Finding Small Moments Throughout the Year to Recharge

My grandma used to say, “You can’t pour from an empty pitcher.” We all know that teaching can be a stressful job. During the school year, we devote so much of our time and energy to students. The summer is a chance to step back, decompress, and recharge. But why do we wait until after Read More »
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Summer Travel Tips

The summer is an exciting time. The warmth brings with it opportunities to travel for vacations and, sometimes, work. As we emerge from this terrible pandemic, many of us are eager to take to…
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Summer Reading List

The summer is a special season for educators. Our relationship to time changes in the summer: the sense that we are racing the clock to get everything done is replaced by the…
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Summer Bucket List

In July, the school is quiet. The daily stream of buses has stopped rolling in. Students, educators, and families have signed off from final Zoom meetings. July is a month for every…
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Learning Floats on the Sea of Talk:

  In Conversation with Wisconsin Principal of the Year Tina Miller Tina Miller has been in education for 21 years – including the last five years as principal of Howe Elementary in…
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Learning Gains, Reflective Practices, and Looking Ahead: A Conversation About Teaching Middle School During a Pandemic

Jean Holenko is a Responsive Classroom consulting teacher in her 27th year of teaching. She has been using the Responsive Classroom approach with students since 2001 and has been sharing it with…
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Decades from Now, What Will Be the Story You Tell?

I recently had the opportunity to reconnect with educators I worked with at the school where I began my teaching career. Many of them came straight from productive days in their various…
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The Power of Making Time for Personal Reflection

From closing circle to Academic Choice to problem-solving conferences, we all know that student reflection plays a central role in Responsive Classroom teaching practices. It may be less well known how important…
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Meaningful Closings

Educators spend the school year establishing and then nurturing classroom environments in which students feel a genuine sense of belonging. The exceptional challenges of this particular year introduced greater opportunities to create…
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Celebrating a Year of New Learning

This year tested us, our students, and their families as everyone worked to meet new and challenging expectations. Yet our students, when faced with seemingly impossible circumstances, were able to both learn…
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Growing from Challenges—Ending the Year on a Positive Note

There is no other way to say it—this school year has been full of unique challenges and demanding questions. Whether you have been teaching remotely, in-person with social distancing, or a hybrid…
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Looking Ahead: The Dilemma of Learning Loss

  Social distancing. Hybrid classrooms. Remote learning. These are among the many phrases that, in the past year, have become central to every educator’s vocabulary. But of the many terms that have…
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Responding to Learning Loss

In June 2020, the management consulting firm McKinsey & Company released “COVID-19 and Student Learning in the United States” a report that outlined the alarming potential impact of school closures on learning.…
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Time to Let Students Shine

  Regardless of if your model of instruction has been remote, hybrid, or in-person during this unique school year, your students have grown over the course of their time in your class.…
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Sustaining Safety, Joy, and Challenge for Students with Diverse Learning Needs

  All of us, students and teachers alike, approach the end of the school year with a wide variety of feelings. Just as teachers might be feeling burned out right now, it…
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Let’s Turn Teacher Fatigue into Teacher Resilience!

  For the past six months, educators have been put through the ringer – learning multiple new digital platforms, communicating non-stop with anxious parents, and constantly pivoting when technology errors or lapses…
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My Superhero Cape is a Bathrobe

This school year, more than ever, teachers have been labeled by many as superheroes. According to Wikipedia, “a superhero or superheroine is a stock character that possesses abilities beyond those of ordinary…
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Self-Care Doesn’t Have to Wait Until After School!

The past year has added so many additional stressors on educators: virtual teaching, juggling teaching formats, and wearing masks, to name a few. Teachers must find ways to manage stress to avoid…
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Overcoming Learning Challenges with Envisioning Language

Recently, my third-grade class and I were reading books about learning challenges and the strategies characters used to overcome them. During our discussions about the books, I wanted to guide them into…
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Building Connections with Students and Families

Cultural relevance can be defined as empowering students to maintain cultural integrity while succeeding academically. Culturally responsive teachers and leaders are reflective and gain a deeper understanding of themselves and how they…
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Cultural Relevance and the Amygdala Hijack

Picture this: you are in a stressful situation – a really heated moment – and out of your mouth slips a sentence or two that you instantly regret. We’ve all experienced times…
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Welcoming ALL Voices in the Classroom

How can we encourage all our students to talk and participate in school each day, with an emphasis on empowering Black and other traditionally marginalized voices? How can we be culturally responsive…
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Using the Responsive Advisory Meeting for Self-Reflection

Early in the morning, as I am getting ready to go teach, I take a moment to look in the mirror and ensure I’m ready for the day. I make sure that…
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Looking to the Future with Positive Teacher Language

As we turn the page to 2021, I find myself reflecting on the lessons I’ve learned and what I want to take with me into the new year.  Throughout 2020, we’ve seen…
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Reactivate and Reground

During the past year, the pandemic has impacted both the way teachers deliver instruction as well as how students access information. The unexpected closure of schools across the country created chaos, turmoil,…
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Trust Yourself – You Know a Lot Already

Did the first half of the school year give you a “déjà vu” feeling from your first year of teaching? Everything feels new and unfamiliar. A lot of time is spent ironing out…
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What We Pay Attention to Grows

In March of 2020, just before widespread quarantine, I serendipitously attended a silent meditation retreat in the mountains of Tennessee. It was my first real introduction to the teachings of meditation. Throughout…
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