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 a student, glancing at plans for the next lesson, or answering a call from the office. We turn our backs or walk across the room, and that's when the pokes, mean words, or exclusion take place. I wrote earlier about partnering with parents to stop bullying in school.
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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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Communicating with Parents

To teach well, we must know children well, and parents can help us do that better than anyone. Parents can share knowledge of their child’s strengths and challenges, unique perspectives, and other…
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School-Home Communication Strategies

As educators, we know that communication between school and home is hugely important to a child’s success in school. When school leaders, teachers, and other school staff respect parents* and share infor­mation…
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Families’ Hopes and Dreams

If we really believe the statement “Parents are partners in their children’s education,” then we have to make developing relationships with parents a top priority. An important first step in building these…
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Bullying Prevention

My colleague Caltha Crowe has been researching bullying prevention for an upcoming book, and as a result, my antennae are out for news on this topic. So, the other day when I…
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The Wise Teacher

A colleague of mine recently told me a story that reminded me of how powerful and positive an influence teachers can have—not just on their students,  but on students’ families as well.…
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Building Empathy to Prevent Bullying

My fifth grade class was about to welcome a new student—I'll call him Mark—who had a number of medical challenges. For instance, he had a feeding tube, and he suffered from uncontrollable…
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The Swan

At the beginning of first grade, Erick was a sweet, thoughtful boy who struggled with self-control. From the first days of school, his actions revealed his caring nature: He consoled a classmate…
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Parents and other Volunteers in the Classroom

Inviting parents and other adult family members into the classroom gives them a chance to experience some of their child’s school life. It can also be a way for you to get…
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PE Kudos! Forging connections with families

At University School of Nashville, where I was an administrator and teacher for 23 years, the physical education teachers have recently been trying a new way of engaging students' parents in the…
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