No Put Downs
No Putdowns consists of formal lessons devoted to five skills taught in the classrooms and supported in the curriculum extension classes as well as all individuals at Heim Elementary.
Through the five skills of No Putdowns, students start looking at their own behavior and the behavior of others. The skills emphasize responsibility for one's own actions and choices, self-control, empathy, community building and effective listening and speaking skills.
Through the five skills, children become aware of their own power. They learn that power is the ability to manage one's feelings, to stop and think before responding rather than automatically lashing out. Power is the ability to make good choices, not the ability to hurt or control another. Students learn new powerful behaviors, such as helping others, apologizing when wrong, walking away from a fight, using constructive words instead of fists and putdowns, sharing, and including rather than excluding others.
Skill 1: Think About Why
The key word for this first skill is Awareness. "Think About Why" invites children to begin to define, identify and investigate their use of putdowns. They begin to think about two essential questions:
- Why do I use putdowns?
- Why do other people use putdowns?
Skill 2: Stay Cool
"Stay Cool" provides strategies for staying calm in stressful situations. "Take a moment, buy yourself some time," this skill teaches "Think before you respond; do not simply react." This second skill begins to raise the issues of self-control and choice. Children can choose to manage their feelings rather than allowing their feelings to control them.
Skill 3: Shield Myself
This skill teaches that children and adults can shield themselves from the devastating effects of putdowns. Their shield is a "force field" of confidence and self-worth. Children look at their own strengths and weaknesses, make honest assessments about themselves and recognize that they are worthy human beings. They do not have to do anything special to be special.
Skill 4: Choose a Response
When faced with a conflict, many children feel that they have few choices. They react by hitting, screaming, kicking, yelling-or withering in distress: "Choose a Response" stresses the role of choices in a child's life. Children (and adults) may not realize it, but they always have choices. However, some choices yield positive consequences and some, negative; children learn to consider those consequences before acting. After responding, they evaluate the results and decide whether the response would be effective the next time they are involved in a similar situation.
Skill 5: Build Up
"Build Up" is the opposite of put downs, and the goal of this last skill is to teach children to replace putdowns with encouraging and supportive communications and behavior. "Build Up" is also about building community, appreciating differences (and common traits), and pulling together as a class and school to create a respectful, accepting and safe environment. Students learn about giving and receiving compliments, encouraging each other and working together. This last skill, however, emphasizes sincere caring and respect, not empty praise.