Hi friends! 🙂 Recently, my principal had us read an INCREDIBLE article by Mother Jones. It was titled What if Everything We Know About Disciplining Kids is Wrong. It spoke to my teacher heart in so many ways, and we are using it to frame a lot of the discussions we will be having this year.
I am the first to admit that last year was a tough year for me…I moved away from a clip chart, and tried to really revamp the way I was handling classroom discipline. I did end up using Dojo at the end of the year, but I still tried to make sure that most “discipline” was happening in the form of conversations with students, natural consequences, and lots of teaching. This next year, I am hoping to do these same things. I did learn that you need a lot more structure! That is one of my goals for next year…to really think through my routines and procedures even more.
But I wanted to share some of the things I have come to learn over this past year, through books I have read, conversations with mentors, and the article I mentioned above! Please know I am just sharing my heart, and it is NOT my intention to make anyone feel like they are doing something wrong. I want to encourage everyone that we are making a difference, and we have the power to change the future of the sweeties around us.
This was a really powerful take away for me this year. Our classrooms definitely DO need to be well-managed for learning to occur. Learning can’t happen in chaos! 🙂 But…it’s even more powerful to have kiddos that are learning how to self-manage. Children who can take these self-control skills to the next grade, and to their future.
Children aren’t born knowing exactly how to behave…we have to TEACH them. When they are angry, we have to teach them the correct way to handle it. When they are sad, we have to teach them how to express that. If they are scared, we have to model for them how to handle that emotion. If we don’t, they will do what comes naturally…which could be a tantrum, tears, etc.
Tina Bryson talks alot about the “Red Zone” when students are too upset to be able to think clearly. Often, their worst behaviors happen in this “Red Zone.” We have to teach kiddos how to come out of that, and HELP them out of that. Some students have never seen a good model of behavior…and others have something that might cause making great choices difficult.
I believe that every behavior has a function…kiddos are behaving a certain way for a reason. It’s our job to figure out that reason so we can support them. ABC (Antecedent-Behavior-Consequence) charts are SO helpful when we look at this. This is a common tool to use in behavior RTI, but I think it can be useful for any student that is struggling with their behavior. You can click the picture to grab your own copy!
The goal of an ABC chart is NOT to prove to an administrator that you are doing the right thing. It really isn’t…I promise! 🙂 The goal is to see what the student is receiving after their behavior…often, that is the very reason they are behaving that way.
Every time I have used an ABC chart with a student, I have begun to see patterns. Sometimes I can see these without documentation, but usually, it takes writing it down and looking at them all together to notice. Once we know the patterns, we can put things in place to support them! For example, if you begin to see that a kiddo acts out when he has to stop an activity before he is done, we can give him a warning…or a timer. Or we can give him a folder to keep his unfinished work in and he can work on it at various times during the day. There are ALWAYS solutions…we just have to work to find them.
I try to ask myself this when I’m making classroom decisions…only you can answer that for your kiddos and classroom. But I try to ensure that if I’m using a clip chart, or Dojo, or economy…or anything else…I’m following that with a conversation about what to do in the future.
This is a hard topic, and I worried about saying it. Of course, there are situations that a child is not safe in a classroom. But, sending them to the office is a last resort for me. Once they leave my room, I can’t control what happens to that kiddo. I don’t get to determine the consequence…I don’t get to contact the parents about it. I do all I can to keep my kiddos IN my room…Even if that means having an administrator come to my room.
Children DO need consequences…just like we do, haha! 🙂 But I try to make sure that consequences are natural. For example, when my sweetie drew all over the bathroom walls, he cleaned them. When one of my girls said something hurtful to another friend, she had to draw her a picture. Ask the child “how can we fix this situation.” They almost always come up with some great suggestions!
When I am angry or upset, the way my husband responds affects our relationship for a long time AFTER the conversation. It’s the same with kiddos. Our reactions shows the child “I love you and I want to help you through this” or it doesn’t. I KNOW it’s hard…teaching is HARD. But I try to remember this in every reaction I have.
These books have changed my classroom. I believe they are changing classrooms all over the world! 🙂 They are all available on Amazon and I promise they are worth reading!
I can’t wait to hear your thoughts!! 🙂 🙂 🙂