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About Me/Classroom Strategies

Greetings.  My name is Harry Waite. I am the special education Local Education Agency (LEA) Facilitator for Kathleen Elementary School and Socrum Elementary School.   

I attended Jamestown Community College and graduated from Roberts Wesleyan College with a Bachelors in Human Resources Management in 1991. After working as a Human Resources Manager for over 12 years, I decided to go back to school to pursue a career in special education. I graduated from Mercyhurst University with a Masters in Special Education in 2005. I have been teaching for the Polk County School Board since 2006. 
I am married, have five adult children. and have four grandchildren.  In my spare time I enjoy boating, fishing, camping, kayaking, motorcycling, acrylic painting, crafts, traveling, and new adventures.

I look forward to working with you and your child to make this a successful 2019-2020 school year!




Behavior Struggles – Win-win approach to behavior management (meeting teacher needs and student needs)is the best approach to behavior struggles. Challenging behaviors continue because it is meeting a need (function) id the student. The needs can be sensory/automatic, avoidance/escape, attention, and/or tangible. See ideas below:

Use in connection with the Power of Positive Consequences: “If you do this, you can ___” “When you finish, then you can____” “As long as you do ____, you can ____”

Student Needs: - Sensory/automatic, avoidance/escape, attention, tangible

Replace the need with a positive, socially accepted behavior.

                Sensory/Automatic needs

                                Visual – Place manipulative inside a clear container

                                                Use picture templates of where items belong

                                                Use lined and graph paper for proper spacing

                                                Allow student to sit with back to teacher again a wall.


                                                Take a comic strip and white out the speech bubbles. Have student complete their own story.

                                                Crossword and word search puzzles.

                                                Graphic Organizers

                                                Auditory- Use ear plugs or muffs

                                                Listen to favorite music

                                                Use verbal social stories

                                           For the reluctant reader, include audiobooks along with text to draw on auditory interests and strengths. Sometimes, listening to the                                                     rhythmic, calming voice of the narrator can help engage a reluctant reader and avoid some behaviors in the classroom.

                                           Read instructions/directions out loud.

                                           Use whisper phone (connect two PVC eblow pipes with 3" PVC pipe) (___)

                                Tactile – Have a selection of fidgets

                                                Wear comfortable clothes

                                                Sit on bean bag or balance ball.

                                                Attach stretchy band to chair legs

                                                Use texted paper to write on

                                                Use a variety of different sized pencils and pens to choose from

                          Kinesthetic.-  Empty Desk – Use an empty desk in front of the class for students that need to move around. They move quietly,                                                              without touching others.

                                                Standing Room Only – Mark off a large square around the students desk and the student can quietly sit, stand or move about                                                  within the square without disrupting others.

                                                 Balance Ball as a seat

                                                 Don’t take away PE or punishment because the ADHD students need to release energy.

Avoidance/ Escape- past failures tend to stimulate avoidance/escape reactions. Nonetheless, repeated avoidance/ escape often creates a learned behavior that leads to the student getting what they want. Replacing a negative need with a positive needs is the key.

                                                Know your student – Keep a list of their strengths and interests.  Note the tasks or activities that create frustration. What                                                          happened before, during and after the event?

                                                Model new tasks in clear, visual sequence and expectation.

                                                 Chunk Work – Fold paper, cover paper, to avoid student getting overwhelmed.(Use file folder and cut into three equal                                                                horizontal parts. Place work in folder and open one section at a time.

                                                Give written task cards (To do List to check off)

                                                 Have a Calming Desk or Location where students can go to regroup.

                                                Immediately praise/reward success to build positive momentum.

                                                Give choices – like Jeopardy games categories.

                                                Use social stories in which character has same behavior as student.

                                                Use negative reinforcer with positive reinforcers – Use peer pressure (negative) and reward (positive) to change behavior.

                                                Ignore the small behaviors – crumbling paper, break pencils. The student is either agitated or attention seeking. Just give                                                          temporary space.

                                                Be reflective. Consider what you could be doing to trigger the behavior. For example, are you using a harsh tone? Did you                                                          embarrass the student by calling them out?

                                                Build a relationship. Spend time with your student during lunch, talk with them after class, and really just get to know them.                                                    Teach them about you as a perso.

                                                Use logical consequences. Outcomes from behavior that make sense. For example, if a student is refusing to finish their                                                            morning work, a logical consequence would be using some break time later in the day to finish at least 5 problems or sending                                                  it home as homework to be done later.

Attention Seeking

                                                Stop, Drop, Roll and Connect: Stop the cycle. Drop your defenses, Roll out the positives, Connect with the student to build a                                                    relationship. The student does not want attention, they NEED attention.

                                                Ignore the behavior as long as it is not reinforcing the student behavior (getting attention from the students)

                                                Give attention when they do something good.

                                                Be consistent – Mean what you say, say what you mean. EX: If you say you will call the parent, call the parent or don't say it.

                                                Gentle touch

                                                Friendly eye contact

                                                Pass the student a note.

                                                Carry out errands.

                                                Tangible needs

                                                Pass out papers, sharpen pencils, fidgets, play dough, coloring books, colored paper, crayons, erasers, puzzles, self-stick                                                              tattoos, stickers,

ADAH Students


                                              Seating near teacher, role model, quiet student, or back against distractions.

                                             Use three-pocket folder. Label it “To Do,” “Done,” and “Notices.” Have a organization buddy help at the end of the day.

