Sunday, January 15, 2012

We Care Bag...and a *freebie*

One of the things I love about Conscious Discipline is the building of the School Family. Many, many of my kiddos do not have the most nurturing home lives...some of my kiddos are never hugged or praised. We have had parents before that came to pick up their child from school and not only did they not know the teacher's name but they did not THEIR child's name. I have had Firsties before that did NOT know their name...and how can you learn to write your name if you don't know it!!!???!!!  But I know God brought these babies to my room and I have the joy of loving them unconditionally. Yes, at times I want to give them a good "GRRRRRRRRR" or pop them but I DO let them know I care enough about them to not let them behave a certain way!

As I have talked about before, many of the Conscious Discipline School Family Jobs help build that family that so many kiddos are lacking at home. One of the jobs I love is the Encourager! WOW! I know that is something I can ALWAYS do better at but to start teaching a child to look beyond their egocentric selves to notice others is so powerful! And after watching me encourage them, they do an awesome job encouraging others especially when I might have reached the point of frustration and wanting to tell them to knock it off and stop crying!

In Our School Family, we have a We Care Bag. Inside the bag are items that the Encourager might use to help a friend that is feeling sad or angry. Here are some pictures:

Inside the We Care Bag is a stuffed animal if they are feeling sad and a foam phone that they can use to "call" someone they are missing. We have band-aids that the First-Aid Giver uses and cranky cream (the label is not on this bottle of it) the Encourager and I can use to soothe a sad friend.

There are different squeeze toys when someone is mad (we practice being caterpillar calm and do some hand motions as we practice taking deep breaths) and the bottle with the pom-pom balls is to help an angry friend calm down as they pull the pom-pom balls out of the bottle and focus on THAT instead  of whatever is making them mad. The STAR wand and bubbles are something the STAR Helper uses and I can share more about that in another post if you are interested.

The Encourager's job is very important. When a child is feeling sad, angry, or discouraged they are functioning at the brain stem. This is the worst place for a child to be for learning and success to happen. The brain stem is our fight or flight area of the brain. A child must breathe and calm down and move to the frontal lobe for the most successful learning to take place. Also, when a child is functioning at their brain stem they are NOT hearing what you are saying and there is NO point in trying to reason with them until they calm down!

This might mean the Encourager needs to go get the sad child a stuffed animal to hug so they can calm down. Or the Encourager might go sit by the frustrated child for a bit and encourage them as they get started on their work. The Encourager is like a cheerleader too celebrating the child as they calm themselves down or attempt to try and do the work that might be hard for them or that they don't want to do.

All of my kiddos become encouragers and cheerleaders to each other. They celebrate each other ALL of the time and "Way to Go" is one of the most used phrases in Our School Family. If you want to read more about the job of the Cheerleader click here.

Watching them encourage and celebrate each other is one of the sweetest things I have ever seen. Part of me has gotten so used to it that I forget to realize how special what is happening in our classroom really is. One of my toughies this year told me "Thank you for loving me like no one else does."

Another one of my kiddos (who was actually not the Encourager this past week) was talking to one of my kiddos who was under the table crying because he was feeling very frustrated making his torn paper snowman. He said, "Ms. Price and I believe in you and know you can do it. Come on out and I'll help you get started." After he got started, my other kiddos all started give him Way to Go's. The Cheerleader celebrated him with her horn and the Kindness Recorder added a kind flower for the child who helped the sad friend. Another friend added both of them a helpful heart to fill our bucket. ALL of this was done without me stepping in and saying anything! My heart was smiling!

I would love for you who might be new followers to go back and read the other posts I have shared about Conscious Discipline. It will truly touch your heart and the heart of each little one in your room!

Now, on to the *freebie*!

2 of my kiddos are still have trouble with short vowel sounds so I made a little penguin vowel sort for them! I hope you can use it with your kiddos! =)

graphics by DJ Inkers

As always, please leave me a heart note! Each one makes my heart smile! =)

From My Heart to Yours,

62 heart notes:

Rachel said...

Love the bag and the idea. Thank you so much for sharing! Always look forward to your posts:)

Mrs. Cupcake said...

The We Care Bag is a great idea! I also have many students who come from iffy home situations :(

A Cupcake for the Teacher

Traci said...

I always love reading your conscious discipline posts. Some kiddos are just overflowing with need for this kind of love.
Thanks for sharing.
♥ Dragonflies in First ♥

Amanda said...

Love this! I have a couple of children in my classroom who could really use something like this. I will have to give it a try! thanks!

Crayons and Curls said...

I love your We Care Bag! It is so cute! Did Sewing Sassy make it? :)
Love this post! :) Thank you for the cute freebie! :)
Crayons and Curls

Heather's Heart said...

My great buddy Carla made the bag. If you are interested in her making one for you, here is the link:

Heather's Heart

Tara said...

