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 extend into adulthood, such as difficulty sleeping, anxiety, and depression. While teachers and other adults who work in schools generally respond to bullying Read More »
Continue Reading

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…
Continue Reading

Teaching Without Using Rewards

Children build on their strengths, and to do that building—to grow academically and socially—they need us to recognize and encourage their positive efforts. But what’s the best way to offer that recognition…
Continue Reading

When Students Need More: Taking the Long View

A reality of teaching that all teachers know well is that no matter how effectively we teach, no matter how hard students try, and no matter how many good days the class…
Continue Reading

When Children Get Rattled

Remember that children develop new skills over time and at different rates. As they develop greater coping skills, they’ll make mistakes. The calmer you are when they fail to shake off a…
Continue Reading

What to Do When Greetings Get Silly

Do you often wonder how to keep the sense of comfortable routine while also varying Morning Meetings enough to keep students (and adults) interested and engaged? Greetings can be especially important because…
Continue Reading

Cyberbullying Prevention in the Classroom

These days even young children have active digital lives through texting, instant messaging, and multi-player online games such as Club Penguin. However, children who are adept at using digital devices such as…
Continue Reading

Cyberbullying: A Resource for Educators

Do elementary educators need to proactively protect their students against cyberbullying? Elizabeth Englander, in her engaging and readable new book Bullying and Cyberbullying: What Every Educator Needs to Know, makes a persuasive…
Continue Reading

The Invisible Boy

Do you have a child in your class who is invisible to the other children? I'm thinking about the child who is forgotten when children choose work partners, who plays alone at…
Continue Reading

How Well Do You Know Your Students?

I'd like you to try a challenge I used to give myself several times a year when I was a classroom teacher. First, divide a piece of paper into three columns. In…
Continue Reading

When Children Are Defiant

I once taught a second grader who sometimes subtly refused to go along with what we were doing. For instance, if we had to leave the classroom and John didn't want to…
Continue Reading

“We All Get Angry Sometimes”

Just as we teachers help children recognize letters and patterns, manage their belongings, and control their movements, we must also help them identify and manage their emotions. Such self-regulation preserves social relationships…
Continue Reading

A Lesson Learned About Prizes

During my years of teaching, I have used individual written agreements coupled with a simple token system to give children with particularly challenging behavior the extra support they need to improve. Recently,…
Continue Reading

How Reading About Sammy Healed Me

A few years ago, I had a student who broke me. During our very first Morning Meeting, as my brand new class met each other, he slapped another first grader. Hard. As…
Continue Reading

How to Talk With Parents about Cliques and Exclusion

Early in the school year, share with parents school and class expectations related to exclusion. You could do this in a letter or at back-to-school night. Give them a broad understanding of…
Continue Reading

Teaching Self-Calming Skills

"You need to calm down." This is something I hear a lot in my work as a behavior specialist when a student starts to get agitated—answering rudely, refusing to work, making insulting…
Continue Reading

Individual Written Agreements

When Justin started first grade, he was prone to violent outbursts. On the very first day of school, after I asked him to complete a reading response task and he threw his…
Continue Reading

Bullying and the New Kid

"There's a new girl in my class," my grandson told me. "She's from Russia, and she doesn't speak English yet. Her name is Petra, but kids call her 'Comrade Communist.' " It…
Continue Reading

November Blues

What teachers have to deal with at this time of year (in addition to teaching, of course) can be daunting—writing report cards, meeting with families at conferences, grading papers, adjusting to a…
Continue Reading

Close the Gateway to Bullying

An adapted excerpt from Chapter One of the award-winning book, How to Bullyproof Your Classroom
Continue Reading

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…
Continue Reading

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…
Continue Reading

Questioning Your Assumptions

Winter break can provide teachers a bit of time and space to reflect on how the school year has gone so far, and to decide what adjustments to make in January. This…
Continue Reading

Three Types of Logical Consequences

Teachers who use the Responsive Classroom approach learn a variety of strategies for responding to misbehavior; logical consequences are one of those strategies. Depending on the child and the situation, teachers might…
Continue Reading

Responding to Misbehavior

No matter how carefully we teach positive behavior, students will still sometimes misbehave. They'll forget the rules, their impulses will win out over their self-control, or they'll just need to test where…
Continue Reading

Punishment vs. Logical Consequences

The use of logical consequences is one part of an approach to discipline used in the Responsive Classroom. It’s a powerful way of responding to children’s misbehavior that not only is effective…
Continue Reading

What Could Be

As teachers of young children, we do not always get to see our hopes for our students fulfilled. We have to trust that we and their future teachers will make a difference,…
Continue Reading