Friday, June 15, 2012

Power Up....with Conscious Discipline

When I was little, I had the Wonder Woman Underoos....of course, I had a vintage pair because I am still celebrating my 21st birthday, right?

When I stepped into the classroom, no one told me I might need my super powers again.....but we  ALL do. Our kiddos often come into a completely different world when they step onto the school campus. They are thrown into a world with rules very different than home and they are expected to conform to those rules without question because we are the adult.

Most discipline models are built on the foundation of rules and for most teachers We Love Rules because we understand how those rules/procedures are essential to making our classrooms run smoothly. Our rules are usually upheld by consequences such a flip your color card or move your clip. The goal of consequences is to obtain obedience. Those who are compliant are rewarded and those who aren't are punished (receive a consequence). Fear is often the tool that the teacher uses to attempt to control the children. The teachers often rely on manipulation to get the children to behave a certain way. Even if the child knows, he/she can change his/her choices and move the clip back up, the brain still perceives the action as a threat and the child moves out of the frontal lobe of the brain where optimal learning and problem solving occur. 
Conscious Discipline p. 12 

Now, this does not mean that your kiddos are scared of you or that your classroom is not a well ordered, fun, and loving place. This also does not mean that consequences cannot be part of your classroom. But here are the beliefs a classroom built on rules reflects: Conscious Discipline p. 12

*It is possible to control others through environmental manipulations where you are the judge.
(This is moving clips, flipping color cards, treasure box, etc) 

*Rules govern behavior.

*Conflict is a disruption in the learning process.

I am guilty of #1. When I used the "I like the way _____ is _____" I was manipulating the other children to copy the child I was focusing on and it worked....usually with everyone the majority of the time. So, I did say to myself Why do I need to change what I am saying when it is working? If you want to read more about moving away from judging with your words to noticing, hop over here.

I have also used rewards as a form of manipulation. I am guilty of still having a treasure box even though I rarely use it. I have said things like "You are being helpful. When you get back to the room, you may _____" When I said that, I knew I was feeling frustrated by the behavior of all my squirrelly stinkers  a few toots another child and I was wanting them to change their behavior. I know at times we often feel like we need to reward the kiddos who always are making good choices. But then I found myself realizing, what message does that teach them? I like you because you are good?

 I know teachers already struggle with children who always seem to be asking what are they going to get if they do __________. When is the last time you got a reward for doing the laundry or a cop pulled you over and gave you a gift card because you were driving the speed limit?

When I started reading CD, I realized what messages my beliefs send. Yes, they are little and may not be fully understanding the message and yes, everything I teach is often "undone" when they go home and see completely different behaviors and beliefs. But I believe, God can use me in the time I have to make a difference. Yes, the conflicts our kiddos face at home are more than ANYONE should have to bear but I believe those are the kiddos that are crying out for our love and imposing tons of consequences on them is not teaching them the tools to find a better way to handle situations and their emotions. And neither will making excuses for their behavior...I believe you love them enough to let them know that what they are doing is not okay.

When it comes to #2, I disagree completely when I stop to think about it. At first, I want to say heck yes rules govern behavior. But as teachers, we know that modeling is a huge part of setting the expectations for our classroom. We cannot come up with a list of 5 rules, post them, and then expect everyone to follow them 100% of the time just because they are up there on the wall.... not even if we repeat them daily with cute hand motions. We cannot just say use your words because the words they choose to use may not be very nice or since they are frustrated because they still  don't know what to say, they hit instead. In Our School Family, we don't have rules. We have our commitments and our heart promises. The way we go about learning them is very different than the way I have seen and read about rules being introduced into the classroom.

The big one is  #3. I am sure I am not the only teacher that might breathe a small sigh of relief when Little Miss or Mr. Toot is absent for the day. It is sad but true that the absence of 1 child can make a HUGE difference in our daily classroom environment. There have been times when my mouth filter has popped off and I have said, "When you were absent yesterday, we didn't have anyone doing things that a bucket dipper would do. Hmmm, I wonder what that tells me." I did apologize to that stinker kiddo later when we were having Counseling 101 Session 167.

