors they might struggle with but there is no blame assigned. In other words, it is easier to talk about how Kristan is having a hard time with DOF vs themselves.

We are also reading the book Me First by, Helen Lester. Pinkerton learns a valuable lesson about always wanting to be first. I am having so much fun being the “sand witch.” Check out the book reading.