Thursday, April 9, 2015

Conscious Discipline

Happy Thursday,

I am currently on spring break, watching some day time TV and making sure lesson plans are up to date. :) I just wanted to post a blog about Conscious Discipline.

Our school started this conscious discipline journey back in January. We were using a school wide system of the cards from August to January. The students had 6 cards and when they did something wrong or broke a rule they had to pull a card. Their consequences were, 1 warning, 2 time out, 3 silent lunch, 4 laps at recess, 5 parent contact and 6 office referral. This system was very confrontational. My students did not respond well to this system because once they pulled one they couldn't go back and being in 1st grade my students did not know how to move on and not let that one card pull affect the rest of their day.
The first half of the year was very rough, students were fighting, yelling screaming not nice to me or to their peers. I had to do something, since the system was school wide I couldn't get rid of it but I did modify it. I noticed myself talking with kids and giving them more chances and warnings before card pulls would happen. The behavior decreased a little bit but I still found myself in competition with other teachers as to who could have the most write ups in a day.

Having that management system was very stressful and I felt like the students were not being kids they were becoming robots. In December our principal made the announcement that we were switching school wide management systems. We did not get any answers or have any consequences in place for our students. Going right into winter break we did not know what to expect when we got back in January. We were only given the Conscious Discipline book by Becky Bailey and told that our card system was done and we could throw it out. We were also told we could not use clip charts or any physical management system.

To be honest it worried me. I am a third year teacher and this was the first year that we had a strict school wide management system. My first two years we used PBIS the firs year we tried the above the line and below the line but the parents and the students did not seem to care or understand what it meant. My second year was still PBIS but we were given the option to use whatever system we wanted in our own room. I was using class dojo and morning meetings. I loved it and kids responded well to that program.

Then when this school year started with a  new principal and a new management system, I was not sure what to expect.

Needless to say, beginning conscious discipline I have gained my love for teaching back, the kids are being kids and I have had way less stress.

The whole conscious discipline system is set up to help kids learn how to self-regulate themselves and to make the right choices because they know its the right thing to do. It becomes internal motivation for the students. It allows me to teach the kids how to act and what the right thing is. I have been able to talk with the students when issues occur and talk through them as to why they did that behavior and get to the root of the problem. It also allows for peer talking and communication with each other, the students are using their voice to tell each other when something bothers them and giving each other choices and options as to how to make better choices.

This system also helps students learn how to deal with and cope through stress and everyday life that happens. A lot of my students have very rough home lives and come to school with a million things on their mind and learning is not one of them.

Anyways since starting this journey I have loved the results I have seen. The students are being kind with each other and noticing the positive and good things that other are doing. I love the morning meetings that help the students get off to a brain smart start. The students are making connections with myself and each other and it is helping them become a school family.

The students have more of a willingness to learn vs a feeling of fear because they don't want the consequence. The students are loving the feeling of connections and friendship that they are building within the classroom and the school.

After saying all of this over spring break I have been working on some resources that I can use with my classroom and you might want to try and use within yours.

Have a look at my Teacher Pay Teacher store for morning meeting cards that include greetings, activities, share ideas and things to use as messages.

Just for sticking around and reading this long post here is a freebie that I had made a while ago, those of you that follow Jens Kinder Kids probably got it off her blog but I was the one who created it so you can get it free here too. It is a small sheet that helps students notice the good and kind things that the other students are doing.

Click here to Download the Shot out form. 

Thanks for sticking around and let me know if you school does Conscious Discipline too. I would love to connect and brain storm ideas.

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