Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Teaching Blog Addict: TBA Loves Teaching Blogs!

Teaching Blog Addict: TBA Loves Teaching Blogs!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Get Solutions for Emotionally Troubled and Behaviorally Disordered Students: Using Self-Management Techniques with Social Problem-Solving

Teachers can use self-instruction techniques to teach children an organized approach to solve social problems like settling arguments and fighting; also to cope effectively with angry feelings and with feelings of frustration. To solve the problem, we can train the child to ask, “What am I supposed to do?” and then, the child follows these steps:
  1. Look at all the possibilities or look at all the different answers so you can find the best possible solution.
  2. Focus in. Concentrate or think hard about just the problem you are working on right now. Do not look or think about anything else.
  3. After you study all the different choices, pick an answer.
  4. Check out your answer. If you got it right, tell yourself you did a good job. If you did not get it right, you do not have to put yourself down. Just remind yourself to be more careful or to go more slowly on the next try. (Kendall and Braswell, 1985)
Teach students to use self-questioning. Questions help in organizing the steps needed to solve the problem. For example:
  1. What is my problem? Alternatively, what am I supposed to do?
  2. How can I do it? Alternatively, what is my plan?
  3. Am I using my plan?
  4. How did I do? (Bash and Camp, 1980)
Teach students to combine self-questions and self-statements with problem-solving. Children can use an outline similar to this:
  1. What is my problem?
a)      Identify the problem
  1. What am I supposed to do now?
a)      Look at all the possibilities
b)      Pick an answer
  1. How can I do it?
a)      Plan
  1. How am I doing?
a)      Check
  1. Did it work?
a)      (Yes) Say, “I did a good job.”
b)      (No) Say, “Things will work out. Let me try something else.”
Kendall and Braswell (1985) also outlined the content of most self-instruction problem-solving training programs for impulsive children. Students learn to generate self-statements related to five phases:
  1. Problem definition. The impulsive child uses self-statements that help identify the problem and its relevant features.
  2. Problem approach. The child uses self-statements that define a strategy for dealing with the problem.
  3. Focusing of attention. The student reminds himself to concentrate on the problem and on the strategies that he will use to solve the problem.
  4. Choosing an answer (strategy). The child uses self-instruction (self-talking) to narrow the problem-solving process to one particular strategy.
  5. Because of the problem-solving actions completed, the child uses either self-reinforcing statements or coping statements.
a)      Self-reinforcing. The child recognizes success in addressing the problem, for example, saying, “I did a good job.”
b)      The student uses coping statements to address constructively any failure to deal with the problem or situation; also, to remind himself what to do when confronting a similar problem the next time. For example, saying, “Okay, that did not go well. Next time, I’ll remember to use my strategies.”
Meichenbaum and Goodman (1971) listed the steps to teach impulsive children to talk to themselves. These steps are still widely used in today’s classrooms, and we can use them to train impulsive children in completing academic tasks (e.g. solving long division or writing an essay) as well as in handling social problems and conflict.
  1. Cognitive modeling. The coach performs the task while verbalizing aloud.
  2. Overt, general guidance. The child performs the same task while self-instructing aloud.
  3. Faded, overt self-guidance. The child performs the task while whispering self-instructions.
  4. Covert self-instruction. The child performs the task while using private speech (silently) to give self-direction.
The content of the child’s verbalizations may include:
  • Questions about the characteristics and demands of the task
  • Answers to the questions focusing on planning
  • Self-statements that help the student guide own behavior in how to complete the task (steps)
  • Self-reinforcing statements


Bash, M. A. S., & Camp, B. W. (1980). Teacher training in the think aloud classroom program. In G. Cartledge, & J. F. Milburn (Eds.). Teaching social skills to children: Innovative approaches (pp.143-178). Elmsford, NY: Pengamon Press.
Kendall, P. C., & Braswell, L. (1985). Cognitive-behavioral therapy for impulsive children. New York: Guilford.
Meichenbaum, D. H., & Goodman, J. (1971). Training impulsive children to talk to themselves. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 77, pp. 115-126.

****A Note from Carmen****

For detailed information in self-management procedures and in problem-solving procedures, you can read my blog postings:
What are Coping Skills? Part Two: Social Skills Training and Assertiveness
What are Coping Skills? Part Three: Social Problem Solving
What are Coping Skills? Part Four: Teaching Children How to Self-Manage Behavior

Related Articles…

Think Positive to Stay Positive: Teaching Children the Benefits of Using Positive Self-Sentences
Classroom Management: Using a Problem-Solving Sheet to Settle Conflict between Students (Reproducible)
Anger Management for Children: Using Self-Talking to Defuse Angry Feelings

Of Interest to Teachers and School Staff...
Keeping the Peace: Managing Students in Conflict Using the Social Problem-Solving Approach. To preview this book on Amazon, click here.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Help for Struggling Readers!

