Behavior Today (CCBD Newsletter)

Oct 2016 31(3)





 Making “Selfies” Stick:  A Snapshot of Self-Management Strategies for Students with EBD

Karen Rizzo

Pennsylvania State University

Self-management skills continue to appear in the literature as a mechanism for improving academic, social, and behavioral outcomes of students with emotional/behavioral disorders (Mooney, Ryan, Uhing, Reid, & Epstein, 2005).  Self-management skills can be described as the processes undertaken to regulate one’s own learning or behavior.  In regard to operant self-regulation, self-management skills include the sub-processes of self-monitoring, self-evaluating, and self-instructing, and self-reinforcement (Mace, Belfiore, & Hutchinson, 2001).  Targeting students’ self-management skills can lead to self-directed learning, a primary goal of formal education (Belfiore & Hornyak, 1998).  The strategies for self-management are closely related to formative assessment practices.  The following description of self-management strategies provide a basic foundation for classroom implementation.


Student monitoring their own academic, behavioral, or social goals.  Self-monitoring directs a student’s attention to the goal.  This process requires the student to be aware of the target behavior and to be able to accurately differentiate between when this behavior is, or is not, demonstrated.  Self-monitoring has been used to improve student’s time-on-task, checking completed work, and productivity.  Self-monitoring practices can be scaffolded using teacher or peer models, prompting procedures, a timer to signal when to self-monitor, and feedback that aligns current student performance with the intended goal.  An example of self-monitoring procedures may include:

  1.  The teacher states the expectation, models examples and non-examples of on-task behavior, and demonstrates how to record this information on a chart at the sound of a bell set to ring every 10 minutes.
  2. Following this demonstration, students are given an independent work assignment and a self-monitoring chart to track their own on-task behavior.


Student evaluation of their own progress.  Self-evaluation has shown to promote self-efficacy and motivation.  Students who self-evaluate are able to identify their strengths and revise their goal(s).  A brief amount of time must be allotted for students to self-evaluate; incorporating this practice into a classroom routine will help to strengthen use of the strategy and may lead to application across other activities or settings.  A graphic organizer can help to prompt student’s evaluation of their goals.  Like self-monitoring, provision of a model, practice, and corrective feedback can be used to scaffold student application.  A basic example of self-evaluation procedures may include:

  1.  The teacher states the purpose and expectation for self-evaluating.
  2. The teacher models how to complete the graphic organizer providing examples and non-examples.  The graphic organizer may have prompts such as “my goal was…,” “I did well on…,” and “I need to work on…”
  3. The teacher may then use this graphic organizer for two purposes.  The graphic organizer can serve as a prompt for students to ask specific questions prior to the next practice opportunity.  Additionally, the graphic organizer can serve as a reminder of the student’s goal for this exercise.



Instructing oneself through “self-talk” or “self-questioning.”  Mace et al. (2001) describes two forms of self-instruction.   In one form, the individual can make arrangements to come into contact with the desired stimuli that should occasion the behavior.   In a second form, self-instruction can be a statement similar to a rule including both a response to perform and the consequence of that response.  Self-instruction has been used to either enhance self-monitoring or in conjunction with academic strategy development such as the paraphrasing strategy known as Read-Ask-Paraphrase, or “RAP” (Katims & Harris, 1997).  Self-instruction procedures for the start of class may include:

  1. The teacher states the expectation for the start of class.  For example, the expectation may be that students sit down, complete the bell ringer activity, and turn it in to the class folder.
  2. Then, the teacher models the self-instruction procedures (see Figure 1) displayed on the board or on a note card at each student’s desk.


Building student’s use of self-management strategies can have a significant impact on engagement, efficacy, and motivation as demonstrated by academic, behavioral, and social outcomes.  These strategies are cost effective, time-efficient, and can be faded to independent practice.  When using these strategies, it is important to remember that all students possess some level of self-management skills, and as teachers, we are in a unique position to build and refine those skills by providing opportunities for practice and formative feedback.  It is also important to note that these strategies are often used in combination of each other and yield greater effects when students develop personal, process-oriented goals versus teacher-driven goals based on a specified outcome (Schunk, 2012). The skills of self-monitoring, self-evaluating, and self-instructing are not always learned informally particularly for students with emotional/behavioral disorders.  May the brief procedures provided in this text serve as a simple starting point to address student self-management skills.



Belfiore, P. J., & Hornyak, R. (1998). Operant theory and application on self-monitoring in adolescents. In D. Schunk & B. Zimmerman (Eds.), Developing self-regulated learners: From teaching to self-reflective practice (pp. 184–202). New York: Guilford.

