Why I chose this book
I chose this book because I have been wanting to learn as much as I can about restorative practices and how to implement them in my classroom. This book came highly recommended by many people in my PLN.
Major Take Aways
The authors didn’t waste any time redefining classroom management. Which I was pleased by because I don’t particularly like that term. They refer to classroom management as defined by Cassetta and Sawyer,
about building relationships with students and teaching social skills along with academic skills.page 2
I fully agree with this definition of classroom management and believe that my relationships with my students are paramount to being a successful teacher. I also believe that students will always mistakes and they are essential that I, as their teacher, help them to learn from those mistakes. Behavior needs to be taught just as academics.
I love that this book talks about the importance of goal setting and reflection to students learning social skills, problem solving, and self regulation. Kids need chances to make choices and learn from those choices.
Restorative practices aren’t mutually exclusive from rigorous content and instruction and they are not a replacement for rules. The book explains that rules need to communicate high expectations, be consistent, and fair. When misbehavior happen or rules are broken, it is in the role of the teacher to figure out what has caused the behavior. Finding the cause of a behavior isn’t excuse making, it’s about finding a way to help the child solve the problem they’re dealing with.
One of the biggest things I learned from this book at the restorative practices are more than circles. Circling up and building community and solving problems are a huge part of it. It also includes adults tone of voice and word choice, conferencing with individual and small groups of students, questioning, teaching students to dialogue about problems and solutions, and relationship building.
It’s extremely important that we separate humans from the unacceptable behavior. Teachers must speak to students with respect and from a place of love. “We have to learn to focus on restitution rather than consequences.” (page 111)
Making it Accessible for Littles
Explicit teaching and patience are skills most early childhood educators need to reach students. Restorative practices means teachers are calm in the face of heightened emotion, teach students ways to problem solve, and help students navigate ways to communicate their big emotions. Littles need this in all areas of their life.
As an early childhood educator one way I can ensure I’m using restorative practices is to help littles gain the language they need to communicate. I name the big feelings they might be having (beyond happy, sad, and mad). Then help them work toward communicating about that feeling by talking more about the situation.
The book recommends teaching students sentence frames to help them learn to communicate problems and emotions. One it recommends that I use often is,
I felt ____ when ____ because ____.page 88
The Book Study PLN
I read this book along with others around the country with a digital book study I co-facilitate. We discussed the book on twitter and flipgrid weekly. The twitter conversations happened in September – October 2018 on #FlipBookStudy. And you can check out our video conversations here: https://flipgrid.com/carrotssticks. It was great to connect with others while reading this book to see ways they were already implementing restorative practices and new things the will try. I was able to ask questions, bounce ideas, share my ideas, and learn for others!