Sunday, 7 December 2014

Charlie Appelstein: No Such Thing As A Bad Kid

     On Friday all of "T-Division's" teaching staff and EAs had the opportunity to attend a PD session with Charlie Appelstein; a youth-care specialist, author, and father. Being that we are now into December, and only have a short ten days until the Christmas break, I was apprehensive about attending a PD session when there is so much to do in so little time left. On the other hand, classroom energy is always high at this time of year so it was nice to have a day away to think and recharge! Mr. Appelstein was an incredibly entertaining presenter and shared a lot of helpful information while infusing humor and "random bursts of positivity", as he called it.
     Our 5.5 hour session focused on how to understand and respond to students who are living with emotional and behavioural challenges, although Mr. Appelstein carefully pointed out that these strategies can be used with all students: from high-functioning to at-risk or special needs. Here are a few of my notes that I took away from this PD:

Quick Tips 
- Effective education is all about building relationships
- Add in please and thank-you
     - It is crazy how much educators demand things from students
       without minimum courtesy
     - Yelling meets your needs, not your students needs
- Think, "Does every students wake up thinking Mr/Mrs ______
  thinks I'm awesome"
- Believing x Relevance = Motivation
- Greet students with positivity
     - High Fives
     - Fist Bump
- Incorporate random bursts of positivity throughout your lesson
- Help parents and you will help kids
- Humour builds relationships but not sarcasm

Activity Suggestions
- Create business cards for each of your students and hang them
  on the wall
     - Have students promise to mail in their official business card
       when they're done school and working in their chosen field
- Have students address post cards at the start of the year and keep
  them in your desk
     - Send good messages home throughout the year
     - Much easier to do when the post-card to ready to go!

Understanding At-Risk Students
- The brain has three sectors: logical, emotional, and survival
     - Students with trauma live in the survival system
- Don't label students: every kid is a Mercedes-Benz, some just
  come into the classroom on empty
     - Hope is humanity's fuel
- Think of an at-risk student in your class/school, can you think of
  if they have one true best friend
     - At-risk student's don't have true friends
     - They don't trust others
- Happy people have:
     1) Meaningful Social Connections
     2) Strong Social Support Networks
     - We need to help at-risk students fill in the gaps in these areas
- Life isn't what you see, it's what your perceive
     - When you change the way you look at the challenging kid, the
        kid changes

How To Respond to Challenging Behaviours
- Get mad at choices, not children
- Reframing
     - Take something negative & reframe positively
     1) Understanding (why is the behaviour happening)
     2) Reframe (change to a positive)
          - Acting rude: you have an amazing ability to affect people!
     3) Squeeze (give encouragement of where they can use that skill)
- Take about the future positively, like it has already happened
     - "How are we going to celebrate next week when you have the best
        week ever"
- At times you can't change the child, so change the environment
     - Sort behavioural goals into three baskets
     1) Basket A: non-negotiable topics
          - usually related to safety
     2) Basket B: compromise
     3) Basket C: ignore it
- Our emotions cause use to misuse the tools we have
     - Even if we know how to manage, sometimes our self-esteem
       takes a hit and our emotions get in the way
     - Respond instead of react
- Affect Scale
     - Balance out a child's actions
     - As they get loud, you get quiet
- When responding:
     - Two arm lengths away
     - 45 degree angle
     - Eye level or below (don't stand while they sit)
     - Ask open-ended questions
     - Repeat back to them

Standard Behaviour Management
- "Believing is seeing"
- Our school is awesome if you do well, if you misbehave life isn't fun
- You have to earn our trust
* This is what most schools function under

Unconditional Support
- "Seeing is believing"
- We care about you no matter what
- We understand where you are at and will help you get where you need
   to be
- You are strategically assisting all students to fill in where they have
   developmental gaps

     My personal reflection is only a tiny bit of information that was covered in today's presentation. To learn more about Charlie Appelstein, and his work with teachers and parents, please explore the following links:
Charlie Appelstein Professional Website
- Charlie Appelstein Facebook Page

     Thank you to Charlie Appelstein for visiting us out in rural Manitoba, I am left with a lot of practical information to utilize in my classroom!
Thank you to the admin and staff in "T-Division" for providing us all with another great PD opportunity :)


  1. A number of excellent tips, thank you for sharing! I absolutely agree, it's important to keep kids motivated and teach them that making mistakes is normal. It saddens when young teachers try to get perfect results and ruin learning experience for kids. Some are getting so scared of failure that they hire essay writer online to do everything for them. It's important for both students and teachers to understand that grades are nothing compared to knowledge and skill. Educators should stress this idea more often and let children enjoy themselves.

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