classroom culture

What If Kids Didn’t Need To Act Out? Ask Rae Pica!

Celebrating World Teacher Day With Rae Pica! I’ve seen a lot of obnoxious behaviors and I admit I cleared a kindergarten class a couple times early on, before I knew better. I had a kid who tossed around pretty much everything in my Principal’s office, experienced the ‘joys’ of a key job on my car, […]

Relationships: Hearing Them Grow

Building relationships with kids takes time and commitment on both sides of the equation. A solid connection can be encouraged or fortified by a grand event – an open house evening, a “Donuts for Dad” or “Muffins for Mom” celebration, or a campus carnival – but such an event alone cannot create long and meaningful […]

Enjoyment: The Forgotten Lesson Plan Component

happy kids

I once taught in a school wher we had to use a standardized lesson plan template that was a helpful guide, but was pretty limited to just the basics. What was missing from that lesson plan template—and indeed from any lesson plan template that I have ever seen–is a section devoted to adding in enjoyment. […]

Don’t Just Hang On! Enjoy the Last Days of School!

Every year, during the final few weeks of the school term, grim articles about how to hang on until the last day of school without losing your sanity abound. Loads of stern advice about topics such as the importance of managing stress and the misery of standardized testing and unpleasant conferences about failing grades seem […]

Nipping Bullying in the Bud

stop bullying

I don’t know about you, but when I think about bullying in school, I tend to think about older kids. You know, middle school tough guys and mean girls. But I recently had the privilege and the pleasure of interviewing Blythe Hinitz, co-author of The Anti-Bullying and Teasing Book, and Jill Berkowicz, whose thoughtfulness and […]

Education Is Like a Three-Legged Stool

Anyone who has worked with me can attest to the mantra I believe wholeheartedly: “Education is like a three legged stool. The school is one leg, the student is another, and the parents are the third. It takes all legs holding up their load for the stool to stand.” All legs have an equal responsibility, […]

Playful Teaching: School Is Supposed To Be Fun

TerriblethingsbyKorczak.jpg

I recently started reading the book Playful Parenting by Dr. Lawrence J. Cohen, a psychologist from Massachusetts. In his book, the author talks about teaching rather than punishing our kids. He claims, and I must admit that it makes a lot of sense to me, that we can best achieve that through “Playful Parenting.” Playful […]

All Dots Matter

When I was principal of a rural high school we did an exercise to determine which students had connections with adults in our building. We had every student’s name on a list hanging on the wall in the library. Armed with colored dot stickers teachers were to go through the entire list and place a […]

Teach the Whole Child to Reduce Student Stress

stretching

Which has caused more stress among kids: the Great Depression or life today? According to a study cited in Brad Johnson’s book, Learning on Your Feet, five times as many students deal with stress, anxiety, and other mental issues compared to students during the Great Depression. If we really stop to think about that, we […]

Making the Switch from Extrinsic to Intrinsic Rewards

Motivation

It’s hard to imagine that there’s a teacher anywhere who hasn’t heard by now that intrinsic rewards offer children more than extrinsic rewards – that, in fact, extrinsic rewards can have long-term negative consequences for kids. Still, gold stars and praise and other such rewards have a strong hold in the classroom. Part of the […]

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