Katims, D. S., & Harris, S. (1997). Improving the reading comprehension of middle school students in inclusive classrooms. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 41(2), 116-123.

Mace, F. C., Belfiore, P. J., & Hutchinson, M. C. (2001). Operant theory and research on self-regulation. In Self-regulated learning and academic achievement (pp. 39-65). Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, New Jersey.

Mooney, P., Ryan, J. B., Uhing, B. M., Reid, R., & Epstein, M. H. (2005). A Review of Self-Management Interventions Targeting Academic Outcomes for Students with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders. Journal of Behavioral Education, 14(3), 203–221.

Schunk, D. H. (2012). Learning theories: An educational perspective. Boston: Pearson.



Join CCBD at TECBD!  

The CCBD Professional Development Committee is proud to partner with the Teacher Educators for Children with Behavioral Disorders (TECBD) Conference to offer exciting new programming at TECBD this year.  TECBD will be held at Tempe Mission Palms Hotel in Tempe, AZ October 20-22, 2016.  The keynote for this year's conference is CCBD member, Greg Benner.

  • NEW this year: TECBD will offer Saturday professional development sessions for teachers for only $35 (or included in your registration if you attend the full conference). If you live in the Tempe, AZ area (or want to take a road trip), please join us for sessions on systematic screening of behavior (featuring Wendy Oakes and Kathleen Lane), behavior management strategies (featuring Chris Sweigart and Tim Landrum), and problem solving for effective classroom management (featuring Ashley MacSuga-Gage).
  • The CCBD President's Luncheon with feature our president, Kathleen Lynne Lane.  This session will focus on respectful, responsible inquiry with district partners.
  • TECBD will also offer expanded opportunities for Type 2 BACB CEUs for only $5 a unit.
  • Be sure to stop by the CCBD Membership table for CCBD t-shirts and a raffle for great teaching resources.

For more information or to register visit:



APP REVIEW:  Edomodo

Edomodo is an app that creates a social media type of environment for teachers, parents, and students.  Edomodo is a free app designed for an iPhone or iPad with iOS 8.0 or later.  Additionally, Edomodo is in English, Spanish, and Japanese.  This app has a secure platform for class discussions, assignment posts, grade book tracking, and file sharing. Other key features include: a class activity feed, a student progress tracker, student polling, an educational resource library, and professional learning networks.  Using Edomodo, teachers are able to communicate with parents about upcoming events, assignments, homework submissions, and teacher announcements.  Edomodo is the fastest growing social platform for education and was awarded the EdTech Digest Award in 2013 for Best Product!

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The Role of the Teacher of Students with EBD in Collaborating

with and Supporting General Education Teachers

Bev Johns

Mrs. Keaston is a veteran fifth grade general education teacher in the building in which you are a teacher of students with emotional/behavioral disorders. She is struggling with the behavior of two of the students within her classroom.  She sees how successful you work with students with emotional/behavioral disorders.  She is reluctant to ask for assistance because she has had many years of experience and fears that her request will be viewed as a reflection of her ability to teach.   You approach her one day and ask whether you can provide her with any supportive assistance. She is grateful because she has not had specific training in working with students with challenging behaviors.

In previous columns, I have discussed the importance of the teacher of students with e/bd in collaborating with families and other agencies, in planning specially designed instruction, in being an integral part of the evaluation team, and being an effective advocate for your students.  This column focuses on your role as a collaborator and supporter of general education teachers.

General education teachers may not have had any training in working with students with challenging behaviors except for the course they have taken as an introduction to students with disabilities.  In your building, you are probably the expert in behavior.  You may believe that you don’t have time to assist them with students who are not in special education classes, but if you are to work successfully in your building, you need to be a team player and work together with others.

When you work together with classroom teachers and share your expertise with them, they may be more receptive to having your students within their classrooms.  You are sharing your expertise in a  non-threatening manner.

You have the advantage of knowing about the latest research in working with students with behavioral challenges.  You know firsthand what works and what doesn’t work.   You can share that knowledge in a helpful and supportive manner.

At the same time, you can learn a lot from working with the general education teachers.  They have the knowledge of the general curriculum and what students are expected to learn at specific grade levels.   They can provide a great deal of expertise to you.  Sometimes special educators lose perspective of what general education students do at specific levels.  I know that I would make a point to observe every chance I had in a general education classroom because I wanted to gain a reality check of what students were expected to do at the fifth grade level.

