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 feelings and find developmentally appropriate ways to respond to these students, we offer them a path to success and a model of how to get along in the world.
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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“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…
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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,…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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Close the Gateway to Bullying

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