Saturday, August 16, 2014

We Care Bag- Reaching the Heart of Your Class

I am so excited to share about this with everyone. If you have hopped over to my blog before you probably know how much I love Conscious Discipline. It is AMAZING! Keep reading to learn more about this Bright Idea.....a We Care Bag.

Young children often have difficulty being able to verbalize what they are feeling or going through. The way we often know that something is wrong is through their behavior. The tools in the We Care bag can help kiddos learn ways to de-stress, calm down, problem solve, and learn about ways to handle different emotions.

The We Care bag can also be used to teach your kiddos empathy....and just brings out the sweet hearts ALL of our kiddos have. :)

Here are some of the helpful goodies inside. :)
You can put anything in there that you want and you can easily modify this for bigger kiddos.

One of the tools in the bag are the De-Stressing icons. These are 4 different breathing techniques that can help when a kiddo,,,and even the feeling mad or upset. Often when we are upset we have shallow breathing and our brains need more oxygen to move from the limbic system to the frontal lobe where problem solving takes place. Here is just a little about each one:

*S.T.A.R- Stop Take a deep breath And Relax- This is just deep belly breathing 3 times in and out

*Drain- Make 2 fists and hold your arms out straight in front of you. Tighten all muscles. Then, make a "Shhhhhhh" sound as you let out and release all of the stress and tension.

*Balloon- Interlace your fingers and put both hands on top of your head. Pretend that you are blowing up a balloon as you inhale through your nose and stretch your arms above your head like you are blowing up an imaginary balloon. Slowly exhale and deflate your balloon making a "pppbbbbbb" sound with your lips.

*Pretzel- This one still gets me all twisted up and the kiddos too! :)
You cross arms and legs. Put your tongue on the roof of your mouth and breathe.

You can grab this *freebie* from the Conscious Discipline website. They will give you a better explanation of each icon than what I did. :)

The other things in the picture above are some tools we use to help us relax.

The Star is a light the kiddos can tap it to turn it on 3 times as they practice their S.T.A.R. breathing using the breathing icon above.

The caterpillar is a squishy toy that the kiddos gently rock back and forth breathing while practicing being caterpillar calm. 

Conscious Discipline has a set of books about a character named Shubert. In the books, Shubert has to practice being caterpillar calm when he gets upset. The kiddos learn lots about breathing and de-stressing from those books. :)

The bottle is full of pom poms balls. The kiddos pull out the pom poms one by one. A lot of times this helps when they are really focused on a problem about something not going their way. With the bottle, they get busy on the task and they often forget how sad or angry they are. They calm down and then I can talk to them about what was wrong. :)

Be careful though....this will frustrate some kiddos and make them mad. Ruh-Roh....we don't want that. :)

The light bulb helps them think of other ways the problem they are having can be solved. 
They can get a bright idea too!

The stuffed frog helps comfort them when they are feeling sad or lonely.

The mirror helps them "see" how they are feeling. I usually have an emotions poster in the bag too.

The S.T.A.R. glasses can be worn so they "focus" on calming down and using their S.T.A.R. breathing.

The phone can be used so they can "call" somebody when they are sad or missing someone.
We use the phone A LOT because my sweet little ones at the beginning of the year miss their mom or I have kiddos who have a parent in jail that they sometimes call. :(

My kiddos love to help each other out with the goodies inside.
I usually have Cranky Cream, Boo Boo Lotion, and Dream Cream inside too. :)

The kiddos can ask me if they can get a tool out to help a friend or a kiddo can ask me to get something out to help themselves if something is wrong. I might tell a kiddo "I think we need to get something out of the We Care Bag to help you out right now. Let's go see what we can find."

This bag goes so well with Our School Family job of the Cheerleader because the kiddos want to celebrate each other when they have calmed down and are ready to get their brains working again. :)

Too stinkin' sweet! :)

Be sure and check out tons and tons of other Bright Ideas in the links below.

From My Heart to Yours,

23 heart notes:

Marissa Prue said...

I love this idea! Really great ideas for helping kids to calm down and stay "even-keeled" through the day. I was wondering how you prevent kids from using those items to play? Do you keep the bag in a teacher area unless someone needs it? Would love to hear your strategies for that!

Thank you so much for sharing!
Marissa P.

Jennifer @ Simply Kinder said...

Forget the classroom. I am using this with my own children! Thanks so much!

Jennifer from
Simply Kinder

Mrs. Bartel's School Family (Alyce) said...

How great to heave the cheerleader help celebrate a little person being able to get back to school work. I am adding that in. :)

Paige said...

Love the idea of introducing a "we care" bag to my first graders! My kids come from a variety of home lives (some of which are far from ideal) so it is just as important to focus on their social-emotional growth. Oh, and thanks so much for stopping by my blog :) I've given yours a follow!

Paige from Paiges of Learning

Luv My Kinders said...

Such super ideas for helping children cope when they are experiencing a difficult situation. I am going to have to make a bag like your's. Thanks so much for sharing.

Luv My Kinders

Katie Knight said...

Thank you for this post Heather! Seriously, I did the balloon on just now. It was very relaxing, and I NEEDED that today!

Mirtha Medina said...

Thanks for sharing your knowledge on this topic! Being able to help a child be relieved of stress is very important because this will enable them to deal with their tasks smoothly without feeling burdened.

Shiny Elena said...

Thanks you for such profound ideas! I have noticed that children take teachers not as human beings but as heartless repressers and afraid of them and don't like study at all. We need new vision of teaching where there is less teacher talk and more student talk, teachers create the atmosphere of sympathetic understanding. In this case students won't be searching for the best dissertation writing service, they won't be afraid to confess they don't know how to fulfill this task and ask for help. Educators must inspire an interest to study and gain new knowledge every day and conversation is great way to build relationships between teacher and students!

ann mosley said...

These bright ideas are amazing, thank you so much for sharing. And I absolutely agree, usually it’s rather hard foe young students when we want them to express thoughts and feelings verbally. Teacher must develop these skills at an early age. Otherwise students may end up ordering essays for money as they are unable to create own complex statements. And I really enjoy your exercises. I think that the best way to teach is through entertaining tasks and games. They not only help to improve basic skills but also develop communication abilities.

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