Tag Archives: education

3 Assumptions We Shouldn’t Make About Educators (Re-Post)

Standard

This article was shared with me by a former principal. I totally agree with what it says and had to share it with you. It was originally posted December 4, 2014 on Connected Principal. http://connectedprincipals.com

3 Assumptions We Shouldn’t Make About Educators

by George Couros • December 4, 2014

I haven’t had my own classroom of students for a few years, but I always try to remember what it was like to be a teacher, and always try to start from that viewpoint. It bothers me when I see posts or videos talking about how so many teachers are not willing to do something better for their kids, when every single person that has “embraced change” was at some point doing things previously that they would question now.

I talk a lot about the importance of using technology to enhance learning and relationships, but I didn’t always believe it was important. It took a lot of suggestions and support from others before I started doing things differently in my practice; it did not happen overnight. That being said, just like so many other educators, I still have a lot of room to grow in so many areas. There are so many aspects of education that are important to the development of our kids, and teachers are juggling so many things that they have to do, many of which have little to do with teaching in a classroom, but are admin tasks. Instead of wondering “why aren’t people moving faster?”, we have to take a step back and get rid of some of the assumptions that people make about educators. Below are a few that stick out in my mind.

1. Educators are not willing to embrace change.

I think for many educational leaders, this is an easy way out. It puts the blame others instead of looking at something internal. Simply telling someone that they should change their practice, and it reminds me of how sometimes people are just bad at selling change in the first place. I have seen a lot of people talk about the importance of change, but by the end of listening to them, you feel terrible about what you haven’t done as opposed to inspired to do something better.

\Making people feel like crap is not the key to getting them to do something different and will not lead to sustainable change. What is important is that people experience something different themselves, but also that they are valued for what they do. If an educator knows that the change is something that will be better for kids, they are more likely to start doing something different.

There are so many things that an educator has to do, so I think it is actually good that many of them are critical about what they put their efforts into. Have you ever had an initiative in your school that has come and gone and shown no impact on students? Not all change is good, but I believe if an educator can see the value in it for their students, they are more likely to embrace it.

2. Educators don’t want what is best for kids.

Educators know that they are going into a very giving profession, where the pay is traditionally not that great. The majority of them want to make a difference. It is cool when some students get opportunities like Innovation Week, but sometimes kids show up with no food in their stomachs, and making it through their day is a huge accomplishment. Doing the “innovative ideas” might not be possible for that kid. There are so many variables to our day as educators, and teachers are rarely ever just teachers. They take care of kids in so many different ways because of they didn’t, there is no way some kids would be successful in any aspect of their lives. If every classroom and group of students looked exactly the same, teaching would be easy, although in my opinion, not very rewarding. The diversity is what makes education so great. That being said, most educators are doing what they believe is best for their kids. No one wakes up in the morning wanting to be terrible at their job. We need to always remember that.

3. That all educators do is teach.

It disheartened me to see an educator friend, who is brilliant and I would want teaching my own children, talk about how they had to get another job to make ends meet. I have heard this from several people. To think that a person who would have to work two jobs (one of them serving children all day) would not only have the time or the energy to learn new things, is pretty presumptuous. Just being a teacher, takes a lot out of you. We can’t assume that all of our efforts go simply into teaching. There are so many other aspects of our lives.

It is not only the cases where teachers are juggling another job, but also other aspects of their life. Many people have so many things going on in their lives, yet we assume that so many should put all of their time and energy into becoming the greatest teacher of all time. Some people are lucky if they can make it through the day because of whatever is going on in their lives. This is not only in education, but in all professions. We want to be great friends, partners, parents, siblings, or whatever, and sometimes teaching needs to take a little bit of a backseat to the other things in life. Does this mean a teacher doesn’t care about what they do? Not at all. But I am firm believer that I would rather have a teacher that is focused on being a whole person, than simply focusing on being a teacher. Personally, some days it is/was hard for me to get up and do my job because of other things going on in my life. We always have to remember that there is more to a teacher than being a teacher.

