What's the best that can happen in 9 Weeks?

-Mary Reynolds, M.S. Educational Psychology, Counseling & Development    

What's the best that can happen in 9 Weeks?

-Mary Reynolds, M.S. Educational Psychology, Counseling & Development    

What's the best that can happen in 9 Weeks?

-Mary Reynolds, M.S. Educational Psychology, Counseling & Development    

Hello and welcome!

I’m Mary Reynolds, and the above photo is a depiction of the first day of my 7th year of teaching.

Hello and welcome!

I’m Mary Reynolds, and the above photo is a depiction of the first day of my 7th year of teaching.

Hello and welcome!

I’m Mary Reynolds, and the photo above is a depiction of the first day of my 7th year of teaching.

Mary ReynoldsWhen I walked into my classroom of 55-65% behaviorally at-risk students and saw one of them on top of his desk acting like a monkey I made a firm decision, “I am going to make this their best year ever!”

Having grown up as my parent’s designated “problem child,” I had vowed I would come up with much better ways of reaching kids than by using the hurtful, harmful tactics that were used on me, and that’s exactly what I did.  So when I walked in and saw this, I was determined to turn all of this big, outrageous behavior around, once and for all!

This was 40 years ago, in a mining community with a  very transient population, where liquor stores had drive-up windows where you could get an alcoholic drink to go (still can) and where kids with disruptive behaviors was the daily norm.

Even though these kinds of problems seem to have only reached suburban schools in the last decade or so, it’s always been highly problematic in transient and urban schools. I know because I’ve taught, coached sports and counseled in rural, transient, urban and suburban schools, so I’ve pretty much seen and experienced a lot.

In one of the school districts we worked in, there were violent gangs walking the streets of that community with crowbars and guns, big scary fights outside our home on Saturday nights, and one of my traumatized students murdered his abusive father. There was daily substance abuse on campus, a suicide epidemic, babies being born in school bathrooms.  And this is not a complete list.

I’m not trying to impress you, but rather to impress upon you that I’ve been in the trenches. The energetics of the classroom as a caring, compassionate, empowering community is the cornerstone you need to be able to help today’s students.  You don’t need to wait until you earn a special degree.

You simply need 9 weeks to reach and teach everyone how best to get to the heart of any problem with conversation starter movies and weekly thought expanding group activities.

Teach them how to talk so others will listen with field-tested, open-ended discussion questions designed to get students talking to their peers and adults constructively!

When I walked into my classroom of 55-65% behaviorally at-risk students and saw one of them on top of his desk acting like a monkey  I made a firm decision, “I am going to make this their best year ever!”

Having grown up as my parent’s designated “problem child,” I had vowed I would come up with much better ways of reaching kids than by using the hurtful, harmful tactics that were used on me, and that’s exactly what I did.  So when I walked in and saw this, I was determined to turn all of this big, outrageous behavior around, once and for all!

This was 40 years ago, in a mining community with a  very transient population, where kids with disruptive behaviors was the daily norm.

Even though these kinds of problems seem to have only reached suburban schools in the last decade or so, it’s always been highly problematic in transient and urban schools. I know because I’ve taught, coached sports and counseled in rural, transient, urban and suburban schools, so I’ve pretty much seen and experienced a lot.

In one of the school districts we worked in, there were violent gangs walking the streets of that community with crowbars and guns, big scary fights outside our home on Saturday nights, and one of my traumatized students murdered his abusive father. There was daily substance abuse on campus, a suicide epidemic, babies being born in school bathrooms.  And this is not a complete list.

I’m not trying to impress you, but rather to impress upon you that I’ve been in the trenches. The energetics of the classroom as a caring, compassionate, empowering community is the cornerstone you need to be able to help today’s students.  You don’t need to wait until you earn a special degree.

You simply need 9 weeks to reach and teach everyone how best to get to the heart of any problem with conversation starter movies and weekly thought expanding group activities.

Teach them how to talk so others will listen with field-tested, open-ended discussion questions designed to get students talking to their peers and adults constructively!

Mary ReynoldsWhen I walked into my classroom of 55-65% behaviorally at-risk students and saw one of them on top of his desk acting like a monkey I stubbornly thought, “I am going to make this their best year ever!”

Having grown up as my parent’s designated “problem child,” I had vowed I would come up with much better ways of reaching kids than by using the hurtful, harmful tactics that were used on me, and that’s exactly what I did.  So when I walked in and saw this, I was determined to turn all of this big, outrageous behavior around, once and for all!

This was 40 years ago, in a mining community with a  very transient population, where kids with disruptive behaviors was the daily norm.

