Naming Students in Positive Ways

You can help students see themselves as capable learners every time you speak to them. How? By using envisioning language that names and describes them in positive ways.
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Is Your Classroom Organized for Learning?

School’s over! As you clean table tops, take down anchor charts, and sort supplies, pause and take a look around your classroom. Will you be leaving a space that worked well for…
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Reinforcing Language: Giving Middle Schoolers Supportive Feedback

Teacher language—the words, tone, and pace we use when we talk to students—may be the most powerful of all our teaching tools. After all, language permeates nearly every interaction we have with…
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Middle School Motivators

As middle schoolers begin the transition into young adulthood, they have a strong developmental need for learning that’s both active (hands-on, experiential) and interactive (social, collaborative). When we meet that need, students…
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Breathe Life into Learning with Engaging Academics

Building the characteristics of engaging academics into lessons helps students do rigorous learning in a dynamic way. Students not only engage with and enjoy their learning, but are more willing to tackle…
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Teaching Perseverance? Try Interactive Modeling

We all know students who seem to give up quickly and appeal for our help, even when the task is appropriately challenging, or students who are reluctant to even start a task…
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Making Learning Meaningful: It’s All About the Why

A few years ago, as I looked around the fourth/fifth grade combination class I taught, I saw a student staring at her math notebook and slowly shaking her head. I wandered over…
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Teaching Children to Check Their Own Behavior

“One of my jobs here at school is to help make sure that every single one of you can do your best learning every day.” As a school counselor, that’s how I…
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Our Classroom Walls

During the school day we spend most of our time in our classroom and so do twenty to thirty students (give or take a few!). Many of us feel that our classroom…
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Taking Positive Language Schoolwide

Positive language is a powerful tool for building a calm, safe school climate. The words we use when we talk to students, the intention behind these words, and how we deliver them…
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Adapting Morning Meeting: Speech and Anxiety Needs

Morning Meeting is a powerful way to start the day. It meets students’ needs for belonging, significance, and fun; provides students with an opportunity to practice social and emotional skills; and prepares…
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Building Bridges

Taking time to get to know parents sends an important message: We’re a team with a shared goal of helping students have a successful school year. Plus, parents have invaluable insight that…
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Strong Communities Build Strong Schools

Ask Dr. Nicole Evans Jones the key to creating a positive climate for children and she’ll tell you it’s all about the people and their relationships. Sure, the curriculum matters. Sure, funding…
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Our Hopes and Dreams for School

“What are your hopes and dreams for the school year?” Many teachers ask this question in the first weeks of school to help students get excited about learning and make a personal…
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Public Discipline Systems

Public discipline systems—like Class Dojo, stoplights, moving clothespins along a colored card, writing names on the board—can certainly be appealing. Some days can feel as if they’re spent just disciplining, and public…
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Music Class Rules

I’d been teaching for over 30 years and felt pretty comfortable with the way I managed my music classes. But a few years ago, I took a Responsive Classroom workshop, and it…
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Special Area Rules

Special area teachers may come up with their area rules on their own, use or adapt classroom rules, or use schoolwide rules. No matter where your special area rules come from, the…
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How’s Your Reinforcing Language?

Once June arrives, it’s tempting to focus on the more leisurely days ahead. That’s important to do—we all need rest and rejuvenation. But before you begin that well-earned downtime, pause for a…
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Envisioning Language: Naming Positive Identities

Learning and growth require hard work, and to do that hard work, students need to see themselves as capable people who can behave and achieve in ways beyond their current reality. Helping…
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