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Cultivating Self-Regulation and Caring

One of my favorite lessons on self-regulation is drawn from “The Biscotti Kid," a Sesame Street video that parodies the film,The Karate Kid. Sesame Street had taught me a great many things as a child and I was excited to teach the boys using my favorite characters. In the video, Cookie Monster is the "Biscotti Kid." In order to get his black and white "cookie belt," he needs to listen with his whole body. The boys loved this video. It helped them settle down every day when we started a lesson in the meeting area. Cookie Monster taught us that “eyes watch, ears listen, voice quiet, body calm” was a method to listen with our whole body.
Another great video from Sesame Street is “The Spy Who Loved Cookies.” This video taught my students the importance of following directions. Cookie Monster had to follow directions in order to get through a secret door and it wouldn’t open unless he followed the exact directions of which lever to pull first. I made it a game for my boys to see who could follow my directions in order. It is important to teach this skill so they learn how to listen and follow two-step commands and sequential directions. 

Another great way to teach students about the importance of being kind without rewards is reading the book The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.  
We all know the story of the boy and his tree. The tree gives the boy everything until she is a stump. The boy gives her nothing in return except for love. This is a valuable lesson for children. I used it to teach my students that not every good deed is rewarded. They used to ask for rewards when they helped a friend. I would tell them that sometimes the reward is making someone else feel good. All of our kindergarteners at my school started to write "giving leaves" and placed them on a tree in the hallway bulletin board. These leaves thanked someone for doing something kind for them.