Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Thinking Chair

At MCS we strive to teach respect and responsibility. We've adopted a program called Responsive Classroom, and each teacher has been trained to implement the ideas of RC.

A lot of RC principles focus on the area of discipline- both proactive and reactive.

Proactive discipline includes working together to create classroom rules, and lots of modeling and practice.
The question is what do you do when a student misbehaves?

Soon after our rules were created in Kindergarten, I introduced the thinking chair. The thinking chair is one of the pieces of our "Steps to self control" plan. Steps to self control goes like this- If a student is misbehaving- they first get a "reminder"- really not a big deal, a reminder can be used if a child is calling out during circle time, running to line up, or any other type of rule breaking. I stress to everyone that all people- not just students- sometimes need a reminder and then they can fix the problem.

If a reminder is given, and the behavior continues (in a reasonable time frame of course) then the student is asked to "take a break" this means they quietly walk to the thinking chair which is in our classroom strategically placed where they can still see the lessons and sit quietly. I have a minute timer which they flip so that they know when to come back and rejoin the group. In general this is the end all of the behavior. I always tell the Kindergartners that everyone takes a break sometimes, and it's just a little deal. It really is- I always cringe when parents tell me that they ask their child if they had to take a break as soon as they get off the bus. I really stress that it isn't a big deal- just a tool to help us get our self control and remember rules and expectations in the classroom. I have even gone to the thinking chair myself. This form of a time out has proven very successful for most students and keeps our routines going smoothly.

After visiting the thinking chair if a student still struggles to turn the behavior around- they are asked to take a break in a buddy teachers room. This room is prearranged among teachers here at MCS and the expectations are consistent. This is where it turns from a "little deal" to a "big deal". This is also the time when I would notify parents and document the behavior with administration. This is rare occurrence in Kindergarten, but does happen occasionally.

The expectations in the classroom are clear, and students take responsibility for their actions.

On another note, we had a great week. Four Winds, 10 minute word writes, and playing were some of the highlights! Here are some pictures from a week of fun! Please enjoy! 

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