A review of Moment to Moment: A positive approach to managing classroom behaviour by Joey Mandel, Pembroke Publishers, 2013 ISBN: 978-1551382876.
As budget cutbacks result in fewer supports for children who struggle with self-regulation, many classroom teachers are searching desperately for resources to help them manage classroom behaviour. Disruptive behaviour stemming from such issues as Autism Spectrum Disorder, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, and Attention Deficit Disorder are presenting elementary teachers with challenges that were not present in regular classrooms of 20 years ago.
According to Joey Mandel, teachers need to uncover the social skills deficits that are causing disruptive behaviours. She maintains that some children need more help than others to develop the social skills that allow them to participate more effectively in class. Her book does an excellent job of explaining the behaviours caused by social skill deficits and provides many examples of how these deficits affect a child’s ability to function. There is a very extensive checklist of “Signs of Skill Deficits” but, at over 100 items per student, it just makes me want to lie down. For certain children it would be worth the time investment to complete the survey, but to do it for all 20+ students in an elementary classroom, as Mandel suggests, would be an unrealistic time commitment.
For each of the deficits she identifies on the survey, Mandel provides activities and games that can be used with the whole class or small groups. I found that many of the activities, which were offered as appropriate for K-3, were actually beyond many of my JK/SK students, resulting in frustration. However, if you take the grade recommendations with a grain of salt, the activities are useful for the teacher and fun for the students. They do take up precious time that, with the pressure to cover ever more curriculum expectations, may deter some teachers. However, these activities can often be integrated into physical education or arts programs, making them more feasible to include in a busy schedule.
Photo: Dave Donald
First published in Education Canada, March 2015