Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Way to Go

There are so many things I LOVE about Conscious Discipline. I love the different jobs that help build Our School Family. One of my favorite jobs to sit back and watch after LOTS and LOTS and LOTS of training and modeling is the Cheerleader. We know little kiddos are very egocentric so this job helps them begin to recognize what others do and say. The first several weeks of school I am the Cheerleader. I wear a bubble necklace all day so I can celebrate the kiddos whenever I notice them being helpful and kind. Instead of saying, "I like the way Carla is standing in line." I will say, "Carla, I am going to celebrate you for standing still in your house so your friends can be safe. Way to go!" I then blow the bubbles on her. And let me tell you this: having bubbles blown on you ROCKS a first grader's world. They L-O-V-E it!!!!!

Conscious Discipline says to move away from the "I like" statements because those pass judgement on the kiddos and sends the message I like you because you are being good...and this was sooo hard for me to re-train my mouth to not say those words because that is what many of us learned in college. If you want to read more about moving away from the judgement statement of "I like" to "I notice" click here. Conscious Discipline also wants for you to relate everything you say to the kiddos to be about being helpful and keeping others safe.

So, those first few weeks of school I celebrate LOTS for the behaviors and words I want to instill in them like using good manners, being helpful cleaning up and lining up, and sharing and working together as a School Family. We brainstorm lists of things we can celebrate others for. When it is time for me to hand the job over, the cheerleader gets a celebration horn for the week. Whenever they notice a friend being helpful, kind or safe they can celebrate them....they even celebrate me. Here are some of the things we celebrate in our School Family:

* I am going to celebrate you for picking up that trash.
*I am going to celebrate you for taking Ms. Price's helpful reminder.
*I am going to celebrate you for remembering your manners.
*I am going to celebrate you for tying his shoe.
*I am going to celebrate you for sitting quietly and safely on the Learning Rug.

And the list could go on and on AND on....the kiddos will also find ways to celebrate each other in ways we would never think of. It is so sweet watching them do this. The child that is celebrated tells the person who is celebrating them, "Thank you for noticing that.". All of this helps build speaking in complete sentences too!

Here are some of the things we use to celebrate each other:

One of the other things I love about Conscious Discipline is the way the children learn to stand up for themselves and use their "big voice" to talk to someone. There is an entire set of books to read to your class that help teach different parts of Conscious Discipline and they would be a great start if you are interested in using more of CD in your classroom.  All of the books are about a character named Shubert and the different problems he has to solve in his School Family (The books are great!). Conscious Discipline is great about eliminataing tattling in your classroom. Yes, you read it correctly....Tattle may STOP! At first kiddos will still come to you and tell you things. For example, Carla comes to me and tells me someone hit her. I ask Carla "Did you like it?" and she will answer "No!" I then tell Carla to go tell Sarah "I don't like it when you hit me. Please stop." I could go on and on about how tattling can be stopped but then this post will be WAAAYYYY too long.

As much as CD helps end the tattling, you will probably still have one or two that will want to tell you EVERYTHING! Little children also have trouble knowing when it is okay to tell because that is really what tattling is about....a child sees something happening and they don't know how to handle it. After we read Shubert's Big Voice, we then read Tattle Tongue. This is a wonderful book because it teaches when it is okay to tell something to an adult.

We had to go a step further this year because one of my sweet, little kiddos is very aware of what EVERYONE is doing but somehow forgets to help himself....and I am sure none of you have a little one like this! :)

We decided we needed to work as a School Family to help stop the hurtful tattling. I bought a mini Mr. Potato Head at the dollar store. Each time I hear a hurtful tattle, he loses one of his parts. They CAN earn back a piece when I notice two kiddos taking care of the problem themselves. The goal is to keep him all put together. If he is all together at the end of the day, we do several fun songs or do a fun activity on the SmartBoard like carving a jack-o-lantern. If he is missing a few parts, we might play Magic Number or Magic Letter. This has REALLY helped my 2 repeat offenders. The other kiddos watch them like hawks and are intervening before they come to me and are then going with them to help them talk to whoever they need too! Hahaha is so funny!

I hope you have found something in this post that you can use in your room soon. Please leave me a heart note and let me know what you are going to try!

9 heart notes:

Erin said...

I love the tattle tongue book. I saw the author read it and it was amazing!! Love your blog.


Anonymous said...

Hi Heather,
I am a veteran teacher and now in my 20 year of loving my job - teaching. Last year and this year, I have been teaching Kindergarten. This has been so exciting, but classroom management has been the biggest challenge I have ever encountered. I have read a little about Conscious Discipline on your site and then I researched it further on their website. This fits so closely with my own personal beliefs about teaching and the importance of relationships. How did you get started? What materials/resources would you recommend to get started with?

I would love to know a lot more from someone who is using this approach and having success.


Danielle said...

I have never heard about conscious discipline but after reading about it on your blog, it sounds right up my alley! I just discovered your blog and I LOVE it! I can't wait to go explore more!

Heather's Heart said...

Beth, the book is great because it explains the "why" behind Conscious Discipline and really helps build the language you need to use. Several of us did a book study and that was a great way to discuss the book because the book really makes you examine what you are doing and why it isn't working! The Shubert books are great because they incorporate many of the structures and language you will use in your classroom. The cd's are also great and we sing the songs everyday. The songs reinforce the language you will use and they help build the School Family. I will be HAPPY to talk to you more about it if you want to email me. =) I love it! I teach ALL at-risk kiddos who often have extreme behavior issues and it is amazing what happens in our room.

Danielle, Conscious Discipline is AMAZING! I have some more I'll be posting soon about it!

Anonymous said...

This was AMAZING! I loved this post. I sent it to several of my friends who are fellow teachers as well. What a wonderful concept of building up others, using complete sentences, highlighting manners, and being respectful to one another.
Thank you for sharing.

Allyce said...

1. I am reading back posts because I am absolutely LOVING the descriptions of how CD works!
2. I will be hitting the follow button as soon as I finish this comment!
3. I think I am DEFINITELY going to try the Mr. Potato head trick. I have a serious case of tattlers in my classroom-and I have to say it drives me crazy! So I definitely think finding a way for rewarding not tattling will be a great option!


ESL and EFL Elementary Teacher Resources said...

This idea works well in an English Language Learner clasroom, where there´s one teaher and 36 kids.

Unknown said...

Loving your posts! I want to keep reading to find about Conscious Discipline! I really want to work on building relationships with my sweets and I heard you mention that several times in a couple posts. I'm off to explore some more. :)

Brittany Kielar
Sweet Seconds