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Capturing Kids Hearts @flippengroup

January 17, 2014 Leave a comment Go to comments

For three days at Flying Horse Country Club in Colorado Springs, I attending training from Mark McKinney who blogs at Four Big Rocks of the Flippen Group (twitter @flippengroup). The training was entitled “Capturing Kids Hearts”. Flip Flipping started the organization with a Teen Leadership class for schools to build amazing leaders. They then started CKH for all teachers. This is not a program, it is a process. The idea is based on a poem from Dr. George Luck, “If you have a kid’s heart to get to his head. If that’s not where you start, please do another job instead. Kids must know you to be true And they key to that is without a doubt… YOU! have their head.”  The goals of the program are lower anxiety of kids, keep kids safe and enable them to work as a team.

The Flippen Group uses the “EXCEL Model”.
Engage – meeting and greeting, handshake, welcome, affirm, model
X-plore – customer’s needs, listening skills, safe environment
Communicate- we care and our message is relevant, content, dialogue, flexibility, “real world”
Empower- use and do, develop, becoming, encouragement
Launch- powerful ending, end and send, summary, commitment to action, passion

Our greatest need is to belong. Harry Wong agrees that the first two weeks of school needs to be used to build relationships. It is the old saying, “Sometimes slower can be faster.”  We talked about many different ways to accomplish this, but one way is through affirmations. Affirmations are compliments you give to each other.  Affirmations need to be as specific as possible.  Some schools use mailboxes where you give each other affirmations on index cards. They should always be signed so the recipient knows who is affirming you. At our school, the teachers all have affirmation mailboxes and it is always fun to give and receive them.

The first encounter student have in your classroom should be a positive one. A way to do this is to always meet your students at the door in the morning and shake their hand, with a big smile. You can tell a lot about someone’s handshake. Especially as you get to know the kids, the handshake is a way to monitor the students’ attitude. It is your check-in. Be consistent, do this everyday. If you can’t do it, have a student or co-worker greet at the door. The three benefits of the handshake is grabs the kids attention, teaches them social and professional skill, virus detector – you can tell what kind of day they are having. Three concerns are be consistent by having others help, cultural concerns by explaining this is business world conduct, germs nonchalantly, wash your hands or rub hands briskly together for five seconds gets rid of germs.  The cues people notice about your handshake are eye contact, posture, firm handshake, dress and grooming, facial expressions, tone of voice and word selection, level of relaxation, and energy level. Also leaning in and initiate contact are key components. Remember: You have only 30 seconds to make a first impression, but it takes approximately 20 additional encounters to undo or change a bad first impression.


55% of every message is communicated through the use of body language. 38% of a message is communicated by your words.7% of message is communicated by your words.  Listening is so important. Be an active listener. Do not multitask. If teacher is focusing on student. Others will focus on the student also.

Create a social contract after the first two weeks because you must first get to know your students. When you are ready, divide your students into four groups. Ask the groups to select a facilitator to make everyone is participating and to make sure answers are well defined, a scribe/notetaker, spokesperson, timekeeper, on-task person, affirmer. Then ask these four questions to create your social contract:

  1. How do you want to be treated by the leader?
  2. How do you want to be treated by each other?
  3. How do you think the leader to be treated by you?
  4. How do we want to treat each other when there is conflict?

When they are done, come together as a large group and have someone be the Class Scribe to make your Social Contract.  Follow these steps:

  1. Read the list. (first group write any that they need to on a poster board
  2. Does any match?
  3. Check anything get that matches.
  4. Add anything that is different.
  5. Process one of them to talk to one of them about

Ideally your social contract should be 10-25 words written by students. Then explain that the class needs signals:
Time out signal to get attention and say thank you to those adding the signal; Thumbs up, for students to ask other students to check their behavior; Foul, if you insult someone, you must do two affirmations. If a student can’t think of affirmations, help them by giving 3 affirmations. Some students don’t want to sign the contract because they know they won’t be able to stick to the contract. Allow them time to sign it. Remind them that we live in a democratic society and majority rules so you don’t have to sign it, but you do have to follow it.

After two weeks of reminding them of the social contract, then warn them that if they break the contract, ask them the four questions:

  1. What are you doing?
  2. What are you supposed to be doing?
  3. Are you doing it?
  4. What are you going to do about it?

Good News. After two weeks of your social contract you can start good news at the beginning of each class. Have 3-5 minutes each day at the beginning to share good things. Say, “tell me something good” and ask for volunteers. Make sure students give you a headline, not the whole story. Model little and big things. Applaud after each good thing. Make sure that anytime one claps, we all clap. Leaders know how to be happy for others, whether they agree with the good news or not. Ask a follow up question. Remember to call on all students by the end of the week. If a student does not have good news, tell them you will come back to hem. If you come back to them and they still don’t have good news, affirm them about some good news you have them with them. Or ask them a silly question, like “did you brush your teeth?” If they say yes, you can say that everyone else thinks that is good news. The benefits of good news  are to connect with kids, focus on the positive, and teach optimism

“A leader is someone who sets aside a personal agenda and embraces a greater agenda of serving others.” Flip Flippen. The goal of leadership is other people’s success.  I think the four questions to re-direct behavior are my favorites. But I also was reminded a lot about listening and not advising people, just listening.  This summary of my training is in no way to replace going to training. For more information, visit their website at http://www.flippengroup.com/.

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