This is an excerpt from my popular book Keys to Meaning: What Teachers and Tutors Can Do to Improve Reading Comprehension Skills. To preview this book, click on the link at the bottom of this post.

 When students understand a reading passage or a literary piece, they know what the information in the reading material means. To show understanding or meaning, children need to be able to recall or remember, to explain, to tell how something works, to restate the important ideas and details and/or to summarize. At the highest levels of meaning, students need to be able to apply or use the information (i.e. solving a problem), analyze or break the information down into parts (i.e. comparing, contrasting, sequencing), synthesize or use the information to create something new, and evaluate or telling the value of the information and giving opinions.

There are two main types of literature: fiction or literature that is made-up, and nonfiction or literature about real people, places, things, or ideas.  To grasp the meaning of what they are reading, one reading style does not fit all children all the time. Children need to be aware that each kind of reading requires a different approach using different keys to meaning. It is important that teachers and tutors help students create a reading comprehension toolbox ready to use when they feel confused. Children also need to know which key to meaning helps in resolving the particular reading comprehension problem they are having, so that when one approach is not clarifying meaning, they switch to a new one and try something else. Students with good reading comprehension understand that, while reading, the goal is always to create meaning, and they apply different keys to meaning for different comprehension problems. Weaker readers benefit when they understand that some keys to meaning help in clarifying the fictional story that they are reading, but others are better suited for understanding content area passages or nonfiction. A few other keys to meaning work well with both fictional and nonfictional text.

 Some of the keys to meaning discussed here are considered a reading comprehension strategy (i.e. key words, context clues, previewing, lookbacks, self-checking, and visualizations). Other keys to meaning are at the core of comprehending text; they are not that much a strategy, but a comprehension element or sub-skill (i.e. knowledge of synonyms, determining what is important from what is not important, finding main ideas, understanding story elements, understanding points of view, and making inferences). If they are a strategy or an element is irrelevant, they share in common that they are all keys that open doors to reading with meaning. Next, you will find the most important keys to meaning classified under one of three comprehension levels –word meaning level, literal level, and interpretive level- and by the type of text that better suits each key to meaning, that is, fiction, nonfiction, or both.

It is important that the teacher or tutor understands the difference between asking comprehension questions and teaching children how to gain meaning from text using comprehension keys and strategies. When we ask comprehension questions to a child, we are simply assessing if the child understands the material; teaching keys to meaning, on the other hand, empowers children by giving them a comprehension toolbox, that is, giving children the “how to” or a systematic approach that they can use to clarify, interpret, and expand their reading.

Synonyms and Antonyms

Words with Multiple Meanings

Key Words

Using Context Clues

Recognizing Signal Words and Signal Phrases

Classifying and Categorizing

Previewing or Using the Textbook Organization/Structure

Using the Paragraph Organization or Structure

Identifying the Overall Organization of a Story or a Chapter



Retelling and/or Paraphrasing

Using Text Lookbacks

Discriminating what is Important Information from what is not Important

Using Paragraphs Restatements

Locating the Main Idea that is Directly Stated in the Paragraph

Finding Supporting Details to the Main Idea

Identifying and Using Punctuation Marks as Clues to Meaning

Identifying the Pronoun Referents/Anaphoric Relationships

Answering 5W’s Questions

Summarizing the Story or the Selection Using the 5W’s

Self-Questioning Using the 5W’s


Understanding the Story Elements

Distinguishing Between Make-Believe (Fiction) and Real (Nonfiction)

Analyzing Character Traits

Inferring Character Motives

Inferring Character Feelings

Understanding the Point of View

Identifying the Story Mood and Tone

Identifying the Theme

Interpreting Figurative Language

Deciding the Reader’s Purpose for Reading

Separating Facts from Opinions

Identifying the Unstated Main Idea

Using Background Knowledge

Creating Mental Images (Visualizations)

Understanding Cause and Effect Relationships

Predicting Outcomes

Making Inferences

Understanding the Author’s Purpose

Making Connections


Concluding Comments


About the Author

The printed edition of this book is now available on Amazon. (A preview is also available.)