Do some teachers not fall in line with what I have shared? Absolutely. There are bad people in every profession. I guess my point is that when we make generalized assumptions about others in our profession we are already starting in a deficit. Trusting someone is doing the best they can before they prove it to you, is an important part of leadership. We have to give trust before we earn trust in many cases. Assuming the worst of others will not get us to grow as a profession.

Five Minute Friday

Standard

writing
A writer was created within me when I was very young. I was told by a teacher to “share my story, put it on paper” and that’s what I’ve been doing ever since. I’m not a “good writer.” I can’t spell to save my life and grammar was never my thing. I constantly feel a need to defend my intelligence due to a lack of these skills and often get embarrassed by my stupid, careless mistakes. Never the less, I am a writer.

There’s something freeing about putting my thoughts on paper. Maybe it’s the therapy I need, or just the fact that it makes me feel like someone’s listening. I can’t explain why I choose to spend time writing a blog or in my journal instead of watching TV, reading a book or sometime even interacting with the people around me, but the fact is, I just do… That’s part of who I am.

The point of putting this on my educational blog, instead of in my journal, is that teachers can create writers. They can create in a student whatever they want. Early in my educational career a teacher encouraged me to write, and it’s something that has stayed with me. It’s a great reminder to me of the impact you, as a teacher, have on the lives of the children in your classroom.

My five minutes is almost up, so I’ll wrap-up with this, encourage your students. Tell them to write, read, explain, challenge and question everything around them. These skills carry through life. You can create stronger students, even writers.

This post was written in response to Lisa Jo Baker’s writing prompt “writer” for “Five Minute Friday.” You can check out Lisa Jo’s blog and all the other 5 minute Friday submissions here.

Equal vs. Fair- Changing Attitudes

Standard

fair
If you are looking to revamp your class in 2014, let me suggest that you start by changing attitudes. The best classrooms I’ve been in offer differentiated instruction for ALL students based on individual abilities. To accomplish this you may have to change the atmosphere of your class by adjusting the attitudes of your students’. (And maybe even yourself?)

We live in a society that promotes equality for all. Kids grow up expecting to be treated EXACTLY the same way as the students sitting next to them.

I’m not opposed to equality. Equality is the foundation of equal access. Equal access is mandated by NCLB and means that EVERY student, no matter his or her ability, should have equal access to high quality education.

But in today’s inclusive classrooms, providing equal access in the form of accommodations and modifications is often seen as “unfair”. The practice of students (GT, ESL, Special Ed. etc…) leaving the General Ed classroom to receive services is becoming less and less common. Instead ALL students are staying in the General Ed (mainstream) setting to be educated. This means students who have never been exposed to these differences and teachers who may have never taught to these differences are now seeing what it takes for some students to even ACCESS the General Ed curriculum.

Now whether or not you agree with this shift is a debate for another time. The point of this post is that inclusion is our reality. Agree or disagree, if you want to be a good teacher you must start thinking about how you can address the diverse needs in your classroom. The way to do this is with differentiated instruction.

Differentiated instruction in today’s classroom is no different than it has been for the last 20 or more years. Good teachers have always looked at ability as the base of individualizing instruction. The difference in today’s classroom is that the range of student abilities is sometimes wider and there are a greater number of students who need accommodations and/or modifications to have equal access the General Ed curriculum.

The diversity in one class can sometimes be overwhelming. I’ve talked with lots of great teachers (both new and experienced) who get frustrated and down on themselves because there are so many needs in their classes and they don’t know how to address them all.

I don’t have a magic answer. And to be honest there is no ONE answer. But the best place to start is with differentiating your instruction. That can also be overwhelming and in my opinion the first step is the hardest. The first step is to change attitudes.

Differentiation starts with an understanding of equal vs. fair. I found the following statement on Pinterest with a link to this site:www.msfultzcorner.com I don’t where it originated.

I would post this in my classroom and review it regularly.

EQUAL vs. FAIR

Equal means the same.
I will not be treating you exactly the same way.

Being fair means that I will do my best to give each student what he or she needs to be successful.

What you need and what someone else needs may be very different.

I will always try to be FAIR but this means things won’t always feel EQUAL.

