Warm Fuzzies and Cold Pricklies

TA for Tots and Other Prinzes by Alvin Freed was printed in 1973 and is still available today. I’m retired now but it was used in the beginning of every year with my combined first and second grade classes.  TA stands for Transactional Analysis, a system for personal growth and change. It’s about feeling warm fuzzies and cold pricklies and feeling that they are prinzes instead of frozzes (his unisex terms for princes, princesses, and frogs). The two terms were easy to understand and simplified discussions about getting along and during conflicts. “Are you feeling some good warm fuzzies today?” Or “I know you’re having cold pricklies right now. How can you change that?”  Children loved the book and used the terms easily with one another.

Although written for young children, I once used it in 4th grade explaining that the content can apply to any age.  That 4th grade thrived with it also.

Read more about children’s personal development and social interaction in my book, Early Childhood Programs: Opportunities for Academic, Cognitive, and Personal Succes. Included is a web site where programs and activities can be downloaded for use in a classroom. Also, see 7 reviews on www.amazon.com

Resolving Conflicts

In my combined first and second grade, it was made clear right from the beginning that conflicts must be solved. If not, the anger would bubble and boil inside and not go away. So, refusing to get involved and take sides, the two children were sent to sit beside each other and solve their problem. It worked more often than not. But occasionally, they would turn away from each other with scowls, solving nothing. Then they were told to walk to the gym and back. It was the farthest away from our room, and I never knew what happened, but the two would return to the room in smiles and often with arms around each other, best friends again.

Sometimes with the child’s permission, if she was having a cold prickly day, she would stand beside me in front of the class while I said, “Anna is having a very difficult day, a cold prickly one. Have you ever felt like that? And if so, can you offer her some suggestions to help her feel warm fuzzies again?” I did wonder at times if this would backfire, and I suppose it might but it never did. Children can be so thoughtful and understanding of others. Hands were raised and helpful suggestions made. I’m sure the class realized I was asking for their help, not their criticism. After that, Anna and others felt so relieved.

I often said the class was sweet for a year and a half. Then there was a change with second graders, girls becoming cliquey and the boys aggressive. Much of this happened at recess. For instance, the girls would form clubs, and it would soon become apparent that the purpose was to exclude others. So we would have a big discussion, and hopefully they would come to a good decision after each would realize how it felt to be excluded. If they didn’t reach a good decision, I would make the rule: no one in our class was to be excluded. All must feel wanted and welcome. This solved the problem. In one class, however, this led to a humorous (to me) development. After our lengthy discussion and acceptance of our new rule, for three days everyone returned from recess content. Then on the fourth day, girls came in completely agitated. When asked, “Well, what happened today?” They said, “Abigail would not join our club!!!” So, of course, another discussion followed focusing upon each person being allowed to make their own decisions. That doesn’t hurt. It’s being excluded that is so painful. The boys’ aggressiveness was also addressed with class discussions, hopefully leading to resolutions. Class discussions to resolve conflicts were very common during the second semester after recess

So, healthy growth and development must include a feeling of worth and success within oneself, an atmosphere that values character development equally with academic success.

Learn more about programs, including personal development and social interaction, in my book, Early Childhood Programs: Opportunities for Academic, Cognitive, and Personal Success. Included is a web site where programs and activities can be downloaded for use in a classroom. Also, see 7 reviews on www.amazon.com

A Young Child’s Self-Concept

Before a child can understand and accept others, she must have a good self-concept. Some have said that before a child could achieve in school, she needed to have or develop that good self-concept, but I disagree. In my combined first and second grade, I believed that a good self-concept and good achievement in school must go hand in hand. How can a child feel secure if she feels she’s doing poorly in school? So, initially and throughout the year while trying to provide a curriculum of success, close attention was given to the healthy personal development of each child. And once a child feels self-assured and successful, she is able to transfer her harmony to others.

Learn more about programs, including personal development and social interaction, in my book, Early Childhood Programs: Opportunities for Academic, Cognitive, and Personal Success. Included is a web site where programs and activities can be downloaded for use in a classroom. Also, see 7 reviews on www.amazon.com

A Variety of Readers Learning to Read With or Without Phonics

In my combined first and second grade, each successful beginning reader after being offered materials and guidance and support, in one way or another, taught herself to read. She may have participated fully in all parts of the program offered, or perhaps only in part of the designed program with special attention unique from anything offered. But she, and every beginning reader, made choices along the way, perhaps unaware of making those choices, but choices never-the-less about how she learned to read. She chose to use phonics or avoided them because innately, she knew a better way.

