No Ordinary Monday

Teachers, principals, and other school staff nationwide are thinking about what to do and what to say tomorrow when they and their students return to school in the wake of the horrific tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. Here are suggestions from Responsive Classroom consultants and authors Mike Anderson, Caltha Crowe, Sarah Fillion, Babs Freeman-Loftis, Lynn Majewski, Kerry O'Grady, Margaret Berry Wilson, and Chip Wood:
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Parent Outreach for Busy Leaders

Teachers are encouraged to reach out early and often to their students' parents and families, and with good reason. If children are to succeed at school, teachers need to get to know…
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Each Kindness

A new girl joins Chloe's class. Maya's clothes are old and ragged. Despite the fact that there's snow on the ground, Maya's shoes look like they're meant for spring. The teacher seats…
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Bullying and the New Kid

"There's a new girl in my class," my grandson told me. "She's from Russia, and she doesn't speak English yet. Her name is Petra, but kids call her 'Comrade Communist.' " It…
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Talking with Parents about Problems

Conversations about a child who is struggling in school are stressful for parents and teachers. Both parties may experience feelings of anger, fear, frustration, and confusion, along with a sense of inadequacy,…
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More Bullyproofing on the Bus

The school bus is a hot spot for bullying, one of the least supervised and least programmed parts of children's school day. With nothing to do and no one to stop them,…
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Speaking Up

It's a lot easier to stop a small mean comment than it is to stop full blown bullying. Nonetheless, in the moment, when you hear children (or adults!) say mean things to…
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What Parents Wish Teachers Knew

Recently, I had the exciting opportunity to be interviewed by Katie Couric in the ABC studio in New York City for her weekly online video series, Katie's Take. The topic: "What Teachers…
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Teaching Children to Disagree

Not long ago I watched an animated group of second graders happily share their opinions about a children's picture book. They were responding to their teacher's open-ended question about what might have…
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Ever Feel Misunderstood?

I've been thinking about the communication gap that sometimes exists between parents and teachers and how we can narrow it. For example, has this ever happened to you?A teacher offers advice on…
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Bullyproofing at Back-to-School Night

Will you be meeting your students' families at back-to-school night soon? If so, you have a golden opportunity to take another important step toward bullyproofing your classroom. 
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Close the Gateway to Bullying

An adapted excerpt from Chapter One of the award-winning book, How to Bullyproof Your Classroom
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Whose Job Is It to Stop Bullying?

When adults start thinking about bullying prevention, I've noticed we often go right to wondering how to teach children to "stand tall." This idea—that a child who is being bullied can stop…
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Bullying and the Bus Monitor

Have you watched that video that shows middle school students on a school bus, bullying their bus monitor? I watched it a few days ago. The video is painful, even disgusting, but…
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Bullying: What Are We Teaching?

Did you see the recent news report about a kindergarten teacher who lined her class up and directed each child, in turn, to hit a classmate who'd been accused of bullying other…
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Working with Students to Stop Bullying

Bullying behaviors go on under our radar. Children report far higher levels of bullying in their classrooms than their teachers do. They see it when we don't. It happens while we're helping…
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Extraordinary Acts

Lately I've been thinking a lot about the amazing things teachers do, often almost without thinking. While working on my latest project, a book about behavior challenges, I've been interviewing some experienced…
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Bullying We Ignore

Louis announces, "Paul's feet smell, eww." His classmates laugh, and his teacher goes on teaching. "Look at your ugly lunch," "You have on boys' socks," "Your hair is nappy and you'll never…
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Bullying We Don’t See

Teachers are supposed to have "eyes in the back of our heads." When I was teaching, I believed I did see everything—I certainly thought I knew when children misbehaved. Then, while researching…
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We Can’t Stop Bullying Alone

It seems to me sometimes that children's teachers and children's families live on different planets when it comes to the issue of keeping our children safe in school. Personally, I've lived on…
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Bullying Prevention and the Responsive Classroom Approach

Your latest book is called How to Bullyproof Your Classroom. What got you interested in the topic of bullying and bullying prevention?   Bullying is in the news. As I read accounts of bullying…
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Habits of the Heart

I was fortunate to hear Parker Palmer speak last week in a program sponsored by Courage in Schools (an initiative of Courage & Renewal Northeast) at Wellesley College. There were 120 educators…
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Helping One, Helping All

Every year we teachers have some students who present challenges to themselves, to their classmates, and to us. In Sammy and His Behavior Problems, I wrote about one such student, Sammy, a…
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Encouraging Words

As a marathoner, I often think about the connections between my challenges as a runner and those of elementary school students. In both arenas, when the going gets tough—whether it's at that…
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Teaching Children How to Converse

These days, curriculum often recommends using "partner chats," "turn-and-talk," and other one-on-one conversation strategies to help students reflect on and deepen their learning. Although it may seem like a simple thing, chatting…
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How We Want Our School to Be

Several years ago, teachers at Ironia Elementary, a suburban New Jersey school with 600 students in kindergarten through fifth grade, began working with their students each September to create classroom rules—simple but…
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Joplin Schools Open On Time

One night this week the national news included two snippets related to our country’s schoolchildren: one I found very discouraging and the other really heartening. The discouraging news was that one in…
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