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Yoga and the Brain

Opportunities come and go, but the opportunity to be a part of the Positive Behavior inquiry-to-action team this year was one that I could not pass up. I began my work as a part of this inquiry-to-action team through the Teachers College Inclusive Classroom Project in the Fall of 2012. Early on I began to realize how incredible this opportunity would be for me professionally. 
Our first assignment was to find a student in our school who was having challenges adjusting to the classroom environment or a classroom environment that was not adjusting to the child. As the Kindergarten Special Education teacher working in a triad Integrative Co-Teaching Model, I work in several classrooms. Initially I took on this task by observing and recording the behaviors of several children. Some of these students received special education services and some did not. After narrowing down my selection I spoke to both general education teachers. Our conversations led me to a young boy who receives special education services. The following is a brief synopsis of the student's distinguishing characteristics and the student's needs. 
Distinguishing Characteristics
  • At or above grade level in all academic domains
  • Has lots of friends and can engage in parallel, cooperative, and abstract play
  • Becomes frustrated and overwhelmed easily.
  • Difficulties with transitions and changes in the routine
  • Interpersonal skills are limited due to his difficulties in attending and spatial awareness
  • Tends to become anxious when overwhelmed or stimulated
  • Extremely impulsive
  • Has a lack of understanding in his boundaries
  • Prompting
  • Redirection
  • Visual Cues
  • Positive Reinforcement
  • Consistency with routines
  • Access to breaks
  • Benefits from the use of schedules
After I chose the student I followed this plan of action in order to help the student experience a successful school year:
  • Chose two target behaviors on which to collect data
  • Took two weeks of observational data on the two behaviors. I collected data on a daily basis at different times and in a variety of contexts
  • Made a working hypothesis 
  • I tried and intervention-behavior reward system
  • I collected data for the intervention and made some decisions about what was and wasn’t working
  • I tried a second intervention, yoga
  • I collected data for the second intervention and, with my colleagues, made some decisions about what was and wasn’t working
  • We then tried a third intervention, yoga and daily's 
  • I collected data on these third inventions
In this inquiry, I explicitly explain each of the steps that I list above and the overall outcomes of the work. I also have some resources for anyone thinking about behavior challenges in their classroom or curious about using yoga in the classroom.