You can invite the general education teacher to observe in your classroom so you can build awareness of the complexity of your position and the effective behavior management techniques you use.  You can also offer to do short sessions on behavior management at your school’s faculty meetings.  When you serve as a resource to other teachers, you are building much needed positive relationships with them.  When you seek their advice on general curriculum issues, you are building relationships and are helping your students.

Your partnership with classroom teachers will establish a collegial relationship that will contribute to a positive morale and will make a positive difference for students.





My Student’s Mom is a ‘Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire’!


Dear Ms. Kitty:

I have never experienced an issue like this in previous teaching years.  I currently teach students with challenging behaviors from grades kindergarten to 5th grade.  I have a 2nd grader who is aggressive and currently has a behavior intervention plan (BIP). Within this BIP, we have included that the parent will give consequences or reinforcements at home.  Specifically, if her daughter/my student is aggressive at school, she will lose television at home that same night.  Interestingly, her mother has encouraged her daughter to lie and tell me that her television was removed when it wasn’t.  Furthermore, her daughter/my student told me about these times that her mother asked her to lie to me. I have even caught the mother lying about completing her homework, too.  I will have this student three more years and really need suggestions on how to effectively handle her mother.

                      ~ ‘Lost in the Lies’ in Michigan


Dear ‘Lost in the Lies’ in Michigan:

It is wonderful that you have reached out to gain input on working with your student and her mother through these acts of deception. There is no doubt that one of the most challenging parts of our jobs as educators is dealing with the parents/guardians of our students. Even though we are mandated by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to involve families in their child’s/our student’s education, we also understand that this partnership often leads to our students having more successful post-secondary goals (e.g., high school graduation, jobs). 

Having said that, as the trained professional and manager of your classroom, you are a faced with a peculiar situation, which I have also encountered as a special educator. In this circumstance, you may want to schedule an IEP team meeting to change the parameters of this student’s BIP. You and your team (which includes your student’s mother) will need to revise the BIP to state that all consequences and reinforcements based on your student’s behavior at school will remain at school.  You may continue to give this parent a daily note of her daughter’s behaviors at school and her mother can implement her own behavior plan with her daughter at home.  In my professional experience with this situation, the parent and I actually communicated more openly and more successfully after these changes were made. For more information on partnerships between the family and schools, please visit

Thank you again for reaching out and please let us know if you have any further questions or concerns Thank you for all of your help with students with exceptionalities!

~ Ms. Kitty


Additional resource for a CCBD member in response to our ‘Ready for Resources’ in Vermont column:

Dear Ms. Kitty,

The resource list you provided to Ready for Resources in Vermont is excellent but overlooked resources for developmentally based practices. Twenty years of evidence-based results show that when social, emotional, and behavioral competencies are added to students’ instructional programs, the positive results are heightened motivation to learn, increasingly responsible behavior, and improved mental health in classrooms. While developmental methods for teaching and learning are designed for students with social, emotional, or behavioral challenges, they also blend nicely into inclusive classrooms because the goal is to achieve competencies needed by all students, preK-12. 

Publications and other materials, including online training and certification in developmental therapy and developmental teaching are available at

Thank you! 


The Janus Project: Conversations from Leaders in the Field

A Conversation with Richard Simpson 

Jim Teagarden, Robert Zabel, & Marilyn Kaff

Kansas State University


For the past decade the Janus Project has collected and disseminated the reflections of the leaders in the field of education of children with emotional and behavioral disorders regarding the past, present, and future of the profession.  The Midwest Symposium for Leadership in Behavior Disorders (MSLBD) has provided support for this oral history project.  The Janus Project takes its name from the Roman god, Janus, whose two faces looked both to the past and the future.  Each participant is asked to share recollections about the people and events that have influenced their career, their views on the state of the field, and advice they would offer to those entering the field.  To date nearly 70 conversations have been collected in video form at the following URL:

Dr. Richard Simpson is professor emeritus of Education at the University of Kansas (KU).  Dr. Simpson has received numerous professional awards including the Council for Exceptional Children Research Award, Midwest Sumposium for Leadership in Behavior Disorders Leadership Award, Autism Society of Kansas Leadership Award, and the Gene A. Budig Endowed Teaching Professorship of Special Education. He has authored numerous books, articles, and assessment instrutments on a variety of topics related to students with disabilities. What follows is based upon excerpts from the complete conversation with Rich Simpson that was previously published in the journal Intervention in School and Clinic (Zabel, R., Kaff, M., & Teagarden, J., 2016).


