Stop Bullying Before It Starts

National Bullying Prevention Month is an opportunity to reflect on a serious problem that not only deprives students of a joyful learning environment, but can have toxic effects on the recipient that…
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Teachers, Specializing in… Everything!

You’re a master of flexibility, an expert gear-switcher, and you know and teach every student at your school. You’re a Special Area Teacher. And you’re amazing! Being a Special Area Teacher means…
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Starting the Year Off with Joy

Each of these practices promotes active teaching over direct teaching: Rather than education being a one-way street in which a teacher lectures, learning becomes a collaboration between teacher and students. And if…
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Getting Started with Responsive Classroom

No matter where in the year you are, when you’re feeling ready to start using the Responsive Classroom approach, that’s the right time to begin! But where do you start? “It’s all…
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Bring Social Studies Into Morning Meeting

Morning Meeting is a chance for teachers to introduce and reinforce critical academic and social-emotional skills for students of any age. Bringing social studies into Morning Meeting can give students extra opportunities…
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Time-Out: Early, Often, and for Everyone

At least once a year, one colleague or another comes to me and says, “Gina, something is not right. Can you observe my class and see if you can figure out what’s…
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Academic Engagement in the Home Stretch

You’ve made it to the last few months of the academic year! From spring fever to state testing, there are lots of reasons why students might need a nudge to stay engaged…
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Spring Rejuvenation

No matter what the weather is like where you are, it can be challenging for both students and teachers to maintain enthusiasm at this point in the school year. The beginning-of-school energy…
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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…
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Revisiting Classroom Rules

How often do you revisit classroom rules? Most teachers establish rules at the beginning of the year, and many devote time to modeling and practicing rules with students in the first weeks…
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Engaging Middle Schoolers During the Holiday Season

With interrupted classroom schedules, school vacations, and increased disruptive student behaviors, managing the classroom can feel like a daunting task during the winter holiday season. With a little strategizing, you can help…
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Responding to Defiance in the Moment

Children who defy us often get to the core of our fears as teachers. They make us question our abilities and provoke feelings of insignificance. But when we rise above our own…
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Self-Assessment and Goal Setting Go Hand in Hand

When built into daily schoolwork, goal-focused self-assessment fosters academic achievement by helping students develop lifelong skills.
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Peanut Butter, Grape Jelly

As seen in The First Six Weeks of School, 2nd Edition! Students get a kick out of this song.
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Time for a Brain Break!

Middle schoolers are at an age when they need frequent opportunities to pause, move, and interact with each other to recharge themselves and refocus their energies for more productive learning. Teachers can…
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Setting a Positive Tone in Special Area Classrooms

What happens in the first few minutes of each class period can have a huge impact on students’ focus and productivity throughout the rest of the period. A calm and orderly opening…
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Naming Students in Positive Ways

From your “Good morning” greeting to your “Good-bye” at the last bell, every school day gives you many opportunities to address students with words that give them an image of themselves as…
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Is Your Classroom Organized for Learning?

School’s over! As you clean table tops, take down anchor charts, and sort supplies, pause and take a look around your classroom. Will you be leaving a space that worked well for…
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What Is Morning Meeting?

Responsive Classroom Morning Meeting is an engaging way to start each day, build a strong sense of community, and set children up for success socially and academically. Each morning, students and teachers…
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Reinforcing Language: Giving Middle Schoolers Supportive Feedback

Teacher language—the words, tone, and pace we use when we talk to students—may be the most powerful of all our teaching tools. After all, language permeates nearly every interaction we have with…
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Middle School Motivators

As middle schoolers begin the transition into young adulthood, they have a strong developmental need for learning that’s both active (hands-on, experiential) and interactive (social, collaborative). When we meet that need, students…
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Breathe Life into Learning with Engaging Academics

Building the characteristics of engaging academics into lessons helps students do rigorous learning in a dynamic way. Students not only engage with and enjoy their learning, but are more willing to tackle…
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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…
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Making Learning Meaningful: It’s All About the Why

A few years ago, as I looked around the fourth/fifth grade combination class I taught, I saw a student staring at her math notebook and slowly shaking her head. I wandered over…
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