Sunday, July 28, 2013

Composure Cubes

Come on...admit it...when it is time to go back to school we could all use a LOT of help with keeping our Composure.  As much as I love school supplies, the details involved and length of the lists these days can be a bit overwhelming!  When I took my kids shopping for their supplies I needed more than a couple deep breaths to keep everything straight. 

I thought I would share this little game with you so you can help your children (and yourself) keep it together while you make preparations to head back to school this fall!  These could be used at home or in the classroom setting.  Breathing helps us disengage the stress and give much needed oxygen to our brains so we can keep thinking and learning AND keep our cool! 

In my preschool classroom we called this game "Rock and Roll".  It is appropriate for children any age, just modify it to whatever works for you and your kids. 

I found these bouncy foam dice at the Dollar Store a couple of months ago and I knew I would find a fun use for them.  In fact, I am leading a make and take workshop next week and we are all making these fun cubes!  Two for a dollar!  What a great deal!

Head on over to the Conscious Discipline website and look under the Resources tab to find the printable breathing icons.  You will also find instructions on how to do each breathing technique. 
I want to make sure you know that you really need to practice deep belly breathing in order to reap the benefits of the breathing techniques.  Say it with me, "In through the nose, out through the mouth."  Make sure your belly rises, not your chest.
In order to cover all 6 sides of the dice I added two more relaxation techniques that are helpful.  I added Stretching and Bunny Breathing.  To learn how to do Bunny Breathing you can watch this video over on the Loving Guidance channel of Youtube.


Once you have printed out all the visuals and laminated them to the right size just add some Velcro and you are good to go!

This game can be played in an individual, small group, or large group setting.  It is a great part of a Brain Smart Start or a short brain break during the day to help you practice breathing so that when you hit stress head on, you have some tools ready to go!  You can go conscious and NOT CRAZY!

So gather some kids around, grab the dice, and shake it as everyone says, "Rock and ROLLLLL!".  Throw the dice out on the floor and see what comes up!  Practice doing that breathing technique three times while focusing on belly breathing and then roll again!

Hope you have fun with this cheap and easy way to help your kids (and yourself) disengage stress and keep on shining!  It's like two for one...

Friday, July 26, 2013

Pete the Cat Goes Back to School

It's that time again!  People are rushing around finishing summer "to do" lists, buying school supplies, and trying to get back into a routine so the transition back to school won't be quite so tough.  One of the things on my "to do" list this summer was to learn how to make printables that I can share with my readers for use in the classroom or home.  I hope you enjoy this little Pete the Cat download that I created for you!

This post is part of a Back to School Blog Hop with 19 Indiana Bloggers.  I hope you enjoy visiting each of these amazing bloggers who are so passionate about sharing their brilliance with you! Each one of them has a Back to School freebie that you can download.  If you follow the blog hop allllllll the way to the end there is a "Reader's Choice" giveaway for a $75 gift card of your choice!  That would be a nice little back to school bonus!

With the return to school comes lots of different feelings.  My sister and I were joking the other day that you know your a teacher when you get excited about back to school supplies.  There is an odd thrill that comes from walking into Target or Wal-Mart and seeing rows of back to school supplies!  Oh the joy of pointy new crayons and smell fresh Play-doh!  Don't get me started on colorful new folders and crispy clean notebook paper! 

Although there is some excitement about new supplies, new teachers, and seeing friends again after a long summer away there are also many other feelings involved in going back to school.  Some parents may feel sad about seeing their little ones heading off to the big yellow school bus for the first time.  Some children feel disappointed that they didn't get the teacher they wanted or frustrated that all their friends are in another class. 

This summer I have had the pleasure of sharing a book study with 16 other educators on Dr. Becky Bailey's book Managing Emotional Mayhem.  I have become so much more conscious of the way I handle my feelings and help my children handle theirs.  I used to think that if I just ignored their feelings and tried to "happy them up" everything would be fine and those difficult feelings would go away.  This book study has helped me realize that the opposite is true!  When I acknowledge their feelings and help them handle them, they learn new skills and how to manage their feelings.  As a result actually pass more quickly.  By focusing on the phrase let it be I am learning how to stop the temper tantrums (mine, not theirs) and regulate my own emotions through this 5 step self-regulation process.  Now I know a better way!

One reason I love Pete the Cat is because of the way he handles himself when the world doesn't go his way.  He steps in all sorts of "stuff" as he walks along in his brand new shoes.  I know how upset I get when I just step on a piece of bubble gum...I can't imagine how angry I would be if I stepped in a huge pile of strawberries and my brand new shoes were ruined!  Not Pete!  He keeps walking along singing his song and quickly accepts what is.

Here is the printable activity to go along with Pete the Cat.  It helps children practice some of the skills necessary for self-regulation, specifically pausing between the upset and the response.  It usually doesn't come as easily for us as it does for Pete!  This activity could be used at home or school along side your reading of the story or as an extension activity after reading the story.

Click here to download the activity packet for free

Each time Pete steps in something you will Velcro on a new color of shoes.  For example, when he steps in strawberries, you will Velcro on the red shoes.  Now we kick it up a notch by adding a breathing technique (STAR, Balloon, Drain, or Pretzel).  We would say, "Breathe with me Pete, you can handle it."  Then the children practice the breathing technique with Pete.  Next, you might like to discuss with the children how they would feel if they had brand new shoes and they stepped in some strawberries.

