When We Lose a Fellow Teacher

By Stephanie Filio

When We Lose a Fellow TeacherWhen someone in a school has something to celebrate, the whole school celebrates together. Marriages, graduations, babies—no matter what it is, the staff is less weighty, the kids catch the spirit, and everyone moves through the day with a little extra pep in their step. In the same manner, when something unfortunate occurs to one of us, there is a unified sadness in the school. When a school community grieves, staff and students sit vigil together. To watch a school ache as one is both fiercely heartbreaking and extremely heartwarming at the same time.

Sometimes tragedy hits very close to home and we lose one of our own.

A school might go years without losing an educator, or it might experience a dark time when tragedies occur in a chain rather than experiencing an isolated incident. This year has been one of those tough years for many of my current and former colleagues and students. At my school, we started the year with a loss, and then lost a second wonderful teacher. Not much later, a lovely teacher passed at the school where I previously worked.

Lessons Learned

We come to be so familiar with our jobs, schools, and students that we are rarely surprised. Being able to anticipate student needs is comforting, allowing us to feel in control in the midst of the preadolescent chaos. But there is always something unexpected on the horizon, and in those moments we can learn a great deal. I am learning so much from my colleagues this year as we navigate these sad losses in our hallways.

We speak without words.

Many staff members expressed feeling anxious about returning to school, wondering what it would “feel like” to walk through the school hallways for the first time after the news that a teacher had passed away. We nodded and waved at each other, giving silent condolences and assurance of solidarity. My colleagues appeared trapped by their thinking and found themselves at a loss for words.

Having time to process things is immeasurably important for adults and students alike. It is okay to let our feelings take time.

Even in our more solitary states, we still need social interactions. These interactions can be quiet, or leadership can be tasked with the talking. Either way, the goal is to allow everyone to lean on one another. When one of our school family members dies, we need reassurance that we still have each other.

We can feel close to someone even if we don’t know them well.

Educating students is emotionally intimate, and it leads to relationships that go much deeper than surface feelings.

Some teachers remarked that they still felt deeply moved by the loss of a fellow teacher, even though they had hardly crossed paths with the departed colleague. In our schools, our spirits fill spaces larger than our immediate bodies. We share our thoughts and feelings with a friend, and they carry us to their corridor. We educate students, and they carry us past that year. We are all so connected; there is no one way to care for someone or grieve for someone—a reassurance that some of us need to hear.

There are things we can never be prepared for.

The shock of a death is always difficult. When it happens in our schools, we are given reminders all day that the person is gone. We may have been co-teachers on the same team, passed by each other every morning, or had neighboring mailboxes. Our emotions are tripped each time we go through the same motion with that missing piece.

When our daily pattern is abruptly altered, we might feel anxious until a new habit is established. Changes caused by tragedy obviously create complex emotional responses. By grief counseling standards, we know that the human heart and mind fight the “new normal,” causing tension and behavior within an individual. Sharing feelings such as sadness about the loss, guilt for surviving, or fear of the future does not always take a clinical professional—sometimes it just takes a friend.

Support for Students Through Teachers

After we learned that a teacher had passed away at my school, my fellow school counselors and I offered teachers a shoulder to lean on if they needed it. I reached out to teachers at my previous school as well when I heard that a staff member there had passed away. In both places, and over and over again, the offer was appreciated but declined. What I found was that for many school staff members, the need was in the classroom and with the students.

Teachers turned to us to gain an understanding of how these situations were interpreted by students. They needed help establishing their role with students and figuring out the best way to approach young people who were grieving. The number one support my colleagues and I gave them was an invitation to send our way students who were struggling to maintain their emotions.

Some opportunities that we can provide students also serve a purpose for teachers. Activities and conversations can become a powerful rapport-building experience in the classroom. The goal is not to explain death, dying, or suffering to students, because that is best decided by students’ families and their norms. We can, however, remain focused on positivity and help students learn to cope with hardship. Here are some activities you might use with your school community:

  • A remembrance or mindfulness activity can help students who feel the urge to contribute in some way. They might be grappling with feelings of helplessness, and making cards for the family, creating remembrance rocks to decorate the school, or fundraising can help these students and staff feel like they are doing their part.
  • Social activities can give students and staff the opportunity to share their feelings and also feel renewed by camaraderie with one another. The activities can be optional, but might include sharing positive stories for the family, celebrating the deceased person’s favorite hobbies or teams, or wearing something representative of that teacher to celebrate their legacy.
  • Mindfulness activities are helpful for everyone and are particularly loved by students who are not ready to talk, but need to keep their minds busy without effort. Coloring Zentangles, practicing breathing techniques, or listening to soothing music while completing quiet work might be ideal activities for the days that follow a death in the school. These give students a brain break, and they also give teachers a chance to catch their breath.
  • Completing a worksheet about positive community qualities or emotion identification, discussing positive personal qualities, and writing about great qualities in a friend or family member are helpful ways to keep students and staff focused on the positive things in life.

Don’t underestimate how tricky it can be for teachers to show up to their classrooms during an emotionally charged situation while still having to lead, teach, and engage students. Though emotional exhaustion would cause anyone to need to pause and have a quiet day of reflection, teachers are awarded no such luxury. The students still come, the clock still ticks, and the pressure to deliver content still hovers and stalks. Giving teachers specific responses and phrases offers them a script to draw from so that quick thinking in the moment can be eased, even if only a bit.

Teachers might like a little crash course in sensitive communication. They can use direct language that only repeats the message of administration in terms of how much is revealed about the circumstances of the loss. For example, if a student asks, “What happened?” the teacher can say, “It is sad that Mrs. T—— passed away. What do you remember most about her?” When students break down, your responses can be short, such as, “I am glad we have each other to remember her by. What was your favorite thing about her?” All answers can be steered toward positive living and personality traits of the deceased person to help students focus on climbing out of the hole instead of falling down it.

