With the surfer heroes geared and ready to assist you in your classroom (maybe even home) discipline, I have gathered my thoughts around the how to’s, pro’s and con’s, purpose and value of my product. Like I said in my previous post I have been using this discipline technique for 2 years and it has been wonderful. Like everything, it needs to be used in a manner that brings the best out of your kids. Keep reading to find the do’s and don’ts.
My chart is superhero orientated and the goal is to develop a “super” characteristics in each child. Ask any child today and they will most probably be able to name many of their favourite superheroes in just a few minutes. When teaching this superhero mentality, I like to remind the kids that their heroes also encounter difficulties and they are not perfect beings. This is why I love this theme so much: with deeper inspection in the stories of countless heroes, I realized that you can be super and have weaknesses at the same time! We should be kinder to ourselves and patient with other’s life development.
The logistics of the superhero chart and heroes:
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This product includes a full description of how to assemble everything and how to use the chart in your classroom BUT in case you still need convincing I will explain it here as well.
I like making things personal, giving the child a sense of “this is especially just for you and sure there is stuff you have to share but this is YOU”. This is a creative way to encourage a child to take ownership. In this case, they are taking ownership of being a hero, having their own tangible character they are able to relate. This also encourages responsibility and consideration of what it means to be a hero; “I’m allowed to make mistakes but heroes rescue others, I have to think in what way my actions affects the teacher and classroom and what I could do to make things better”.
So, edit your heroes to look exactly like your kids! Simply add a photo of their faces in the blank space; either electronically or with scissors and glue. I’ve made heroes without faces and heroes without faces and holding banners. The banners (if you should choose to use them) are for their names, of course. Names can also be added electronically or written.
2. Print and cut
This step is easy and the product is re-sizable so you can print it as big (or small) as you would prefer. Keep in mind that this product is designed to decorate your classroom for at least a year; it is high quality and colourful. I like to print mine with the blank faces and banner so I can use it even longer. I simply print and laminate without adding anything, then I print faces separately and stick it on top of the laminated character. By the end of the year, I wash it all of and add the new faces. Laminate your printouts before cutting them out to make them more durable. Printing on and laminating cardboard is even better.
3. Stick it to the wall
The chart goes first, in order from the top: Superhero!, sidekick, ready to fly, kryptonite and finally danger zone. Use washing pegs or prestik to stick all the heroes to “ready to fly”. Remember the heroes should be able to move between these levels.
Ready to fly is in the middle and this is where the kids start off every week. This is neutral ground, neither good nor bad. The levels above “ready to fly” are good behaviour with “Superhero!” being the ultimate goal by the end of the week and “danger zone” as the worst place to end up. The kids move up according to the teacher’s discretion and according to the classroom rule. Mine wary according to what is needed because every day differs. I feel a warning is a fair way to grab the kids attention before consequences. Something like; “We’re going to do group work. If you are able to use your inside voices, I will move your names up.” as well as; “Please try not to shout out. If you can lift your hand before you talk, I’ll move your name up or if you can’t I will have to move your name down.”
I love rewarding kids with a lovely praise letter to their parents if they have ended 3 weeks in a row with a superhero status. The kids love to take these home and it has proven to build a strong, positive relationship between me (the teacher) and parents. I do the same for the opposite, 3 weeks in a row spent in danger zone means it is time to contact parents. I prefer to also communicate problems to parents in letters (it is a good record to keep). Usually, parents respond well with being involved and then handle the discipline themselves or in partnership with the teacher. Three letters to parents that reports bad behaviour and a parent-teacher meeting is arranged to discuss where the behaviour comes from and how to continue. I then continue to correspond weekly with these parents until the child has been helped and has a superb track record.