Janus:  What events, policies, innovations and people have had the most significant impact on your career?

Simpson:  In short, I think it was opportunities to be with kids and with families - desperate families - and people who were very passionate and dedicated.  This was their life’s work and they were not just looking for a paycheck; they really wanted to do good work. That was just inspiring. I also think that being around some very strong leaders was so exciting.

I have to tell you that, unapologetically, I will put in a kind of plug for MLSBD [Midwest Symposium for Leadership in Behavior Disorders]. MSLBD has been a wonderful opportunity for people to filter through this part of the planet. I’m not sure how many of the people would come to Manhattan and Lawrence otherwise. I mean, they might eventually, but to collect them here in Kansas City and to have this opportunity to work and form those relationships. I view this as really one of those significant events.

Another event, and again this was just kind of fortuitous, was federal policy that fell at a point in time when I was just starting my career. I was part of the second or the third wave of people who went through graduate school who were being trained for positions in higher education, because, with enactment of federal disability laws, there was a need for personnel. We were given opportunities at a time when there was this very broad enactment, but the terms of hammering out how we would do it, how we would prepare personnel, were yet to be determined.  What an opportunity!

                    Janus:  What do you think has had the greatest positive impact on the field in general?

Simpson:  I think one of the strongest movements is a willingness by policy makers at the federal level to pass legislation declaring all kids need an education - a free and public education - and that as a society we have an obligation to serve people with special needs. It’s baffling to me that it took us so long to get there. Kind of tracking back to my childhood and seeing my parents struggle with the questions like, “What are we going to do? Where are we going to send our daughter?” and just having all these problems. There wasn’t anything and the things they tried to do to support her were, stick her in a state hospital, stick her in a private hospital, and let them do these really bad things to her.

That was an era when it was a little bit of fend for yourself. In my mind, clearly, it was the policy makers having the perspective that humanity is important enough that we’re going to provide these opportunities. I think we’ve done that. Without that, I don’t think that many of the things that we now struggle with would even be on the radar screen. We’re talking about things like evidence-based practices, full integration and inclusion. Well, that’s far, far down the path from where we began. We have far to go, but we’ve made progress.

                   Janus:  What would you consider to be the most negative impact on the field?

Simpson: I think there’s several. One of the movements that I find somewhat distressing and that I would love to see change, is a reliance on generic training models. I think one of the things that’s happening is that we have moved away from categorical and specified training models to training models where we expect every educator to be able to be successful in working with kids with disabilities and every special educator to handle every type disability. In some ways like high incidence disabilities, generic-training models may make some sense. The caveats are kids with emotional behavior disorders and kids with autism.

Janus:  Are you saying they need certain kinds of skills that they just aren’t going to get in that general education setting?

Simpson:  Specialized teachers are few and far between and so, politically, there has been a movement to have generic licensure. I think that has eroded some of our capacity. When I look back on some of our training approaches, I think we were learning lots of things and we had some folks that came into the field and were committed, trained and dedicated to particular types of groups of kids. Now, the people that come to this [MSLBD] conference, they’re still there. They’re still working with EBD kids and kids with autism, however, it’s much, much more difficult for them to be strong people for a particular group of kids with which they have expertise.

Another issue that comes to mind for me is the lack of integration between mental health services and educational services. It’s very difficult. We have the DSM [Diagnostic and Statistical Manual] lexicon, we have IDEA  [Individuals with Disabilities Education Act] protocol and it’s challenge to integrate those two and sort out responsibilities.

Integrated services clearly are the solution that’s the easy part. But the fact is that 13- 20% of our school-aged population is in need of mental health services. We’re serving a tiny percentage, 1 to 2% of those kids. Our prevalence is way up here and our services in the schools are way down here. We’re under-resourced. I think that has been a drag on our capacity to move forward. Frankly, we have incredibly talented and dedicated people. I’m just amazed at what people are doing, the progress they make. I don’t work in a public school, but I know from hearing the stories that these folks are not getting all the reinforcement and the support in the world. They’re kind of doing this out of the goodness of their hearts and by the skin of their teeth, too. There’s room for improvement.


Richard Simpson advice and reflections continue to provide an inspriation to those who have had the good fortune to have had the opportunity to receive such.  The complete conversation with Rich can be found at

Upcoming issues of Behavior Today will include excerpts from the leaders in the field whom have shared their reflections with the Janus Project.


 Zabel, R., Kaff, M., & Teagarden, J. (2016). Making the road while walking it: A Conversation with Richard Simpson. Intervention in School and Clinic, 52, 56-61.