Even though these kinds of problems seem to have only reached suburban schools in the last decade or so, it’s always been highly problematic in transient and urban schools. I know because I’ve taught, coached sports and counseled in rural, transient, urban and suburban schools, so I’ve pretty much seen and experienced a lot.

In one of the school districts we worked in, there were violent gangs walking the streets of that community with crowbars and guns, big scary fights outside our home on Saturday nights, and one of my traumatized students murdered his abusive father. There was daily substance abuse on campus, a suicide epidemic, babies being born in school bathrooms.  And this is not a complete list.

I’m not trying to impress you, but rather to impress upon you that I’ve been in the trenches. The energetics of the classroom as a caring, compassionate, empowering community is the cornerstone you need to be able to help today’s students.  You don’t need to wait until you earn a special degree.

You simply need 9 weeks to reach and teach everyone how best to get to the heart of any problem with conversation starter movies and weekly thought expanding group activities.

Teach them how to talk so others will listen with field-tested, open-ended discussion questions designed to get students talking to their peers and adults constructively!

In 9 weeks we went from this …

HPP LOGO

…to this!

a self-regulating

self-advocating

self-governing

safe, all-inclusive

high-performing group

Watch “The Lost Cause Kid" movie to see how these students’ lives were transformed!

Watch “The Lost Cause Kid" movie to see how these students’ lives were transformed!

Watch “The Lost Cause Kid" movie to see how these students’ lives were transformed!

When you compassionately address what’s really going on between students vigilantly for 9-Weeks with my WIW Technique, you eventually put a complete end to de-energizing behaviors and ultimately those big, scary, hard to recover from room clears.

When you simply follow this “done for you curriculum” you will be easily able to:  Stop fearing students’ unskillful behavior aimed at you and/or their classmates.  Start modeling confident, safe, explorative conversations with my “What, If, When” (WIW) Technique.  Join the many thousands of educators around the world who have intentionally and deliberately set the tone for their classrooms – for good!  Become highly productive academically – both socially  and emotionally!

Make A Difference NOW!

Get full access to this 9-Week Safe, All-Inclusive Curriculum, so you can have your Best End-of-School Year ever!

When you compassionately address what’s really going on between students vigilantly for 9-Weeks with my WIW Technique, you eventually put a complete end to de-energizing behaviors and ultimately those big, scary, hard to recover from room clears.

When you simply follow this “done for you curriculum” you will be easily able to:  Stop fearing students’ unskillful behavior aimed at you and/or their classmates.  Start modeling confident, safe, explorative conversations with my “What, If, When” (WIW) Technique.  Join the many thousands of educators around the world who have intentionally and deliberately set the tone for their classrooms – for good!  Become highly productive academically – both socially  and emotionally!

Make A Difference NOW!

Get full access to this 9-Week Safe, All-Inclusive Curriculum, so you can have your Best Year ever!

When you compassionately address what’s really going on between students vigilantly for 9-Weeks with my WIW Technique, you eventually put a complete end to de-energizing behaviors and ultimately those big, scary, hard to recover from room clears.

When you simply follow this “done for you curriculum” you will be easily able to:  Stop fearing students’ unskillful behavior aimed at you and/or their classmates.  Start modeling confident, safe, explorative conversations with my “What, If, When” (WIW) Technique.  Join the many thousands of educators around the world who have intentionally and deliberately set the tone for their classrooms – for good!  Become highly productive academically – both socially  and emotionally!

Make A Difference NOW!

Get full access to this 9-Week Safe, All-Inclusive Curriculum, so you can have your Best Year ever!

Every school year, I felt that the first nine weeks of school set the stage for how the entire year would go. I knew—down to my toes—that if my student’s social needs were all dealt with, they would be highly functional the rest of the school year, and classroom life would be good. In working with parents, I told them to be laser-focused on the things I wanted them to accomplish, with an end-goal of just nine weeks. 

It takes only nine!  Any nine weeks will do.  You begin when you begin.  

For example, the last 9-weeks ends the school year on a high note while setting the tone and foundation for their next school year together.

Through teaching children, educators and parents how to create a compassionate community and/or home environment, we dramatically raised emotional intelligence.

How did I do this?

My goal was simple. I placed the children’s emotional needs first—above my concern about making it through X number of pages a week. Raising their emotional IQ’s dramatically improved their ability to focus and function academically. Every time an emotional situation played out in the classroom, lunchroom or playground, we had an open discussion, no matter how long it took that day. The key is to stop expelling, excluding or abandoning kids.

Everybody in the environment is involved. Be compassionate, and everything gets better.