I love the bag and all the different "jobs" for the kids. What an amazing idea....I agree...there are too many kids who don't even get a hug at home:( I also have to thank you for the reminder to love unconditionally....I usually know that but this week has been in a kiddo flipped a bookcase tough and I was quite frustrated with him!!! Thanks for the reminder again:)

4th Grade Frolics

Kelley Cirrito said...

I am excited to use your freebie! It will be a great review for my kids! I love the bag idea. Many of our kids don't get any affection or love from home. I guess that's what us teachers are here for! :)

Vickie said...

So this post. Most of my kids come from not so great home lives either. I can especially relate with "I don't know the teacher's name" or even what grade the child is in!! So sad.
Thanks for the freebie!
Mrs. Plant's Press

Tammy said...

I've never heard of Conscious Discipline, but it sounds seriously up my alley. I'm looking forward to reading more about it. Thanks!
Forever in First

mystrerdr said...

I would love to find out more about Conscious Discipline. Our school has listened to some of it because our principal bought them, but that was several years ago. I don't know much about it.

I also wanted to thank you for always sharing your goodies!! They are so helpful in the classroom. I also wanted to let you know that your attitude is always so wonderful and it uplifts me and makes me rethink many things and try harder as a person & teacher to be the person who can make a differnce in my kiddos lives.

Lisa Lizak and Beth Wright said...

I LOVE your We Care Bag :) I have so many students in similar home situations and I think this is such a great idea :) I also always look forward to your conscious discipline posts! Have a truly happy rest of your weekend :)

Lisa :)
Made In The Shade In Second Grade

Tarra Mackelson said...

I love your "We Care Bag"! Thanks for sharing!


Amy @ Juice Boxes + Crayolas said...

Your classroom sounds like such a special place :) Thanks for sharing! Love those ideas!

Jamie said...

I love the "We Care" bag. It sounds like you really reach all students on a personal level. Way to go! There should be more teachers like you in this world <3

Jamie at 2nd Grade Stuff

Mrs. Bee said...

Wow Heather, I am so glad that you found my blog so that I could find yours :) I absolutely love it and it is so heart-warming to know that so many children have YOU, a sweet, loving, and God-centered teacher!! You are awesome!

Malarie said...

Wow. Thanks for sharing all of those fabulous caring ideas! Your students are SO lucky to have you in their lives!

Wild About K Kids said...

Thanks for following my blog! I am now following yours! The we care bag is adorable!!! I think the phone to call someone they are missing is perfect. Have a great week1

Sue said...

What a lovely idea, Heather! Thank you for sharing it. All too often we get kids from bad situations, and although we all try our best, it's sometimes difficult to get through to them. I can see huge potential in this little bag :-)

Mrs. Nunley said...

I love the idea of the We Care Bag! Thank you for the freebie!

Emily Brown said...

Heather, thank you so much for visiting my blog. I really loved this post. I am going to read more about the Conscious Discipline School Family here on your blog. Thanks again!! I am also now following you. =)

Ms. Smith said...


Thanks for the sweet post and for following me. I am now following you. I LOVE your blog. It seems like we have similar goals. The whole reason I got into teaching was to encourage and love on kids that don't get that at home and to hopefully instill some knowledge and hope for their futures. Looking forward to following your blog!

Ms. Smith
Adventures of Ms. Smith

Johanna Tackitt said...

Hi there-I am already a follower :-)I LOVE your cheerleader idea...super cute. I am definitely going to be using that in my room! Thanks for coming by my blog!

First Grade Fanatic!

Mrs. Beard said...

Just wanted you to know that after reading all of your posts about conscious discipline, I got the book and am beginning to slowly implement it in my class. I love it! Thanks for sharing!

Unknown said...

Thanks for the freebie! And I L.O.V.E. reading about conscious discipline. Please talk/blog all you want about it. It's nice to read a book, but it's really helpful for me to hear the ideas being put into practice by a 'real' teacher. Thank you! ~Heidi V.

katherine. said...

Hey Heather! Thanks for finding my blog! I've been reading through your posts and you've got some great ideas - I'm so happy to be a part of the teacher blogging community!

As for STAAR right now, I really have NO idea what to expect! We've just been doing what we can to keep our heads above water both with STAAR and my district's expectations, so I guess we'll see come April! I do know that my team is planning to give our kiddos a practice test day, since not only are they not used to that kind of testing, but now that it's timed, they now also have to understand and utilize time management! I think these test makers don't remember what it's like to be an elementary school student (and they obviously must not be teachers!!).

Hope you're enjoying your day off!
katherine Third Grade Teacher Files 

Allyce said...

ok I am absolutely in love with the CD model! Any information you can share with me about it would be FANTASTIC! I am actually thinking I will share it with my principal this week.

cdeforge said...

wow.. I have followed your blog but have honestly missed the care bag blogs. I love it. I have a newtimer(first grader) who is having a bad year emotionally. I'm having a hard time controlling the anger and the meltdowns come quickly. I think these care abgs may help the oldtimers(second graders)dealing with the students meltdowns. We build our multiage class on understanding eachother but we are having a hard time with this kiddo.
Thanks for the pictures so I can make some bags.
How many bags do you have? One for each studnet or jsut a few in the room?

