It’s very easy for “experts” to find fault with different discipline approaches. I’ve been at this rodeo for over 40 years and I’ve seen many behavior management systems come and go. The bottom line is that YOU have got to do what works for you and your students. Consistency, love, and making the child responsible for his or her behavior always shine through.
Now, I know some people are opposed to positive reinforcement, but it has certainly worked at our house this week. Our 8 year old grandson is visiting and I found an old “treasure” box and a bag of fake jewels. I let K.J. make up his own task card with jobs that he thinks he should be his responsibility. He makes his own check marks and puts a jewel for each mark in the box at the end of the day. He’s LOVING this! I don’t have to remind him to brush his teeth, pick up toys, or put on sunscreen. He eagerly does it and then rewards himself with a check. (We haven’t actually decided what the jewels are worth. He doesn’t seem to care about the reward as much as he does with his accomplishment.)
Several months ago I wrote an article for my website on the “Executive Function.” Task initiation, task completion, delayed gratification, and self-regulation are all incorporated as K.J. reflects on the natural consequences of his behavior.
Last week when I was in Canada they explained the importance of using the “inquiry approach” in the classroom. Instead of answering children’s questions and explaining the meaning of words, let them try and figure it out on their own. It’s the process of getting them to THINK and explain their thoughts that is valued above a test score. I’ve been experimenting on K.J. this week – poor kid! When he asked, “What does courageous mean?” I said, “What do you think it means? Why?” I’m afraid I’m not very consistent with this, but it could be a powerful strategy for parents and teachers. Hmmm! Might be a good blog in the future!
Here’s a cool craft that K.J. made at a pirate exhibit in Charleston last weekend. (How they get adults to dress up in hot pirate clothes and walk around with parrots on the shoulders in 95 degrees is amazing to me!) Anyway, I know most of you could NOT do this at school because it would be considered a weapon. However, if you have kids of your own, grandchildren, or need an idea for a birthday party, it’s really fun. All it takes is a sheet of newspaper, tape, and an oval with a hole cut out of heavy paper. Start rolling the newspaper diagonally. It has to be rolled tightly. Meanwhile, let the child decorate the oval. Tape the newspaper and insert one end in the oval. Bend up the newspaper roll to create a handle as shown. Touche’!
My little pirates!
P.S. We saw SMURFS 2 yesterday and it was ADORABLE!!