When I first started using the language of CD, I felt as if I was running out of words because CD is all about talking right then and there. There are times when I have to help that kiddo calm down first because you need to remember: When a child is functioning in their brain stem, they are not hearing one single thing you are saying. They are in the fight or flight mode and your first priority is to get them to calm down. There is no go put your head down or go move your clip. You stop then. This was hard at first because you have 17+ other kiddos waiting on you as you try and help kiddo 1 and kiddo 2....but it will work and save tons of time in the future.

Here is the big WOW moment for conflict: Conflict is the opportunity to learn a missing skill or to let go of a limiting belief. Remember, the only person you can change is yourself. =)

When I first started reading CD, this question gave my brain the big AH-HA:  Does our connection with others foster our respect for rules?

This is where the School Family comes in and one of the main reasons I fell in love with CD. The School Family is built on communication and connections where the goal is to create problem solvers. These problem solving tools will teach us how to respond instead of react to situations and the connections made in the School Family actually shape the structure and function of the brain. Your School Family will become a place where love is expressed through safety, cooperation and respect.

Are you still with me? Am I bunny hopping all over the place???

Put down everything you have been using while you fight battles in your Wonder Woman costume. Here are your 7 Powers of Self-Control: p. 15

*Remember change must start with you and these powers will help you be proactive instead of reactive.*

1. Power of Perception: No one can make you mad without your permission.

2. Power of Unity: We are all in this together.

3. Power of Attention: What you focus on, you get more of.

4. Power of Free Will:  The only person you can make change is yourself.

5. Power of Love: See the best in others.

6. Power of Acceptance: The moment is as it is.

7. Power of Intention: Conflict is an opportunity to teach.

When you start to work on building these 7 powers within yourself, you will begin using the only 7 Skills for Discipline you need to handle conflict in your classroom. These skills promote a peaceful inner state in children where they are then free to learn, cooperate and help each other be successful.

Here are the 7 skills you will use to help be proactive to the situations that come up in your classroom. p. 15

1.  Composure: Becoming the person you want the children to become.

2. Encouragement: Building a school family.

3. Assertiveness: Saying "no" and being heard.

4. Choices: building self-esteem and will power.

5. Positive Intent: creating teaching moments.

6. Empathy:  Handling the fussing and the fits. One of my favorite and most used skills =)

7. Consequences: Helping children learn from their mistakes.

These 7 skills for discipline will then instill in children what CD deems the 7 basic social skills:

1. anger management
2. helpfulness (kindness and sharing)
3. assertiveness
4. impulse control
5. cooperation
6. empathy
7. problem solving

When I look at those skills, I want them not only for myself but for the kiddos I teach. What good is learning and mastering curriculum skills and standards if you are a mean bully who cannot hold down a job because of your temper and your impulse control?

As we start this CD journey, we are only going to address the Power of Perception and the Power of Unity this summer. These are the powers that you will need to begin the school year and they are full of wonder ways to build your School Family. Throughout the school year, we will go through the other powers adding one at a time and having time to practice and implement them in your classroom. This is the way Becky Bailey has set up the CD journey.

I don't want to throw at you questions about Chapter 1 and the Power of Perception because I just gave you a lot to think about and digest. Be reflective but not critical of yourself. When I started, I got upset with myself for not doing a better job helping my kiddos learn these skills but I didn't know better...I had to accept that it is what it is and move on. If you find yourself, questioning the way you do something that is good. If you feel like you still want to hang on to your treasure box and clip chart, that is okay too! =)

I am not here to judge you or in any way put down what works for you. I just ask that you keep an open mind and heart. You will really be amazed when you start to see the changes not only in yourself but your kiddos too! =)

There will still be days when you say to yourself Becky Bailey needs to meet this little friend because she has no idea what I am dealing with! And there are days when I say Becky Bailey has left the building because I left all of my CD tools in the parking lot!

