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 discipline systems promise to turn that around by decreasing misbehavior and increasing motivation through the use of visual feedback. The phrase often heard during a conversation about public discipline systems is that “children know exactly where they stand.” 
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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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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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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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A Lesson Learned About Prizes

During my years of teaching, I have used individual written agreements coupled with a simple token system to give children with particularly challenging behavior the extra support they need to improve. Recently,…
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Individual Written Agreements

When Justin started first grade, he was prone to violent outbursts. On the very first day of school, after I asked him to complete a reading response task and he threw his…
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How Responsive Classroom Can Support PBIS Initiatives

Recently a teacher contacted me, frustrated over her school's adoption of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, or PBIS. Her biggest concern was that PBIS would replace the Responsive Classroom approach to teaching…
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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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