au courant

September 28, 2015


As I mentioned in the last au courant, a few years ago, all teachers were required to read Lost at School. Several support staff members chose to read the book as well. A great deal of money was invested in purchasing this book for all staff members. Why? Because Dr. Greene explains so clearly why children struggle to behave at times. Our school's motto regarding behaviour needs to be: Kids Do Well if They Can.
Kids Do Well if They Can Ross Greene #1

What are lagging skills?

Dr. Greene reminds educators to figure out what underlying skills a student is missing, and figure out how to teach those skills. We would never expect a child reading at level D to "perform" at level J. In the same way, we can't expect a child who is missing basic skills of self-regulation and/or executive functioning to "perform" at a much higher level. As with reading, as educators, we need to figure out which skill is lagging, then program for intervention.

And, as with reading, we would back up programming and expectations to the student's point of success, then build from there. That's why having IPPs is so important; they allow us to target lagging social, emotional and behavioural skills as a priority when necessary.

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Establishing Discipline in the Contemporary Classroom

Establishing discipline in the contemporary classroom is a challenge to most educators. The real challenge lies in the implementation of discipline measures and procedures that uphold order in the classroom with understanding and compassion and more importantly, in the development of self-discipline in learners. (p. v)

Successful discipline also depends on educators’ ability to establish positive relationships with their learners. Positive learner-educator interactions depend appreciably on how well educators can relate to a diverse learner population. Educators commonly need to deal with issues regarding race, culture, gender and exceptionality. According to Edwards (2000:14), to reduce the number of discipline problems, the educator needs to make learning more relevant and meaningful, foster independent thinking, show greater acceptance of diversity, encourage cooperative learning, avoid excessive control and discontinue the use of punishment to discipline learners. (p. 59)

Nelsen, Lott and Glenn (in Charles, 2002:105) hold the following with regard to learner - educator relationship:

• Discipline problems gradually become insignificant in classrooms where there is a climate of acceptance, dignity, respect and encouragement.

• Educators must show that they truly care about the learners. This is necessary if the desired perceptions and skills are to develop properly.

• Educators demonstrate caring by showing personal interest, talking with learners, offering encouragement and providing opportunities to learn important life skills.

• Educators can greatly facilitate desirable learner behaviour by removing barriers to good relationships.

By simply avoiding certain barriers, educators quickly bring about great improvement in learner behaviour. (p. 59)

Educators must employ a humanistic approach which includes educators speaking with learners individually, developing mutual respect, modelling desired behaviours, and knowing their learners (Garrahy et al., 2005:60). She holds that respect given leads to respect gained. She therefore urges educators to use quiet individual discussion with learners and not to call out learners on their misbehaviour in front of the class, to use appropriate language when speaking with learners and to avoid sarcasm. One way to analyse your level of respect is to consider how you wish to be treated and use that as a guideline in working with your learners (Babkie, 2006:187). Charles (2002:34) says that in order to develop a solid basis of trust and respect in the classroom, educators must always model the trust and respect they wish to see in their learners. This strategy is linked to the Dreikurs’ model of discipline since it focuses on establishing a classroom climate in which needs are met, behaviour is managed humanly and learning occurs as intended. (p. 60)

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Gabor Maté and Gordon Neufeld are highly respected authors who have studied the importance of attachment:

I'm sure you've heard the phrase... "A student won't care how much you know until he knows how much you care." Every teacher and support staff member knows the importance of building rapport and making personal connections with kids. With our behaviour kids, this holds true a billion-fold. A sense of trust and safety is much harder to establish. They are also the ones who suffer the greatest if we use traditional responses to unexpected behaviours such as time outs, yelling, missing recesses, etc.
Gábor Máté MD Attachment = Wholeness and Health or Disease, ADD, Addiction, Violence

Gabor Maté is speaking at the following event later in October.

Gordon Neufeld: The Importance of Attachment

Gordon Neufeld will be speaking at the following event on October 27.

We have several DVDs at ÉJSMS featuring Gordon Neufeld. Some of you will remember going to the movie theatre in Lacombe to watch this one.

A few years ago, Sylvia, Marlene A, and Ana did some training with WC based on these DVDs. Support staff members might want to organize some Friday flex time to watch one of the DVDs we have at the school. (I'm sure we can spring for some popcorn!)

Gordon Neufeld will be speaking at the following event on October 27.

October 23rd Collaborative Day

All staff members should attend this day. We will start with a staff meeting, and follow with an agenda that will include:
  • Kim presenting on Threat Risk Assessments
  • Zero Hour tests for whole group
  • Kitty presenting on sensory tools
  • RTI topics
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Further to Karen's Email on Speech

If you have a concern, please follow the protocol:

1 - Double check the cum file/confidential file to find out if there is a history of speech intervention.

2 - Inform Karen of your concerns (preferably in print).

DO NOT tell the parents:

- to access the health unit

- to access a private SLP

STAR Meeting, Monday, October 5 @ 3:45

There will be a meeting to discuss the logistics of administering the STAR Early Literacy tests. All teachers should attend, even if you administered the test last year please. It should only take about 15 minutes.

Entrances and Exits

Main Doors - open from 8:00-4:00

B Den and C Den Doors - open at 8:20 (and locked at 9:00 for the remainder of the day)

As you know, we are trying to reduce the congestion in the hallways at arrival and dismissal times. We talked about locking all doors until the last minute, but that practice does not promote the welcoming environment we've valued and been known for over the years. Instead, we are aiming at reducing the number of people in the hallways at any given time.

To help facilitate this, the Kindergarten teachers are now opening their doors for students at 8:20 (this earlier arrival time is included as part of their supervision minutes) with the expectation that all K students are dropped off - and parents have exited the building - before the grade one, two and three students come in.

Kindergarten bus students are expected to enter through the C den doors, because those doors are supervised.

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