I am not the type of person that thinks I can find the power within myself to do great things. I know I can only change with God's help. I am not one to believe that everyone is special Oprah mentality. (I'll get into being "special" in another post). I want to be in the world but not of the world. If I can make a difference, it is because God is using me to do His work and all of the glory goes to Him.

With all of that being said, I do pray that God might use me to be a person in that child's life to can make a difference.

If you have any questions, please ask but also understand I am no CD expert and I have made adjustments according to my faith and beliefs. I also bring in a strong dose of reality. =)

I would love to hear your thoughts about this post and what you are learning from CD. Thank you for the encouraging heart notes that you leave. They make me smile....especially since my CD posts tend to take hours and hours to write! =)

Remember, the Pete giveaway too! =)

visit it here

From My Heart to Yours,

37 heart notes:

Michelle Hudgeons said...

Heather, you are absolutely such an inspirational person. Your words are always so encouraging and I find myself just getting lost in your posts about CD. I have not read this book, but very eager to start. Thank you for reminding us all why we were placed in this profession.
Michelle @ Smitten With First

ThinkWonder Teach said...

I am so happy to see you write this. I LOVED everything I read in the introduction and it spoke to my heart just as your posts do. I find myself agreeing. Even as a mom, we have very few rules. It is more about creating a safe, loving environment where everyone can flourish. This is what I want in my classroom as well. I am not sure yet what the best method it but CD seems the closest that I have found as of yet and the one that speaks the most to me. Thank you so much for sharing.

Think, Wonder, & Teach

Holly said...

Our principal purchased the book {I already had one} for our entire staff. We are spending our first pd day back to school on it. Should be interesting as many people on staff do not feel on board with it at all...I should share your blog with everybody...just for more info.

Again, thanks for putting the information out there in a non-judgmental way!


Crisscross Applesauce in First Grade

lorajoelle said...

I can't wait to start reading this book! You are truly an inspiration. Thank you for putting your thoughts out there!

Mrs. Webster’s Classroom Connections

Lauren said...

Well thanks, Heather! Now I have to go spend money on another book I want to read!!

It's amazing how things come along just when you need them. I was thinking about my management style (especially with the Daily 5 book study) and this made me go "Woah!"

Thank you for taking the time to write such a good post! I loved it!

Ms. A to Z

Trish said...

I love the fact that you can share with everyone that you are a learner too and you are not an expert! I for one like taking advice from another teacher in the trenches so to speak! I find it harder to take advice from some one who is not "living" it day to day! Your advice is great because it comes right from your classroom! I am so excited about this Conscious Discipline! I am reading Creating the School family right now and can't put it down! Sometimes some of the chapters make me want to write apology letters to all the children I have taught before reading this book!!

Jessica said...

I love how you break the book down for everyone. I am revisiting it over the summer and your blog posts are a fantastic resource. So thank you!!!

J Tilton said...

You are an amazing writer. Now I want to read the book!

Mrs. Reimann said...

Thank you again for posting about this book. I really like that you have tried it and are able to tell us how it works for you.


Allyce said...

I have started reading and I am absolutely loving it! I can't wait to implement what I am learning in my classroom next year. Thank you for your posts!

Mrs. B said...

I read this book so long ago- maybe 6 years ago? It was a turning point for me in how I wanted to adjust my classroom management techniques. I use target talk and positive reinforcement in my kindergarten classroom, especially at the beginning of the year and less so throughout the rest of the school year. I don't feel it is manipulative, when you are teaching expectations. For example, I tell my students, "Thank you for lining up quickly and quietly, we saved time." My kindergarteners learn about natural consequences through wasting and saving time- sense of urgency as well. Just a couple of years ago, I went to a positive behavior support 3 day workshop and I didn't feel as guilty about using a treasure box. I don't rely on it, but I use it more in kindergarten at the beginning of the year, and less so afterwards. It is human nature to do something for a reward- be it intrinsic or external. Developmentally, young children are not motiviated intrisically, but more externally. That is why I don't feel guilty about using target talk and positive reinforcement at the beginning of the year and less so later as I help my little ones find their inner strengths. So, I hope you feel less guilty, because you sound like a caring individual and an awesome teacher!

p.s. I am enjoying reviewing these CD concepts through your eyes, since it has been quite a while since I revisited them!

