Welcome to the School Climate Control Course. This course will show the benefits of a positive school climate and will provide techniques, strategies, and activities that will help improve learning and help students feel emotionally safe. Let's Get Going!
Hour One – Respect
Lesson Objectives - By the end of this one hour lesson the students will have a grasp on what a positive school climate looks, sounds, and feels, like and what can be done to build greater levels of respect in their classrooms.
Presentation on the Principle of Respect(Control
Answer The Following Question:
In 200 words or less describe what you believe a positive school climate looks sounds, smells and feels like. Also give a short explanation why a positive school climate is also a safe learning environment. If you are taking this class with others for instance at a faculty meeting or are sharing at a PD conference share with others and take the time to exchange ideas.
Below are three scenarios. One involves a bully, the second one involves a victim, and the third a bystander. Read each scenario and then post what advice you would offer each student about their behavior. Then determine some strategies that you might use to strengthen your relationship with the students in order to prevent future inappropriate behaviors from occuring. Remember teaching respect is the key and we as teachers we need to think on our feet and make this quality the cornerstone of our classroom.
Scenario One: Bully
Charlie likes to torment Michael who always seems to be talking during class. He figures it's okay to pick on the kids who disrupt the class.
What advice would you give Michael and what consequences should be considered?
Scenario Two: Victim
Tim likes to be the first one in the classroom so he can write messages such as "Ben is an idiot" in big letters on the chalkboard. Ben knows that Tim is doing this but doesn't think it's a good idea to tell the teacher. "Tim will beat me up if I tell on him" he thinks.
What advice would you give Ben and how could you help him to develop a different thought process.
Scenario Three: Bystander
John makes fun of Steve for having an alcoholic father. Jim hears the insults but doesn't say anything. He figures that Steve is tough enough to stand up to John on his own.
What advice would you give Jim and how would you encourage him to help out his classmate.
After listening to The Respect Song take some time with your class and write your own classroom Song. You can upload the lyrics or if you like create a youtube video (If students are in it be sure to get prior written permission from parents for their son/daughter to be videotaped). When possible view or read the songs by two other class participants and provide some feedback. Do this activity when time allows. It is a great activity for the week of respect.
Two Excellent Podcasts (Control Click on Title)
Hour Two - Responsibility
Lesson Objective –During this hour participants will be able to understand how to improve school climate through the use of strategies that encourage responsibility.
Life is based on gain and loss. Everyone will ask the question before they engage in certain activities that are risky or there is a chance that they will be caught; what am I going to gain and what am I going to lose? Kids are no different. Unfortunately in schools today the loss isn't quite strong enough and kids will take certain risks even if they know they might get caught. I have included some sample consequences for you to take a look at. Admit tingly there are some there that are pretty tough and might even be impossible to impose. But, take a look and try and consider what would work in your school and what modifications might you make in order for these to be part of your code of conduct. If you are sharing this at a faculty meeting or at an in-service use this list for discussion.
Create Your Own Responsibility Song
After listening to The Responsibility song take some time with your class and write your own classroom Responsibility Song.You can upload the lyrics or if you like create a youtube video (If students are in it be sure to get prior written permission from parents for their son/daughter to be video taped). When possible view or read the songs by other members of your school who are participating in this activity.
Hour Three – Stress in the Classroom
Lesson Objective – During this hour the participants will gain insights and understanding regarding the impact of stress on our students.
Feeling Emotionally Safe
Learning is as much emotional as it is mental. Our emotions sit right in the middle of our brain, and all incoming information has to be filtered by our emotions before it can reach the neo-cortex for processing. When fear hits our emotions, we become overwhelmed and stressed out, causing us to go into survival mode with the fight or flight mechanism taking over. In classrooms where bullies have control and power struggles are common, the students in the room are always under stress and learning becomes more and more difficult. Often, the teacher can be as stressed as the students, causing continuous negative interaction. Always be aware that when bullies and power struggles are handled correctly, and fair, firm, and consistent consequences are imposed, the classroom remains a place of learning and not a battlefield where everyone has to fight for emotional survival. Remember, as teachers we have to assure our students that they will not only be physically safe in our care, but also emotionally safe.
Try and determine the stress level in your classroom or in your school. If you are working on this at a staff meeting or in-service pair up with another staff member and try and determine what can be done to reduce the negative impact of stress in your school.
Helping kids manage stress Worksheets
Read the following article and determine what you can do to help students reduce stress in their day or in their life.
Take The Test To Determine Your Stress Level. Often teachers who experience a great deal of stress in their personal or professional life can create a very stressful learning environment for their student's.
Hour Four – Compliance and Four Principles
Lesson Objective - By The end of this lesson the participants will have a clear understanding of how to encourage compliance in their students and The 12 Principles that need to be in place in classrooms and schools for a positive climate to be able to develop and flourish.
Compliance and the Instruction, Warning, and Correction Model
Instruction, Warning and Correction
Compliance - When we give instructions to a student, we make two very important assumptions that may or may not be true. We assume that (1) they heard us, and (2) they understood us. Dealing with student behavior requires as much instruction as does the academic curriculum. What do you do if you ask a student to do something and they don’t do it? The assumption is that they were being uncooperative or maybe even willfully disobedient. That may not be the case at all. Before imposing a consequence question the student to determine if they did, in fact, hear and understand; leave the child with a warning. The warning is not a prelude to correction, but rather an opportunity to determine if your instructions were clear. If the behavior continues even after the warning, then you can be sure the student is being uncooperative. The trick though is to only give the student one warning. Too many warnings will only frustrate you as the teacher and send an inconsistent message to the student. A student who is a bully may need continued instruction about his behavior. Don’t let his/her behavior stop the process. Lastly, always be sure to impose the consequence after the warning. Never give up, and always be consistent.
Pick 3 of the Strategies/Principles
After listening and watching the videocast and reviewing the strategies/principles pick 3 from the list and answer the following 3 questions:
- What can I now do to incorporate these strategies/principles into my classroom?
- What changes can I make either personally or professionally that will make a difference in the climate of my classroom or school.
- How will I begin to teach some of these principles to my students?
If you are taking this course with other staff members brainstorm together, provide feedback, and share ideas.
Activity – Wrinkled Wanda
Hour Five – Don’t Be An Easy Target/Character Education
Lesson Objective - By The end of this lesson the participants will have a clear understanding of why character education is so important and how to use praise to encourage a positive school climate and a kinder classroom environment.
After reading the description of The Thing I Like Most About You determine where it could be used in your classroom and how you would make the time to fit it in. If time allows try the activity out with your students or maybe even family members and see what type of reaction you get and how it affected the school or even family climate. In 100 words try and describe the student's or family member’s reaction to the activity and share it with another staff member.
Activity – The toothpaste activity – Ask for a volunteer to come up to the front of the room. Place a strip of masking tape on the length of a desk. With a tube of toothpaste have the volunteer run a bead of toothpaste on the length of the masking tape. Now, ask the participant to put the toothpaste back in the tube. Obviously, it can’t be done. This is an example of how hurtful words once said cannot be taken back. Bullies say hurtful words all the time, and need to know the impact that their words have on their victims.
How would you introduce this lesson to your students? Can come up with any variations on the activity that would be helpful in your classroom?
If you are taking the class in a group or in-service share your thoughts with another staff member.
Podcast – White Noise
This podcast is part of The Bully Proof Classroom's Anti Bullying Tip of the Week and was created on January 18, 2013.
After listening to this podcast how will you redefine your approach to praise? Use the list of character qualities and determine what qualities individual students exhibit and do your best to make them aware of their strengths and what qualities they need to work on to achieve success.