Harmonicas for Positive Management

Sep 28, 2019

 I previously shared that I would like to reflect each week about a failure (because we learn and grow through them).  This week is no different!

 Our first PD day this year started with a PAX training, which is a "preventive intervention used by teachers and schools to teach self-regulation, self-management, and self-control in young people (paxohio.org).  I was hooked immediately because the ideas supported many of the things we have learned in our trauma based training, the reading I've done, and the conversations we've had as a building.  But there were also enough ideas and things for me to tweak in my own behavior to keep me interested throughout the training.

Well, this week I got to start putting this learning to the test.  After many weeks of testing, scheduling, and co-teaching, my groups have officially started!  (But that is for another post).  What I've found through my trial and error is that getting my PAX language down is going to take time.  I'm a creature of habit.  I tend to use the same language for expectations day in and day out.  But with PAX, I wanted to change it a bit.  That has been a challenge this week and the good work/practice will continue.

I did want to share one piece of the training that has been very successful for my school.  Are you ready for it...a harmonica.

If you are like me, you've tried many different techniques to get the attention of your students.  Turned off the lights.  Whole brain teaching call backs.  Clapping patterns. Chimes. What else?  I'm sure there are more examples.

The PAX suggestion: harmonica.  I have not heard of this.  The trainer explained that children come to us with many different experiences and some may have negative triggers with the techniques we choose to use.
Turning off the lights--sudden darkness trigger
Call backs--not a bad idea but the raising of the voice may be a trigger
Clapping patterns--the sudden loud noise can be a trigger

But a harmonica.  Most children will not have any experience with this sound.  And the deep tones are pretty soothing.  So the harmonica is blown when you have something to say.  Not just to quiet students down but when there is something to be said.  Just the low tone can be blown or a short pattern.

Throughout my building you will hear this soothing sound and then students look at the adult, or put up a finger motion to signal to others it is time to listen.  Simple but effective.

Harmonica. Game changer.

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