Kristin said...

You have given me lots to think about. I feel like I need to take notes!!!!!! :)

Deanna said...

Wow, what an inspiration you are. :) I am familiar with CD but definitely not a pro. When we first used it I was happy to ditch my behavior chart. All it managed to do was create stress for the kids and for me. The best quote I learned when using it has to deal with tattling, is it helpful or hurtful? I use this quote daily and it really let's the kids start to think about their actions and why they are tattling. I pray every day on my way to school that God's will be done in my classroom and He has never failed me! I am blessed to have you as one of my followers. :)

Jill said...

Heather, Thanks for sharing this information. I really enjoyed reading it and then looking at it from my own teaching standpoint. I enjoyed the entire article and I appreciate the time you took to right and share. This sounds like book I would for sure like to read. Thanks again. Bless you for your kindness.


M said...

Heather, you obviously take a lot of time to share your learning with us. I imagine you as a wonderfully gentle lady of God simply wishing to serve God in your classroom. I am glad that you are so honest with us. I am so glad that I found you amongst all the chatter of the internet. I am looking forward to learning more from you over the next few months. I am also looking forward to reading about how you establish the school family environment in your classroom.
:) love M

Kayla Holcomb said...

I'm so excited! I just ordered my Concious Disicpline book! Had never heard of it until your blog! I can't wait to start reading it! Love what I have read on your blog about it!

Briawna said...

Thank you for sharing this with us. I'm excited to keep reading more this summer and into next year. I reflect on how I act in my classroom a lot and what kind of example I am being for my students. I constantly ask myself, do I want them to emulate my actions? And sometimes I say no. All of my success in my classroom come from the Lord and sometimes it blows my mind what my children have achieved despite me, it is nice to see someone else who feels the same way. So I am very excited to learn more about Concious Discipline through your blog!

sspeller said...

I am so glad that someone is finally talking so openly about Conscious Discipline. I always get people telling me how "hokey" it is and how it seems so strange to use language like that, etc... and then those same people HEAR my students (who are CD trained and have created such a wonderful little school family throughout the year) using their words on the playground or in the lunchroom, solving their own problems, being kind AND assertive with one another and then they want to know more. How can MY classroom look like that? The bottom line is this: no matter how hokey you think it sounds, no matter how weird it seems to talk like that at first, no matter how much time you think it takes to get it started in the beginning... it is WORTH it! It works! I promise. You spend the time up front but make it up in spades once the kids have it down pat. I love using CD in the classroom and I honestly don't remember what I did before! I am sure it involved pulling my hair out and occasional voice-raising for sure... thanks for putting all of these thoughts down for us to read. It is such a good reminder to keep reading your posts. Especially on a trying day - I remember that it DOES work and that, as Becky Bailey would say, you CAN do this, I believe in you!!! Thanks again and keep the posts coming!!!

Sarah R ;) said...

I just went to my first 2 trainings on CD this week :) I'm so excited to start it in my classroom. unfortunately they didnt give us the book :( so I'll def be reading your posts to see what I need to set up my room! We have 2 more trainings in august before school starts and then a couple more! So excited to start on this journey!

amy said...

I am so glad you commented on my blog. This post has given me a lot to think about. I am looking forward to reading more. I just became your newest follower.
Amy K.
Where Seconds Count 2nd grade blog

Monica said...

Thank you for introducing CD to me. To be honest, I was hesitant at first when I read previous posts about it, because it is hard to think about changing your teaching style and feeling that you were doing something wrong. Now that I have a better understanding, I ordered the book, and am excited to read along with you this summer and throughout the school year. Thank you for your time and effort towards spreading your knowledge with us :)

Treasures for Teaching

The Meek Moose said...

Very cool stuff. Classroom management is one of the things I'm working on studying this summer- looks like a good book for my study.

Juf said...

