Desks as Cars. I DID IT!!
A recent email described a great way to share choice theory with children!
I DID IT!!!!
I finally got enough courage and taught my students the Total Behavior Car!! I thought I’d share with you the how and why 🙂
Since I am leaving my position of K-2 teacher/principal this year I had been thinking a lot about making sure my students were equipped and prepared for change in their life. At our Spring Education Council meeting one of the principal breakouts had been about children and crisis. The main thing we can do to help prepare our children for crisis, they said, is to teach them how to handle, understand and express their emotions. I agreed with all of this since I have been a big fan of choice theory and seen how it has helped me personally over the last 3 years. So now it was time to help prepare my students to express themselves.
I tried on Monday to teach the concept of the Total Behavior Car. It went terribly. It was all on the board and they weren’t engaged. I think I left more frustrated than they were. So back to the drawing board. I didn’t want to make toilet paper cars like I did way back during The Better Plan workshop (too much tiny work and I didn’t have the supplies on hand) and suddenly about an hour before class it came to me! Turn the desks into cars!
We moved all the desks into their own parking spaces. What kid doesn’t like a mid-day desk move! Then I got out the wheels (big paper plates) and the steering wheel (small paper plates) and we reviewed the car model. On the board I drew the desk and labeled it according to the chart. We talked about how to choose to be happy, smile, think about happy things and then how our body will feel happy and our feelings will follow. They were understanding it! Hurrah! So while they were labeling their wheels I was taping the parking spaces. Then I became a mechanic and taped all their wheels to their desks. I kept them high so they will be constant reminders to them. As they were finishing the wheels I gave them their steering wheels to decorate (making sure they wrote Wants on it, had I more time or resources I might have them cut out pictures of things that are in their quality world?). Then they even got to make their own license plates. They LOVED it. We reviewed at the end how to make our car go where we want it to and how sometimes people can drive it backwards.
Tomorrow I’ll be going over more emotions and why they come based on wants, actions and thoughts. I plan on ending this unit with the movie Inside Out where we will talk about the emotions and who has control and what she could have done during different parts to change her emotions.
What do you think? Anything I should add? I was just so excited to finally figure out a way to teach it and to no longer be intimidated by it. Yes, I wish I would have taught this in August, but better late than never, right? I’m sticking some pictures in this so you can see what it all looked like.
I am really glad that Sonya decided to go for it and venture into the land of Choice Theory implementation. The implementation step is difficult for some reason, yet her story reminds us that implementation is not as hard as we make it out to be and the rewards are worth our becoming vulnerable. We don’t have to be perfect choice theorists to share the ideas with our students. In some ways, our imperfection makes our sharing even more compelling. Students often latch onto to a topic or idea in which they become co-learners with their teacher.
Students often latch onto to a topic or idea in which they become co-learners with their teacher.
When I contacted Sonya to ask if I could share her story on The Better Plan blog, she wrote back –
The students still have their cars and we refer back to the wheels all the time! I can’t believe it took me so long to use. It’s also helping me to reevaluate how I drive my car. Man I love Choice Theory 🙂 Share away!
There is something very powerful about the concept of Total Behavior. It is transformative, for instance, to learn about the relationship between our thinking and our feelings, and to further learn that we can choose what we will think about. Such realities are life-changing.
Much is currently being written in educational journals about the importance of social-emotional learning and the value of positive relationships in classrooms. From the very beginning of his career William Glasser was motivated to unlock the mysteries of psychology for everyone on the planet! The concepts of Choice Theory, with Total Behavior being one of its most important concepts, are such an effective way to introduce and nurture the psychological and emotional health of students. Don’t hold this information back. Don’t worry about not being wise enough to teach the concepts. Go for it!
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Thank you, thank you, thank you! Thank you, Sonya, and thank you, Jim. I love this idea! I am one of those that has difficulty in classroom implementation. One-on-one I can talk through specific situations with the students, but I struggle with teaching to the whole class. I can totally relate to Sonya with the teaching of the lesson, knowing the students aren’t engaging, and walking away completely frustrated at the end of the day. This visual model is great and a complete help to me!
Sonya deserves the biggest thank you! I had a feeling Sonya’s story would resonate with teachers on the front lines. Glad it has made a positive impression on you.
Hurrah!! I am so glad you can relate and hopefully use it! I am using it with k-2 and they are getting it! It’s different levels of understanding and pushing them to think for themselves but going well none the less. I am looking forward to developing the lesson plan concept of this further! Hurrah for CHOICE! Let me know how you use this and we can all grow better!
Simple, yet the students really got into it.
Hi Jim. I absolutely LOVE this latest blog. WGI-A (Australia) is currently preparing an E-book in the hope of raising funds to update the website. The book will consist of stories about how CT/RT/LM ahs changed the writers life or how they use it in the lives – I hope you get the picture! Anyway I have a request… could we use this story in our book? Are you able to get permission from the writer? I know she said “share away” – does that mean its okay for us to include in the book….. WGI-A won’t be capitalising on this other than to improve the website. We are a not for profit organisation. Would you like to contribute a story? Sheryl Matwijkiw Treasurer WGI-A Date: Thu, 26 May 2016 16:10:43 +0000 To: email@example.com
Sounds like a great way to impress upon kids the choice theory. I wonder if I would need to do some tweaking for middle schoolers?
I think it would need to be tweaked. The important thing is to get them considering the idea that every behavior is part what we are thinking, part how we are acting, part what we are feeling, and part how are body is supporting the behavior. Take a character from a Social Studies story or from a literature piece and have the class analyze the character’s Total Behavior at particular moments during the story.Or maybe analyze a person’s Total Behavior who is being featured in a current event news story. Our being able to directly control our thinking and our acting is so important.