Friday Two Cents: New Rules, Positive Behaviour And Discipline

This past week has been a bit trying to say the least. The students in the class are all great yet the dynamic in the room between the students has been a bit … unkind to one another. One of them even told me that they were not being good friends to one another. These are kindergarten students so the social behaviour is something that needs to be taught and encouraged in great deal at school.

With this information the teacher and I embarked on a new inquiry, ‘Being a good friend to each other.’ I was asked to try to develop a few lessons to help the students be kinder to one another. The first thing I thought of was to create a chart of positive behaviour we need to work on. I read the book “What does it mean to be kind?” and the class and I created a chart together. We called it Manners and we came up with a few ideas. The first was saying please, thank you, you’re welcome and I’m sorry as the number one class rule. We also came up with listening to each other, helping others, being patient, sharing and treating others the way you want to be treated.   Not a bad start for kindergarten students.
The next day I reminded the students about these rules by pointing out examples from their own actions when they were and weren’t following the rules they helped to come up with.   Yet I also brought in a couple if things to help solidify these rules. One was a book called “How full is your bucket?” and the other was my Mufasa and Simba puppets.
My Mufasa and Simba puppets helps the students see that the adult lion Mufasa has rules that Simba may not like but they are there to keep him safe. These rules are not there because he wants to be mean to Simba or that he does not like him but because he cares very much for Simba. The moral is that adults have rules for kids because they care about them and they want them to be safe. As well, if Mufasa is upset with Simba for breaking a rule he is not angry with him all the time, he still cares for him. The same is true with adults like their mothers, fathers and teachers.
The book “How full is your bucket?” encourages positive behaviour by using the idea of an invisible bucket to show children how easy and rewarding it is to be kind, appreciative, and caring by “filling buckets.” This is not a new concept for the students but perhaps some reminding will help them. I reintroduced the bucket idea on Thursday and all day Friday they kept talking about filling each other’s buckets.
It feels good to see that they are embracing this idea and the other concepts I have been trying to instil in the students. Yet the one thing I have been doing as well is being very firm when it comes to room discipline. I allow the students free expression yet the rules, manners and the bucket ideas are being strictly reinforced by the teacher and myself. I thought that they may have a problem with the extra discipline I am introducing but it appears that the students are welcoming it. I have noticed a bit more smiles on the students and a feeling of calmness in the room when it comes to the students’ personality dynamics. I guess the drill sergeant in me has a place within a classroom even when I am only there for a short stay. Only time will tell if these initiatives will hold up for the rest of my stay.  

Friday Two Cents: Continuing To Be Positive



Have you ever had the feeling that whatever you do, it just does not seem to go the right way? I had that feeling every day this week. No matter what I did for someone or interacted with somebody, they were not happy within the encounter.

I don’t know why I felt this way. Maybe its how I read their body language within our encounters. I have been working with students and people for many, many years and I think that I have improved in my reading of people’s body language. Something in their eyes or how they stood or even in the tone of their voice made me feel this way.  They seemed tired or just plain fed up.   

Research shows that hugging can heal sickness, disease, loneliness, depression, anxiety and stress

Perhaps it’s just my imagination but I cannot shake this feeling. Yet with every encounter, I have been trying to maintain a positive attitude. I have been saying to the students that having a positive attitude is essential in everything you do. Therefore, in the light of trying to practice what I preach I am putting my best foot forward to continue to be positive. I even gave hugs to people to try to lift both my spirits and theirs.
Maybe it is the time of year. It is June, the warm weather is upon us and the end of the school year is fast approaching. Both the students and the teachers are looking forward to the summer break. I know I for one am looking forward to some down time and perhaps indulge in some personal pursuits.
Is that all that this is about? People feeling burnt out and needing a break? Maybe this is it. People are reaching the end of their ropes and are just waiting for the break. If that is the case then having a positive attitude seems to be more imperative. With four weeks left to the end of the school year being positive could mean the difference between enjoying the last few weeks with the students or just going through the motions. One day at a time.
I prefer to enjoy even moment with people. For you never know what tomorrow will bring.

Friday Two Cents: Positive Over Negative Behaviour



This week, at times, went by fast and at other times was slow to the point of it being painful. This past week was the March break that so many enjoy. It is a good time to relax and take a break from the rigorous routine of the school year. This break I worked at an afterschool program with the students where we went on field trips to places such as a trampoline park, maple syrup making, nature hike and we even went to Disney on Ice. The trips and the students were enjoyable but there were times when I observed other people’s behavior and I was not too impressed.

I think the worst was when we went to Disney on Ice and where parents and children were there to enjoy the show, just as we were. Yet I observed behavior from the parents that would be seen as unacceptable in any classroom let alone in public. The issue was that we as a group had tickets for the show in a specific area, yet some people decided to sit in the seats and I and a couple of students had to sit in other empty seats to enjoy the show. We then had to leave when the seat holders arrived in the middle of the show. I mentioned to the ushers that our seats were in a specific area with a group but people were in them.
I had to wait in the back with the students until the people finally left but not without a few choice words. I was grateful that the two students continued to enjoy the show and not hear what this parent had to say. In the end we did get or seats and enjoyed the second half of the show.
Though this situation did remind me of a paper I read about behavior and how it is passed on from parents to children. We are not born mean or a racist, it is not in our genetics, but it is something that is learned behavior. Those parents showed inappropriate behavior and their children also observed this. Therefore it is reasonable to deduce that the children will learn for this instance and begin to show this type of behavior in the future.

Children learn how to behave from their parents

I should not be too surprised at this. Through my observations of other people with children, the parent’s beliefs and behavior were passed onto the children, being that the children learned their behavior from their parents, even behavior that is seen as inappropriate or anti-social. It would support the findings in the study on behavior I read.
Yet what can I, and others, in the society do to comfort this rude behavior? The study did mention that to confront negative behavior with positive behavior. I am not talking about becoming Mary Poppins and smile at people or letting others role over us, but not propagating this behavior. Being a positive influence will rube off on others as much as negative.
Therefore what is the lesson today when dealing with these types of people? Be positive and do not let others ruin your good time with their negative attitudes. For me I kept my composure and dealt with the ushers and people in a respectful way and I enjoyed my time at Disney on Ice. You can see a few shots of the show below. That person can complain all they want but it did not ruin my time.
As the Dalai Lama once said …
‘In order to carry a positive action we must develop here a positive vision.’ Dalai Lama
I will continue to develop my positive vision so that my positive action can be carried on by me and hopefully passed on to others around me.
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