Quick description of how to use the Homework Messenger
adhd - Homework problems and solutions
Every program function is explained in three ways, 1) tool tip popups 2) inline Text Hints and 3) a help file (this document). For context sensitive help, if you do not know what a particular element does, put your cursor over it and a line of text will be displayed which describes that feature.
Inline Text Hints are displayed above each program section to provide a brief description of how to use each section. Once you are familiar with the program, you can hide these hints by clicking on "Toggle Text Hints " found in the upper right corner of the screen. This is useful to conserve screen space after you have made many entries. You may read through this help document and search it for answers by clicking on Help in the left column. This will open another window which both provides a comprehensive list of help topics, (this file) as well as a fully indexed search feature.
Invite a Teacher to the homework Messenger
Creating Behaviors to Track at school
Create a new behavior by double clicking on the blank row then typing in the new behavior and clicking by double clicking the text, typing in the change and clicking
The number of behaviors is limited to four active behaviors because with more than that, change efforts can become so diffuse that they are ineffective. At that point, to add a new behavior, one must be made inactive. It is better to make a behavior inactive than just to edit it into a new behavior. Otherwise, you cannot tell where on the daily behavior graph the old behavior stops and the new one begins.
To make a behavior inactive, single click and hold your left mouse button on the text while you drag it to the Contingencies table at the right. After the background of that table turns dark green, release the mouse button. The behavior will then show up in the . inactive list. Then another active behavior can be created To see the inactive behaviors click the button.
Making an Inactive Behavior Active
Daily Behavior Rating
Place your cursor over the bar whose color corresponds to that of the behavior you want to rate. The bar will turn into a thermometer. Slide your cursor up and down until you have the value you want. You can see the changing numeric value of your rating in a gray box at the top edge of the graph. When you have the value you wish, click your mouse. A dot for that value will be placed on the graph for that behavior.
Since only one rating per behavior per day is allowed, the rating bar for that behavior will vanish until tomorrow. Because it would unnecessarily complicate the user interface, there is no way to correct a rating error. If this happens just note it in the discussion section.
Immediate and Delayed Rewards
There is a plethora of research to indicate that one of the most powerful predictors of long-term success is the ability to work for delayed rewards, rather than short-term, immediate gratification. (This is discussed in my newest book, ADHD: Drug-free and doin' fine). This feature provides a systematic direct and effective way of teaching the ability to delay reinforcement.
For each target behavior, you should enter two different rewards, a smaller immediate one and a larger delayed one. You should attempt to make the delayed reward just big enough that he will be willing to wait for it rather than selecting the immediate reward. For example, you might offer rewards such as Immediate = 1/2 hour of Xbox immediately or Delayed = 2 hours of Xbox on Saturday. You will need to experiment to find the balance of short and long-term rewards that causes your child to usually select the delayed payoff. Over time, repeatedly selecting the delayed reward will teach him the very valuable skill of working for long-term goals.
Immediate and Delayed - check boxes
When your child earns the reward, give him the choice of the Immediate reward or the Delayed one. Put a check in the box to the right of the reward he chooses. If you check the wrong one, you can uncheck it by clicking it a second time. This check will allow a graph to be created of the frequency he chooses the delayed reward.
The Homework area allows you and your child's teacher to track homework, step by step, from its assignment, through its completion and finally being turned in. The teacher enters a description of the assignment, date assigned, the due date, and finally the date when turned in. You enter the date you supervised its completion. You should require that all homework be done neatly accurately and completely before you enter the date completed. Do not accept second-rate work. At a glance, you can tell whether this chain of events is unfolding on schedule to be completed by the due date.
Make sure you continue to monitor the homework assignment until the teacher enters a turned in date. If this date is not entered a few days after you enter the completed date, you should pursue this with your child and his teacher. The completed assignment may have found its way to the bottom of a locker or backpack, rather than the teacher's desk. Rather than taking responsibility for getting the Homework to the teacher, apply contingencies to motivate turning it in.
You can use the sort feature to find homework that has not been turned in. To edit a comment click You can only edit discussion comments the same day you create them.
Just click on the to the right of the turned in heading to see which ones have not been turned in. You can also use to find any combination of dates and text.
Here you, the teachers and I can discuss your child. Often it is very helpful not just to rate a behavior, but also to describe exactly what precipitated and reinforced it. Also, extra information can help parents develop better rewards, punishment and WebCAER targets. Sometimes a homework assignment may need extra elaboration, or kudos needs to be sent.
Here the teacher enters grades for assignments, tests, and quizzes. Grades must be in a numeric format such as 2, 8, 70 or .70. The teacher must be consistent with whatever format they choose. They cannot use letter grades such as A, B, C, D, F. passing, or satisfactory. They need to translate these into a numeric equivalent. A grade average for each course is automatically computed. The grade average is displayed at the bottom of the Grades section when you put your cursor over the course name.
In the Home section, the Behavior area and the Discussion area are repeated so that parents and I can have a private area to identify, track, reward and discuss home behaviors. When the teacher logs on, they do not see any of the Home section. Because the Behaviors and Discussion areas function the same in the Home section as in the School section, the details will not be repeated here.
Hard Work Bonus
In addition to the Behaviors and Discussion areas, the Home section also has a Hard Work Bonus area. Hard work is another name for industriousness or the "Protestant work ethic". The ability to work hard is a powerful advantage that every parent should give their child. If you reinforce the experience of hard work, the actual sensations of working hard become a secondary reinforcer and the child becomes industrious. This area allows you to define a hard work bonus, award it, and observe on a graph how often it is earned.
In the description box, enter the reward you will offer for observing him working hard. You can also select from bonuses you have offered recently by clicking the to the right of the description box. A window will open listing recent bonuses. If you wish, select a bonus from the list by double-clicking on it. Once you have either typed in or selected a bonus from the list, click
Before you can enter a new bonus, you need to either award the bonus or delete it.
To award a bonus, enter a date in the “Date earned” box in this format MM-dd-YYYY. The easiest way to do this is to click the to the right of the box. A calendar will be displayed. Double-click the date. Today’s date is highlighted. What you have the proper date entered clicked .
Graphing Delay of Reward and Hard Work bonus
The hard work bonus area also shows a graph of frequency of choice to Delay Reward and the award of Hard Work bonuses. Bonuses are graphed in red and delay of reward is graphed in blue. You do not enter anything directly into this graph.
Averaging Range for Graphing Delay of Reward and Industriousness bonuses.
To make the graph more meaningful, it is plotted with a moving average. Without this averaging, the line would likely be a meaningless sawtooth. You can see a trend more easily by smoothing out the lumps and bumps.
One way of doing this is a moving average. It works like its name implies. It averages the last several data points to create the current value to plot on the graph. The more data points it averages, the smoother the line, but the less responsive the line is to short-term changes. You have to find a balance between these two effects of averaging. The number of days each point of the graph is averaged over is shown in the “Number of bonus days” and “Number of delayed days” Windows.
Though I have preset a default value to get you started, the best value for your child may be quite different. You should experiment with different numbers to see what makes the graph most meaningful to you. There is no way to do this other than just to play with different numbers. You have to wait until there are at least as many days data as you want to average over or you will just get a jagged looking graph.
To change values, enter the new value in the boxes provided and click
Whenever there is a new entry in any section, an email is automatically sent to the other relevant party notifying them and giving them a hyperlink to the Homework Messenger to make logging in easier. Remember to check your email daily.
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