Green Chimneys Teacher Shares Year-End Thoughts and Pride

August 17, 2018

Teacher embraces PBIS

Change is never easy but always constant. As the school year comes to an end, my 5th grade students and I take the time to reflect on our experiences, both positive and negative, over the past year. One thing we realized is this: students are motivated to be successful because of the constant support they receive from Green Chimneys staff.

Each year, Green Chimneys School teachers work diligently to provide a safe and rewarding learning experience for students. For children struggling with social, emotional and behavioral challenges, establishing a supportive environment from the very beginning of the school year goes hand-in-hand with providing students a set of clear expectations and routines. To guide their success, my class practices ROCK (a component of Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports or PBIS for short). Every day, we discuss ways to display Respect, Ownership, Communication and Keeping Safe not only in the classroom but all around the various parts of campus.

Transfering Skills from School to Home

Practicing these skills in the classroom has not only affected students academically but also socially and emotionally. As a teacher here, it is critical to help children develop skills they can use in life beyond Green Chimneys. For example:

  • Teaching respect in the school dining hall can be compared to showing respect when out to dinner with family.
  • Ownership is another trait that can be used at home. For instance, if they forget to take the garbage out and they are reminded to do it again; with ownership, they continue the task without escalating. They are able to admit they forgot.
  • Communication is effective in any situation. Being able to communicate when in a frustrated state is essential, especially for our students.
  • And, lastly, Keeping Safe. Keeping safe in an environment that involves a lot of chaos and confusion can be challenging. With skills practiced daily, students become able to voice their needs and use a coping tool to guide them through a difficult situation.

Supporting The totality of each student

As you can see, we not only focus on academic growth, we also facilitate each student’s personal and therapeutic growth too. Our hope is that coping skills, life skills and tools transform from being a part of our students’ everyday language to eventually being a part of who they are. Over the past year, I am delighted to say that my students have made tremendous progress in using these skills both in and out of the classroom. It truly makes me feel proud to be their teacher.

This article was written by Green Chimneys School Teacher Melissa DiCanio.

Learn more about PBIS at Green Chimneys