Get Your PAWS On- Staff Development for Teaching the PBIS

Teresa Van Acker

To expose teachers to different art modes to teach the PAWS and the Universals for the Common Areas. To allow teachers the opportunity to create a lesson to teach their students the Poe’s Common Spaces Universals and the P-practice self-control. A-always follow directions, W-work with purpose, S-show Respect-PAWS

There are six common areas: hallway, arrival, bathroom, playground, cafeteria and dismissal.


Assorted art materials
Poster boards
Electronic devices
Copies of social stories
Copies of PAWS Universal and Classroom Matrix


1. Ask the teachers to explain why rules are necessary. Break the groups of teachers into grade level groups and they record their answers on a sheet of paper being ready to share out their work. The facilitator posts the word agreement and asks the teachers how an agreement is like or unlike a rule. The entomology of the agreement is “to please.” Explain the history of the agreement of the PAWs Universals. Why would we want to come to agreements that please each other? Community. How do we encourage agreements? How do we hold each other accountable for our agreements?
2. Visual Arts – Design a Visual Way to Represent PAWS both the letters and the meaning of each-15 minutes. Visual representations communicate. Make sure there is time to share out.
3. Music – Pick a place from the Universals Matrix and create a chant that conveys the 3 rules from that area. Integrating the PAWS is also suggested. Time is allowed to perform your piece and all pieces will be uploaded to a recording that can be shared.
4. Dance – What are the major movements of your PAWS Matrix area? How would you put these movements into a fluid dance? Leave time to perform. Work though one example as a group and then have the groups take that example and choose another and combine the two dances together.
5. Creative Writing – Very often the best way to teach a new skill is to create a social story. Show the group several examples of social stories. Ask the group to come up with a listing of the characteristics of a social story. Then ask the groups to apply these characteristics by creating a social story using as many of the universals as you can think necessary to help the student achieve the goal of success with a classroom matrix item. (Optional: Create a rhyming couplet to make meaning and to create a sentence to aid in the memory of a universal.)
6. Ask the teachers to create a lesson plan using the elements they have practiced to solidify the “best practice lesson” they will teach for the first week of school.

Differentiation Approaches

Make sure to conference with groups having the appropriate music, arts, or dance teachers to lead and support teachers.


The finished products are the assessment. All teachers will use the finished product in their classroom/school so the true assessment is how well their students understand and practice their PAWS.

Follow Up and Extension Ideas

Add a geography, technology and cultural piece by studying odd or interesting cultural agreement or laws and the geography of the region. Google Maps – culture grams.

Additional Details

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