First Things First {Part 2}

Tuesday, February 13, 2018
a little tardy to the party, Suzanne

I’m glad to see you again, friends!  If your here for the resolution of my relationship issues from last Tuesday, you’re in luck!

A while back, I went to a half-day training about Restorative Discipline (or Restorative Justice).  A seed was planted.  I had this nagging thought- “This is great! But how…?”.  I went on like that for a year.  

This year, I’m proud to say that I implemented Restorative Discipline (we refer to it as Relational Practices) on my campus!

What is Restorative Discipline?
This is a proactive approach to building relationships.  Get in there early, before there’s a problem, and have a positive encounter.  When there’s a problem, it promotes personal responsibility, restitution for those wronged, and instructional time.  Do you hear angels singing? I do!  I want that!!

See! Isn't he smart?!
Sooo…what does this look like?
For starters, this looks like teachers circled up.  At the beginning of the year, the counselor and I lead a brief overview training for our staff.  (If you’re interested in training for your campus, contact Kevin Curtis.  He’s the master and provides trainings all over the state.)  At the end of that day, we divided up, sat in a circle, and conducted a circle meeting.  It was important for my teachers to feel this experience.  I also wanted them to see that it works and would work in their classroom.
The Facts, Ma'am
Who: Teachers facilitate a circle with their class.
What:  Everyone is at an equal level (all sitting or all standing) in a circle.  The teacher facilitates by posing a question, answering first, passing on the talking piece, and staying quiet.  That last part is the hardest aspect of this whole deal!!  
When:  I presented a minimum expectation of circling once a month.  Best practice would be once a week.  Some of my lower grade teachers circle daily as their morning meeting.  (I sound fluent in that elementary lingo, but it’s still weird!)
Where:  Wherever you have enough space: classroom, outside, basketball court, stage, wherever!!
Why:  This is a powerful way to see and hear each member of your class.  Through these conversations, you can build character and resolve conflict.  There are approximately 1,092 videos of classroom circles on YouTube.  First the circles, then the carpool karaoke!
How:  This is an organic process.  As the teacher pose some good questions and watch the students make the magic.

I created a Weebly site to make overview information, resources, and lessons readily accessible to my staff.  You too are welcome to join me in Room 26!

Does your campus implement Restorative Discipline?  What has worked for you?  We are a community of passionate educators who want to create good adults by loving our kids well.  Do share what has worked for you!  Also, are there any topics you’d like to see for future lessons added to my Room 26 site?  Keep loving those kiddos!  If that’s not there, then nothing else really matters.  

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