Partnership for Whole School Change

A PROGRAM of COOPERATIVE ARTISTS INSTITUTE (CAI)

 Action Steps For The School 

[Back to Action Steps List]

1.  The classroom teachers, the principal, the music and art specialists, and the ......artist educator need to meet to do the following:

  • reject, accept, or modify this strategy to address the students dysfunctional habits;
  • if the strategy is okayed, decide on how it will work with the  students to implement their classroom council; and
  • find ways to integrate the current school plan for misbehaving students into this strategy.

2. The classroom teacher, the students, an administrator, and available parents .....will meet in the classroom to establish a classroom council that will help .....govern the classroom.

3. The administrators and the teachers will establish timeout spaces that are large ....enough to place disruptive students to do graded writing/discussion lessons ....that help them study and share their disruptive behaviors and habits. 

  • These spaces have to be out of their classmates’ sight.
  • The office takes students who resist going to timeout or will not .stay in their timeout seats.  The writing and discussion activities .for students continues.
  • To prevent their child’s suspension, a parent of an oppositional   .student should have to come to the school and work out a plan .in which he or she plays an active role in helping to curb the .student's oppositional behavior.  
 Action Steps For Artist/Educators 

[Back to Action Steps List]

1. Artists/educators will use the preparation for the Focodaba dance performance ....to model how to:

  • build a classroom learning community based on caring, cooperation, and respect;
  • establish authentic and caring classroom relationships;
  • use arts-based instruction strategies designed by the CIMA team to deepen arts instruction and enhance 8B scholars’ academic and social success; and
  • enable teachers to enhance and deepen 8B’s communication skills (talking, reading, and writing) by tapping both the emotions the arts foster and the powerful feelings triggered when working to overcome destructive habits.

2. Artists/educator will help establish the council by providing leadership support ....for the council’s members to:

  • develop a plan for presenting the council to the students;
  • facilitate the first few council meetings; and
  • help them choose the values that will guide their council’s decisions and actions.

3. An artists/educator will lead a lesson on habits, with support from the student's ....teacher, administrator, and available parents. 

....The Language arts teacher will start the lesson by informing the students .....that:

  • this is a language arts lesson;
  • its purpose is to improve their ability to communicate what they learned and communicate how and what they are feeling about what they learned in this class; and
  • the lesson will be followed by a language arts activity that will be graded based on their ability to: 

             - give accurate answers to questions about the lesson;

             - write or print answers that are readable and   ................understandable;

             - speak and/or write about their good and bad habits and ................how they help them or hurt them; and

     - share how living with their good and bad habits make  ........them feel.

....The teacher will inform the students that they will not be graded for incorrect ....grammar and spelling, and they will get better grades if they pay attention, ask ....questions and participate in the lesson. Then the language arts teacher ....introduces the artists/educator as this lesson’s instructor.

....As the presenter, the artists/educator will:

  • lead a discussion and facilitate activities focused on helping scholars learn about habits.  The artist/educator and the teachers will "break the ice" and stimulate discussion by sharing their good and bad habits and invite the students to share theirs;
  • help scholars to appreciate why habits are necessary and present good and bad habits as past behaviors the students adopted to cope with stress.  In time, they became automatic unconscious responses that are know hard to control; and
  • the artist/educator will use performance arts and role-play to demonstrate what it takes and feels like to change a bad habit.
 Action Steps For Teachers 

[Back to Action Steps List]

1. The teacher informs his or her students that all writing assignments and forms .....students do to help them overcome or manage their habits and behaviors will .....be graded language arts lessons.  The higher grades go to scholars’ whose .....writings:

  • are understandable and readable;
  • answer the questions on the form and clearly explain what the students were doing, thinking, and feeling when they disrupted the class;
  • explain how their good and bad habits helped and hurt them; and
  • share their feelings about their good and bad habits.

...Tell students that they will not be graded for incorrect grammar and spelling, ....but they must answer the questions honestly and with details about their ....behavior and habits to receive a good grade.

2. All teachers who accompany students to PWSC master performance arts classes ....need to do the following to help implement the healthy habits strategy:

  • make sure that students who trigger each other’s bad habits are not sitting together;
  • as quietly as possible, employ these three techniques in quick succession, so master classes are not disrupted, and the students’ bad habits are weakened:

            - the teacher silently signals a scholar(s) to stop the disruptive ...............behavior;

            - if the student(s) does not immediately stop the behavior, the ...............teacher walks towards the student(s) silently signaling the ...............student(s) to stop the disruptive behavior;

            - if a student(s) continues the behavior, the teacher quietly ...............removes the student to timeout, then softly ask the student ...............why he or she is in time out.  After you receive the student's ...............answer, firmly, but caringly, ask the student, “Can you ...............control your disruptive habit(s) or do you need to take a ...............timeout?”  Let the student(s) chose; and

            - if the student repeats their disruptive behavior, quietly but ...............quickly remove the student to timeout to complete the ...............timeout lesson. If the student has not completed the     ...............lesson in timeout, the students needs to be finished it at ...............home to receive a passing grade.

