Wednesday, September 13, 2017

PBIS in the PYP: making sense, not alphabet soup

"Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is a framework or approach for helping schools select and organize evidence-based behavioral interventions into an integrated continuum that enhances academic and social behavior outcomes for all students ... The underlying theme is to teach behavioral expectations in the same way as we teach academic subjects." (from Minnesota PBIS).

At our Primary Years Program (PYP) school, PBIS is helping us:

  • identify and teach expectations for being responsible, respectful and safe in all physical and virtual areas at our school through the integration of The Kaposia Code and the accompanying Matrix.
  • acknowledge & celebrate expected behaviors through the use of Be Bucks
  • respond to unexpected teacher- and office-managed behaviors in a consistent and systematic way through the use of a Behavior Flow Chart
  • create tools to help students reflect on their unexpected behaviors and communicate with families through the creation of the primary and intermediate versions of the Act-Reflect-Choose forms and the Office Discipline Referral form.
We use PBIS at our school to help strengthen our implementation of our PYP. To learn more about the PYP, click here: Back to the Basics: PYP 101.

Specifically, PBIS helps us implement many IB practices and PYP-specific requirements, including, but not limited to, the following:
  • A.3.b: The school as a community of learners is committed to a collaborative approach to curriculum development.
    • As a community of learners, Mrs. Becker, the Behavior Specialist/PBIS coach, leads a team made up mostly of teachers in collaboratively creating our PBIS plan.


  • A.6: The school promotes open communication based on understanding and respect.
    • The proactive nature of our PBIS is centered around our commitment to open communication based on understanding and respect for our staff and the students & families we serve.


  • B1.5: The school develops and implements policies and procedures that support the program.
    • We have developed the Kaposia Code Matrix and the Behavior Flow Chart that support the implementation of PBIS and PYP.


  • C1.2: Collaborative planning and reflection takes place regularly and systematically.
    • Our PBIS leadership team meets frequently to reflect on past decisions, current reality and future steps, decisions and professional learning opportunities.


  • C2.4: The written curriculum identifies the knowledge, concepts, skill and attitudes to be developed over time.
    • Our PBIS plan identifies the knowledge, concepts, skills and attitudes related to expected behavior that need to be developed over time.


  • C3.9: Teaching and learning uses a range and variety of strategies.
    • Our teachers utilize a range and variety of strategies to teach and reinforce expected behaviors.


  • C4.4: The school provides students with feedback to inform and improve learning.
    • A major expectation of our PBIS plan is to continually provide students with feedback to inform and improve their learning of expected behaviors.
Above all, PBIS is used at our school to give students the opportunities to develop the attributes of the IB Learner Profile and reflect on their development of said attributes (A.4, C1.9, C2.11, C3.16, C4.6.a).

Although it is true that PBIS helps to strengthen our implementation of the PYP, it isn't always obvious. Rather than understanding why we have all these programs, sometimes some members of our learning community think we're just making alphabet soup. We must gives staff, students and familes the opportunities to make connections between these two frameworks.

Mrs. Lorentz, a fifth grade teacher in our school, gave her students such opportunities at the onset of the academic year. Before she could help her students make connections between the PYP and PBIS though, she had to make sure they had a solid understanding of what it means to be a student in a PYP school.

First, she gave her students PYP Essential Elements mats to review the important elements of the PYP and the IB Learner Profile. Mrs. Lorentz noticed that many of her students had background information on the PYP attitudes, but were less sure in their understanding of the IB Learner Profile.

So, she had her students research the attributes of the IB Learner Profile. She gave small groups of students one of the descriptors for each of the attributes of the IB Learner Profile. Along with these descriptors and dictionary definitions, the students came up with one sentence that would encapsulate what the attribute they were researching meant to them. They also thought of PYP attitudes associated with each attribute.

Mrs. Lorentz had the students use the 3-column note-taking structure to make their thinking visible. She first modeled this process with the students using the attribute "Reflective" and then each subsequent group shared their thinking with the class. As the other students listened, they added to their notes until they had all 10 Learner Profile attributes in their notes.



Simultaneously, students also filled out graphic organizers where they were able to also show their thinking with an image.

 

  

 

 



Once Mrs. Lorentz noticed the students had a good understanding of the Learner Profile, they began to explore the IB Mission Statement and discussed what is the IB and the PYP. They also started an initial investigation of PBIS.

To deepen their understanding, she again had the students work in small groups with a large piece of paper and two mission statements: our school's PBIS Mission Statement and the IB Mission Statement. Students were invited to document how they saw the two programs connecting.





Through these opportunities, these fifth graders were able to begin to make explicit connections between PBIS and the PYP; The Kaposia Code and the IB Learner Profile. Ultimately, they were able to apply their understandings to create an essential agreement, that weaves the two programs seamlessly together.


The educators at our school are constantly reflecting on our practices and planning for an improved educational experience for our students. Sometimes, that involves adopting frameworks such as the PYP, PBIS and others (AVID, MTSS, PLCs, etc). It is extremely important to give students, families and staff opportunities to draw explicit connections between these programs so they can make sense of it all. How do you make connections between the various programs you implement at your school?

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