                                             Write down routines – discuss any changes in advance.

                                             Have time and place for all things to create structure

                                             Post positive rules/ expectations/consequences for behavior.

                                             Learn the “do’s” not the “don’ts” otherwise too confusing

                                             Create a checklist for homework, tests, and assignments.


                                                Provide a daily assignment sheet; check at end of day.

                                                Present material visually, auditory, and kinesthetically to learn best.

                                                Mask (cover up, fold) full sheets or get in sections to avoid overwhelming student


             Coping Strats

                                                Don’t gave too many choices; limit options.

                                                Write down assignments and give verbally

                                                Give one instruction at a time; get close to minimize distractions

                                                Have student repeat directions, instructions, choices, etc.

                                                State purpose and goal of assignment to help student get focused

                                                ADHD Students have poor sense of time so help pace the work; get reference to clock or watch; use timer

                                                Break assignments in smaller series of assignments – it will seem more achievable

                                                Use positive consequences for completion of work.

                                                Give positive, immediate feedback

                                                Allow for periotic movement in class; send student on errands. Don’t use lack of recess as punishment because ADHD student                                                  need the movement.

                                                ADHD student take longer to get a routine and learn rules. Be patience.

                                                Gentle prompting to regain focus – nonverbal signals, gentle touch, point to the focus area.

                                                Establish clear start and end times for tasks.

                                               Inform student of transition ahead of time.

                Listening Difficulty

                                                Say it once to avoid lazy listening. “Ask three, then me”

                                                Turn and Talk to explain what you heard

                                                Hand signals – one finger for agree/yes, two for disagree/no

                                                Create a question on a Post-it note about what they just heard

                                                Ask to Repeat what you say.

                                                Predict the ending of a story.

                                                Sit next to teacher

                                                Give directions in writing.

                                                Have longer wait time to process information

                Staying on task Difficulty

                                              Use Post-it notes as a reminder on worksheets or homework

                                              Write their own reminder

                                              Have student make list of all things they need to remember

                                              Then write each reminder on a Post-it note

                                              Place the notes on the pages of their assignments.

                                              Give attention breaks. Set a timer.

                                              Break assignments into small chunks.

                                              Remove unneeded distractions in the room.

                                              Make lessons exciting, funny, and mysterious. Turn off the lights and use a flashlight to illuminate objects or words on the                                                          blackboard. Invite a surprise guest. Draw silly stick figures to illustrate key points, and invite students to the board to do the                                                      same. Whenever possible, plan lessons around current events or topics of interest to students. Hold their attention with                                                           batting averages and other baseball statistics during math.


                Focusing Difficulty

                                            Private office- create wall around the desk; individualize the walls.

                                           Small Sensory Ball- this will help satisfy the craving for sensory stimulation; 3 rules: use one hand, no throwing or dropping,                                                     always focus on teacher.

                                           Mouse Pad – To make fidgeting with hands quieter

                                          Stress Bucket – Fill bucket with different shaped stress balls, Velcro, pieces of carpet,

                                         Twist Bracelets- Use loose rubber bands on wrist to twist and pull.

               Easily Distracted

                                         Movement while studying helps focus. Rockers, stand desks, balance ball chairs

                                         Speak Out Loud – Use whisper phones for auditory support.

                                         Hand-held Fidgets

                                         Change locations- Go from desk to another location (cubicle).

                                         Work in Short Bursts- To avoid boredom and frustration. Use brief DVDs or videos.



                                        Chunk Work – Fold paper, cover paper, to avoid student getting overwhelmed.(Use file folder and cut into three equal horizontal                                              parts. Place work in folder and open one section at a time.

                                        After assigning task, say, “I’m going to count to 60 in my head. When the time is up, I will write on the board the number of                                                      students I see working on the assignment.”

                                        Demo the steps. Some student do not start because they hate being creative. They watch others first to see what they are doing.

                                        Give written task cards (To do List to check off)

                                        Show examples of completed work. Tape to desk.


                                        Visual Task Schedule – To Do Check List

                                        Picture of organized desk – where do things go?

                                       Assignment Planner notebook with pocket-type inserts.

                                       Check agenda for written assignments at end of day.              


                                       Peer Support – A “remember partner,” one that is well organized and like helping others

                                       Pocket Folders – Left side pocket reads, “Left at home.”  The right side pocket reads, “Right back to School” for work to be                                                         complete  and returned.

                Roams Around the Classroom

                                        Empty Desk – Use an empty desk in front of the class for students that need to move around. They move quietly, without touching                                          others.

                                       Standing Room Only – Mark off a large square around the students desk and the student can quietly sit, stand or move about                                                   within the square without disrupting others.

               Motivating students

                                      Build in rewarding opportunities for social interaction to help accomplish tedious or frustrating tasks.  Use adult or.  peer tutoring,                                            cooperative learning groups, informal social groups. Be sure to have clear expectations and monitor closely

                                      Provide audiences for student work. Have an audience that will evaluate one’s creative work. Possibly submit the work to                                                          publication.

                                      Reduce the ‘effort’ need to complete the task. Break it down to more easy-to-accomplish tasks, have peer help disorganized                                                      student to get started and clean up.

                                      Connect education to real-life situations.  When student see the content in real situations, it help when they can connect to it.

                                     Offer meaningful choices when possible. Student want autonomy. Jeopardy games style.







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