Although there were commonalities among children, no two children learned in exactly the same way as indicated by the following:

  • Marie’s mother related the pediatrician’s comment that if a child had hearing problems during pre-school years when language was developing, the child would always have poor auditory skills. (And  I found this true with other non-phonics users.) Marie, a very bright child, attended an all-day kindergarten with much one-to-one teaching of phonics. Many classmates started to read – but not Marie. Her teacher said she couldn’t apply phonics. During first grade, Marie was a very dedicated reader often reading at Choice Time as well as Book Time – learning all phonics but never applying them to her reading. It wasn’t long before she broke-the-code and became an excellent student in all but complex spelling.
  • Seven-year-old Heinz, from Germany, was placed in my first grade instead of second because English was so new to him. At home, he had learned to read German. When he arrived in the United States the previous April however, his parents couldn’t convince him to learn English until they bought a book and tape from a favorite movie he had seen. In September he appeared to be speaking English fluently and reading at a 22 level. Did he learn with a phonics program? Unlikely. He finished both first and second grade in one year.
  • Jim, with a very low I.Q., only spent first grade with me. He learned phonics well and read many of the old basal books. Whenever I told him I’d help him find a more interesting book, he’d reject it saying he preferred the ones he had. He also broke-the-code and comprehended very well at his level in story books of interest.
  • Amy broke-the-code so quickly, that I couldn’t find enough time to teach the phonics before she broke-the-code. She learned them later. And she learned them just as fast and easily as she had learned to read.
  • Chase loved phonics. He arrived at a second pre-primer level, sounding out every letter of every new word as he had learned, such as s-s-s, tuh, eh, puh, hesitating before saying “step”. Good Heavens!!! First he had to remember his sounds and then translate those sounds before pronouncing “step” – and how could he ever become a smooth reader that way? So as he learned phonograms, he was helped to give up his old way as he learned to read well, relying heavily on a new phonetic approach.
  • Isaac entered second grade in late winter from another state. His records revealed on-grade-level reading in a basal program. He knew phonics well, including most phonograms. After finishing one reader after another, in a month he had broken-the-code and relished reading all kinds of novels.
  • Then there was Bernice, a multiply handicapped, low I.Q. student, fully mainstreamed from a special education class, functioning throughout, I’d guess, at a kindergarten level. We all helped her to read. She learned phonics and ended second grade reading comfortably in second grade readers or easy literature books. Reading was by far her greatest strength academically.

It was always hoped that during and after learning how to read, these choices allowed each child’s self-confidence to grow, leading to continued motivation, responsibility, and independence – and realizing the purposes for learning how to read and enjoying many different books, stories, and articles.

Read more about the reading programs in my book, Early Childhood Programs: Opportunities for Academic, Cognitive, and Personal Success. Also, see 7 reviews on www.amazon.com

Beginning Readers’ Success

In my classroom, each successful beginning reader after being offered materials and guidance and support, in one way or another, taught herself to read. She may have participated fully in all parts of the program offered, or perhaps only in part of the designed program with special attention unique from anything offered. But she, and every beginning reader, made choices along the way, perhaps unaware of making those choices, but choices never-the-less about how she learned to read. She chose to use phonics or avoided them because innately, she knew a better way. It was always hoped that during and after learning how to read, these choices allowed her self-confidence to grow, leading to continued motivation, responsibility, and independence – that she knew the purposes for learning how to read and enjoyed many different books, stories, and articles.

Read more about programs for beginning reading in my book, Early Childhood Programs: Opportunities for Academic, Cognitive, and Personal Success, beginning on page 38.  Also, see 7 reviews on www.amazon.com

Warm Fuzzies and Cold Pricklies

TA for Tots and Other Prinzes by Alvin Freed was printed in 1973 and is still available today. It was used in the beginning of every year with my combined first and second grade classes.  TA stands for Transactional Analysis, a system for personal growth and change. It’s about feeling warm fuzzies and cold pricklies and feeling that they are prinzes instead of frozzes (his unisex terms for princes, princesses, and frogs). The two terms were easy to understand and simplified discussions about getting along and during conflicts. “Are you feeling some good warm fuzzies today?” Or “I know you’re having cold pricklies right now. How can you change that?”  Children loved the book and used the terms easily with one another.

Read more about children’s personal development and social interaction in my book, Early Childhood Programs: Opportunities for Academic, Cognitive, and Personal Success, beginning on page 134. Also, see 7 reviews on www.amazon.com

   Teaching Young Children © Peggy Broadbent 2011 - All Rights Reserved