In an inclusion model there are students with special needs within a general classroom setting. There is a general classroom teacher and sometimes there is an aide for one-on-one assistance for students with special needs. The Bloomz behavior award tool supports ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) therapy for students on the Autism spectrum. An ABA therapist might teach the same exact skills reinforced with Bloomz behavior awards. For example, the student might be receiving awards from his/her ABA therapist throughout the day for saying a friendly comment. This behavior can also be acknowledged by the general classroom teacher through Bloomz awards.
One way I end the school day is to meet with the class at the carpet for circle time. I ask my students to share a rose, thorn, and an acknowledgment. The rose is something that happened during the day that was good and the thorn is something that wasn’t super fun about the day. This activity provides students with opportunities for peer and self reflection. Teachers can use the Bloomz behavior tool to catalog student behaviors. For example, a student might say, “ I acknowledge Justin for inviting me to play at recess.” The teacher can award Justin with kindness on the app. It feels great to be acknowledged and the student who offered the compliment gains an opportunity to receive thanks and practice communicating appreciation to others.
Teachers might find that though there is an inclusion model, at times the ABA therapist might be the person who is engaging in the most communication with the student on the spectrum. A general classroom teacher needs to develop a strong and trustworthy relationship with that student as well. When the general classroom teacher implements the Bloomz behavior award system it gives more support to that student’s social-emotional growth by encouraging specific behaviors. By acknowledging the positive behavior an essential and meaningful bond forms between the general classroom teacher and the autistic student. Additionally, when a student on the autism spectrum is acknowledging others positively and receiving compliments from friends it encourages socializing and friendship building.
At the lower elementary age level all students are learning social skills. Some are learning personal space, how to raise a hand and wait to be called on, how to say thank you, or how to give compliments to people. Teachers verbally acknowledge these behaviors everyday to students individually. What you will find is that it is beneficial to acknowledge these behaviors formally in front of the entire class with the Bloomz award tool to build a classroom community. A classroom community that is inclusive and supportive of all needs is the ultimate goal of every classroom teacher. When utilizing the Bloomz award tool with your class you acknowledge these behaviors systematically and create a timeline which maintains effective communication with parents.
Would you like to share your experiences in the classroom in the Bloomz blog? Please let us know in the comments below, and we’ll get back to you!