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,

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Kindness Recorder-A School Family Job

I cannot believe summer is almost over. A new school year always makes me nervous and excited. One of my favorite parts of going back to school is building our new School Family. One of the best ways to do that is through Our School Family jobs. So many of the jobs encourage and foster kindness.

The Kindness Recorder is one I adore!

We start by reading the story Mrs. Spritzers Garden.

We talk about how to take care of a garden and flowers and what Mrs. Spritzer did to take care of her garden of children. I tell the kiddos that to help others grow into something beautiful we need to treat them with kindness. We then brainstorm a list of ways we can show kindness to others.

We also listen to the song "Looking for Kindness" from this Conscious Discipline cd.

The job of the Kindness Recorder will be to add kind flowers for the helpful and kind acts that they notice others doing. I bought the flowers at the Target Dollar Spot.

When the Kindness Recorder adds a kind flower they tell that person:

I am going to add you a kind flower for __________.

The person it is being added for replies:

Thank you for noticing that.

I also bring in 2 different flowering plants. One we take really good care of and the other I will pull petals and leaves off of when I see or hear something mean. I won't say who it was and I never do it right at that moment. I might say "When we were down at the restrooms, I saw someone snatch the paper towel someone had just rolled and they didn't roll that person more. Was that kind and helpful?" As the week goes on, we look at the two different plants and we talk about the difference between caring for one with kindness and being hurtful to the other. This makes a HUGE impact on the kiddos.

The Kindness Recorder brings a smile to my heart daily. It amazes me how quickly the kiddos start to notice kind acts from others...even me. At the beginning of the year, I do a lot of modeling of this job before I turn it over to the kiddos. I also will help the Kindness Recorder "notice" these kind acts if they might be having a little trouble noticing those acts themselves....but the other kiddos are good at pointing them out too!

There might be times when one of my "toughies" is showing kindness that I really want to celebrate and notice....or I might want to celebrate the kiddos who are always putting others before themselves. So, I made some little notes that you can send home with any of your kiddos to celebrate those sweet kind hearts.

Conscious Discipline says that what you focus on you get more of and what you strengthen in others you strengthen in yourself. So, think about adding some kindness to your classroom this year with the job of the Kindness Recorder. :)

It is easy to forget how just a little kindness can bring a huge smile to someone's heart. :)

From My Heart to Yours,