Teaching Perseverance? Try Interactive Modeling

We all know students who seem to give up quickly and appeal for our help, even when the task is appropriately challenging, or students who are reluctant to even start a task that seems challenging and instead opt to sit and wait until we check in with them. These behaviors can halt progress and feel frustrating for both students and teacher.
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Adapting Morning Meeting: Speech and Anxiety Needs

Morning Meeting is a powerful way to start the day. It meets students’ needs for belonging, significance, and fun; provides students with an opportunity to practice social and emotional skills; and prepares…
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Envisioning Language: Naming Positive Identities

Learning and growth require hard work, and to do that hard work, students need to see themselves as capable people who can behave and achieve in ways beyond their current reality. Helping…
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A Guide on the Side

It's still summer, but I'm thinking ahead to winter. I'm picturing writing workshop time mid-way through the year: Students are busy at the computers, working with an intensity that's balanced by smiles…
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Reinforcing, Reminding, and Redirecting

Adapted from the new 2nd edition of The Power of Our Words 
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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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Habits of the Heart

I was fortunate to hear Parker Palmer speak last week in a program sponsored by Courage in Schools (an initiative of Courage & Renewal Northeast) at Wellesley College. There were 120 educators…
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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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Encouraging Words

As a marathoner, I often think about the connections between my challenges as a runner and those of elementary school students. In both arenas, when the going gets tough—whether it's at that…
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Invisible Children

Are there invisible children at your school? A recent series of comments on the Responsive Classroom Facebook page got me thinking again about how many children go through their school days feeling…
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The Method of Grandmother

Chip Wood recently shared a link on the Yardsticks blog to TED talk by Sugata Mitra, an educational researcher who’s done some compelling research on child-driven education and technology. Midway through the…
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Respect & Responsive Classroom

This past summer at the Responsive Classroom Schools Conference, Dr. Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot’s keynote speech on the dimensions of respect gave me a new lens with which to reflect on Responsive Classroom and…
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Great Expectations

I recently had the privilege of witnessing an encounter that made me think about how important it is to communicate our faith in children’s positive intentions. The assistant principal of a school…
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Gremlins

Miguel hunched over a blank page in his notebook, scowling and biting his lip. I approached him and whispered, "I see you're having a hard time getting started. Is your writing gremlin…
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Recognizing Students’ Accomplishments All Year Long

Publicly recognizing children’s accomplishments can benefit their learning and the overall school climate. But how do you do it without setting up a competition among students? This is a question that many…
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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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Multiple Intelligences

Walking into my classroom on a typical day, you must take care not to interrupt a group collaborating on writing rap lyrics to explain how Hank Zipzer (“the world’s most talented underachiever”…
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Words That Encourage Positive Behavior

Question: What's one way you use language to encourage positive behavior?
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Powerful Words

In 1993, after teaching for twenty years, I still loved my chosen profession, but I often felt frustrated. It seemed as though I spent an inordinate amount of time on classroom management…
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