Thursday, August 15, 2013

Taming the Wild

I love today's title for Teacher Week Thursday: Taming the Wild! Such an important part of establishing the beginning of a successful year. During the beginning of the year I do many things to not only learn who my students are, but to give them structure that will allow for social and emotional growth. I always start day number one!


We learn what it means to be a bucket filler! A different staff member will take a day reading to our little ones and discussing what it means to be a bucket filler. When it is more than just yourself reading and discussing, it brings together a greater sense of community and they know other teachers know the first grade expectations!

Our building has a school motto - PRIDE. Each letter stands for something: Perseverance, Respect & Responsibility, Integrity, Decision Making, and Excellence.  We do social stories, skits, and review this but it carries through from K - 5. Our classes buddy with an older class and they do some fun activities here too. It's ahhhhmazing. We even do a little craftivity!  Look these redbirds showing PRIDE!

Students take home PRIDE stickers throughout the year and it's fun to see them track them on their takehome folder!

The biggest thing we do throughout the entire district I teach is to help build inner wealth through the Nurtured Heart Approach. Have you heard of it?  The best. thing.ever! As a teacher, you recognize the good in your students encouraging them to make better decisions and they build up self esteem. I recognize the students for what they're doing right in a situation and they build off of that. For instance, even if a child is refusing to do their work I might say to them "I notice you have your pencil out... that shows me you're ready to begin your work." I don't say "get to work."  It seems corny but it totally works. If students are not doing what they need to, we "reset" just like in a video game. I'll model when I need to reset. Soon students begin noticing postives in each other and we share them as a class.

 It does seem a little corny, but I swear it works! I studied with one of the authors of the Nurtured Heart Approach and the feedback I recieved was amazing. I had a troubled student and it helped make him not only aware of what he was doing but he wanted to change it on his own. He wanted to be noticed more. 

The key thing about this approach is not to be a negative nelly! Focus on what's going right, not wrong!  PRAISE, PRAISE, PRAISE for what's going great!  It could even be a class or group "notice" or "reset" too.  It's easy to focus on the bad, but when you think about it, so much is going well. I realized I  became a better and more relaxed teacher when I started implementing this.

Have a great night... see you tomorrow!


  1. Lauren,
    I've never heard of the Nurtured Heart Approach, but can't wait to read more online! I am right there with you on focusing on the positive, and am so happy to have found another resource for doing so.

  2. lauren- its me, Melissa! From the Chicago meet up a few years ago!?!? How are you? I am trying everywhere to find your email address!!!! I have a question for you!!! :) Can you email me? Melissa :)