Rules Talk

After a busy morning, Mr. Hulsey’s third graders are ready for lunch, squirming as they stand in line at their classroom door. Mr. Hulsey raises his hand, the agreed-upon class signal for attention. When everyone’s quiet and looking at him, he speaks: “Our rules say we’ll take care of each other and our environment. How will that look and sound in the lunchroom today?”Students’ hands shoot up and the answers come readily: Speak in six-inch voices. Say “Thank you.” Remember to empty your tray. If you spill, clean it up.
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Genuine Apologies

Learning to give and receive apologies is a complex social skill. As a school counselor, I am often asked to give advice about having children apologize in school. Are there times when…
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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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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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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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A Conflict Resolution Protocol for Elementary Classrooms

April 2000A basic belief underlying The Responsive Classroom approach to teaching is that how children learn to treat one another is as important as what they learn in reading, writing, and arithmetic.…
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In Case of the Blurts

How one teacher deals with interruptions and keeps learning running smoothly. Picture this: My reading group is attentive and prepared for a discussion of a favorite novel. “What if Darry had called…
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