Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Heart Talk

Conflict resolution is a HUGE piece of my counseling program at my school.  I noticed that it was an issue from the first needs assessment that I gave my teachers when I started last January.  Since then, I have spent a lot of my time mediating conflicts between my students.  I learned Heart Talk in my internship and was so excited to bring it with me to my school!  If you've never heard of it, you might want to check out Diane Senn's classroom guidance lesson book Puzzle Pieces because it's awesome and very helpful when planning lessons.  Heart Talk was created by Diane and it basically just teaches children to use "I-Messages" during conflict.  I love it because it is easy for kids of all ages to remember and use.

Last year, I spent an entire lesson teaching, role-playing and practicing Heart Talk in every grade level (K4-5th).  This year, because we are doing the 7 Habits, I incorporated Heart Talk in Habit 4: Win-Win.  For Kindergarten and 1st grade, I introduced the idea of win-win and then very specifically taught them the 3 parts of Heart Talk.  It isn't just using nice words (which my friends initially assume because of its name :)  In the upper grades, I taught an ABCD problem solving model and we practiced what Heart Talk would sound like as we work together to brainstorm solutions.  The kids are already familiar with Heart Talk (they hear me and their teachers say it all of the time AND I gave each class a heart w/ the words on it at the beginning of the year) but they could always use more practice!  It also totally fits in with Habit 1: Be Proactive because I explain that using our words when we feel strong uncomfortable feelings instead of reacting to our feelings on impulse can help us be better in charge of ourselves.

Heart Talk has become the common language of our school and I have gotten such positive feedback from our teachers and administration (and of course, students!).

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