Start teaching your students NOW that you are going to challenge everyone and that means they won’t always use the same materials, work on the exact same assignment or be assessed in exactly the same way. But that’s OK, because everyone will be working toward success.

Differentiation is a shift in the way you structure your class, plan your lessons and teach your students. You can’t make that shift without changing the attitudes around EQUAL vs. FAIR.

There are a lot of challenges in education. If you became a teacher because you thought you’d work an 8-4 job and have all summer off; I bet you feel stupid now. Don’t get overwhelmed. Take one challenge at a time. Change one thing that isn’t working for you and keep moving forward.

Happy New Year!

Below are some great websites to learn more about differentiated instruction.

http://www.differentiatedinstruction.net/

http://www.caroltomlinson.com/

http://www.paulakluth.com/

Clearing the Air

Standard

teacher

I spent this last week speaking to educators about accommodations and modifications. I gave the same presentations EIGHT times, but every time it was a little different. Even though every group was a little different, there were a few common questions that kept coming up. They were so common that it made me realize this is information that may not be clear for many people, so I’d like to clear a few things up.

First, please remember an accommodation is meant to level the playing field. Accommodations are designed to reduce or even eliminate the effects of a disability. A modification changes the field you’re playing on. This is a fundamental change in the curriculum, or here in Texas, this means you are changing or not expecting mastery of all the TEKS.

A student DOES NOT have to be in Special Education to receive accommodations. Glasses are an accommodation; however glasses do not qualify you for Special Ed. A student may be successful with mild accommodations without the need for Special Ed services. With that being said, most of our Special Ed students DO receive accommodations. So while needing an accommodation does not make you a Special Ed student, if you are a Special Ed student you likely need accommodations. Find out what those are EARLY so you can be prepared to design lessons that meet the needs of ALL the students in your class. You should be getting IEPs (Individual Education Plans) for all your Special Ed students. IF you aren’t find your Special Ed teacher and ask for them!

Paraprofessionals do NOT need to be the ones making the accommodations or modifications. Paraprofessionals are extremely valuable to students, teachers and class environments; however there are limitations to what they should do. As the teacher you should be thinking about the needs of your students while you design lessons and activities and make those accommodations/ modifications ahead of time. It’s all about “frontloading”. For more information about how to most effectively utilize your paraprofessionals look at this TEA approved document: Paraprofessional_2013

When thinking about the classroom setting for your Special Ed students please remember that the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) is, according to Texas guidance, the General Ed classroom. Please see the LRE guidance document. LRE-QA
Least Restrictive Environment is referring to the environment that restricts the student from the General Ed population in the smallest way. That is why the genera Ed classroom is the LRE and anytime you pull from there you are “restricting” the child’s environment. This does NOT mean that ALL students should be in the General Ed classroom all the time. In Fact the guidance document goes on to discuss the continuum of services that is required. But, according to TEA guidance, when you pull from the General Ed classroom you are moving into a more “restrictive” environment even if it is the most appropriate. LRE does NOT refer to the environment in which they are free to move about the room or be louder.

Special Ed students still need to be challenged. So when looking at accommodations, make sure you are still setting limits and pushing your students; EX: extended time does not mean until the END of time. Make sure they know the boundaries. Special Ed students CAN FAIL a class. They have to work just like everyone else. They may need a different approach, change in content or material, but there still has to be a standard. If you have questions about grading for a Special Ed student talk with your administrator, your district should have grading policies. For the most part, those will also apply to your Special Ed students. There may be rare instances when they are adjusted, but that should be discussed on a case by case base.

Bottom line, know your students. As educators we are here to help ALL kids be successful in academics, but also in life. That’s a big job, so take it one kid and one day at a time. Have a great school year.

Teacher Trainings

Standard

While students enjoyed the summer vacation many teachers spend days building their teaching skills. Summer is a time for professional development and growth for those of us in education. This is one reason why it is so frustrating to hear, “Teaching is easy, you get all summer off”. Teachers really don’t get ALL summer off.
But professional growth doesn’t stop when the kids enter the classroom. No, that’s when it just begins. Teachers get a new set of students every year and every group brings its own trials and rewards. So this year during the first week while kids are adjusting to teachers and schedules, teachers are also adjusting to kids. On day one teachers start to calculate and make an ever growing list of what they need to educate this diverse population of students. So as you embark on a new school year, let me say Good Luck! You do this for a reason and YOU make the difference.

