How you use Preferred Activity Time (PAT) with middle schoolers (or high schoolers)

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by jamoehope, Jan 4, 2012.

  1. jamoehope

    jamoehope Companion

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    Jan 4, 2012

    I have Fred Jones's book and have been reading it plus developing my own idea for using Preferred Activity Time with my Individual Studies class. (It is a class where my special education students can get homework help, read, and I usually review a little bit from their pre-algebra classes.)

    Can you explain how you use Preferred Activity Time in your classes? Do you have points for daily, weekly, monthly, or longer durations for rewards? What are the rewards at the different amounts of points? What rewards do you find work well?

    I am considering daily rewards (or even more often throughout the class) for points because my students have difficulty at times staying on task for the entire class period.

    Thank you for any advice.
     
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  3. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Jan 5, 2012

    In PAT students do not earn points. They earn time - time to do a preferred activity. The first PAT, 20 minutes, is free. The students do not have to do a thing. It's a gift from the teacher. First PAT starts right after explanation to class. The activity should be learning related and something students will look forward to. After 20 minutes stop. Start a new PAT chart on board with +20 minutes.

    PAT always starts with +20 minutes. Class can add minutes by hustling entering room, quick transitions or any procedure the teacher wants done quickly and efficiently. A stopwatch or other timer is useful as a visual reminder.

    In addition to "hustle minutes" the teacher can add "teacher bonus". Teacher bonus is generally +one-three minutes (judgment) and covers things not considered hustle: all have pencils; all have homework; a student compliments another student; finishing a certain amount of work etc.

    When to schedule PAT depends on the maturity of class. Some classes can wait a week (high school) while others may need PAT every hour (kindergarten). I did not use a set schedule, instead choosing to have PAT as needed.
     
  4. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Jan 5, 2012

    I've used points with my students in the past. Usually have made prizes as simple as some free time or working with a friend. They also love sitting at the teacher's desk, sitting in a special chair or spot in the room, problems off an assignment.

    I'll try to respond more this afternoon.
     
  5. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Jan 5, 2012

    Something a little different that I use with my class is tickets. You can print tickets on the computer or just buy tickets. When an individual student is working or following directions, I give them a ticket. They write their name on the ticket and put it in a big bucket. Each week, I draw a few winners. The number of winners I draw is a class reward. Each time that the class comes in quickly and quietly, they get a letter. Each time the class turns in their homework, they get a letter. You can add whatever you need to give letters.

    I also use a few minutes every Friday for individual free time. Students earn this by turning in all assignments on time. If they have all their assignments turned in, they receive free Fridays. If they are missing work, they get to complete the work.
     
  6. matherine

    matherine Rookie

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    Jan 5, 2012

    I don't know if this falls exactly in line with the idea of PAT, but today I had all my classes start earning time towards a whole period spent playing math games in the computer lab. They start each day with 5 minutes and lose them if I have to ask for their attention more than once, but earn extra minutes if they all follow directions quickly, complete a task, etc. Once they get to 60 minutes we'll go to the computer lab for a day. The first day of it seemed to go well! I didn't have very much buy-in for in-class math games when I tried PAT last semester, but the kids have gotten really excited about the computer lab.
     
  7. jamoehope

    jamoehope Companion

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    Jan 7, 2012

    Thank you for all the responses!

    Based on your responses, it looks like everyone allows the students to gain minutes towards PAT, some of you take minutes away, and some of you only apply the PAT once the students get a certain amount of minutes.

    I'm not sure that I want to take any minutes away--I learned in a behavior management class it is better to show positive growth rather than negative growth (by taking away minutes). So rather than keep adding minutes to PAT, the students stop earning points. What do you think? Maybe having the negative consequence of removing points is a good tactic with middle schoolers?

    I think with my students (7th and 8th special education students) and their immaturity, me starting out doing short PAT (ie. 5 minutes) everyday and then weaning it to once a week with longer amounts of time (like 20 minutes on Friday) may work. What do you think? I'm also thinking of still letting them having short PAT everyday based on their maturity with one day that is longer.

    What sort of learning activities do you do?

    I wrote above I'm thinking of doing it everyday.

    Can you explain the system? By letters do you mean something adding up words (ie. "FREE TIME" or "PAT") that mean they can get PAT?

    What do you let them do on Free Fridays?

    I like this idea... It may be something I should do! We have computers in my classroom but not everyone can go on them at the same time because we have less computers than students.
     
  8. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Jan 8, 2012

    I usually use the words TICKETS because I am going to draw tickets. But however many letters they have on Friday is how many tickets I draw. If I ever need more letters (it does happen), I spell out TICKETS TO DRAW ON FRIDAYS...I've never gotten this far.

    On Fridays, my students love time to just be. Most of the students want to sit around the room and socialize (it's middle school). But some want to color or read or help with tasks. I really let the students choose. The only rules are that they stay in one area and there are no electronics. They still follow all other school rules of course.
     
  9. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Jan 8, 2012

    Yes, the tendency when trying a new method whether cards, clips, tokens or in this case minutes is to wield as a weapon. This is mostly due to old habits creeping in which usually involve control with pain.

