Remember that fire safety tip we all learned as kids? Stop, drop, and roll? Considering I remember the lessons quite well, it's safe to say that the learning stuck. (Or, it could be because we review fire safety every October. Who knows?)
The idea of stop, drop, and roll is so catchy, the idea of "stop, drop, and goal" popped into my every-active brain. It's been my motto in dealing with behaviors in the classroom this year. Third graders (and yes, this applies to my fourth graders, too) often bring quite the drama to otherwise simple situations. That's meant getting a bit more creative in reaching the desired outcome of calm(er) kids.
Stop, drop, and goal has been surprisingly useful. It also helps me keep things in perspective myself, as I tend to overreact sometimes (I know, kinda hard to believe!)
Whenever kids come up to talk to me, whether it's to ask a question, or, more likely, tell me a story, I always stop what I'm doing so I can give them my full attention. Sometimes that involves me telling them that "I want to hear what you have to say, but, I can't fully listen right now, please tell me later." which surprisingly goes over well. Sometimes I can stop whatever it is I'm doing and give them my full attention. That focused listening is really important to me, especially in this ever-busy world of go-go-go.
While I never thought about applying that to trouble spots in the classroom, it's become quite the handy reminder. I've got a few live wires this year that know just the right buttons to push in their peers, which results in tears on a fairly regular basis. I've found that if I stop what I'm doing completely, drop down to their level, and ask them what they would like to do to remedy the situation, it completely stops the tears. In fact, I think that it gives the kids a sense of control over a situation that often feels out of control.
While we aren't always able to "fix" things completely, we are able to put things right enough so that the involved students can get back into a more learning ready mindset.
Stop, drop, and goal. Might just have to make that into a poster for my room!