Now, to offer what I can to help prepare for this new world of new students, here’s a list of some upcoming workshops offered through Region 15 Education Service Center that may help you grow, learn and teach.

9/20- For the new Special Ed teacher’s out there, this is a basic overview of PLAAFPs and IEPs. It is an introduction course designed to give you the knowledge needed to feel comfortable writing PLAAFPs and IEPs, but also to prepare you for the two day more intense workshop offered later in the semester.

9/25- MAKE AND TAKE!! All students need social skills not only to be successful in school, but to be successful in life. But with everything you are required to teach, how do you fit in social skills as well? This workshop will look at easy and effective ways to address social skills on a daily bases as well as specific strategies for your students with more challenging behaviors. You will get a chance to make and take everything needed to implement these strategies the very next day!
You will walk away with a cool down kit, visual timer, brain break games, reward cards, supplies for visual schedules, check in cards, social skills lesson plans and materials to teach the lessons.

10/21 Reading Accommodation Assessment: The PAR or Protocol for Accommodations in Reading is a FREE tool that helps assess the need for reading accommodations. Do students need accommodations? Do they need a text reader or an adult reader? How do I show students what they need? This FREE tool can help with all these questions. ANYONE can give this!! YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE A DIAG OR READING SPECIALIST! This workshop will show you how to use this tool and provide an opportunity to practice.
You will get a bound copy of the PAR assessment that you can use to test with IMMEDIATELY!

11/19 20 Strategies for ANY student!! Teaching is no longer one size fits all. As more students are moved into inclusive settings, teachers face new challenges with how to address the needs of GT, Special Ed, ESL, ELL, slow learners and average performing students all at the same time! This workshop will look at 20 strategies that are effective for engaging and teaching ALL students in ANY classrooms. We will also look at how to imbed these strategies into your differentiated instruction.
You will walk away with Marcia Tate’s book, “Worksheets Don’t Grow Dendrites,” and the confidence to implement a new engaging strategy the VERY NEXT DAY!

To register or for more information click Region 15 ESC.
Have a Great Year!

Meltdowns 101

Standard

HiRes-2I recently attended a workshop that discussed using social skills to address challenging behavior.  The presenter was Linda Davidson for Region 20 ESC.  One slide in particular caught my attention and I wanted to share it.

My teachers are very good about using strategies to try to head off negative or disruptive behavior.  But sometimes that isn’t enough.  The teachers who directly work with students who struggle with behavior know how to deal with a full “meltdown”.  But teachers who don’t come in contact with these students regularly don’t always know how to handle it and will often inadvertently escalate the situation.   So this is information for those teachers who don’t work with this daily.

What is a “meltdown”?  It may look like a temper tantrum, or it may look like sever defiance.  These are different for every kid and start for different reasons.  You may see screaming, kicking, rolling on the floor, covering ears or eyes, crying; you may also see complete silence, head down, refusal to move.

What causes a “meltdown?  It’s different for every student.  Some students have sensory issues and it may be caused by loud noises or a smell, it may be a change in schedule, or a request the student doesn’t like.  There are many reasons for what can cause these types of behaviors.  Again the key it to know your students and head them off before they start, but here are some tips for what to do after it’s too late to prevent.

If you come in contact with a student who is having a meltdown first get help so you are not alone, then remember these strategies.

 

  1. Remain calm: if you act excited the student will notice and could increase behaviors.
  2. Avoid excessive talking, questioning and handling: the student may not fully understand what is going on and if they are spinning out of control you aren’t going to be able to explain anything to them.
  3. Zip it and show it: use pretaught visuals instead of words (the key is pretaught, if they don’t already know and use them, this isn’t the time to introduce them.
  4. Remember this is NOT a “teachable moment”: This is the number one mistake I see; wait for the kids to completely come down before trying to address the behavior.
  5. Proximity control: not too close you could get hurt, or too far away they could run or hurt themselves.
  6. The Antiseptic Bounce: move the child away from the problem area, change in scenery
  7. Wait out minor meltdowns: once it starts you often have to wait it out.
  8. If the student becomes aggressive, remove other students and restrain only if necessary.

