Time-Out: Early, Often, and for Everyone

At least once a year, one colleague or another comes to me and says, “Gina, something is not right. Can you observe my class and see if you can figure out what’s going on?” When I observe the class, I might see the teacher tell the same student three times to listen during read-aloud time. Or maybe, students keep talking during Morning Meeting even after being reminded to pay attention, and the teacher has to stop the activity to go over Morning Meeting rules. The answer becomes clear to me—and when I tell the teacher she is not using time-out consistently enough when students need a break, it becomes clear to her, too. She knows time-out is important, but as the year goes on, it becomes harder to maintain the habit of using it.
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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…
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Public Discipline Systems

Public discipline systems—like Class Dojo, stoplights, moving clothespins along a colored card, writing names on the board—can certainly be appealing. Some days can feel as if they’re spent just disciplining, and public…
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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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Responsive Classroom and PBIS

"Are Responsive Classroom and PBIS compatible with each other? Can our school use both?" We at Responsive Classroom hear this a lot from educators. If you're hearing the same from colleagues, or…
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Waiting to Speak

Recently, more than a handful of my first graders were struggling with waiting to ask questions or make comments during direct instruction. I responded by using tried and true teacher practices: giving…
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When the Wheels Start to Wobble

Ever drive down the road and realize the car is wobbly and perhaps in need of alignment? Sometimes I just know my class is going to feel the same way. Right before a…
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Reinforcing, Reminding, and Redirecting

Adapted from the new 2nd edition of The Power of Our Words 
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A Principal’s Job Is Also to Teach

Early in my career as a school leader, I learned a great lesson: that as a principal, I needed to help children learn the skills that would enable the behavior their teachers…
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Checking In: Helping Students “Catch Themselves”

Often students struggling with emotional behavioral disabilities are overwhelmed by and over-reactive to daily events that seem mundane to others. They become easily stressed and frustrated, can feel out of control, develop…
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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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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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Extra Support with Transitions

Sarah was under the classroom work table again. "Sarah, now is the time for writing. You need to come out and start your work in your writing folder." I used my best…
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The Right Response

I’ve noticed that teachers who are learning about the Responsive Classroom approach to discipline often worry a lot about choosing the “right” response to student misbehavior. “Is there a list of logical…
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The First Days of School

What can you do, this school year, to bullyproof your classroom? Establishing a positive classroom climate where kindness prevails and everybody is included is a vital first step.
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Bullying: What Are We Teaching?

Did you see the recent news report about a kindergarten teacher who lined her class up and directed each child, in turn, to hit a classmate who'd been accused of bullying other…
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I Didn’t Do It!

What do you do when a student flat-out denies doing something you know (or are at least pretty sure) she did? Are consequences ever appropriate in this situation? Do you just give…
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Want Positive Behavior? Use Positive Language

"Hello, Tasha! How's your new baby brother?" the principal says as she greets a student in the hallway during morning arrival. Just then a teacher comments to a student at his classroom…
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Lining Up

"Mr. Anderson! Kelsey cut in line!" calls out Nicole."No I didn't! I was here a second ago. I just had to get my lunch ticket!" Kelsey retorts.The fourth grade girls glare at…
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Three Types of Logical Consequences

Teachers who use the Responsive Classroom approach learn a variety of strategies for responding to misbehavior; logical consequences are one of those strategies. Depending on the child and the situation, teachers might…
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Responding to Misbehavior

No matter how carefully we teach positive behavior, students will still sometimes misbehave. They'll forget the rules, their impulses will win out over their self-control, or they'll just need to test where…
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Punishment vs. Logical Consequences

The use of logical consequences is one part of an approach to discipline used in the Responsive Classroom. It’s a powerful way of responding to children’s misbehavior that not only is effective…
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What Could Be

As teachers of young children, we do not always get to see our hopes for our students fulfilled. We have to trust that we and their future teachers will make a difference,…
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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…
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