Looking Ahead to Next Year

For students, teachers, and parents alike, few events bring more hope and nervousness than the start of a new school year. As the summer winds down, many teachers begin to have conflicting feelings about the year ahead. We’re at once curious about our new students and daunted by the challenge of working with a new group. We have high hopes for a year filled with learning and growth, but the unknown blocks our view of the specifics of this future.
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News and Announcement Charts

Question: What’s one activity you’ve found effective for the interactive part of the Morning Meeting News and Announcements chart?
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Parent-Student-Teacher Conferences Keep the Focus on the Child

On a sunny October afternoon, kindergartner Chloe welcomes her mom into her classroom for a conference. Together they review a map Chloe had created with symbols representing the activities that the class…
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Buddy Teachers

It’s language arts time in Mr. Jeffrey’s third grade class. The children have settled into their writing assignments. Mr. Jeffrey is working with a small group when he notices Lucia across the…
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Power in Speech

One of the most valuable things we can teach students is how to assert themselves in respectful ways. In spontaneous and planned moments throughout the day, teachers can work with students to…
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Classroom Rules Q&A

In many classrooms, after the children and teacher create classroom rules during the first weeks of school, they revisit the rules at various points during the year. When do you do this…
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Calm, Friendly Hallway Behavior Is Now Part of the School Culture

A whistle blows, signaling that the day is about to begin. The children scamper to organize themselves into grade-level lines. On an adult’s signal, one line moves toward the building, pausing at…
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Teacher-Child Problem-Solving Conferences

Derek was a fifth grader who was avoiding writing. Whenever we had writing time, he would ask to go to the bathroom, and there he would linger. After observing this for a…
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Wonderful Wednesdays

Morning Meeting is over and writing workshop is underway. The children are scattered around the room sketching and then writing about objects that “called out to them.” Erin's dad is leaning against…
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Problem-Solving Conferences That Worked

Question: Think of an instance in which you used a teacher-child problem-solving conference. Why did you choose that strategy?  A: Edward often clowned around during work times, keeping everyone from getting work…
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Lunch Staff Learn Communication Techniques to Help Children Improve Behavior

“They’re fine when they’re with me. But when they step outside the walls of my classroom, their behavior falls apart,” says a fifth grade teacher. It’s a common lament. Many teachers have…
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Guided Discovery in Action

The fifth graders and their teacher, Mr. Lomax, sit in a circle. In front of Mr. Lomax is an array of five dictionaries. The largest dictionary has a worn leather cover and…
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Bridging Home and School

Learning about patterns is one of the first things we do in math in my primary classroom. We create patterns with our bodies, sing them, build them, clap them. But I never…
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Favorite Guided Discoveries

Question: Guided Discovery is a strategy for introducing materials in the classroom. The primary goal is to generate interest and excitement about classroom resources and help children explore their possible uses. “What…
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Student-Led All-School Meetings Bring the School Community Together

In a school with over 500 students and more than eighty staff, it can be difficult to get to know one another. At K.T. Murphy Elementary School in Stamford, Connecticut, the staff…
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Opening Soon!

An exciting way to introduce classroom materials and learning areas slowly, safely, and with a sense of ownership and fun As eager kindergarten students enter the classroom on the first Read More…
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A Teacher’s Rules

July 2004In the school where I taught for many years, students and teachers worked together in the first weeks of school to create classroom rules that were based on everyone's hopes and…
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Lively Learning

When I was in elementary school more than fifty years ago, I struggled with geography. I found it very hard to keep all those place names and locations straight. The only thing…
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Building Empathy for a “Trouble-Maker”

Chris was a student who struggled socially. He was in Sarah Fiarman’s mixed-grade class for two years, first as a fifth grader and then as a sixth. Of all the points working…
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Speaking Up

Question:Every year I have students who seldom or never speak up in a large group. Often, but not always, these are children from non-mainstream cultures. Do you think it’s important for all…
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What is Responsive Classroom Time-Out?

When used calmly, consistently, and respectfully, Responsive Classroom time-out can be a valuable strategy for helping students develop self-control while keeping the classroom calm, safe, and orderly.Santiago is at the interactive whiteboard,…
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Keeping Connected

It’s sharing time during Morning Meeting in Ms. Roberts’s first grade classroom. Jarrod is enthusiastically telling his classmates about the photos they will see when they look at his “family album.” The…
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Child Development

Question:What are your goals in sharing knowledge about child development with students’ families, and how do you go about it?
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The Power of Language

A teacher's language is a powerful teaching tool. Our language can build children up or tear them down. It can model respectful and caring social interactions or just the opposite. Effective language…
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What Did You Say?

Joey, a second grader, returns from a doctor's appointment in the middle of a math lesson. "Welcome back, Joey," his teacher says with a smile. "We're working together to solve the problem…
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Homework Blues?

Question: For some children, doing homework is a way to show their growing sense of competence and independence. But for other children, homework is a constant source of frustration and discouragement. How…
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Nice Work

As first appeared in Education Week, April 30, 2003. Adapted and reprinted with permission.The children in Jessica Kimmel's fifth grade class at Hyde Elementary School in Washington, DC, are gathered in a…
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