We at Free Spirit do a lot of reading in order to keep up on the topics that are important to us, like education, social-emotional learning, early childhood, and character education. There’s a lot of good stuff out there! Here’s a sampling of what we’ve been reading the past couple weeks:
For National Bullying Prevention Month, Brightly highlights nine books about bullying for young readers. Remember Swimmy? Super fun.
Of course, bullying prevention isn’t limited to one month a year. Edutopia has suggestions for how teachers can help create a bully-free school. The key is building kindness into the classroom.
Similarly, KQED News provides suggestions for designing a classroom built on inquiry, openness, and trust.
And here’s Edutopia on creating safe, strengths-based classrooms.
Teaching Tolerance, the organization that created Mix It Up at Lunch Day over a decade ago, asks, Are your students prisoners? That phrasing may be overly dramatic, but phrasing is the subject here. It’s often said that administrators are “on patrol” or teachers are “in the trenches” or “fighting the good fight.” What kind of messages are being sent at your school?
This school in Queens, New York, is helping build students’ social, emotional, and cognitive skills through ballroom dancing. (Pause for uncomfortable flashback to the square dancing lessons of my middle school gym class.) Teachers and administrators say they’ve seen firsthand positive results for years, but soon they’ll have data to back them up. Teachers College at Columbia University is completing a two-year study that will show concrete evidence for ballroom dancing in schools.
Sometimes, the parents who can’t make it to parent-teacher night are the families whose kids could most use the support. One solution? Try home visits.
Of course, Free Spirits are not only concerned with education—we’re also book lovers. With Halloween coming up, we were pleased to find Book Riot’s suggestions for nine literary costumes from the lazy to the committed. You know you want to go as Jonathan Franzen this year.
Finally, a touching animal rescue story: Mama Chihuahua fosters kittens!
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