    To make PAT real you will need incentive (+) and penalty (-). Key is to not live on the penalty side. It took me four tries before I sort of got it right in terms of ensuring students were earning more PAT than losing. A well-run PAT might look like +34 and -2 versus +20 and -18. If you find yourself dipping into penalty especially when starting out it is usually a sign something else is amiss (like structure) and one is using PAT to compensate.

    Again, the first PAT is 20 minutes. After that PAT is always 20 minutes plus whatever students earn. It's tough to have a meaningful learning activity in five minutes although I know primary teachers who do PAT every hour for 5-10 minutes. It's really a judgment call based on knowing your students and how long they can wait.

    Kicking-back, socializing and/or games kids play all the time are not desirable PAT. One thing Jones emphasizes and a reason many teachers buy in to PAT is that PAT should be "learning related". In other words, the PAT activity is often a review game the teacher was going to use anyway and, thus, instead of losing valuable instructional time PAT reinforces and extends one's lesson plan.

    Basketball, Football, Baseball, Volleyball, Jeopardy!, Relays are some of the activities.

    Basketball is played by dividing class in half. On a wall (board?) mount a wastebasket (I found a cheap basket/nerf ball at Dollar Tree). Put tape on floor - free throw;two pointer;three pointer.

    Pass out 4x6 cards. Assign a section of text, topic or page #s to each team. Task is for all to write three questions with answers from their assigned section of material as follows: free throw - easy(recall facts) two pointer - harder (inference) three pointer - hardest (cause and effect or ?) Collect the cards after five minutes (judgment).

    Choose a captain for each team. Decide who has ball by captains choosing shooters and shoot free throws. Captain chooses another shooter (never the same until everyone on team has chance to shoot) and this shooter asks for type of shot - free throw, two or three pointer.

    Teacher pulls card (random) from opposing teams' stack of cards and reads question. Students on both teams have two minutes (judgment) to find and write answer. Let them use texts -not trying to stump anyone - it's review. Option: let them work together (groups) and check each other's q's and answers.

    After two minutes stop and exchange answers with other team. Check and go over correct answer. Return to owner. Ask shooting team to each stand if correct answer. Same with defense team. It's total correct which determines whether shooter gets to shoot or defense gets the ball back.

    PAT bank at:
    fredjones.com/PAT/index.html
     
  10. jamoehope

    jamoehope Companion

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    Jan 8, 2012

    Thank you for the feedback. I noticed in reading about Whole Brain's scoreboard that it's a similar idea not to get more than 3 points on each side. And classroom structure is something I'm really trying to improve upon--I just want to use PAT to make class more positive. it seemed like toward the end of the semester I got very negative (assigning lots of detentions), and I saw it wasn't working for anyone in improvement of behavior.

    I like the idea of giving the PAT to the students the first time--I think I will do that BUT still make it shorter, like 5 to 10 minutes. I'm still deciding. I want to keep it short because I want to use it often, at least initially. Like this first week back will be every day for 5 minutes, then next week will be 4 days, and so on, until they are banking the minutes for Fridays or on the days where teachers are not assigning a lot of work.


    I have Fred Jones's book and I will look more into his games and the site. Thank you for your game ideas. I also have been looking at educational videos websites and powerpoint games that I can adapt.

    I like the tickets idea because the kids are getting acknowledged for good behavior if you read their names off. How many minutes are each ticket?

    As for socializing, I saw so many times over the last semester that is what the students really want to do. (And drawing.) I also witnessed this in an alternative classroom for students who were going back and forth from juvenile hall. Students done with their work had break time to socialize or draw. Students not done had to keep working. So I'm considering talking quietly (and politely) and drawing as an option for bigger incentives (over longer amounts of time).


    The major issue is my class is supposed to be extra time for doing homework and getting help. So the kids tend to do OK with me behaviorally when we're doing whole class things, but when I switch them over to doing independent work (their homework), things fall apart.

    Either kids want to work together to "help" one another (talk) or they try to get it out of work by acting like they don't have work or they legitimately forget it and don't know what they should be doing. (I could go into how I need to keep up with what all the work is from their regular teachers but that is another post about how to collaborate better.)

    So, I really want to use PAT to keep the kids on task when they first get in and we do whole group activities, and then especially when they are supposed to be working independently or in small groups on their homework.
     
  11. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    Jan 8, 2012

    Our team worked together the last couple of years to do something similar the last marking pd. Each Friday during our flex period students who had finished all HW all week had a half hour of activity period. Since it was the whole team, 1 (or sometimes 2) teacher stayed inside with those who hadn't completed work on time. The others picked activities to lead. We always had 1 indoor choice like board games and then four square or walking the track, or just sitting.
     
  12. Good Doobie

    Good Doobie Rookie

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    Jan 13, 2012

    Last year we had school-wide reading - all students read for 15 minutes at the beginning of the period. The school bought books (novels) for students to read. Also we added an additional period which shortened the total class content teaching time to 5850 minutes per class. The principal was reluctant to understand there wasn't enough time left to teach algebra and lab sciences, but did let me use reading time at the end of the period if students learned the material fast enough. She said she would let me try it to see how it works for me. Now, this year, all the math teachers are allowed to do this, but the truth is there is rarely enough time. The students would have to be really smart to learn in such a short time.
     

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