 

I hope you never come across a student who is having a major meltdown, but if you do these simple suggestions can help.  The number on thing to remember is to GET HELP!  Even if you are just going to wait it out, don’t do it alone.

The Monday Blues :(

Standard

kids-funThe weekend is over and it’s time to get back to work.  It’s a bummer for everyone.  When you walk into school on Monday remember you aren’t the only one who wants the weekend to continue.  You set the tone; so put on your happy face, smile and greet your students.  Make them feel welcomed.  Give them a minute to tell you about their weekend.  This is a great chance to make a connection.  Here are some ideas for fun Monday morning activities.

Check out Jumpstart.com for fun activities at every level.

Check out ClassroomConfection for fun, free printables.

Check out objectiveanalyst.com for word games, puzzles and more.

Check out ESLkids for fun games and activities, great for low language kids!

And as always you can turn to Pinterest, twitter or facebook for good ideas.  Just take a minute to have some fun.  It can still be educational, but a minute or two to be a kid will help relieve stress for you and your students.  Start the week off right!

 

I don’t give a sh**!- motivating the unmotivated

Standard

441105-Cartoon-Bored-School-Girl-At-Her-DeskOk so that’s a very dramatic title, but I know many of you are facing students who are thinking, if not saying, just that. I remember the first time a student said this to me. I would love to say that I put on my cool face, walked away as if it did not affect me and addressed it in a calm, your attitude doesn’t ruffle my feathers way, after I cooled off. This would have let the student know, your words don’t hurt me, but have serious consequences for you. But I was 21 years old with about 2 months teaching experience and I LOST IT. Red faces, hair standing up, stomped to his desk and dragged his juvenile delinquent butt to the office. “You won’t talk to me that way I’m an adult.” Unfortunately I didn’t act very adult. I got in an argument with a teenager.

Now, this extreme example goes beyond simply unmotivated and enters the realm of defiance/discipline. But many your unmotivated students have this same “I don’t care” attitude, even if they don’t express it in such a disrespectful manner.

As teachers we have the overwhelming task of taking information that does not appeal to everyone and making it interesting. I know when I was in high school Geometry didn’t exactly light a fire in my heart, but I was nonetheless stuck in that class. So if you have a classroom full of unmotivated students, or maybe just that one who brings down the rest of the class, then this post is for you!

Now I know some of you are on the edge of your seat with anticipation, thinking you’re about to read about the magic trick to motivating the unmotivated. You want the key that unlocks young minds and keeps them hanging on your every word like your teaching Twilight 101. Well I’m sorry but there is not such key. There is no sure-fire trick to motivate all students. It’s all about changing up your game, knowing your students and making connections that matter.

Don’t close out of the page just yet. While I don’t have the quick fix to motivate all students, I do have several strategies and resources that you may find helpful. I’m going to put the ideas into categories so you can skip around and skim the categories that interest you.

CLASSROOM

-Make your room a safe place. You can do this by listening to students, even if they are not always honest.

-Give students space if needed. Set up a “cool down” spot in your room where kids can go if they get frustrated or mad. If you see a kid start shutting down give them a visual cue (such as a cool down “Pass”) so they can take a step back and calm down before they shut down.

-Be very structured. Students crave structure, whether they are well behaved or in the office every other day kids always like knowing what to expect and what is expected of them.

TEACHER/STUDENT RELATIONSHIP

-Know your students. This is so important. Try to remember that you dislike BEHAVIORS not students. If a kid feels like you don’t like them they’re not going to work.

-If you know a student struggles create a secret signal so they can let you know they need help without letting the entire class know. This may increase the chance that they ask for help before shutting down.

TEACHING STRATEGIES

-Break material into smaller chunks, it will be easier for kids to follow.

