|Principal & Clinic|
Brain State Poster Set
School Family Songs
Ways to be Helpful
The brain is a pattern-seeking device. A routine is a pattern for how to conduct a certain activity. The more consistent and clearly represented your routines are, the more safely, smoothly and cooperatively your school will run.
Post visual representations of your routines for safe, helpful school behavior throughout the hallways. Routines to post in the hallways include procedures for lining up and walking, what to do while you are waiting to enter a room, school assembly entry/dismissal procedures (in the hall outside the assembly space), cafeteria procedures (in the hall outside the cafeteria), bus arrival/dismissal procedures (near the bus line), car lane arrival/dismissal procedures (near the car line) and pedestrian arrival/dismissal procedures (near the pedestrian walkways).
The School Family book devotes an entire chapter to creating routines, posting them visually and supporting them with related activities. The Conscious Discipline book also explores routines in-depth. Music that supports daily routines includes "Skip Count" and "I Gotta Go" on Brain Boogie Boosters.
The Celebration Center celebrates life events, individual achievements and contributions to the School Family. It is a way for children to honor themselves and each other for events they feel are important. (It is not a place where rewards are given for good behavior.)
Each classroom will have its own Celebration Center and rituals. Teachers preselect events from these classroom celebrations to include in school-wide celebrations. The school-wide celebrations are posted on a bulletin board in a central location like a main hallway. Teachers also preselect a certain number of students to share their celebrations as part of the Celebration Ritual in the School Family Assemblies. Additional information about Celebrations can be found in the Conscious Discipline and School Family books.
The first step in helping children be successful is for adults to focus on the behaviors we want to see, and then convey that information to children clearly (with visual aids whenever possible). The more clearly we state the expectation, the more likely children are to fulfill it! Remind yourself to focus on the behaviors you want to see more of, and help children see exactly how to be successful by creating a Ways To Be Helpful Board. Individual classrooms will each have a Ways To Be Helpful Board and/or Book that develops from a class-wide discussion, however, it is helpful to include this structure in the main hallway as well.
Take a moment to focus on how you want your school to run. Write out a list of the behaviors necessary to fulfill this mental image. Use clear language, positive terms and specific behaviors. If “taking turns,” “walking in line” and “asking for help” are behaviors you want to see more of, then you would include them in your list. You will need a way to change the behaviors on your school-wide Ways to Be Helpful Board, so decide if you will use a sentence-strip system, a set of Velcro-backed cards or other interchangeable method. Illustrate or take photos of the behaviors and place them on the interchangeable method you’ve chosen. Post 3-5 of these visually-depicted behaviors on your Ways To Be Helpful Board. Change the behaviors weekly or as needed to target behaviors that arise naturally throughout the school year. Additional information about Ways To Be Helpful can be found in the School Family and Conscious Discipline books.
Greetings provide a way to connect with every student who enters the classroom. As you greet students, noticing their body language provides you with the opportunity to assess who is primed for a day of optimal learning and who might benefit from some additional connection or Safe Place time.
Select a location where you will stand every morning to greet the children. Send the verbal and nonverbal message, “Hello, I’m glad you’re here today!” Props like a greeting apron or a greeting poster offer children choices about how they would like to be greeted. For example, you might put images of a butterfly, a hand, a bear and fireworks on an apron you wear or a poster outside the classroom door. Point to the greeting images, ask children how they would like to be greeted and then share a playful greeting together. (Make up greetings to go with the images.) The Make-n-Take CD-rom contains a helpful template for homemade greeting aprons.
The Brain State Poster Set provides a useful reminder about the relationship between internal state and external behavior, and the interventions that are most likely to be helpful. Understanding how the brain works empowers adults to choose successful interventions.
The Conscious Discipline Brain State Model helps adults assess the internal state that precipitates a child’s external actions so we can choose a response that will be truly helpful. Post these posters in central locations to remind staff of the common behaviors they’ll see and helpful solutions to use when each state is activated.
The Kindness Recorder is a job in the Conscious Discipline classroom that includes age-appropriate props like a flowerpot, kindness tree and/or kindness notebook. It helps the class focus on kind and helpful acts, operating on the Conscious Discipline powers of Attention (what you focus on, you get more of), Unity (we are all in this together) and Love (seeing the best in others). Each classroom will use an age-appropriate way to record kindnesses. At the same time, create a school-wide way to recognize kindnesses in a public space like the main hallway.
Select a symbolic way for children to record each other's kindnesses. (It must be symbolic, not written, in order to include your youngest School Family members.) The Kindness Tree template on the School Family Make-N-Take CD-Rom is an ideal symbolic form. Children put a heart on the tree to signify each kind act.
Additional ideas for your Kindness Recorder can be found in the "Classroom Jobs" chapter of the School Family book, on the Make-N-Take CD-Rom and in the instruction booklet included with the School Family Job Set. "Looking for Kindness" on Kindness Counts supports the Kindness Recorder.
School Family songs/chants help calm and unify the class, preparing all members for a day of joyful learning.
School Family songs and chants often stem from your class or school agreements. The following examples will spark your thinking:
Dynamite Dinosaurs is our name (clap stomp).
Helping others is our game (link arms).
We will do our jobs at school (thumbs up).
‘Cuz our School Family is really cool (back to back with a friend) .
We know how to be a S.T.A.R. (Smile, Take a deep breath And Relax)
Dynamite Dinosaurs give a roooaaar (knuckle tap with roar)!
Adult: “This is Fern Creek, what do you say?”
Students: “We’re going to have a great day!”
Adult: “We’ll work hard to keep you safe.”
Students: “We will help in every way!”