Sunday, August 21, 2016

Peek Inside a Classroom: Effective Education Reform |

Peek Inside a Classroom: Effective Education Reform |



Sandra L. Bloom, M.D.  and Daun H. Kauffman M.Ed., M.B.A.

Classroom insights provided by Daun Kauffman  in true vignettes.

Graphic 2

 I always started school days with my class by sharing a personal greeting and an optional hug with each student, as they entered the door of our room.  They had a comforting routine with coats and backpacks and warmup work on the board ready for them.  They knew that someone who knew them had prepared especially for them.  Our startup was paired with breakfast for everyone, courtesy of Title 1.  The familiarity helped students with self-regulation in the transition to a classroom environment.

Teachers can learn too!
I felt we had a positive, caring beginning to our day of academics, but I couldn’t help but push the pace, especially when days overflowed with Lesson Plans.
That is, I felt that way until a friend who pioneered the development of the “Sanctuary Model,” Dr. Sandra Bloom, M.D., suggested an addition.  With an ear-to-ear smile she pressed gently and politely and respectfully, but oh so firmly and confidently.  She pressed her case to “add one question,” add “just one question”.  Dr. Bloom waited… pointedly and expectantly.  She wanted me to try adding a “Community Meeting” to our daily startup.  “Go around the classroom so each student participates: My name is ___.  One word for my feelings this morning is ____.”
I agreed, skeptically, thinking we already had a fine, “community” startup, and wondering where we’d find the time.
We started with learning the routine.  I added some options to Dr. Bloom’s question:  a) to ‘pass’, thinking that sometimes some of the kids would be dealing with weighty stuff, and b) to add a reason for their feeling or simply say “no reason”.
The first ten days, many simply shared “I feel happy.  No reason”.  Or “I feel sad. No reason”.  So, I began to incorporate “feelings words” into our other vocabulary work and I bought a large wall  poster with visualizations of feelings words.  The kids began to be intrigued.
“Knowing” is not the same as “Understanding”
The “Community Meeting” in the Sanctuary Model “Toolkit begins similarly, as part of building any trauma-informed organization.  Explicit acknowledgement of feelings as first priority, embedded in establishing social norms of safety and caring for each person in the group.
In our school classroom, “How are you feeling?” became central to Peek Inside a Classroom: Effective Education Reform |

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