News From Room 1

October 9, 2015

District Professional Development Monday 10-12-15: NO CAFETERIA SERVICE TOMORROW

The district has Professional Development tomorrow. Grace has Care but no cafeteria service. Please remember to provide breakfast and lunch from home. Snack is still provided from school.

In Review:

The past few weeks we have explored water in the water table, sand in the sand table. We scoop and dump the sand, fill cups with water and use our funnels to distribute the water or sand. We have used our squeeze apple sauce lids and pipe cleaners to make caterpillars, focusing on our fine motor skills. The children enjoy painting and using markers to create beautiful pictures, working on fine motor skills and art skills. We enjoy spending a morning each week playing in either Graceland or our Outdoor Classroom. During the day and especially during free play we have been building our social skills. We have been doing our school family jobs for about 4 weeks. The children have really taken pride in their jobs. Make sure to ask them which job is theirs each week. In this weeks newsletter I want to focus on some of the language we have been learning and ways we use it in our class. Enjoy the photos and inside look into the happenings of our school family.

Circle Time

During our circle time we have implemented the Brain Smart Start, it has four components. 1. An activity to unite us as a group, we sing or dance to one of our favorite songs and conclude by sitting on the rug for Circle lotion.

2. An activity to Disengage Stress otherwise known as our breathing choices, we use the Rock and Roll cubes for this. Our cubes have icons for each of the 4 breathing techniques of Conscious Discipline, the S.T.A.R, the Drain, The Balloon, and the Pretzel.

3. An activity to Connect, we are using the I Love You Rituals for this, in September we learned Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and for October we are learning Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater.

4. An activity to Commit. This is where we discuss our class commitments. We are combining this with the Safe Keeper Ritual to maximize our time together. We begin with the teachers each announcing "I am a safe keeper, it is my job to keep you safe." Then the teachers say "It is your job to help keep it (the classroom) " and the children reply "safe!" Then we discuss our commitments to keep it safe. We will use Walking feet, We will use soft touches, and we will keep safe spaces. It is cute we have gestures for each commitment and the children have it down and can say them before I do.

We have been adding components to our circle time and the children seem to enjoy it. One of our favorite times in circle time is Wish Well. It is heartwarming to see the Wish Well Helper notice children who are missing and help wish them well, and welcome back friends who have been gone.

Conscious Discipline Corner

This summer I spent a week experiencing Conscious Discipline as a part of a district wide goal to implement the skills and powers of Conscious Discipline in our buildings. During the week I learned many things, a few that I found very important; as an adult I have to be in charge of my emotions, I have to regulate myself before I can help a child regulate, our goal as parents and educators is to teach children to be successful, mistakes (oops) happen and they are essential for learning, and that our brain is a magnificent thing that needs to be developed and if needed repaired and connections are the best way to achieve this. While Conscious Discipline can seem overwhelming, it is broken down into small parts allowing you to learn an area and practice what you have learned. I would like to share what I have learned, I will include in my newsletters a section with information and a skill we can all practice.

I want to start with the skill of composure. One of the tools we use to help us regulate in room 1 is the S.T.A.R, which stands for Smile, Take a deep breath, and, Relax. We read Sophie is a S.T.A.R. by Dr. Becky Bailey to help us remember. Composure determines our perception, and our perception dictates whether we punish and blame, or teach new skills. We teach children to read and do math problems and when they make an oops we coach them through it, the same holds true for self-regulation. Remember no one can make you angry without your permission. Try to see things through positive lenses.

Over the next week or two whenever you feel upset, because things didn't go your way or you feel threatened take a moment and be a S.T.A.R., If you find you slipped and made an oops, remember we learn from our oops' and try again next time.

Feel free to ask me questions

Free Play or Center Time

During our free play or centers, the teachers are engaging the children in safe play on the carpet, at the tables, and in the sensory area. When conflict occurs we address the victim first to ensure they are safe and ok. We are working on using our assertive voice with our friends. Once the victim is regulated the teacher will ask "Did you like that?" We will describe how our victim looks and help them tell their friend "I don't like that!" Some of the children are able to do this on their own and begin by telling the friend to "STOP" alerting the teachers that help is needed. We are learning to tell our friend what we want them to do. For instance if a child takes a toy without asking the friend would say "Stop, that is my work." Then they pause and the put out their hand and in an assertive (not whining, or crying, or screaming) voice they say "Give it back."

Another fun thing we are learning is to ask friends for things. Permission to put a toy spider on their arm, a chance to play with a toy, and even if we can touch them softly or give them a hug. To teach this we use Sophie wants a Turn by Dr. Becky Bailey. It teaches children to use 3 taps on their friends shoulder, to wait for them to look and then to ask. For instance in asking for a turn, we would tap 3 times and we even say "tap, tap, tap" it is sweet, we wait (usually) for our friend to look and the we say "My turn, please." As we learn skills we will be building onto them. Next we will need to learn how to handle when a friend says "No." Updates to follow!

Dates to Remember

Monday October 12th the district has Professional Development, Grace has Care that day but no cafeteria service. Please remember to bring Breakfast and Lunch from home.

Friday October 23rd is Professional Development at Grace and we will have Subs in our room from 8 am to 3 pm