Yesterday, President Obama and the First Lady hosted a video on Facebook that they created about an anti-bullying campaign the White House is starting. The White House is promoting a new Web site, StopBullying.gov. As I attended a variety of presentations on the first day of the 2011 IL ASCD Kindergarten Conference, I wondered how influential a student’s kindergarten teacher is in creating the foundation for positive behavior?
Dr. Jenny Edwards presented “Teaching Positively and Powerfully” at the end of the day Thursday. There, she talked about her book, Inviting Students to Learn: 100 Tips for Talking Effectively with Your Students. The book is based on seven principles, and a couple of those featured were “stating what we are saying positively” and “letting students know that they have complete choice in the ways that they feel and react in any situation.” I think these principles serve as a good anecdote for Obama’s anti-bullying campaign. If students are presented with a positive environment, and they understand that they are responsible for their actions because they control their own actions, bullying may become an afterthought in our classrooms.
Getting students to talk amongst themselves and with teachers is a great way for them to learn and come to understand each other as different human beings. Donna Whyte discussed this in her poignant and funny presentation, “Seven Skills for Learning Success!” She maintains that students need to talk and communicate in order to build their ability to listen, and their enthusiasm for learning. Whyte says, “you build language by using language to describe things.” So as students explore their language, helping them use encouraging words can foster a positive environment.
The evening concluded with a Gala Ball for the 30th anniversary of the Kindergarten Conference. Conference attendees were entertained with Wii, karaoke, and raffle prizes from many of the conference vendors. For more information on the vendors, go to the Kindergarten Conference Web page.
This morning, some of the highlighted speakers are Jack Hartman, Mary Brummel, and more.