Class Clown

Question: I am a parent of a very bright second grader. He reads at roughly a fourth-fifth grade level and has very strong math skills. The problem is he seems to have developed the role of class clown.The disapproving responses from his teacher have given my son a negative view of himself. The school has Read More »
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What to Do About Tattling

"Jaime isn’t lining up in the right place." "Grayson said a bad word." "Olivia hit me!"I know from teaching young children myself how challenging it can be to face a seemingly endless…
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A Comfortable Way to Work

I remember one third grader who really struggled with sitting still. If I’d required him to sit while he worked, it would have been really hard for him to get anything done.…
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The Swan

At the beginning of first grade, Erick was a sweet, thoughtful boy who struggled with self-control. From the first days of school, his actions revealed his caring nature: He consoled a classmate…
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Behavior Challenges in the Homestretch?

It's April. It's tempting to think that by now students understand our expectations and know how to behave, so we can all just coast to the end of the year. But, in…
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What I Learned from Sammy and His Behavior Problems

I am so excited about the release of Caltha Crowe’s new book, Sammy and His Behavior Problems: Stories and Strategies from a Teacher’s Year! When I got my advance copy, it was…
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Scenes from Sammy and His Behavior Problems

From Chapter 1: Getting to know Sammy It’s the morning of the second day of school. My new third grade students sit in a circle on the floor, shining with that beginning-of-school…
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Erica’s Surprising Insight

In almost forty years of problem-solving with children, I learned how important it can be to stay open to surprises. Although I'd always try to figure out what was causing a problem…
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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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Knowing All Our Students: An Interview with Caltha Crowe

In your book Solving Thorny Behavior Problems, you write about teachers getting to know their students. Why is this so important, especially for children with behavior and learning challenges? Children vary enormously…
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Coaching Children in Handling Everyday Conflicts

"Teacher, he won't play with me." "Teacher, she cut in line." "Teacher, he took my book."Such classroom conflicts are familiar in elementary school life. For years, resolving such conflicts for children filled…
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Getting Past “I Can’t”

When I taught fourth grade, I introduced two-digit multiplication around the middle of each year. This would always stump a number of students who had breezed through math up until that point.…
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What Teaching Matthew Taught Me

"Matthew! Get away. You're not sitting with us!" Libby hissed the words, her voice oozing with contempt as she stuck her leg out to keep Matthew from joining the small group gathered…
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Beyond Coping

When Corey joined my fourth grade class, he already had a history of school struggles and had spent part of third grade in a self-contained room for children with behavior problems. When…
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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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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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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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Refusing to Go to Time-Out

April 2002Question:I’ve had pretty good success using time-out with most children. I have children go to time-out to regain their self-control as they start to lose it. But what about the child…
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