Hi Heather,
There are a few things in CD that make me question it, but I appreciate your adding a dose of reality, and especially the realization that our strength and purpose come from God.

Anonymous said...

Stopped by after seeing your message on my post....Wonderful posts here and lots to think about! I am definitely getting the book for this summer's reading it!

Owl Things First said...

I've read the introduction and can't wait to bite into the meat of the book. It has been very affirming of so much of what I'm currently doing. To teach a child you must first earn their trust and love. Thanks for introducing us to the book.

Owl Things First

Kim Skipper said...

WOW! This SO makes sense to me! My school did the "Positive Discipline" which in my opinion doesn't work. Then we did " Love and Logic" but to me, it modeled being obnoxious to the children and just created an environment of disrespect and sarcasm they didn't understand! I am SO going to have to get this book!!! Thanks for your insight!!!

Kristin said...

Heather- I am loving the book so far. Finished chapter 2 tonight. Very similar to love and logic. Great summer read to get ready for school.

Sara said...

I am really excited to start the book. I don't have a blog (yet) to blog about it, but I'm thinking about one.

I had a really tough student this year, and wouldn't you know, he ended up being one of my favorite kids ever. (I know, teachers don't have favorites. : )) Many people told me they didn't know how I could be so patient with him all the time. I can only credit lots of prayer and God allowing me to see him has He does.

markriser1 said...

I bought this book years ago and could not for the life of me figure out how to implement CD along with the other behavior management expectations my school has. I now use a clip chart but don't find it works for those students who need more. We are required to have a set of expectations and consequences posted in our classroom along with rewards. I really hope to learn how to use CD this year instead of the normal way of "managing" behavior.

Queen E said...

I just got the book. I am really excited to try something different this year in my classroom. It has always been a struggle for me to find a good system that works for all of my students.

Nancy Breedlove said...

Hey! Thanks for stopping by
I have added the follow button... Thanks to you!
Come back by and follow.
Thanks for letting me know about CD. I've looked into on your blog and look forward to learning more!
See you soon!

pesha said...

Awesome!!! To those interested I say dive in get the books! Becky Bailey has written several and her DVD series is worth the money and amazing!!! I am on year 6 of CD journey-- it is a journey for yourself and a way of life. I am a different person. I parent my children differently and my classroom is an amazing place to be. My students use the time machine independently use I message with a big voice. My teaching assistant and I have worked on ourselves the most. The safe place was crucial to my students who have come from states of crisis. I could go on and on and on!!! CD is no hokey it is real but it takes time!!! It also takes your own willingness to change yourself first! Get the DVDs, get the books, go to her conferences you will be riveted!!!

pesha said...

Awesome!!! To those interested I say dive in get the books! Becky Bailey has written several and her DVD series is worth the money and amazing!!! I am on year 6 of CD journey-- it is a journey for yourself and a way of life. I am a different person. I parent my children differently and my classroom is an amazing place to be. My students use the time machine independently use I message with a big voice. My teaching assistant and I have worked on ourselves the most. The safe place was crucial to my students who have come from states of crisis. I could go on and on and on!!! CD is no hokey it is real but it takes time!!! It also takes your own willingness to change yourself first! Get the DVDs, get the books, go to her conferences you will be riveted!!!

Carla said...

Hi Heather,
So nice to hop around your blog! I am so glad you are taking this book and beginning to dissect it for us. I have never heard of this book but would really like to get my hands on a copy! I am familiar with the Responsive Classroom approach and just recently decided to reread The Power of Our Words - By Paula Denton and post a summary and invite others to share their insights, comments and experiences. I would love for you to join in the conversation to share your experience. From this post alone, CD seems to take a much deeper approach. Thanks again for posting!

Playful Learning Brooklyn

Becca Foxwell said...

My heart has been so refreshed by your blog tonight and beats with this statement: "With all of that being said, I do pray that God might use me to be a person in that child's life to can make a difference." I have been reminded anew this school year that "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." Thanking the Lord for you tonight and for the way He has used your words to bless and spur my heart on!


First Grade in Foxwell Forest