|Principal & Clinic|
Brain State Poster Set
Friends and Family Board
We Care and Wish Well
Staff members will have jobs just like the students in the classrooms. These jobs provide an opportunity to contribute to the School Family in meaningful ways. Many of the jobs for adults will be related to rituals (Kindness Recorder, We Care, etc.) and celebrations (birthdays, maternity leave, holidays, etc.). The School Family Job Board helps manage these jobs, but you will need to modify the cards and job descriptions to meet the needs of the adults in your school.
Create a list of the school-wide routines and rituals you are using. From this list, select the jobs that are appropriate to be shared among staff members. You will need enough jobs so each person can have his or her own job. If you have a large staff, it may be helpful to break up tasks associated with rituals and celebrations. For example, a Collections Person can be responsible for reminding others to contribute for a celebration, while a Purchaser can be responsible for buying the gift and the Ordering Organizer can be responsible for ordering celebration lunches. You may also wish to assign some jobs to a small committee (We Care Committee) rather than an individual (We Care Person). Rotate jobs weekly or monthly.
The Kindness Tree in the teachers’ lounge helps educators 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).
Decide on a way to record kind and helpful acts. You might use a tree or flowerpot similar to ones used in the classrooms, or simply fill a fishbowl with slips of paper detailing the kind acts. The Kindness Recorder will share a handful of these kind acts at each staff meeting.
Additional ideas for the 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.
The We Care Center provides a way to express empathy, encouragement and compassion for others. It is every bit as essential to provide this opportunity to the adults in your school as it is for the children. Empathy allows us to offer our goodness to others, fosters caring and helps empower us to own our feelings rather than blame or attack others.
The adult We Care Center will consist of preprinted cards, blank cards, attractive stationary, a book of inspirational quotes, a sketchpad and drawing materials, and other tools for creating notes of caring for others.
Chapter 15 of Creating the School Family contains detailed information about creating a We Care Center. Chapter 6 of the Conscious Discipline book explores the importance of empathy to developing emotional intelligence and wiring the brain for self-control.
The School Family is a part of a larger community—your community! The Community News center is a bulletin board for sharing local events, after-hour gatherings, _____-wanted notices, and more. Need a workout buddy? New restaurant opening? Garage sale? Dentist recommendations? Coupons for the county fair? Invite staff members to share these things and more on the Community News Board to increase connections within the school, and between the school and the community.
Post a bulletin board with the title “Community News,” and keep index cards and pushpins nearby so staff members can post their news. Everyone is invited to post events, but the Community News Person’s job is to manage the board by removing outdated materials and adding new events discovered throughout the week.
The Friends and Family Board builds community and connection, and links the School Family with the home family. Each classroom has an individual Friends and Family Board, and there is also a centrally located school-wide Friends and Family Board. Your teachers’ lounge Friends and Family Board is the place for staff members to share personal pictures of themselves and their families, increasing their sense of connection.
Take pictures of staff members and invite them to bring in photos of their families (pets, too). Label the photos with staffers’ names and job titles, and place the images on the Friends and Family Board. Update the images as needed throughout the year.
Creating the School Family provides extensive background information and activities for your Friends and Family Board, some of which can be adapted for adults.
The Celebration Center celebrates life events, individual achievements and contributions to the School Family. In the classroom, it is a way for children to honor themselves and each other for events they feel are important. Similarly, in the teachers’ lounge it will be a way for staff members to celebrate accomplishments, events, etc., for themselves and for each other.
Create a bulletin board titled “Celebrate” and leave index cards and pushpins nearby. Encourage staff to post pictures and written accounts of things they want to celebrate for themselves and each other. Administrators, be on particular lookout for things to highlight both big and small, school-wide and individual, and remember this is a place for a diverse collection of celebrations (not just test scores and behavior counts).
The teachers’ Safe Place serves the same purpose as the one for students; it facilitates the change from upset to composed.
A comfortable chair or loveseat will serve as your Safe Place in the teachers’ lounge. Fill a basket with tools that might help adults self-regulate. A journal for reflection, a Friends and Family book, inspirational books and note cards, soothing music, and an I Choose Board are all helpful items to keep in an adult Safe Place. Invite teachers to add items they find soothing.
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. Place 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.
Making a commitment activates the prefrontal lobes, produces serotonin and promotes mindful attention. Making a daily commitment reaps all these benefits and more.
Each adult will need an item to represent him or herself for the daily commitment. Decide if your school will use photographs, decorated craft sticks or trinkets, and then have each person bring in that item to represent himself or herself.
Select a person to write a daily school-wide commitment or assign “Commitment Person” as a staff job. Staff members who agree to the commitment will put their representative item into a commitment box or bin each morning.
Chapter 8 of Creating the School Family contains detailed information about commitments.