Kara said...

Heather, thanks for stopping by my blog. I am now following yours, as well :)

I love the Care Bag idea! Thanks for sharing about it! I love that it gets the kids taking initiative with friends who are feeling down, rather than defaulting to tell-the-teacher mode.

Jessica said...

I love the We Care bag! I have attempted to use CD model in my classroom but haven't used at as effectively as I would like. Love stopping at your blog.

Apples and Papers

Christi said...

Hey Heather! Thanks for the sweet comments on my blog! I just read this post and I will definitely go back and read the other Conscious Discipline posts. I teach 8th graders, but they still need caring adults in their life. They also need to learn compassion and empathy for peers. I think a lot of my parents have given up on their kids. Great blog! I am a new follower!

Alissa said...

Hi, What a lovely post :) I am doing the rounds spreading the Pinterest love at the moment. I've just put a link on my blog to add your latest teaching ideas and discoveries from Pinterest if you are interested. Either link up your pinterest board or a post from your blog about your current faves.
You can find it here, From Mrs C @ Excuse Me! Mrs. C

Raina said...

Love the penguin center, so cute! I'm totally printing that tomorrow for my next round :) Thanks

Sarah said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE your stuff!!

I taught my first 4 years in a school just like the one you describe. Its hard on the heart! I wanted to take them home and scrub them up, give them all the love and support in the world and yet that wouldnt fix the problem. So I just LOVED them all day long. I learned the MOST from them I think!!

You are sooo right about the name thing...I will never remember I had a little guy named Bryan and his mom introduced him to me as Pooh-Bear. Hum. What is his legal name? Bryan but he wont answer to that ...we all call him Pooh Bear. Ok. Job one, teach child his name. :( First grade also. Soooo sad. A nickname is fun & cute but YIKES!

My husband & I relocated and now I am in a sleepy farm was a 180 turn the OTHER way! I still think about all those kiddos!!

Thanks for all the LOVE you share with them.

Run Teacher, Run! said...

Heather, Thanks for stopping by my blog. I'm so glad you directed me toward yours! You have WONDERFUL things!

Can't wait to check out the math tubs!

Mary Beth
Run Teacher, Run

Wolfelicious said...

Hi Heather!! Thanks so much for the freebie! I love it and your blog! I am now a follower of your blog too.


Sara said...

That is such a neat idea! It's so hard sometimes to know how to teach kiddos to be loving and encouraging people when they have never seen it before.

Kindergarten Is A Hoot

Lisa Howard said...

This brought tears to my eyes. I live in such an affluent community and work in the same area I live in, that it is easy to forget how different things are for kids in other places. Your care bag is so wonderful. I plan on telling my own children about it tonight.
- Lisa
a teachers bag of tricks

Sheri said...

Heather....I LOVE the "We Care" concept!!! What a great idea!!!! I have Firsties that would greatly benefit from it!!!!
Your classroom sounds like a lovely place for learning and love!!!!
1st Grade Rocks

Anonymous said...


The Penguin Vowel Sort is so cute. Thanks for sharing it.

Glinda from ABCFFG

Holly said...

How the heck do you get so many comments? Are you paying people? Just's because you're so darn sweet and give the best freebies!

Hope all is well with you...stopped by because I haven't "seen" you in a few days!

Crisscross Applesauce in First Grade

Lisa Tilmon said...

Yay! So glad I found your are so right that we have to reach their hearts first! ;)

Hayley Bishop said...

Great ideas! Thank you for sharing. I'm your 700th follower. ;)

First Grade O.W.L.s said...

Oh my goodness Heather! I love this idea. We just had Rachel's Challenge at our school and learned about doing kind deeds, helping others, demonstrating integrity as a means to a chain reaction among all of us. I love the we care bag and may have to steal the idea. I will go back an read your other posts... I am a new follower. Thanks for inviting me to your blog!

First Grade OWLS

Aimee - said...

Thanks for the freebie! I found you through Allyson's blog! I'm happy to be your newest follower and would love to have you come for a visit and return the "love"!!! XO, Aimee

Margaret said...

Thank you so much for this post and great reminder about where our kids needs!

I've reposted a link at my site...hope you don't mind!

Kinder Journey

Jen.MDK said...

Heather, could you help me think of things I could include in a We Care Bag idea for 4th graders? Some of these ideas are fabulous to help calm anger or emotions but they would be a little too young for the older students. I would love some help for ideas to get 4th graders out of their brain stem and into their frontal lobe.
Oh, by the way, bought my first CD book and audio tape last night. You inspire me!!!!