Spring Rejuvenation

No matter what the weather is like where you are, it can be challenging for both students and teachers to maintain enthusiasm at this point in the school year. The beginning-of-school energy is long gone, summer is not yet in sight, and some classrooms have been working hard without a break since January. Sounds like it’s time for some spring rejuvenation!
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Keeping Rules Front and Center During the Winter Slump

Recently I noticed my first graders having more trouble than usual sticking to our classroom rules. Several possible explanations came to mind as I began to reflect:“Am I not doing something I…
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Easy Ways to Vary Morning Meeting Greetings

How can you keep the sense of comfortable routine while also varying Morning Meetings enough to keep students (and adults) interested and engaged? Greetings can set the tone for the whole meeting—and…
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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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Are You in a Morning Message Rut?

If so, you're not alone! I've been hearing from teachers who feel they could do more to make this part of Morning Meeting as purposeful, fun, and engaging as greeting, sharing and…
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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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Need a New Mattress?

At this time of year, people who work in schools often start feeling a bit frayed. Now that the school year is well underway, the "honeymoon period" of the first weeks is…
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What Keeps You Inspired?

In the throes of a winter snow storm, progress reports, parent conferences, state testing and the flu season, imagine what might have inspired these comments:"This was totally worth giving up two weekends!""This…
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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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Starting Over at Mid-Year

Last week on Facebook we asked, "What's your advice for someone who's taking over for another teacher in the middle of the year?" and you shared so many great ideas! Several people…
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Could This Be Your Classroom?

"... the first six weeks were rich with modeling, practicing and defining our class community and expectations.  Children rose to the challenges and pulled together to be their best. We proudly celebrated…
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Read-Alouds to Inspire Hopes and Dreams

By now you probably know how much I love children's books! Here are some that would be perfect for launching a discussion of hopes and dreams—the first step in the Responsive Classroom…
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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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Reflecting on Classroom Routines

What routines do you use in your classroom? Which are going well? Which still need some work?
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Revisiting Hopes and Dreams in the New Year

Reflection and goal-setting are often a focus for adults in January, when the beginning of a new calendar year prompts us to think about what we've accomplished and what we hope to…
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A Fresh Start Leads to Learning

Last year's class, my twenty-third, was the most challenging of my teaching career. Most of the students were quite young for fifth grade, and several had a history of severe behavior problems.…
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Classroom Rules Q&A

In many classrooms, after the children and teacher create classroom rules during the first weeks of school, they revisit the rules at various points during the year. When do you do this…
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