Saturday, August 15, 2015

Keep Your Cool with Children's Books that Teach Social-Emotional Sills

I LOVE to use children's books to help teach many skills.  One of my favorites is Social-emotional skills.  There are so many creative ideas you can use!  I have compiled a list of helpful books and resources on the handout that you find when you follow this link.  I had the opportunity to share this information with teachers at the Early Literacy Conference in Indianapolis today!  Hope you find it helpful!


Teaching Executive Skills Through Independent Reading Time

Young children have a difficult time managing their own behavior because of immature Executive Skills.  These skills aren't fully develop until the age of about 24.  Adults constantly have to come alongside children and guide them as they develop these critical skills. 

One time in our preschool day that was often difficult for children was the transition from snack to circle time.  Children finished their snack at various times and that meant there was a little bit of wait time for those who finished first.  We offered the children some independent reading time while they waited for their friends. 

Sometimes, independent reading time can be chaotic with young children.  They need help organizing themselves, settling down and getting started with their books, and then focusing their attention to the end.  I developed these "bags of books" for my classroom to help them be more successful.  See this post for more information about how to create your own book bags using cheap bags from the Dollar Store.

To help children be successful we followed these tips:
1. Put books in the bag that individual children are interested in and are appropriate
2. Add visuals to the bag to remind the children what they CAN do while they have the bag
3. Give children their own space to sit or lay quietly to enjoy their books.

Here is a free printable visual that you can add to the outside of the bag to help children make helpful choices.


Friday, April 10, 2015

Top Ten TO DO's of Conscious Discipline

I have the privilege of presenting at the Indiana Association for the Education of Young Children Conference tomorrow!  I will be sharing some of the highlights of Dr. Becky Bailey's program, Conscious Discipline.  If you would like to learn more just follow this link to the handout!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Do You Wanna Build a Snowman?

You have to admit, Frozen was quite a hit in 2014!!!!  It is now one of my all time favorite Disney movies!

I absolutely love the theme of the movie and how it demonstrates the impact that fear has on our lives!  The more we separate ourselves and rely on fear to govern our lives the more "frozen" we become...feeling like control is the only way to win!  In the end we find out that control leaves us feeling broken and alone...frozen

Just when things seem like they couldn't get worse along comes the adorable fun loving snowman--OLAF!!!  Never fear Olaf is here!!!!  Olaf has to be my favorite character in the whole movie!!!  He is such a fun character and I totally relate to his determination and dreamy outlook on life!  What is Olaf's favorite thing???  Well, of course, WARM HUGS!!!! 

So, even though the bottom just fell out of the temperatures here in Indiana and it is FREEZING outside, it can certainly be warm inside if we do like Olaf and greet each other with LOTS of warmth!!! 

I shared four new greetings over on PreK and K Sharing today that will be sure to spread lots of warmth throughout your classroom when you return from winter break this week.  In fact, they are fun enough that they can last all month long if you rotate them periodically!!! 

The post includes a FREE PRINTABLE from my Teachers Pay Teachers Store that you can use to make a quick greeting apron before school tomorrow!!!

I thought it might also warm your heart if I shared some adorable videos that help teach you how to do the greetings so you are ready to make lots of connections with those kiddos tomorrow!!!  My daughter and her friend helped me make a video to demonstrate each of the greetings and they can be found on my Youtube channel!  Here is a sample of "Snowman Greeting!" 

So, go a snowman!!!  Take the time to slow down and share the warmth of a hug or a smile with your children!  By doing so, you do more than just build a snowman...YOU'RE BUILDING BRAINS!!!!

Until next time...I wish you well!!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Behavior is like an Iceberg...What's it REALLY saying to you?

Pop Quiz: 
You take a four year old to the zoo and he begins to have a complete meltdown.
Do you:
a. Take him to the bathroom and spank him?
b. Tell him that if he calms down you will let him play in the water park?
c. Distract him with food or looking at some more animals?
d. Yell at him and tell him how miserable he is and how he is ruining this trip for everyone and if he doesn't stop you're going to LEAVE!!!
e.  Breathe with him and acknowledge these difficult feelings and use them to guide you in your next appropriate step?  
When a child is having a meltdown or giving you fits about are you able to see it from their point of view and understand the message of the behavior or do you just want the misbehavior the STOP. 
One of the key components in helping children change their behavior is seeing it from their point of view.  What message is their behavior really sending and how can we use that to be of the most help? 
I saw an image similar to this one going around the internet several months ago.  I found it very helpful in reminding me that all behavior comes from an internal state.  Once we understand that, we can better guide children in the skills of self-regulation and managing their emotional mayhem.  I made a few "tweaks" to the original graphic to make it line up better with what we teach in Conscious Discipline.  I hope you find it helpful as you remember that if you only look at what you "see" and try to make it stop you're going to run into some problems and we ALL know how that went for the Titanic!!!