By adding the breathing technique when Pete steps in a pile of strawberries we are helping the children see that taking a deep breath can help them keep their head on straight and continue walking along with their brilliance.  When we get triggered and don't take the time to pause, we react to these life events out of our upset and sometimes behave in ways we later regret.  So let's practice with Pete so we can all find more brilliant moments like this Cool Kitty! 
Keep the children actively involved with the story by having them help you change Pete's shoes and select the various breathing techniques.  For more information about the breathing techniques visit and click on the resources tab.  There are more pictures there as well as instructions about how to do each of the breathing techniques. 

I put some extra Velcro on the back of the poster so I could easily store all the pieces that go with Pete. 

Hope you continue to enjoy the rest of the posts in the "Indiana Goes Back to School" blog hop!  Make sure you hop all the way to the end so you can sign up for the $75 giveaway!  Wishing you well as you head back to school!  Hope you can breathe and keep walking along and singing your song just like Pete because it's all good.


Saturday, July 13, 2013

Help for Little Ones Who Sometimes Bite

I have worked with lots of  little ones who sometimes bite to get what they want.  They just don't know what else to do!  I know how frustrating it can be for adults to work with little ones who bite, but imagine how frustrated they feel when they don't know any other way to get what they want or lack the impulse control to "use their words".

In order to help kids have the skills they need when they want something you have to practice.  While I was on my walk today this little song started churning in my head.  I decided to add some cute clipart and make it into a poster to share with you.  My assistants have always teased me about my uncanny ability to put just about anything to the tune of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star". 

I would encourage you to use this song during happy times when you have the opportunity to practice.  You will give the children lots of opportunities to get someone's attention by tapping them on the arm or leg and then ask for a turn.  You will also help them practice what to do if the other child says "no" when they ask for a turn.  It is important to learn that sometimes you have to wait.  This song will help you practice and you could add some simple sign language with it as you teach it to the children.  Suggested signs would be "play", "friend", "please",  and "I love you".

This song is sung to the tune of none other than my favorite, "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star."  Here is the link to the download
Dr. Becky Bailey has an intense biting protocol that she shares in her Infant Toddler Trainings if you are interested in what to do with chronic biters.  You can see more about Conscious Discipline training opportunities by visiting the website:

Friday, July 12, 2013

Indiana Blogger Meet Up Lights a Spark!

Today I met with 14 other bloggers from all over Indiana for a day of sharing and fun! We talked all things bloggy, ate Mexican, and enjoyed connecting with one another.

These women are such an inspiration.  I feel so honored to be among such amazing teachers inspiring people all over the world as they share their love for children and their love of teaching through their blogs.  I hope you'll take time to visit the other blogs in this Linky Party and see a sampling of the talent from the Hoosier State!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

I Love You Ritual: "Row, Row, Row Your Boat"

Each week I get the pleasure of working with this delightful family in their home as they learn how to use Conscious Discipline with their little charmer.  We have been learning some new I Love You Rituals and "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" is their favorite right now!  Check out this adorable video!

Who can't help but smile from ear to ear when you see something that cute?!?  Cute they are, but I Love You Rituals are so much more than cute!  They are a fun and purposeful way of helping us make connections with our children through a loving relationship so that we can literally wire the child's brain for impulse control, cooperation, and willingness.  Who wouldn't want that?

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Two Day Conscious Discipline Workshop Hosted by Ignite Learning LLC

I love summer vacation!  If your summer has been like mine you have had lots of lazy days, fun with kids and without kids, as well as time to read and learn a few new things.  I have been leading a book study at our local elementary school on Dr. Becky Bailey's book "Managing Emotional Mayhem."  Each Tuesday I am joined by about 17 other educators who are interested in learning a better way of handling upset...theirs and their children's.

Managing Emotional Mayhem
Lots of great insights and questions have come out of our book study.  One conclusion that everyone is beginning to reach is that they need to know more.  They are learning how to manage emotional mayhem, but they realize that in order for it to reach maximum success it needs to be implemented within the structure of the School Family environment of Conscious Discipline
A great opportunity is being offered in Anderson, IN on July 19-20.  I am hosting two full days of training with National Presenter and Conscious Discipline Expert, Karen Hickman.  To learn more about Karen watch the video below.
Our focus this year is the "why" behind Conscious Discipline.  In this engaging and interactive workshop you will practice assertive communication, fine-tune your responses to tattling, learn how to empower victims and teach aggressors how to get their needs met appropriately.  Not only will you learn to identify factors causing aggression, but you will also learn how to eliminate power struggles.  This workshop will focus on teaching skills that help Create a Positive School Climate.  The workshop objectives are:
  •  Learn clear and assertive communication techniques so children learn their words are more powerful than their hands
  • Describe how to transform hurtful interactions into helpful communication
  • Make the shift from seeing "misbehavior" as a problem to a call for help or love
  • Describe how to use the School Family/Connected Family model as the basis of your behavior management system to help meet the social and emotional needs of all children
Visit my Downloads page for more information and to get registered.  Registration is only $140 and you can make payment via Paypal using the link in the sidebar.  Hope you can make it!