I am the mommy to two amazing redheads and a teacher who has spent the last 18 years teaching children with special needs. Most of my career was spent in Preschool or Kindergarten. I love the early childhood years! I say it's because I'm just a big kid and I get as excited about learning, exploring, and getting messy as the kids do! I left the classroom at the end of last school year to pursue my career as a trainer, coach and blogger! I am a Conscious Discipline Certified Instructor and spend the majority of my time teaching adults new strategies for classroom management and social emotional learning. I am intrigued by the kids that present some of the most challenging behaviors. My hope is that I can share ideas and information that will help you see how to use music, movement, art, and really great books to help you address the needs of even the most difficult child and ignite their passion for learning.
I told you I had a SUPER SWEET idea in store for you today, so why delay any longer!?! This bulletin board idea will get you and all your little ones hooked on looking for kindness for sure! The title of your board could be "Kindness is Super Sweet" or "Stuffing our Stockings with Sweetness".
Have small groups of children marble paint some candy canes. Start by printing out this candy cane printable. I like to use old paper box lids to contain the mess. You can use marbles OR I like to use some cheap little jingle bells so the kids can sing along as they paint! The main thing is to have something that rolls! Mix a little bit of peppermint extract into some red or green paint and put a glump of it on the edge of the paper as shown.
Let the kids work with a partner to roll the bell back and forth to add the stripes to the candy cane. Cut out the candy canes and use them around the edges of your bulletin board.
Bring in some real candy canes along with some type of sour candy. Allow the children the opportunity to taste the difference between sweet and sour. Lead a discussion about how our behavior can also be sweet and sour. List some of the things we do that are sour (hurtful) along with some of the things we do that are sweet (helpful). Help children discover which one they want more of in their classroom. Hopefully everyone agrees that SWEETNESS is best! Give them lots and lots of ideas of how to be helpful. Maybe you could even role play some helpful acts and take photos to post around the classroom and along the edges of your bulletin board!
Now comes the good part! Cut out a WHOLE bunch of little candy canes. You could use this printable or make up your own! Whenever someone does a kind act you slap one of those candy canes up on the board and say the following to the child. "You ________, so __________. That was super sweet (or helpful, kind, caring, generous, you get the idea)"
Here are a few examples:
"You pushed in your chair, so everyone could walk past. That was helpful!"
"You picked up the trash, so our classroom would be clean. That was thoughtful!"
"You hung up her coat, so she could find it. That was super sweet!"
Here's a little poster to help you remember the words to use. You could post this right up there on the bulletin board to help everyone remember! Before you know it, everyone will be oozing with sugary sweet behavior!
For more ideas on teaching kindness using the Elf on the Shelf, check out this post over on my blog! Happy Holidays! Hope it's SUPER SWEET!
These ideas are based on the concepts from Conscious Discipline by Dr. Becky Bailey. For more information check out the website at: www.consciousdiscipline.com.