Monday, September 19, 2016

Compliments vs Clips, Conversations vs Consequences

Principal ponderings....

Just before school started this year, I read this post by a teacher who writes posts for Two Writing Teachers and who I have connected with on Voxer.  Take a minute to read what she has to say.  Kathleen wrote a very honest post about her struggles and thoughts about behavior management.   She was inspired by another teacher who also wrote about her thoughts on behavior management systems. Pernille Ripp is a teacher who says it like it is in her posts.  She doesn't hold back, and I love her for that!  Take another minute to read her post here.  And at the end of that post, she even shares a link to more posts on the same topic.  Clearly it's something she has been thinking about quite a bit!

Trying to manage behaviors in the classroom is not an easy task.  And while books and blog posts have been written about it and people are always willing to give you lots of suggestions, you are the only one who can figure out how to connect with each of the little humans in your classroom.  You are the one who has to figure out how to change behavior.  Let that sink in for a minute.  I remember when I was teaching second grade.  It seems easy enough to have a plan in mind, and then 24 unique, bouncy, eager, individuals show up in your classroom.  And then your plan...well, if you are like me, then your plan quickly goes out the window and you have to start fresh.

Feedback that I receive every year often mentions how students need consequences for their behavior.  I am actually happy that people think that there should be consequences.  But I am happier that people don't realize that we do utilize consequences all the time with students who make a bad choice.  But we do it privately and with just that child.  It's not done in public, and it should never be done in public.  There is no need to embarrass a child.  Embarrassment does not change a child's behavior.  In fact, I would argue that it might make it worse.

This is a topic that I plan on writing more about, reading more about, talking more about.  I hope you will join me in rethinking how we respond to different student behavior.  For now, read the posts I mentioned above.  Maybe read some others that you find.  And then think about whatever method you use for behavior management in your classroom.  Ask yourself, is this what is best for kids?

Currently reading:
I was very excited to see that the new special edition of Time magazine is titled: "Mindfulness: The New Science of Health and Happiness."  And the line on the back of the magazine pulled me in..."Discover why slowing down and staying present leads to a happier, less stressed life."  This is definitely a personal goal of mine for this year.  How will I slow down and stay present?  Have you thought about how to do this?  Or maybe you already have strategies that you use to be mindful?  One of the articles in this magazine is called "Om for Kids."  The article cites several studies that have shown the impact of mindful practices on students.  It talks about fewer ADHD symptoms, improved focus, better math scores, more kindness and more self-control.  Sounds good to me!

Events this week:
Monday - Don't forget to complete the online staff trainings:
Tuesday - District curriculum half day, 12:15 dismissal, We will all be meeting at SU to work on math, 1:15-4:15
Wednesday - Workout Wednesday! 8:00-8:30 - Movement session with MaryKaye! 3rd grade SPARK assembly @ 9:40 in the gym, K SPARK assembly @ 2:30 in the staff development room, Staff meeting @ 3:30 - writing focus
Thursday - 4th grade SPARK assembly in the cafeteria @ 1:20, 2nd grade SPARK assembly @ 2:30 in the gym
Friday - Scholastic Book Fair Preview in the library, 1st grade SPARK assembly @ 2:30 in the gym

Great things I noticed last week:

  • We had two nurses from Shriner's Hospital come and talk to all of our 1st graders about burn awareness. 
  • Mrs. Taylor's kindergarteners were reading all about finding friends with their Scholastic booklets.
  • Curriculum Night was a success!  I enjoyed popping into all of the classrooms and seeing our teachers doing some creative presentations and activities with parents.  The parents had a chance to hear an intro from me about PBIS and SPARK.  1st grade parents learned about literacy instruction and reading intervention from Grace and Holly.  And lots of parents checked out our new social emotional learning zone! 
  • 3rd graders working with Mrs. Simeone to organize books using alphabet skills and dewey decimal skills. 
  • I caught some of Mrs. Guernsey's students presenting their planet posters.  I even heard some you know what kind of ring Saturn had when he got engaged??
  • Welcome Back Family Picnic was so much fun!  We had music by a pretty good singer (hee hee) and then we were entertained by a magician.  There was face painting, fire trucks, pizza and fun!  
Check it out:
Quick post about finding your "teacher of writers superpowers"!
Love this post humorous post about Twitter and how it might not be your thing!
Let those kids fidget! Read about the importance of movement, especially for our kiddos with ADHD.

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