Conscious Discipline Guest Post

Happy Friday! Today I'm excited because Barbara from Grade ONEderful was kind enough to accept an invitation to do a guest post for me. I've been following Barb's blog for a year now and I thoroughly enjoy her insight, enthusiasm, and passion for learning. It doesn't hurt that she's from Victoria, B.C., either, since I consider that part of the world God's Country. She's been a teacher for 22 years and when she's not in the classroom, you can find Barb out running, playing with her pups and creating super cute blog designs

I was super jazzed when she mentioned writing about Conscious Discipline, because guess what's on my night stand? I just finished the first chapter. Thanks, Barbara, for being here and sharing your 
reflections and connections with us.

Thanks for inviting me to share some ideas on your blog, Barbara!  Reading your daily posts has become a fixture in my morning routine:)

In case you don't already know ... I am hooked on Conscious Discipline by Dr. Becky Bailey. I bought the book last May and I'm halfway through it. There's a lot to digest!

Becky Bailey teaches you (parent or teacher) how to use the daily conflicts we inevitably encounter to teach character development, social skills, self-control and conflict resolution.

But what's really different about her approach, is her philosophy that real change won't happen until you look inward and begin the change there.  This isn't a new idea for many people, but the way Bailey describes how to do this step-by-step (as in chapter-by-chapter) makes it extremely clear and easy to follow.

As I make my way through this book, one of the biggies that has popped out for me is the realization that I'm generally operating (in the classroom) on a mostly (not always) passive level.  People who do this (me included) tend to quickly switch to aggression when they're frustrated, and then feel huge guilt. Does that sound familiar? 

There are so many areas/thoughts/quotes I could comment on, but I'm going to tell you what she recommends for assertively giving commands to the class as a whole. 

Bailey suggests teaching both an auditory and visual signal. I've always done an echo-pattern clap to a 4/4 beat which has worked really well. But I might switch over to a tambourine this year. The idea is that when the children hear the signal they are to stop, breathe deeply, look at you, and wait for directions. The children are to practice "stop, breathe, look and listen" over and over and over again (we all know how much practice and modelling is needed) until it's second nature.

A beautiful children's book that complements this thinking is:

This peaceful book focuses on
mindful breathing to help children
 experience calmness with their
friends and families.

Of course, not everyone hears the signal (you know how some kids are so deeply immersed in their play or work), so you also teach the class to raise their hand after the signal. This is explained as a way to help your classmates.

Bailey recommends practicing this new behaviour for 21 days in order to teach a new habit. It's also super important to frame the experience in a positive light. Eg., the children who heard the signal are helping their friends be successful by now raising their hands as an additional reminder.

For the teacher, it's important not to judge or manipulate the kids' behaviour. So all you do is describe what's been accomplished. Eg., "You stopped what you were doing, you took a deep breath and you looked at me."

As a reminder to stop, take a breath and relax, here's a STAR poster you can grab. Enjoy!

Have a great day, everyone, and thanks again, Barbara, for inviting me to stop and linger for a while at the Corner :)



  1. I do stop-look-and-listen, but adding the "breathe" in there is pure genius. It adds to the self regulation necessary to being calm, focused and ready to learn. I am definitely going to incorporate that into my classroom routines next year. thanks for sharing

    rubber boots and elf shoes

  2. LOVE CD! I was fortunate to be awarded a grant to attend a CD workshop in Houston last Sept. One way I used it this year was with Kindys - before every lesson we did one of the positive rhymes with movement - partner activity (from I Love You Rituals book). The kids LOVED it and I found that it was easier for students to work out a conflict appropriately with classmates when they'd just connected in a positive way. I also suggested to many teachers to do rituals with students; especially students with anxiety or who were getting "disconnected" from that teacher. GREAT results! (I use it with my own kids, too!)

  3. Also -- (sorry, I forgot to add this), I taught ALL my students the 4 breathing techniques (STAR, balloon, drain, pretzel) with great success. I explained that they were a self-help skill to bring oxygen back to their brain which would help them calm their body and get the frontal lobe working well again (the part that solves problems of course!) Teachers and parents appreciated these. I had several students tell me that they used the techniques (at home, too) and even passed a student in the hallway once who said, "Mrs. K, I'm pretzel-ing!" LOVE.
    These techniques can be found on the CD website and downloaded already made into posters. :)

  4. I really do need to read this book. It's on my list!
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

  5. I'm reading it right now too. I saw Becky speak at a conference last year and everything she said make so much sense. Plus we have a notorious group coming up this year and I want to be as prepared as possible! :) That Each Breath is Smile book looks really good. I read one of his books before. Thanks for sharing that!


  6. I absolutely love your ideas! I also love that you have the "Good Ol' WI work ethic!" I'm from there too and truly know how hard WI people work.


I really enjoy hearing from my readers; thanks for sharing your reflections with us!

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