Today was the final day of our spirit week "I Have a Destiny," and kids were encouraged to reflect on all they had learned and to think about their dreams and future careers. As part of today's activities, there were two discussion panels empowering 4th and 5th graders with interest in technology, science and medicine. Dr. Shelley Brown (Biomedical Engineer and ordained minister) and Keshia Ashe ( AAAS fellow at the National Science Foundation) talked with girls while Dr. Joseph Bunivel (an engineer with the Department of Defense) talked with boys.
Langley children served as a living museum Thursday, dressing as, and teaching others about prominent African Americans. All week, students have been learning about and celebrating African American history and culture through hands-on experiences and special guests.
Black History Month Spirit Week at Langley was in full swing today with gallery walks through the cafeteria and interpreters on hand to teach students about African Americans who contributed to our country in important ways. Kids participated in crafts and had snacks to celebrate the occasion.
Langley Elementary continued its celebration of Black History Month Tuesday with visits from special guests and hands-on learning activities for children. Today's events honored the legacy and contributions of historically black colleges and universities as well as black fraternities and sororities. There were class room readings, panel discussions and recess time with the Bowie State football team (CIAA champions).
Langley students gathered on Monday to hear positive messages of empowerment, learn traditional protest songs and call-and-response chants, and to form an understanding of how and why people march. The rally culminated with the opportunity for children to march around the outside of the school for unity and social justice.
I joined about 30 other parents, caregivers and teachers Thursday for A Night of Consciousness, Part 2, a workshop to teach us about our school’s social emotional program and ways to adopt it at home. I’m so glad I went. I came away with a better understanding of the brain science that is the foundation for the philosophy, as well as a handful of ideas for better aligning my discipline routine at home with what is taught at school. I wish I could distill all the information for those who couldn’t attend the workshop (I tried!), but Nicole Mercer, our Conscious Discipline certified instructor, packed the two hours with so much – I could never do it justice in one blog post.
Instead, here’s a bit about the final lesson of the evening – Connection:
The Conscious Discipline program does not rely on the traditional threat-reward system for getting kids to cooperate. Instead, that buy-in is earned through a strong relationship. Nicole explained that connecting with our kids every day is one way we build that relationship – and it’s important to understand that routine is not connection. Spending time together as we go through the normal routine of the day is not enough. A real connection requires special moments that include eye contact, touch and an expression of your feelings for the child. For example, our principal greets each student daily with eye contact, touch (high-five, fist bump, or bear hug) and warm words as they enter the building – not because it’s cute, but to start their day with a positive first connection. If you’ve ever tried the threat, “if you don’t stop that behavior, you might need a visit to the principal’s office,” I'm sure you realized it didn’t work - none of our kids are afraid of their principal! She has built connections with them and has earned their cooperation, rather than scaring them into obedience. And that’s what we’re really after at home too.
Nicole said that at home, rituals for connecting can be anything – family songs, sayings, inside jokes or secret handshakes. She gave us this adapted version of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, which some families practiced during the workshop:
In a piece called, "Good things are happening at Langley Elementary. You can help." Washington Post columnist John Kelly praised the school's social emotional program, Conscious Discipline, which Principal Drumm and team rolled out during the last couple of years. After describing some of Langley's healthy school family rituals the author wrote: "It can sound like so much high-concept touchy-feeliness, but the approach seems to be working. Since 2015, suspensions at Langley have fallen by 50 percent."
Kelly invites readers to become a part of Langley's transformation by linking their Giant and Harris Teeter grocery cards to the school, which is an excellent way to contribute financially to Langley's PTSA.
Read the full article here.
Read about what Langley parents have had to say about Conscious Discipline here and here.