Tuesday, January 7, 2014

New Year - New Routines

We are settling back into the school routines and have begun to adopt some new ones.  We are continuing with our daily check-ins and using self-regulation tools to help us work independently.  We have stress balls, play dough, pipe cleaners, and other fidgets as well as rocking chairs, bean bag chairs, and pillows to help us choose an appropriate level of stimulation to learn.

In addition to our self-regulation strategies for the remainder of the school year we will be setting classroom and personal goals using the Circle of Courage.  The Circle of Courage is a First Nations perspective based on the “Reclaiming Youth” concept pioneered by Dr. Martin Brokenleg, Dr. Larry Brendtro, and Dr. Steve Van Bockern.  It is based upon the idea that each human being has four essential needs: mastery, belonging, generosity, and independence.  Each quadrant must be maintained so that an individual will remain balanced.  Although it was originally used as a means of “reclaiming” at-risk youth who had been discarded by society, it has profound practical applications in a classroom.

Mastery - the desire for self-improvement and attainment of goals.
Associative Skills - problem-solving, creativity, perseverance, motivated, willingness to accept both challenges and constructive criticism as a means of improving one's skills

Belonging - being part of a community or group, having healthy and respectful relationships.
Associative Skills - trusting, feeling safe, empathetic, respectful

Generosity - being able to contribute to others without expectation of anything in return.
Associative Skills - empathetic, compassionate, supportive, willing to share

Independence - self-discipline, being responsible for one's own successes and mistakes, setting own goals.
Associative Skills - confidence, self-control, self-disciplined, assertive

The Circle of Courage incorporates the essence of what it is to be a successful student.  Someone could struggle in school, but have a desire to improve (independence), be willing to accept help (mastery), support others who are struggling with the same concept (generosity), and be able to ask questions because they feel safe in the classroom (belonging).  The best student is the one who realizes that they have a challenge in a particular area and then proceed to tackle that challenge.

Students will be identifying personal strengths in each of the four areas as well as areas of potential growth.  We will revisit these goals throughout the year and they will be shared at parent/teacher conferences and sent home at the end of the year.

If you have any questions or concerns please let me know.

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