Know Your Students: Developmentally Responsive Planning

Knowing the students in your class happens in different ways for different teachers. A middle school teacher who sees 150 adolescents for one subject, 45 minutes a day will likely develop different kinds of relationships with their students than a first grade teacher who has one class of 22 six- and seven-year-olds. What is likely Read More »
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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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A Time of Change

Suddenly in the last few weeks, I can’t keep enough band aids stocked in my classroom. It seems like every time I look over, I see one of my students putting a…
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Magnetic Friendships

As a kid, I was fascinated by magnets: the force they exert, the way they could push and pull through tables, windows, and papers . . . sometimes without even touching! Now…
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Why Do Children Act Silly or Show Off?

Sometimes, we forget that the children we teach are just that—children. Humor, silliness, playfulness, and showing off are hallmarks of childhood, and we should expect to experience some at every grade.
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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…
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The Terrific Tens

Double-digit kids, tens can take on almost anything and love almost every minute of it. It didn’t take me long as a teacher to latch onto the understanding that if you want…
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The Notable Nine-Year-Old

Nine is not always an easy age, but it is an age of growing social awareness, of intellectual stretching, wondering, and clamoring. These are the “ing” kids: the kids who are doing,…
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What’s Changed?

One of my favorite times of the school year is right after the winter holiday break. That first week back reminds me of the first days of school—many students come in wearing…
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The Energized Eight-Year-Old

When eight-year-olds wake up in the morning, new plans for adventure are often percolating before their feet hit the floor. These plans usually involve a friend, or better yet, a group of…
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The Seeing Seven-Year-Old

Sevens notice everything . . . in detail. Their drawing, writing, and play construction is characteristically small, reduced to the microcosm, miniaturized to an intricate and controllable world they're trying to make…
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The Sensational Six-Year-Old

No one is more industrious than a six-year-old. Sixes take on every activity with unbridled enthusiasm. Work is completed in no time at all, though quantity, not quality, is the measure that…
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Do Your Students Seem Older?

Have you noticed an age shift in your class now that it's the middle of the year? It always seemed to me that when we'd come back from February vacation, my students…
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The Feisty 5½ Year Old

There's a discernable turning point in children's fifth year where the focused, centered, rule-following kindergartener becomes the full-fledged explorer. The growth spurt that's beginning will last through the sixth year. "Stretching" is…
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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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The Phenomenal Fives

Oh, what fun to be five! Busy and loving every moment of it, each day is a brand-new adventure, and if the structure of life around them is strong, they’re good to…
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On Turning Seven

One recent January, I noticed something odd each time my class of first graders settled into their writing workshop tasks: A handful of children had begun writing with tiny, tiny letters. "You…
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Child Development

Question:What are your goals in sharing knowledge about child development with students’ families, and how do you go about it?
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Homework!

Ask any teacher, parent, student, or administrator about homework and you're likely to get a different opinion about the quality and quantity at their school: there should be more, there should be…
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