In over 20 years of education, I’ve been to too many in-services, workshops, and conferences to count. Some have been helpful. Many have been a waste of time, but none have been life-changing. That is until I attended a three-day workshop called, Capturing Kids’ Hearts.
Last week, I was sent with a few of the teachers at my school to a workshop given by the Flippen Group, and I must admit, I was not too crazy about going, since it was going to mean that I was going to have to put three days of work on hold.
At the same time, I wasn’t expecting too much from the workshop. After all, what else could I learn that 25 years of successful teaching experience hadn’t already taught me?
I am happy to say that I was wrong.
I came away from the workshop with a desire to go back to having my own class (I’ve been a school administrator for a year and a half now). Our presenter was an amazing woman named, Anna Beth Jumper, who with her sincere heart for kids and her patient teaching style, made those three days among the most memorable of my life.
There is no way I can adequately describe the Capturing Kids’ Hearts workshop in a blog post, but I hope that I can at least encourage my readers that if you haven’t already experienced CKH, you need to make it one of your goals for the coming year. (No, I am not getting paid to endorse CKH.) I just feel that if you are a new teacher, or even a veteran teacher, and you want to find more success in your classroom, you need to attend one of their workshops.
CKH is not another program to help teacher deliver their content. Capturing Kids’ Hearts gives teachers a set of tools and strategies to help create relationships with their students that lead to benefits such as fewer discipline issues and greater student success. Their slogan is, “If you have a child’s heart, you have his head.”
There were many components to the workshop, and to go into detail on them all in a single blog post would not be fair. Perhaps I will use future posts to talk about these components in greater detail.
One of the primary components of CKH was the Social Contract. Anna Beth showed us how to create an agreement where students and teachers agree to show each other mutual respect. It’s more than just another cute classroom management tool (and I’ve seen and probably used all of them). The Social Contract creates a system where students manage themselves.
I know what you’re saying, “but Sam, you don’t know my students. If my students managed themselves, they would kill each other.”
If I hadn’t seen the process of how the Social Contract is created and implemented, I would probably have said the same thing.
What’s great about this contract, however, is that it not only is used to keep students accountable to each other, but it also teaches and reinforces some essential behaviors that they will use in life, like courtesy, effective communication, patience, caring for others, and more.
We learned how we can refer to the Social Contract when a student becomes disruptive or chooses not to do his/her work, etc.
For example, in a common example, if Johnny becomes disruptive during class time, one of two things can happen: 1. The other students help Johnny by reminding him of the Social Contract using some predetermined non-verbal hand signals or 2. The teacher can ask Johnny a series of scripted questions that refer to the Social Contract that he helped create, and the disruption is stopped without Johnny getting sent to the office or receiving any other consequence.
The best part of this process is that it revolves around creating positive relationships with students.
Too many times, teachers have to be the mean ogre in the classroom in order to get anything done, because the students see them as “one of them.” Capturing Kids’ Hearts teaches us how to create those relationships that will cause students to want to learn, behave, participate, etc. just to keep from disappointing us. It is truly an amazing and easy-to-learn process.
The beauty of these lessons on relationships is that they not only help us improve our relationships with our students, they help us improve all our relationships, thus, life changing.
As an administrator, I am not able to implement the Social Contract with students, but I have already used some of the relationship-building strategies with some of my more defiant students, and I’ve been impressed with the changes I’ve seen in our conversations.
I would encourage any new teacher or veteran teacher who is looking to find more success in their classroom to attend one of these Capturing Kids’ Hearts workshops. Find more information at http://flippengroup.com/education/ckh.html.
The workshop was inspiring, emotional, educational, and like I stated, life-changing. I would like to express my special thanks to Anna Beth Jumper for making those three days so special. Although I may be quick to share my opinions here online, I’ve never participated as much in any workshop as I did with Anna Beth. She made me feel safe enough to raise my hand and give my two cents. Thank you Anna Beth.
I would welcome any comments from those who have already experienced the Capturing Kids’ Hearts workshop. How has it changed your teaching style? What changes have you seen in your students?
I’m sure I’ll be sharing more of what I learned in future posts, so stay tuned. Better yet, sign up for my email list, and I’ll notify you when I add another post.
Until next time, here’s to your Success in the Classroom!
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