Friday, February 20, 2015

2 X 10 = The Resolution

My Funny Valentine

   I have a student this year that is struggling, and has struggled throughout most of his educational career.  He has been to many schools, and his attendance has been less than spectacular at all of them. He has never been in one place long enough to get the help he needs.  He was disengaged in academics, and a bit of a handful in the behavior department when he joined my class.  He was a very troubled child, both in and out of the classroom.  I made all of the appropriate referrals, but the most effective intervention was the 2x10 strategy.  Simply put, the 2x10 strategy is when you spend two minutes a day talking with your toughest student for ten days.  The idea is that if you build a personal connection with the student, the positive relationship will improve their behavior.
Martha Allen, an adjunct professor at Dominican University's Teacher Credential Program in San Rafael, California, asked her student teachers to use the Two-by-Ten Strategy with their toughest student. The results? Almost everyone reported a marked improvement in the behavior and attitude of their one targeted student, and often of the whole class. Many teachers using the Two-by-Ten Strategy for the first time have had a similar corroborating experience: Their worst student became an ally in the class when they forged a strong personal connection with that student. 
In the eleven years that I’ve been writing on this site, I don’t think I’ve ever, ever used the term “miracle” in relation to behavior management. But lately I’ve been hearing a lot of teachers talk about a strategy that might be as close as it gets. 
 -From The Cornerstone for Teachers
    I highly recommend trying this strategy out, it is simple and extremely effective.  The post by Angela Watson, Cornerstone for Teachers, also has some tips for troubleshooting issues that may arise, like if the student doesn't want to talk to you.

   Despite my best efforts with my new friend, he was still getting in a lot of trouble during unstructured times (hallways, lunch, recess, before and after school, etc.).  Things had gotten o the point where he had been suspended from school so many times that he was looking at some seriously cumulative consequences.  He was gone from school for almost a month and when he returned I walked by his desk and wrote "I'm glad you're back :)" on his paper and we got back into our 2x10 routine.  He started coming by during my prep period, wanting extra help on his work and on Valentine's Day when he came by for his routine visit he gave me a Valentine.  I never saw him pass out Valentine's to friends, and I'm not really sure he has many friends.  He knows I love "Star Wars" and he wanted to give me all of the stickers that came in the box of Valentine's.  Things were going really well.
I taped it to my document camera and it's a really great reminder.
  This week I was having a rough time (unrelated to my friend), feeling overwhelmed and under the weather.  When Friday came around I was glad to have survived, but not feeling happy.  I didn't just survive Friday though, the most wonderful mistake happened that completely wiped out an entire week of blah.

Mistakes = Opportunities

   Today we were reviewing plot elements.  We watched a short film and mapped it out on a chart. The class had decided that the resolution in this plot line was that the big bird laughed at the little birds.  I noticed my friend fidgeting uncomfortably and I assumed it was because he put down something else for the resolution on his paper but lacked the confidence to say anything. I waited to see if he was going to say something, and when he didn't I asked him what he had put on his paper. He sheepishly mumbled his answer. He said that the resolution was when all of the naked birds hid behind the big bird because they were embarrassed.  The class agreed that his answer was better. Luckily I was using post-it notes, so I just moved the previous resolution back to falling action and put this new, improved resolution on the chart.  I could tell that he was really proud of himself and that it would be a huge confidence boost for that next opportunity to engage in academic discussion.
   This was such a great success for him.  It was only a month or two ago that he was wandering around the room, leaving the room, touching people, whispering mean things to people, hitting his head on things and completely disengaged in academics.  I believe the 2x10 strategy has played an important role in his transformation and I get something out of it too.  The positive changes I see in him uplift and encourage me as well.

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