Hear what the educators, administrators, and schools we’ve worked with have to say about us:
Thank you so much for this morning’s professional development. It was uplifting, purposeful, and engaging for staff. I appreciate your dedication to our continued growth and designing work that is meaningful and adapts to our needs. I heard shifts in staff’s language and attitudes during and after the session.
At Dimmitt Middle School, the data team noticed lunch detention was not helping a group fo 6th, 7th and 8th graders. The same students seemed to be there regularly, and so the teachers decided to learn more from the students. Small groups of students met with the school staff and a Sound Discipline facilitator to explore the impact of lunch detention. The students were reflective, articulate and passionate. They had lots of ideas about why detention didn’t work to change behavior. They were creative and thoughtful about how to improve the situation. They requested time to repair relationships with their teachers. They asked to go back to their classroom and either make up their work or help the teacher. The staff listened well and is using the students’ ideas to make changes. When students’ voices are heard, it empowers both the students and the staff.
Like all teachers, I find myself vulnerable to frequent feelings of frustration and helplessness when students don’t behave as I would like them to. Understanding the basic tenet of Positive Discipline, that everyone wants to belong and feel significant, allows me to understand at a deep level that all misbehavior is a mistaken attempt to attain significance.
I am impressed with how positively my students are responding to the changes I am making. They love the compliment circle, are very positive about helping each other solve problems in class meetings, and they are taking more ownership of their behavior throughout the day. They use the bugs and wishes protocol to discuss problems. I feel more effective as a teacher and am very excited to implement more Positive Discipline techniques.
I started the activity with the apple by calling it a word that I heard a lot in my classroom, ‘You’re too light to be a red apple’ and dropped it on the ground. I passed it to the next student who promptly called it stupid and dropped it on the ground. As the apple went around the room, students began to progressively become more forceful with the apple, almost throwing it to the ground. I noticed that the more forceful the throw was, the more hurtful the word or phrase was. The apple made it all the way around the circle until it got to the next to the last student. He looked at the apple, said that it wasn’t good enough and threw it across the circle where it broke in half.
After giving a moment of silence for the students to take in the broken, bruised apple on the ground I picked it up and began the very deep conversation about the broken apple. I put it back together. We talked about how it was impossible to make it whole again even though it was JUST words that they were using. When the conversation came to a natural pause, I quietly went around the room, knelt down in front of each student and showed them the bruised apple.
By the end, my students had concluded that it was their responsibility to take care of the hearts around them. They could either use their words to bruise and break or to make classmates feel like they matter and they belong in our classroom and at or school. This experience has helped my class develop empathy and be more caring toward each other.