Posts Tagged ‘PBIS’

High Five For Friday! 1/24/14

S’long week 20, and welcome Quarter 3! Here are the week’s highlights.

Transcripts (c) Kristen Dembroski

1. Transcripts – A huge milestone on my way of reaching my New Year’s Goal to finish my dissertation, I finally finished transcribing over 24 hours of videotapes and interviews. You’re looking at 12 two-hour student interviews, over 120 pages. Feels so good to be on to data analysis now!

Egg Breakfast Muffins (c) Kristen Dembroski

2. Breakfast – These egg muffins are the perfect grab-and-go breakfast for teachers. I can’t even believe I’ve gone my whole career and never discovered these. So easy! I make a big batch on the weekends, and my husband and I have them as a quick breakfast on the run. I microwave them for 1 minute, et voila! To make them, I begin by sautéing any vegetables I happen to have in my fridge, add diced ham or bacon, then stir that all into 8 eggs, a dash of coconut milk, and a dash of coconut flour (with lemon zest and fresh cracked pepper). YUM! And it’s all of your food groups in one healthy bite!

PBIS Videos (c) Kristen Dembroski  Outdoor Recess (c) Kristen Dembroski

3. PBIS Videos – You may have seen my post from earlier in the week about the PBIS Video Project that my students are working on this week. They are having so much fun, and I love seeing how creative they can get. Across 3 classes, I have 20 different groups making 20 very different final products. In the photos above, you can see on the left that they are editing using iMovie. I love the picture on the right of my brave group that is demonstrating how to behave appropriately on the playground (Side note: It is 3 degrees outside, and they are coming inside to warm up between takes. “Where are your mittens?” I ask, and am answered with blank stares…) It’s been a great week, and a much needed break from traditional reading and writing! 

Florida Oranges (c) Kristen Dembroski

4. Florida Oranges – We have a sweet aunt who lives in Naples. For the past couple of years, just when Winter has officially overstayed its welcome, she sends us a care package of native Florida Citrus. This is a LOT of oranges, people! We can’t possibly eat them all, so I will enjoy spreading the sunshine even more! Mmmmm… delicious!

Adolescent Literature Book Study (c) Kristen Dembroski

5. Adolescent Literature – To gear up for my upcoming graduate class that I will be teaching, I am reading and rereading a few favorites that will become required texts for my class. We are definitely going to read Readicide and The Book Whisperer, but then as a class we will select 3 other adolescent fiction books to read and use for our book chats. Which 3 would you pick? Or did I miss your favorite?

Jay the Great (c) Kristen Dembroski

6. Minor Disruption – Okay so you tell me how productive you think we were after the custodian zipped by our room on a giant Zamboni. Hilarious! I just had to pause and take a picture, because we were all laughing so hard!

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PBIS Video Project



This whole week, my 8th grade students are working on a PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports) Video project. In small groups of 4, they are making short videos about the behavioral expectations at each of the locations within our school. This is the project description they received:

PBIS Video Project (c) Kristen Dembroski

Here is our schedule:

Monday: Introduce project, select groups and stations
Tuesday: Watch model videos on Youtube (Discuss and analyze), learn about iMovie, begin writing scripts
Wednesday: Complete scripts, practice, rehearse for teacher
Thursday: Videotape, begin editing
Friday: Complete editing, submit
Monday: Watch videos as a class

While viewing the videos, we were sure to analyze them for content and cinematic technique. We discussed how they conveyed their message(s), the use of audio, text, and other modes of expression. We discussed DOs (have music in the background, use transition screens with text, insert still photographs, etc.) and DONTs (use too much text, tiny text, long clips, repeat ideas).

It’s probably an overly ambitious schedule, and I actually think we will still be working on this next week. At any rate, they are very motivated and excited, and many students have been emailing staff around the building asking them to stop by and make a cameo in their video. It’s been a great opportunity for connections and relationships. I love how excited everyone is!

The students are taking all of the video and photographs on their iPads, then editing it together in iMovie. iMovie actually has some really easy-to-use options for creating videos, such as the Trailer feature. The transition screens and music are already formatted – the students just have to drag-and-drop their own video and photographs and change the text. Easy Peasy, right?! Who knew!

iMovie Logo


All I can say is thank goodness for our Technology Coordinator, because she has been just fantastic. She came into the classrooms to give short presentations on how to use iMovie, and she has been helping support our students through the process. She found out that we can use up to 30 seconds of music without violating copyright, and that there is a lot of great, free music (organized by genre) for students to use at

There are 6 classes each creating 9 videos, so the first step will be that the teachers will vote on the best video for each station. These 9 semi-finalist groups will be invited to a pizza party. Then, the whole school (students grades 6 – 8) will vote on the ONE BEST video, and that group will also receive iTunes Gift Cards and have their video featured on the school website. Plus, you know, bragging rights!