-Try to incorporate student interest into the lesson and let them know how this applies in real life.

-Set up struggling students for success. Give them a chance to answer questions you know the already know. This may not be a good measure of what they’ve learned, but it will build their self-esteem, which will encourage them to keep trying.

-Give choices. Some students just want to be in control, so give them control. On a worksheet let them choose the 20 questions they want to do. This way the get some work done, but feel like they have a choice it the situation.

-Catch your students being good and reward positive behavior. Focus on positive over negative and you will start to see more positive behavior.

You may already be doing a lot of these and still have students who just don’t seem to care. I hate to be the barer of bad news, but there have always been a few students who just honestly don’t care and they’re never going to let you know that they might be slightly interested. But a good teacher NEVER stops trying to motivate those students. For every kid who’s stone faced and not letting you in, there are two others who have started listening. So keep pushing and you may be the teacher to finally get that one stubborn kid to set up and take notice. You will surely touch the lives of many while trying.

For more strategies and ideas to Motivate the Unmotivated check out these links.

Strategies for Students Who Refuse to Work

Motivating Students

Some Ideas for Motivating Students

Top 12 Ways to Motivate Students

Fight against Social Impairment-teach important skills in every classroom.

Standard

Christmas break is almost over and we’ll be returning to school. There will be some who are excited to return and tackle the spring semester and some just hoping to survive. Everyone will have the BIG spring tests moving closer to the front of their minds as we stress and cram before the big day. I know that the state assessment is more strenuous than ever before; unfortunately the state assessment does not measure some of the most important skills needed to be successful. I’m talking about social skills.

These are the skills that we use everyday without stopping and thinking about how we learned them. How to ask for help, make a friend and speak to an adult. These are skills that fewer and fewer students are learning, leaving a large portion of our population with a “social impairment”.

I understand the pressures of the classroom. Teachers are stressed due to higher expectations and fewer resources. Our kids are expected to learn more at a younger age with more kids in the class and more diverse needs to be met at once. But when we skimp on these important skills we create students with HUGE gaps that are often harder to fill as they get older.

So here’s what I’m asking. As we start to prepare to go back for another semester of class, think about your classroom structure. Most of you already work on social skills in some way. Think about how you can continue to help develop your students socially.

Most social skills can be taught as part of your class routine. Look at the suggestion below and get creative. Talk to a Pre-K or Kindergarten teacher, they work on social skills more than other grades. Unfortunately for some of our kids that’s not enough. Look on Pinterest, that’s were I get a lot of my ideas.

The ideas below were found in various places. They are not appropriate for all ages, but I think there is something listed for every age. Most of these ideas can be blended into your class routine.

Social Skill of the Week: Pick social skill and use it for the focus of the week. For instance, if your skill of the week is showing responsibility, the word responsibility goes on the board. The teacher introduces the words and talks about what it means to be responsible. Students brainstorm ideas of what it means to be responsible. Throughout the week, students are given opportunities to comment on responsible behavior as they see it. At the end of the day or for bell work, have students talk about what they’ve been doing or what they did that showed acting responsibility.

Social Skill Weekly Goals: Have students a set social skill goal for the week. Provide opportunities for students to demonstrate and tell how they’re sticking to their goals. Use this as the exit dismissal key each day. For instance, children state how they met their goal that day “I cooperated today by working well with Sean on my book report”.

Set Goals: After you’ve reviewed the essential character traits. Ask students to set goals about improving the traits they feel they need the most improvement in. Have each student fill in a goal sheet that identifies at least 3 steps that they will take to improve the goal. At the end of each week, review the goals and steps with students. Have students revise and edit goals as necessary.

Good Character Submission Box: Keep a box with a slot in it. Ask students to put a slip in the box when they observe good character. For instance, “John tidied up the coat room without being asked”. Students that are reluctant writers will need to have their compliment scribed for them. Then the teacher reads the slips from the good character box at the end of the week. Teachers should also participate.

‘Social’ Circle Time: At circle time, have each child say something pleasant about the person next to them as they go around the circle. This do can be themed based (cooperative, respectful, generous, positive, responsible, friendly, empathetic etc.)

