Revisiting Classroom Rules

How often do you revisit classroom rules? Most teachers establish rules at the beginning of the year, and many devote time to modeling and practicing rules with students in the first weeks of school. After that, however, the amount of time spent thinking about what rules mean and how to live by them often drops off dramatically.
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Self-Assessment and Goal Setting Go Hand in Hand

When built into daily schoolwork, goal-focused self-assessment fosters academic achievement by helping students develop lifelong skills.
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Our Hopes and Dreams for School

Inviting students to name learning goals (hopes and dreams) right away shows them that school is a safe place, that they’re important members of the classroom, and that they can look forward…
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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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Looking Ahead to Next Year: The First Day of School

As the school year draws to a close, you’re probably thinking about ways to keep students engaged in their learning during the last weeks of school. But now is also a good…
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The First 12 Weeks of PE

Starting on the first day of school, students wait excitedly at the door for PE to begin. And as soon as they see me, they always pepper me with questions: "What are we…
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Pen Pals With a Twist

Not long ago, my second grade classes started pen pal projects. These weren't your usual pen pal ventures where children write to students in another state or country. These had a twist. 
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8:00 a.m.: I’m at the Classroom Door

Where are you when students arrive in the morning? At your teacher desk looking at paperwork from the office? At the projector setting up a video you'll be showing later that morning? 
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Relationships: Always More to Learn

I teach a class of fourth graders with a span of academic skills, developmental characteristics, and cultural and economic backgrounds. If I had to describe what makes such a diverse class work…
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“It All Begins With Hopes and Dreams”

Six months ago, a second grader at Roundtown Elementary, a K–3 school in York, Pennsylvania, brought a simple idea to a whole-school assembly—to place a bench on the playground for students who…
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A Guide on the Side

It's still summer, but I'm thinking ahead to winter. I'm picturing writing workshop time mid-way through the year: Students are busy at the computers, working with an intensity that's balanced by smiles…
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Waiting to Speak

Recently, more than a handful of my first graders were struggling with waiting to ask questions or make comments during direct instruction. I responded by using tried and true teacher practices: giving…
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Twelve Days

That's how long it took for school to start feeling normal to me this year. Up to then I was in full-on back-to-school mode, and so were my students. Kids' shoes were…
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Interactive Modeling for Academic Success

Interactive Modeling is a simple, quickly paced way of teaching that can lead students to a stronger mastery of skills than traditional modeling. It's effective for teaching any skill or procedure that…
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Extra Support with Transitions

Sarah was under the classroom work table again. "Sarah, now is the time for writing. You need to come out and start your work in your writing folder." I used my best…
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The First Days of School

What can you do, this school year, to bullyproof your classroom? Establishing a positive classroom climate where kindness prevails and everybody is included is a vital first step.
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Classroom Jobs

Monday mornings were especially exciting in my classroom because that’s when students discovered what their weekly jobs would be. They would go straight to the classroom job chart and search for their…
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Books for Hopes and Dreams (2012)

Recommending children's books that teachers can use to begin talking about goal-setting and with their students has become an annual ritual for me. (Here are my picks for 2011 and 2010.) This…
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Memory Collections and Community Building

Like every teacher, I spend part of each summer imagining the students who will be in my care for the next 180 days and thinking about the best way to begin the…
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Time to Change the Routine?

Which parts of your school day just don't seem to work as well as you'd like? Now's a great time to do some problem-solving, imagine new possibilities, and plan to make changes…
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Helping Students Maintain Positive Mindsets

Recently, I ran the Rock 'n' Roll USA 2012 Marathon in Washington, DC. At about mile 19 of the 26.2 mile run, I realized that the goal time I'd set for myself…
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First, Partner Skills

This year didn't start off quite as I'd planned. I'd hoped to start teaching conversation skills right at the beginning of school, but once I met my new class, I decided that…
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More Books for Hopes and Dreams

A recent post on Facebook for more ideas about books to use with hopes and dreams made me think about why some stories work so well to inspire children to think about…
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Back to School with Children’s Books

Reading aloud can be a powerful way to build community and shared understanding at the beginning of the school year. My classes and I used to laugh and talk all year about…
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A New Teacher’s First Day

I was so nervous as I prepared for my first year of teaching! I worried that the kids wouldn't listen, their parents would think I was too young to teach, and the…
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First Day Memories

I never loved the first day of school. My teaching depended so much upon knowing my students, and until I got to know them, I never felt entirely comfortable.Having said that, I do…
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