Monday 26 October 2015

Top Strategies for Helping Children Develop Self-Regulation

During the 2015-2016 I had the fabulous opportunity to collaborate with my colleagues Tannis Foulds, Ashley Stenerson, and Lynda Hornby. The four of us were all feeling a strong need to help our students develop their abilities to regulate themselves. After all the better our students can self-regulate themselves then more learning can happen in a calmer and more focused and respectful environment. At the end of the year, based on the research that we had done and the experiences we had in our classrooms, we developed the list below.

Top strategies for anyone who lives with, hangs with, or works with children to help children learn to regulate themselves:

-set boundaries/limits for children
-clear expectations for behavior
-be firm
-help kids figure out why they are doing what they are doing
-help them understand the consequences of their behavior
-help them come up with alternative behaviors
-remind/teach manners
-model the language i.e. how are you feeling?
-use “when...then..” consequences and following through consistently
-deep breaths
-teach mindfulness, i.e. chime, breathing
-model our own self-regulation strategies i.e. self talk - “well I’ve done all I can do now so I just need to stop worrying”
-self-sufficiency - teach kids to do things for themselves - age-appropriate responsibilities
-plan ahead and help children understand what is coming up that day, or that week
-model empathy
-encourage well-rounded interests while supporting strengths
-teach/train kids to focus for age-appropriate time lengths

Friday 1 May 2015

Odyssey '15 on February 20th, 2015

Sometimes when a Professional Development day falls so close to a report card deadline it can be a tad challenging to keep my mind on all the new ideas being presented and feel excited to get back to my classroom and try new things. However this Pro-D day was exceptional! I really enjoyed the three sessions that I attended and took away lots of solid and fledgling ideas on things that I want to try in my classroom. I feel excited to implement what I learned and the ideas that I formed while there.
My first session was “DL Coaches Unite!” presented by Sandra Averill. The main point of this session was how to help promote digital literacy in our schools. Personally I came away with three exciting ideas that I plan to implement. When it comes to using the iPads with the students, a real thorn in my side has been the amount of troubleshooting that I end up doing. When I spend so much time trying to solve problems and then pairing kids up because we can’t resolve issues with certain iPads, it leaves little time for actually doing meaningful learning activities. Sandra helped me come up with a plan that I think will help immensely. Stay tuned for a future blog entry on how that plan goes! We also discussed a few creation apps that I would like to explore further with story writing. Finally, we had been discussing some simple ideas that might be of interest to teachers who are a little more leery of technology and out of that I formed a terrific idea that would mesh well with my school’s reading goal. I plan on teaching my students to record themselves reading in PhotoBooth on my teacher laptop. Their job will be to pick a “good fit” book to record themselves reading. The idea behind this is to encourage them to hone their skill at choosing a “good fit” book but when the kids get efficient at it, I will have some recorded reading assessments and still be able to monitor the rest of the class. Plus the children get to choose their own reading material which is another aspect of reading that our school wants to work on.
The second session I attended was “Inquiry-based Learning in Grades K-3” presented by Brenda Boylan. I have heard others speak on inquiry learning a few times and I did a lot of inquiry learning when I taught intermediate. However primary comes with the challenge of students with less independence and less self-regulation. Brenda really helped me envision more ways of bringing inquiry learning into  my primary classroom without sacrificing a healthy learning environment. I already bring a lot of inquiry thinking skills into my Science activities. We do a lot of activities where we think like a scientist and determine what we will do to answer a scientific question. Then we make a prediction, carry out our experiment, record our observations and reflect on what we learned. After Brenda’s presentation, I will try some of the activities she suggested that promote inquiry-based thinking skills like: Object a Week, Wonder Window, Inquiry Notebook or Wonder Book, and I would like to post her Recording Thinking Prompts at my writing centre for writing prompts. Brenda also suggested books to read to our students about inquiry-based learning and she gave us some Scholastic Literacy Place Inquiry Unit book lists as well as their  Inquiry Process poster. Gotta love a ProD presentation that gives free stuff!
My last session of the day was “iMovies” presented by Katie Ropchan. Katie showed us a few examples of how we might use iMovies in our teaching: to introduce yourself, to showcase clubs, and for student projects. As a primary teacher I would like to have an iMovie going during Student Led conferences to highlight learning activities and one to show at the end of the year to celebrate the school year. Katie gave us a handout that addressed the different areas that we might want to use like: importing, transitions, themes, or music. I’ve played around with iMovie before but I got a lot more done while working on it in a group with Katie’s support and the handout. I even had a clip of all the photos that I’ve taken of my students this year that I was able to show them on Monday!
I really enjoyed Odyssey ‘15. So grateful to SD#35’s Professional Services for organizing a Professional Development conference with so many choices. It allows me to choose presentations that are meaningful and inspiring for my teaching practise.