Test Prep with Less Stress

As we approached testing season, the already anxiety-prone fourth graders I teach began asking questions about test dates, format, and content. These signs of stress, combined with antsiness brought on by the…
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Making Up for Lost Time

"Maybe we'll get to teach in February." That's been the joke at my school after snow, ice, and extreme cold, plus holidays and teacher workdays meant that last month we had only…
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Enjoying Each Student

With some classes, the characteristics of the group tend to overshadow the personalities and interests of individual students. Earlier this year, I had that experience with my current third grade Read More…
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Challenges Are Fun!

Recently I've been thinking about how enthusiastically the students in my class take on challenges, and how challenging them has helped us build a more positive community and made learning more fun…
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Who Needs Extra Movement Breaks?

Scanning around our Morning Meeting circle, I noticed that students' eyes were riveted on the sharer—all except for Justin, a child with a high need for sensory input and physical movement. Justin…
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Movement Breaks to the Rescue!

While giving the January spelling assessment, I paused to look around the classroom and here's what I saw: Sara was yawning. Ben held his head in his hands. Julie's head was down…
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Building Community Through Academics

When they are working towards a common goal, engaged in a fascinating topic, or trying to figure out a solution for a meaningful problem, students feel more connected to school and each…
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Are You Having Fun?

One afternoon in late October, my third grade class laughed together for the first time this year. It happened as we were getting ready to transition from science to math. "Okay," I…
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Summer Reading for Teachers

We asked four Responsive Classroom consultants,"What's one great resource for teachers as they look ahead to the next school year?"  Here are their responses:
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Keep Learning Going During Holiday & Vacation Times

Suddenly, it seems like the class is falling apart. Classroom routines that were going smoothly just a few weeks ago now seem rough around the edges. More and more children are forgetting…
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Make Learning a Moving Experience

So you want to reduce the amount of time that your students are required to sit and to give them more chances to move. Could you build more movement into your lessons?Here's…
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Classroom Tension Tamers: Three More Ideas to Use Now!

I wrote last week about things you can do to ease classroom stress during testing and other high-anxiety times. Here are three more tips for keeping the atmosphere of your classroom calm…
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Classroom Tension Tamers: Three Ideas to Use Now

It’s spring, and end-of-the-year-testing looms. The children are stressed.You’re stressed. You need to ease the tension—but how?
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Cooperative Games for Younger Students

When I was a physical education teacher, I was always on the lookout for fun, cooperative games for my youngest students.
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Have You Read This?: Organized Chaos

I read quite a few blogs written by elementary teachers, and Organized Chaos: A think tank focused on creative solutions for future problem solvers is one I particularly enjoy. The author, a…
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Handling Halloween High Spirits

Even if your school forgoes Halloween celebrations or costumes, I know from my own classroom experience that many children come to school on Halloween (and the days before Halloween) keyed up and…
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Do You Have a Chatty Class?

I hear a lot from teachers who are feeling frustrated by students' "chattiness." They say things like "Mike, they're not bad kids, they just won't stop talking to each other. As soon…
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Here’s an Idea! Songs in Other Languages

Singing a familiar tune or chant in another language can enliven a Morning Meeting, be a fun energizer, and help meet the needs of the growing number of second language learners in…
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