Mystery Buddies: Put all the student names in a hat. A child draws a student name and they become the student’s mystery buddy. The mystery buddy then offers compliments, praise and does nice things for the student. The students can then guess their mystery buddy at the end of the week.

Good Solutions: This activity takes some help from other teaching staff members. Have teachers leave you jot notes of the conflicts that have arisen on the yard or in the classroom. Collect these as often as you can. Then within your own classroom, present the situation that have happened, ask the students to role play it or to come up with positive solutions and practical advice to avoid repeats of the incidents.

The Button Jar: For this activity, you ask the students to catch somebody exhibiting great social skills. When students see another student sharing or helping out, they will ask if a button can be put in the jar. Likewise, the teacher puts buttons in the jar for targeted behaviors. There should be a small celebration each time the class reaches a defined number of buttons within a time period. For instance when a teacher says “Oh, I really like the way Jenny is cooperating”. A button then goes into the jar. This strategy really hooks kids providing they have opportunity to celebrate.

Good News Box: A box is displayed prominently in the classroom. You explain to the students that each time you see acts of kindness, consideration, patience, cooperation, encouragement, helping hands etc. the student writes a praise note stating who and what and then places it in the box. At the end of the week, the teacher reads out the praise notes to the classmates and gives them their praise notes. Teachers need to make sure that all students at some point receive a praise note for the desired behavior.

Seize the Moment: During lineup times for recess or lunch or other times when you have a few minutes to spare, have students select something nice to say about other student and why. For example: “Tara was helpful today because she lent me a pencil would I couldn’t find mine”. Sometimes start at the back of the line, sometimes at the front.

Random Acts of Kindness: At the beginning of the week, tell students to watch for random acts of kindness. Brainstorm acts of kindness to ensure all students understand. At the end of each week have a vote for the best random act of kindness.

Conflict Resolution: Give students opportunity to be mediators in conflict resolution. Teach the value of give and take. Have a role-play each week on conflict resolution, which enables you to have a different child act as mediator.

Newspaper Scrounge: The newspaper is a great source to find both good and bad character traits. Have students work in pairs to locate various articles about good and bad character. Have them explain why the article shows good character traits and what they are, and for the articles that demonstrate inappropriate traits, decide how could they have been prevented.

Here are some more resources for GREAT social skills ideas!

http://www.autism4teachers.com/autism4teachers_060.htm Interactive lessons for teaching social skills

http://www.mrdonn.org/sociology.html Lesson plans for teaching social skills

http://www.wingsforkids.org/experience/hot-wing great pre-made lessons

http://www.cccoe.net/social/SAdirectory.htm computer based activities

http://pbiscompendium.ssd.k12.mo.us/ResourcesSchools/SSD/SocialSkills/activiti.htm pre-made, age appropriate lessons.

Last post for 2012-check out the extras

Standard

EFEdImplications

Before the New Year I wanted to add a couple of things to my posts from 2012.  I wrote about executive functioning and how important it is to our students, Executive Functioning: How is it affecting your students?  Yesterday I ran across this article and wanted to share it as well.

Executive function: A new lens for viewing your child.

The author of this article does a great job of explaining what executive functioning is and how it affects our students.   I particularly like the chart that shows how executive functioning affects academic areas like Reading and Writing.  Check it out.

I also want to add to the post I wrote on Educational Apps .  Click on Apps in Education to access a blog about apps you can use in teaching.  This blog breaks the apps down by subject and purpose.  It is VERY useful.ipad

Finally, I wanted to share this article by Angela Watson, How to work a 40 hour week as a teacher.  teacherAngela Watson is an educational consultant in New York and the creator of thecornerstoneforteachers.com.  She has a lot of useful resources on her website and I think this is one article that any teacher can appreciate.  Teachers are overworked and underappreciated.  Teachers go beyond the 7:00-4:00 teaching time.  They work nights and weekends often sacrificing time with their family.

Thank you to everyone who has read my blog in 2012.  I hope to make 2013 even better.