 
 

Every school year, I felt that the first nine weeks of school set the stage for how the entire year would go. I knew—down to my toes—that if my student’s social needs were all dealt with, they would be highly functional the rest of the school year, and classroom life would be good. In working with parents, I told them to be laser-focused on the things I wanted them to accomplish, with an end-goal of just nine weeks. It takes only nine! Any nine weeks will do.

You begin when you begin.

Through teaching children, educators and parents how to create a compassionate community and/or home environment, we dramatically raised emotional intelligence.

How did I do this?

My goal was simple. I placed the children’s emotional needs first—above my concern about making it through X number of pages a week. Raising their emotional IQ’s dramatically improved their ability to focus and function academically. Every time an emotional situation played out in the classroom, lunchroom or playground, we had an open discussion, no matter how long it took that day. The key is to stop expelling, excluding or abandoning kids.

Everybody in the environment is involved. Be compassionate, and everything gets better.

Stop talking, start listening.
Retrain your brain to resist fixing!

Group conversations, when done compassionately, will give individual students the opportunity to relate with other students experiencing similar thoughts, feelings and issues, creating a feeling of universality and connection.

They also create a sense of hope and unity as they watch each other feel better and do better.

Stop talking, start listening.
Retrain your brain to resist fixing!

Group conversations, when done compassionately, will give individual students the opportunity to relate with other students experiencing similar thoughts, feelings and issues, creating a feeling of universality and connection.

They also create a sense of hope and unity as they watch each other feel better and do better.

One intentional conversation starter a week to learn more about each other’s thoughts, feelings and preferences.

It is recommended to have a Make A Difference Monday Hour.  Each week has a thought-provoking movie and/ or activity to keep constructive conversations going throughout the week.

The activities provided for this are fun and safe.  You will see your students opening-up emotionally in new and unexpected ways.

The more you know, the more you see beyond their classroom personas and unskillful behavior the more you will be able to tap into their best selves!

One intentional conversation starter a week to learn more about each other’s thoughts, feelings and preferences.

It is recommended to have a Make A Difference Monday Hour.  Each week has a thought-provoking movie and/ or activity to keep constructive conversations going throughout the week.

The activities provided for this are fun and safe.  You will see your students opening-up emotionally in new and unexpected ways.

The more you know, the more you see beyond their classroom personas and unskillful behavior the more you will be able to tap into their best selves!

Transform your classroom culture in just 1 class period a week for 9 Weeks!

A diverse, self-advocating, self-governing, all-inclusive, socially and emotionally safe, seen, heard, welcoming group of students functioning at the highest levels academically every year.

Students working together peacefully, productively and the classroom a hum of activity.

Transform your classroom culture in just 1 class period a week for 9 Weeks!

A diverse, self-advocating, self-governing, all-inclusive, socially and emotionally safe, seen, heard, welcoming group of students functioning at the highest levels academically every year.

Students working together peacefully, productively and the classroom a hum of activity.

Check out the entire “9 Weeks to a Safe,
All-Inclusive Make A Difference in All-Lives” Curriculum…

Welcome

Getting Started

Week 1: Community Building

Week 2: How I Can Make A Difference

Week 3: Community = Team

Week 4: Who I Am Makes A Difference

Week 5: You Make A Difference

Week 6: Community = Connection

Week 7: Community & Leadership

Week 8: Re-Labeling

Week 9: Community = 2-Way Communication

Bonus Activities

Other Resources

Check out the entire “9 Weeks to a Safe, All-Inclusive Make A Difference in All-Lives” Curriculum…

Welcome

Getting Started

Week 1: Community Building

Week 2: How I Can Make A Difference

Week 3: Community = Team

Week 4: Who I Am Makes A Difference

Week 5: You Make A Difference

Week 6: Community = Connection

Week 7: Community & Leadership

Week 8: Re-Labeling

Week 9: Community = 2-Way Communication

Bonus Activities

Other Resources

NOTE: We no longer stock the blue ribbons and have switched to blue “I Make A Difference” wristbands, which people reportedly continue to enjoy wearing for years. To follow the guidelines for Week 4’s “Acknowledgment Ceremony,” we recommend ordering four wristbands for each student: one to wear for themselves and three to go out in the world to acknowledge others with. (Available at checkout)

ǀ  Show movie ǀ explain activity

Take a moment to talk about this week’s Make A Difference Year  theme.  Then announce the movie and/or activity.  Let them know that afterwards you’ll want to know what they think about their experience.

ǀ  Ask for their thoughts ǀ feelings

Following the movie or activity open the conversation with the ‘done for you’ companion questions designed to get kids talking. Go through the questions slowly, inviting students to reach for their thoughts and then their feelings.