  • as quietly and fast as possible, remove any student whose actions disrupt or undermine the following:

  - the tribal yell by purposely disrupting its order to center  ....attention from the group to themselves;

  - the tribal sign by not becoming quiet when they see the ....sign; and

  - when an adult says “ago,” and they are not silent after ....the “amay” response is given.

....The above techniques are not punishment for misbehaving; they are a way to ....keep the students’ aware of and focused on their constructive and destructive ....habits.  The adults using this strategy know this, but most student may, at ....first, see these techniques as punishment.  But over time, they will see these ....techniques as part of their language arts lessons if the teachers treat these ....lesson as such.  While they improve communication skills, the lessons weaken ....destructive habits by taking away what fuels them — the emotional responses ....and the dopamine high the habits generate. The techniques also create a ....situation that focuses students on their habits, so they can learn about them ....and can work on them.   

3. All teachers will help to implement this Healthy Habits strategy in their ....classroom by:

  • having enough timeout spaces to separate disruptive scholars from the class (the school needs to help make this possible);
  • giving the student(s), lessons about habits during timeout, and treating and grading them as language arts lessons.  Telling students that to get a good grade, they have to communicate what got them in timeout, the roles played by their good and bad habits, and describe what they felt and thought when they were disrupting the class;
  • grading timeout work scholars do and going over it with them.  During this time, show students how to communicate more clearly, comprehensively, and logically, and share their feelings when speaking and writing, so they can receive a better grade.  A teachable moment is provided when a student, through writing or discussion, gains insights into their habitual impulses.  This helps them become more open to receiving help to improve his or her behavior.  To be effective, teachers need to communicate this strategy to the students' and their parents; and
  • implementing the project’s master class follow-up lessons directly after the master class.
 Action Steps For Parents 

[Back to Action Steps List]

Parents need to take the following actions to bring school and home culture closer together.

1. They need to read the timeout forms and writings and other lessons their child .....has done during timeout to understand their positive and negative habits, and .....check if they are doing the required work.  They need to talk with their child .....and the teacher about what they have read.  It is important that the parents .....insist that their child does the required work and does his or her best to earn a .....high grade on these lessons.

2.  Signal the importance of education to their child by building a study space with .....their child that is free of all distractions, and have their child study in that .....space for the time his or her teacher recommends without distractions.  Visit .....the study space often.  Have your child explain what he or she has done or is .....doing in school, and work with the teacher and other parents to find ways to .....encourage your child. 

3.  Parents need to be on the classroom council and attend council meetings.  If .....they cannot attend, they need to:

  • insist that their child tell them what the council is doing;
  • ask their child what they are personally doing to strengthen the classroom council and improve learning in their class, and check what they say with their teacher; and
  • read the on-line council materials, and share them with their child.
 Tribal Rhythms Dance Program Continued 

[Back to Current Programs]

CAI’s Tribal Rhythms Company is providing master classes for the BTU's fifth and eighth grade students once a week throughout the 2012-13 school year.  The classes will teach Focodaba, a beautiful initiation performance performed by the Bambara people of Mali and many other ethnic groups throughout this African region. Facodaba connects our African-American students and the BTU School’s Caribbean, South, and Central American students to their West African roots. Students from other ethnic traditions will broaden this arts experience by sharing their dance techniques with their classmates. 

The project deepens arts instruction by offering dance and increasing the capacity of the music and art teachers to give their students arts experiences that integrate the various arts forms together.  To facilitate this learning, our master classes will teach students instrument making, choral and instrumental music, visual arts, theater, and show how to combine these skills into engaging artistic creations.  In June 2013, students will express what they have learned when they perform what they have learned in a carnival like school-wide Spring event.

Focodaba is used to celebrate the shift from childhood to adulthood.  Through dancing and music, students will dramatize their growing responsibilities and privileges as they express their movement towards adulthood.  Our skilled artist/educators will model being tribe elders preparing the youths for their initiation.  This collaboration has provided a great opportunity to work with students on habits that reduce their academic achievement.