This project actually meets many of our Common Core State Standards in addition to being a strong part of our PBIS initiative at our school.

Finally, this is the rubric we created to give students feedback on their final products:

PBIS Video Project Rubric (c) Kristen DembroskiI’ll be sure to add updates and photographs of our progress throughout the week. I can’t wait to get to school today and continue working on this!


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Stomp Out Bullying Day

Happy ‘Stomp Out Bullying Day’ – aka ‘Blue Shirt Day!’ It is a day to stand in solidarity and educate about bullying and cyberbullying.

My sweet students made these awesome posters, which we hung up around the school. They also created videos, poems, and raps to share with the class. We did this during PBIS time (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports), a time built into our school schedule for character building.

Did you celebrate ‘Stomp Out Bullying Day’ at your school?

Stomp Out Bullying Day (c) Kristen Dembroski

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PBIS – Classroom Management

Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (c) Kristen Dembroski

Have you heard of PBIS? It stands for Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports. It is the behavioral component of the RtI Response to Intervention system. The idea is to promote positive behaviors rather than focusing on the negative. Instead of saying “We don’t run in the hallway,” you would say “We walk in the hallway.” It may seem like a minor difference, but it is important to focus on what students CAN do, point out what they are doing RIGHT, rather than on the undesirable behaviors. Truly, 99.9% of the students in my school are extremely well behaved. I have to remember that the one kid who struggled today does not represent my whole class – I need to focus on what is going right!

iVoice Poster (c) Kristen Dembroski

PBIS is important because it creates a system in which you systematically teach students what you want them to be doing. For example, I might say to my class, “Quiet down.” What if they aren’t sure what quiet sounds like in a classroom? What if no one ever explained it to them? That’s where a PBIS lesson would come in. I use the iVoice system in my classroom, and we start the year by practicing each of the voice levels so that I know and the students know exactly what is expected. You may have seen my previous post about how we start the year doing a tour of the school, discussing expectations, and practicing how to behave appropriately at each location – some kids just honestly need a demonstration.

We have a PBIS time built in to our schedule. Every Wednesday, we have 30 minutes in which the whole school can focus on PBIS initiatives, including building teamwork and positive relationships and teaching (or reteaching) behavioral expectations. Character building lessons are part of this time, such as a lesson on Fairness and Trustworthiness. We also discuss the future quite a lot – goal setting and dream planning time. I love that we do this – it has a really big impact on so many students.

Fairness (c) Kristen Dembroski                  Trustworthiness (c) Kristen Dembroski

An integral part of our PBIS system at our school is the use of blue slips and yellow slips (our school colors). The text on the slips is exactly the same – it shows our PBIS motto (Be Respectful, Responsible, and Safe), and lists the expected behaviors. The blue slips are the positive slips – we give them to students when we celebrate them doing something positive. The yellow slips (think ‘caution!’) are a behavioral modification slip – we give them to students who need to make a better choice. Students can save up the blue slips and buy fun things from our school store, from erasers and candy to backpacks and gift cards. The yellow slips, on the other hand, go to the office and get recorded. If a student builds up 3 within 10 days, it becomes an after school detention. Students hate getting this, and sometimes all you have to do is mention the yellow slip or place it on the desk as a warning, and the behavior will get corrected right away. The office uses the information on the yellow slips to help target areas needing more attention and intervention in our school. Perhaps there is a trend of poor behavior in the hallways – we use PBIS time to reteach our expectations, watch a fun youtube video, or anything else to help communicate our message of being Respectful, Responsible, and Safe for the good of our school.

I know PBIS has a huge impact on students’ academic behaviors as well. Any good teacher knows that students can’t learn in an environment that isn’t respectful, responsible, or safe. When students buy into the system, they are more comfortable with the procedures and expectations of our school, and the students thrive on that comfort and safety.

So my goal is to give out 5 blue slips (positive) for every 1 yellow slip (negative). And if I give out a yellow slip – let’s say to Johnny for being disruptive in class – I make it my goal over the next few days after that to notice him behaving appropriately and reward him immediately to help get him back on track.

Signing blue slips got a little tedious, so I just purchased a self-inking signature stamp. Can I just say I am really excited for it to arrive?!?! I can’t wait to post a picture!

Do you use PBIS in your school? I’d love to hear about your system – we are always looking for ways to streamline and improve things. Please share in the comments!

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