Reinforcing Language: Giving Middle Schoolers Supportive Feedback

Teacher language—the words, tone, and pace we use when we talk to students—may be the most powerful of all our teaching tools. After all, language permeates nearly every interaction we have with students; we use words to exchange friendly greetings, give instructions, deliver content, and check understanding.
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Taking Positive Language Schoolwide

Positive language is a powerful tool for building a calm, safe school climate. The words we use when we talk to students, the intention behind these words, and how we deliver them…
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How’s Your Reinforcing Language?

Once June arrives, it’s tempting to focus on the more leisurely days ahead. That’s important to do—we all need rest and rejuvenation. But before you begin that well-earned downtime, pause for a…
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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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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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Asking Strategic Questions

Adapted from the new book The Language of Learning: Teaching Students Core Thinking, Listening, & Speaking Skills 
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Sometimes Less Is More

The other day Ben returned to our classroom after a session with the occupational therapist, yelling "I'm here, guys!," which interrupted the lesson and caused a few students to giggle. I looked…
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Noticing Positives

What’s going well in your classroom these days? At this time of year, especially, it’s common for teachers to focus more energy on challenges such as reteaching procedures that aren’t going smoothly,…
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Naming What Children Can Do

Mr. Park's fourth grade class was the most impulsive and squirmy group of children he'd ever taught. Children speaking out of turn, talking to neighbors, playing with small objects, or making odd…
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Letting Go of “But”

Have you ever had a friend (or relative) who couldn't seem to give a full compliment? I have one (she shall go unnamed) who can't help but qualify every kind thing she…
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What Students Hear

We all have funny stories about things children say as they try to make sense of what they're learning in school, such as this one a teacher shared with me recently:The teacher…
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The Power of Teacher Language

As the children come back from lunch, they are slow to quiet down. Calmly, the teacher rings a chime, a well-rehearsed signal for attention. She waits a moment until the last child…
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The Power of Language

A teacher's language is a powerful teaching tool. Our language can build children up or tear them down. It can model respectful and caring social interactions or just the opposite. Effective language…
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