ǀ  Invite safe, inclusive cross talk

Your #1 Goal: Get students talking constructively from their heads to their hearts. Lean into the time it takes to for them to identify what’s up for them. “Tell me more.” Add your own questions as the conversation unfolds. 

ǀ  Show movie ǀ explain activity

Take a moment to talk about this week’s Make A Difference Year  theme.  Then announce the movie and/or activity.  Let them know that afterwards you’ll want to know what they think about their experience.

ǀ  Ask for their thoughts ǀ feelings

Following the movie or activity open the conversation with the ‘done for you’ companion questions designed to get kids talking. Go through the questions slowly, inviting students to reach for their thoughts and then their feelings.

ǀ  Invite safe, inclusive cross talk

Your #1 Goal: Get students talking constructively from their heads to their hearts. Lean into the time it takes to for them to identify what’s up for them. “Tell me more.” Add your own questions as the conversation unfolds. 

by A. McGuire

Term Paper for BCF – Breaking Cycles of Failure, Portland State University CEU Course
Instructor Mary Robinson Reynolds

Attempting to make a difference with some individuals can be an extremely difficult, unrewarding, and challenging task in the early stages. The most difficult aspect for me has been the idea that I need to generate positive thoughts or attitudes about the person involved before I can make an impact. I need to believe in an individual and have a positive vision for him/her before I can expect a positive outcome. This is quite a task when the individual doesn’t shower you with positive feedback because she doesn’t believe in herself. I have learned however, that Makin’ Magic works, with persistence.

I have been doing a case study the past seven weeks of this training, using one of my twelve-year-old 7th grade social studies/language arts students. His name is Donald. I picked Donald because he is a silent one who will fall through the cracks of school bureaucracy if he doesn’t get help quickly. He is not violent, vulgar, or angry. He is not a typical, loud and boisterous, attention – demanding twelve-year-old. His pleas for help are quiet and subtle. He breathes unwantedness and incompetence. I have actually been working with Donald since last fall when I began to notice this child who didn’t care much about school, let alone himself. I have tried desperately to seek out ways to inspire him. His lack of success and unhappy nature have been nagging at me ever since I met him.

Earlier in the year, I approached Donald with doubt and contrived encouragement. I was a good example of frustration. This was exactly what Donald was used to. Frustrated adults nagging at him to do things he knew would never meet their expectations. I directly reinforced his negative core believe of incompetence and indirectly made him feel unwanted.

Even though I was putting a significant amount of emotional energy into this child, it wasn’t doing any good. I verbally nagged Donald, wrote passes requiring him to come in at lunch, called his nagging mother, conveyed disappointment to him when he didn’t follow through, had him design a behavior contract which he, his mother, and I signed. Amidst all this negative energy, I wasn’t able to see the core beliefs that Donald was harboring. It’s no wonder we didn’t get along.

It is now plain as day for me to see the negativism that surrounds Donald’s spirit. With this knowledge, I have been rejuvenated and have found a new passage to Donald’s spirit. I am optimistic.

Donald’s most obvious negative core beliefs about himself are that he is unwanted and incompetent. When I talk with Donald and work with him now, I intentionally focus on the opposites of those beliefs and convey that message to him.

I tell him that he is talented. I tell him that I enjoy having him come to my room to work. I tell him that I sincerely care about him and want him to be happy. I tell him that he is competent and loved. I show him these feelings by sitting with him at the same table in the mornings. I give him extra pats on the back for completing the assignment with little assistance.

And the assistance that I was giving him was no more than what any other child might need. I believed that he could complete assignments and would complete them to the best of his ability. This attitude and belief created and fueled my new attitude and response to Donald. It was a bit like a miracle to see the changes in Donald.

However, it has taken about eight weeks for there to be noticeable change in Donald, as Mary indicated it would.

It is now quite easy for me to visualize myself in a positive, new response. I believe in Donald, so the new, more optimistic response comes easily.

Virtually everything I say to him is somehow related to “I really care about you,” and “this is really good stuff.” He honestly seems to want this because he keeps coming back for more. His level of commitment is now active. When we first met, he didn’t care. There was no reason for commitment. Occasionally he dips into passivity but overall, he seems to enjoy being active and now he has a reason to be active.

Donald is now keeping up with all assignments in my class and spends extra time in my room on his own. He is an inspiration to others. My attitude about Donald has changed significantly since last fall. I have learned that he is very capable, and I have learned to really care about him. I hope that I have provided him with the tools and confidence to believe in himself. These he will need to maintain his active level of commitment.

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