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Monday, April 2, 2012

Fairy Dust Teaching's Safe Pocket System

I am so excited to have just bought this Safe Pocket System from Sally at Fairy Dust Teaching. When I started teaching Kindergarten 5 years ago in a very difficult district, I resisted any Red, Yellow, Green card sort of behavior management system. I didn't like how negative it was and I didn't like the idea that there were prescribed results for red cards (no recess, call home,etc) because I thought that they would not necessarily be responsive to an individual child's behavior or circumstance. I seldom called parents because I knew the child would be beaten (or there would be no response) and I wasn't comfortable with either response. I therefore did without a formal system but tried to respond to individual behavior.


 I did use, with some success, a  positive reinforcement system I found at the  The Cornerstone.  It was simple and positive. I liked that it did acknowledge those kids who were doing the right thing and that I could manipulate it a little if I knew someone needed a pat on the back). The problem was that it doesn't address negative behavior.


Last year I saw lots of system where a child starts in the middle (green) can move up or down throughout the day.  I had a really difficult class so I decided to give that a try.  I found it very frustrating. Part of it was a problem with my own organizational skills... I originally told parents that the kids would record what color they ended up on in their homework folder each day.  I hated spending time doing that and I found myself trying to manipulate things at the end of the day to reflect the overall tone of the child's day.  I quickly did away with the notice portion and basically ignored the chart unless someone was having a really hard day and then occasionally I would try it again. This meant that it was basically a negative system again.
As I said, my class was really hard with lots of difficult behavior (and I was in a far corner of the school with no aide so I didn't have anyone to help me remove a screaming, kicking child or even the opportunity to sit and talk with her because the rest of the class would be hitting or fighting...it was a very physical class).  I truly was at my wits end.
I found Sally's Safe Pocket system as I was desperately looking for ideas on the internet.  I can't tell you how I felt when I found Fairy Dust Teaching. She was teaching the way I wanted to teach.  Although I didn't implement The Safe Pocket system last year (I felt it was too late in the year to introduce another whole system), I did go back to my belief that I wanted to respond to individual children and situations with the values that I wanted to teach the kids.
The Safe Pocket System starts with 5 values or life skills.
Sally begins by teaching what these values mean in a classroom situation.  Once again, I love how Sally describes each value.  She also introduces a kangaroo puppet and the class talks about how a mama kangaroo protects her joey in her pouch. Sally explains it is her job to protect the students. The kids then each decorate their own  pocket and Sally decorates the teacher's safe pocket.  Each child is given a kangaroo that stays in their own pocket.


If the teacher sees inappropriate or unsafe behavior, she addresses it in term of the 5 life skills.  For example, " Susie, you keep running in the classroom and that is not being careful, please go move your kangaroo to my pocket."  When the child exhibits careful behavior they can move their kangaroo back to their own pocket.  If the child's kangaroo is spending lots of time in the teacher's pocket she would contact the parents. 
I am sure I have not done justice to Sally's Safe Pocket System and suggest that it is well worth the $5.95 it cost.  I did not need this system this year because I have a class that doesn't need this type of visual reminder.  However, I plan to use the star and 5 life skills portion of her lesson plan at the start of next year. I will add the kangaroo pockets if it seems that we need them.  I will also use the materials that she includes to be sent home to parents so they can work on the life skills (or values as I think of them) at home.  

I obviously have to learn how to write shorter posts.  I should have just said "Go to Fairy Dust Teaching and buy her great behavior management system!"

9 comments:

  1. I love this idea. I will go check it out. Thanks for sharing!

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    Replies
    1. Mrs. Anderson, Thanks so much for your comment and for following me. I really do love everything I find on Fairy Dust Teaching.

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    2. Thank you Lyn for such a beautifully expressed post about behavior management and your kind words about my perspective. It is so wonderful to have kindred spirits on the path of teaching! Hugs!

      Sally

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  2. I am so happy that I discovered your blog through your post on the book study. After reading many of your posts, I feel like I have found an old friend. I usually don't use a visual behavior chart, but had to hang the dreaded color chart last year because I had such behavior issues. One sweet little girl really disliked it (even though I never needed to change her color). I hope I have the class that doesn't need one this year, but if I do, I will try this chart :).
    Eilis
    GrowinginPreK.com

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  3. I am going to be teaching third grade this year.

    Is this too juvenile for grade 3?

    If so, any ideas on how I could alter this to be more appropriate for grade 3?

    Thank you!

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    Replies
    1. Hi. Sorry I didn't reply sooner. I have been out looking at colleges with my son. I think one thing that I would do differently if I were teaching older students would be to have them really talk (and generate a list) about what the 5 values will look like in your class. After that, I think you could then do something like the safe pocket system with them. You might want to talk with Sally from Fairy Dust Teaching and Angela Watson at The Cornerstone. They are both really inspiring. Liz also offers a great idea below.
      Lyn

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  4. Hi

    This is for anonymous

    When I taught grades one/two/three I used a management program called I called "Caught In The Act" and the numbers one to five. I put all of the student names on magnets and moved them from one to five throughout the day. When a student reached five the student took a five minute play break while we continued working. I used focus language very similiar to Sally and could manipulate it as needed. The students were very proud of managing themselves and often did not take the playbreak but just took pride in achieving five.

    Hope this is clear. Liz
    http://crazyforkindergarten68.blogspot.ca/

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