Helping Students Give Effective Compliments

Telling students what they’re doing right is one of the most powerful tools we have for helping them solidify and build on their positive behaviors and skills—and teachers aren’t the only ones who can provide this type of support. Students can also encourage each other through the effective use of giving compliments.
Continue Reading

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…
Continue Reading

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…
Continue Reading

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…
Continue Reading

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…
Continue Reading

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…
Continue Reading

Magic Minutes

As students arrive first thing in the morning, I’m stationed in my customary position at the door, ready to greet each one. I offer Chase our usual gentle double fist bump and…
Continue Reading

Family Connections: 10 Minutes You Don’t Want to Skip

The beginning of the school year is a time for building relationships. I purposefully plan morning meetings, energizers, and other activities so students get to know each other and so our class…
Continue Reading

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? 
Continue Reading

Teaching Skillful Communication

Ryan holds up the book so all his classmates can see the cover and begins: "Reptile Facts is my favorite first grade book. Every first grader should read this book because it…
Continue Reading

Three-Year Survey of Students

Principal Dennis Copeland had one goal in mind when he decided to survey a group of 200 students in his school over a three-year period:
Continue Reading

High-Morale Schools: Readying Students to Take on the World

Morale can be hard to define, but you know it when you see it. When you walk into a school and everything immediately feels calm, safe, respectful, rich with learning, you know…
Continue Reading

Cyberbullying Prevention in the Classroom

These days even young children have active digital lives through texting, instant messaging, and multi-player online games such as Club Penguin. However, children who are adept at using digital devices such as…
Continue Reading

Cyberbullying: A Resource for Educators

Do elementary educators need to proactively protect their students against cyberbullying? Elizabeth Englander, in her engaging and readable new book Bullying and Cyberbullying: What Every Educator Needs to Know, makes a persuasive…
Continue Reading

Q & A with Matt Miller

Last week, when the national news media picked up a story about a 2nd grader's idea for making recess work better at his school, Roundtown Elementary principal Matthew Miller contacted us right…
Continue Reading

Teaching Love

I recently had the pleasure of spending two full days at Garfield Elementary School in Springfield, Virginia, a school that has been using the Responsive Classroom approach for close to ten years.…
Continue Reading

The Invisible Boy

Do you have a child in your class who is invisible to the other children? I'm thinking about the child who is forgotten when children choose work partners, who plays alone at…
Continue Reading

What Kind of Teacher Are You?

"What kind of teacher are you?" A parent whose child will be in my class this year asked me that a few days ago. It was an honest question, and one I've…
Continue Reading

Enjoying Each Student

With some classes, the characteristics of the group tend to overshadow the personalities and interests of individual students. Earlier this year, I had that experience with my current third grade class, and…
Continue Reading

How Well Do Your Students Know Each Other?

Great teachers work on building a sense of community in their classrooms all year long. They understand that helping students build relationships with each other is a key to creating an optimal…
Continue Reading

How Well Do You Know Your Students?

I'd like you to try a challenge I used to give myself several times a year when I was a classroom teacher. First, divide a piece of paper into three columns. In…
Continue Reading

Teaching Students How to Wait

If you've ever dined out with children under four years old, you probably brought along a toolkit with games, coloring books, "I Spy" activities, or apps on a mobile device to keep…
Continue Reading

How to Talk With Parents about Cliques and Exclusion

Early in the school year, share with parents school and class expectations related to exclusion. You could do this in a letter or at back-to-school night. Give them a broad understanding of…
Continue Reading

Teaching Self-Calming Skills

"You need to calm down." This is something I hear a lot in my work as a behavior specialist when a student starts to get agitated—answering rudely, refusing to work, making insulting…
Continue Reading

Wonder, by R.J. Palacio

Have you had a chance to read Wonder, the new young adult novel by R.J. Palacio? It would be the perfect book to read aloud to a fifth grade class as a…
Continue Reading

What to Say to Parents Now

I can't begin to describe how important the exchanges I've had with my children's teachers and principal have been to me this week. At various times, each of them reached out to…
Continue Reading

More Resources for Educators and Parents

Our appreciation for social media grew quite a bit when we asked "Educators, how was the day?" on the Responsive Classroom Facebook page on Monday afternoon, and over 100 people responded. We…
Continue Reading