Today was the second day of implementing the Nurtured Heart Approach in my classroom. Last week I used only the positive praise portion of the strategy and today I implemented the consequences portion. If you'd like to read about it, check out the website. I'm in no way encouraged to promote for them, I just really needed a great new strategy to use with a kid who has REALLY been struggling with significant behavior problems. The mom found a set of CD's explaining it, then let me borrow it. We've got home-school teamwork on our side! Click the picture below for a link to the site.
I have to start by saying today was the first day back after the kids had 4 days off during conferences and the weekend. It was a SUPER rough start for several kids. The main concept of the strategy is focusing on the good, even in a terrible moment. I refer to this as "Kill them with Kindness." For instance, the focus kiddo was off task so I complemented him for being so quiet because it's respectful to his peers who are focusing on their work. When he was bouncing in his chair I complemented him for working so hard on his assignment. When the kids are being good I flood them with specific praise. Not just "hard work," but "great focus on your letters." Instead of "good job" I said "thanks for being a good friend by sharing." Many of these things are basic teacher skills. Super easy to just step them up a few notches.
The consequence is a simple "reset." I must say, I had my doubts on this one. The reset I agreed on with his mom is for the student to sit and count to 60, then come right back to his task. This seemed an absurd consequence for a behavior disruption and I really wasn't so sure how this would work. The idea behind the consequence in this system is that it is NOT the focus. The focus is making good in class SO EXCITING that being bad and counting to 60 keeps him out of the fun.
The results of today:
SUCCESS!! Okay, well I mean success in the same sense that cleaning a room sometimes makes a GIANT mess before it all comes together again and looks great.Haha. The deal is you say "reset" and nothing else. No other feedback for the bad behavior. The kid knows they've done something wrong if they are getting a reset. Anyway... counting to 60 seemed useless at the beginning of the day, and didn't seem like a consequence at all for the action. But the trick is that a kid with a big behavior problem breaks a lot of rules.
So the first time or 2 is simple and easy. But then by the 25th time my student had to go count to 60 he was so angry he screamed "I'M TIRED OF COUNTING!!! I'M NEVER COUNTING AGAIN!" And then he tried much harder to follow the rules. When he was calm and in a good mood he told me he really didn't like counting and I reminded him he'd only have to count when he broke a rule. So the less rules he breaks, the less he has to do that. I was super excited about this. I don't think you understand, consequences have never worked for this kid. He's always been just as happy to be on a bad behavior chart color and a good color. He enjoyed sitting on a bench when other kids played, he thought having us ignore his bad choices was fun, and he couldn't care less about earning rewards. Today was the first day where he actually cared about his consequence. Even better... He actually got all of his work done for the first time since...well...ever! YAY!! Don't get me wrong... today was a mess and it did take at least 25 times of making the kid count which means at least 25 rules were broken, but it's progress. We finally found a motivator to do better. He was testing limits and today I won that battle. He found his limit and had a great end of the day. He went an hour and a half without breaking a rule!
Stepping it Up!
Today I also focused on encouraging the kids to "give each other complements." A big part of Nurtured Heart is lots of praise, but I'm doing 3 things at once in my multi-age class and it's just not realistic for me to praise every minute or 2. So I created a rule that when you want to tattle or be bossy you have to stop yourself and find someone to give a complement to instead. All this cheerful positiveness is contagious, and now every time a kid moves up on the behavior chart and on to a better color all the kids in the class cheer for them. It's great!
Last but certainly not least, my FREEBIE in case you missed it on Friday.