Oops! I see my foot! :)
I introduce the Safe Keeper box by reading Treasure of the Heart by Alice Ann Miller (BTW-This is a great book for Writing Workshop to teach the kiddos about writing about things that are important to them). I talk about how they are each a treasure to me that I want to keep safe. We talk about ways to keep each other safe and usually write these on a big heart. We then learn the Safe Keeper's Song. This is from one of the Conscious Discipline cd's. The cd's are AWESOME and so wonderful about reinforcing the things you are teaching the kiddos. If you haven't checked out the site go NOW!!!
In the morning this is what we do: when they come to me with their hearts I say to them "(child's name), It is my job to keep you safe." The child answers me back by saying "It is my job to help you keep everyone safe." We even talk about this being a commitment, which is a promise from our hearts. This is great to hold them accountable throughout the day because you can remind them that they made this promise.
The next way we use hearts is not Conscious Discipline but ties in nicely with it. We talk about using our heart words. Heart words are words that show someone you care about them and respect them. We talk about those words and how and when we use them. With interactive writing, we write those on hearts and post them in the room. We really work on celebrating each other when we use those words and I am amazed at how quickly they learn to use these words with me and each other. I have even had parents talk to me about how much more polite and respectful their child has become. Here are the heart words for Our School Family: yes ma'am, no ma'am, please, thank you, you are welcome, excuse me, I am sorry, I forgive you, you did it and way to go.
Another way we use hearts is by talking about being a Bucket Filler. We read the book and talk about how being helpful and kind fills a bucket and how by being hurtful and rude is being a bucket dipper. We talk about the best way to fill a bucket is by being a helpful heart (This is what all of the promises (rules) of Our School Family are centered around that we did the first week of school). We have a bucket that the children get to help fill by noticing the kind and helpful things others do. We call this adding a helpful heart to the bucket. The helpful hearts are heart shaped beads from a craft store. We work hard all year to fill the bucket and at the end of the year we use the beads to make bracelets. When the bucket gets full, we empty and fill it again. When the children notice a friend doing something helpful and kind they go to that child and say "(child's name) I am going to add you a helpful heart for tying my shoe." or "I am going to add you a helpful heart for remembering to use your heart words when you accidentally kicked me." The child that is having a helpful heart added for them answers back "Thank you for noticing that." and the child adding the helpful heart answers back "You are welcome." They even add hearts for me! Today, one of my sweet little kiddos added me a helpful heart for reminding him to sit criss cross so he could keep his friend beside him safe. Too sweet!
I really wish I could video and show you what this looks like because it is one of the sweetest and most amazing things I have ever seen. There are times I have tears in my eyes because of what they say to each other and just the bonds it builds between all of us.
Here is the book I use to introduce the Safe Keeper Box:
I would LOVE to help you do this in your classroom so if you have any questions please ask! I would love a heart note letting me know what you think.