Family First

We all know that it is not the exorbitant pay or lavish locales that keep us coming back to education every year. The feeling we get from serving our community and students is only the tip of the iceberg. The relationships we foster and the family we create within our schools and school divisions are what truly make our service possible. Our inside jokes, our memes, our disdain for a full moon make us the kindest (and smartest) mafia one can ever encounter. When we lose one of our school family members, we grieve in a way that is just as unparalleled as the rest of our world.

As I often say, counselors are in a unique position of being able to aid both students and staff. We can perform CPR when the heart of the school needs to keep beating, and we can support multiple functions of the larger system by collaborating with the smaller parts and uniting their needs. Part of this is sharing information with teachers to spread throughout the student body or reassuring them that they are amazing educators who will do no harm if they lead student interactions with their hearts.

Counseling in middle school in particular is a long game. What we teach students won’t really hit home until they are older and mature enough to really understand and process the information. Every one of our students will encounter suffering, such as death and dying, in their lifetime. I truly believe that by guiding students through moments of loss that occur in school, we might make immeasurable differences in their lives, especially as they grow and experience personal grief.

This post is dedicated to our lovely sisters in arms: Wendy, Jackie, and Stacy.

Stephanie FilioStephanie Filio is a middle school counselor in Virginia Beach. She received her undergraduate degree in interdisciplinary studies from the University of Virginia and her M.Ed. in counseling from Old Dominion University. In a discussion with one of her UVA professors about her desire to stay in school forever, her mentor wisely responded, “If you want to be a lifelong learner, go into education,” and so she found her place. Prior to her six years as a school counselor, Stephanie worked in private education, specializing in standardized tests, test preparation, and future planning. She writes about her career and hobbies at her blog, Weekend Therapy, and can be found on Twitter @steffschoolcoun. Stephanie also enjoys spending time with her books, crafts, and family.

We welcome your comments and suggestions. Share your comments, stories, and ideas below, or contact us. All comments will be approved before posting, and are subject to our comment and privacy policies.

FSP Springybook Signature(c)© 2020 by Free Spirit Publishing. All rights reserved. The view expressed in this post represent the opinion of the author and not necessarily Free Spirit Publishing.

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Coaching Students to Overcome Executive Function Struggles

By Emily Kircher-Morris, author of forthcoming Free Spirit title Teaching Twice-Exceptional Learners in Today’s Classroom

Coaching Students to Overcome Executive Function StrugglesImagine an orchestra preparing for a concert, and all the instruments are warming up. You can hear the flutes, the strings, and the tuba—all the musicians playing their scales and working to tune their instruments. When the conductor steps up to the podium, the musicians come together with a single focus and purpose, following the conductor’s direction to create a coordinated symphony.

Kids who have executive function struggles are like an orchestra whose conductor is late or absent. All the components of their brains are humming along, but nothing is coordinated or in tune. The prefrontal cortex is the conductor in this example, and without the executive functioning skills provided by the prefrontal cortex, the rest of the function of the brain is out of sync.

Whether they experience difficulty in decision-making processes (planning, prioritizing, and managing time) or in behavioral regulation processes (response inhibition, task initiation, and sustaining attention), students in our classrooms who are dealing with executive dysfunction are struggling. Their grades and self-esteem suffer and they internalize messages of being lazy and unmotivated when, in reality, they need our support to overcome these struggles.

Many clinical and educational diagnoses directly involve executive functioning weaknesses. Characteristics of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and dyslexia involve trouble with executive functioning. However, executive functioning difficulties can be present without an established diagnosis too.

It’s important for us to recognize the careful balance between accommodating and enabling. Of course, on the one hand, we don’t want to foster bad habits or a learned sense of helplessness by providing too much help and removing all challenge. On the other hand, we don’t want to put students in a sink-or-swim situation, where they are in over their heads with so little help they can’t succeed. Explicit, guided instruction with frequent check-ins and coaching is an excellent way to provide the support these students need and gradually remove it as they become more independent in these skills.

Working with students through a coaching process empowers them. Take, for example, Dylan (not his real name). Dylan is a twice-exceptional middle school student (gifted/ADHD) having a hard time with task initiation after school to complete his homework. He explained that he had trouble getting started because it always felt like the work was going to take forever.

Together, we worked through the metacognitive cycle. The metacognitive cycle involves three specific steps that help students build the habits and strategies to overcome the lagging skills in the way of their success. The three steps for the metacognitive cycle are self-monitoring, self-assessing, and self-regulating.

Dylan’s first step in the metacognitive cycle was to self-monitor by tracking how long his homework took each night. To do this, before he would begin his work, he would estimate how long he anticipated the task would take and then use a timer to record the actual length of time the homework took to complete.

We reconvened after a week and self-assessed, determining if Dylan’s estimates were over or under the actual amount of time it took him to complete his work. He learned he was continually overestimating how long his homework was taking.

He chose to self-regulate his behavior by using the data to determine the average amount of time his homework would take and setting a micro-goal to start his homework by a certain time each day.

After completing this process, Dylan told me how proud he felt that he’d been able to make this change and how good it felt to be able to start his homework on his own (without his parents nagging him). The most valuable skill we can give kids who struggle with executive functioning is the knowledge that they can find new ways to overcome the obstacles in their way.

Here are some of the ideas teachers and parents can use to help kids with executive functioning struggles:

1. View the struggles as lagging skills instead of lack of motivation.

In the words of child psychologist Ross Greene, “Kids do well if they can.” Stay solution focused as you work to solve the problems.

2. Collaborate with the student.

Students who feel some independence to find strategies and solutions that work for them are more likely to invest in the process of changing behaviors.

3. Follow the steps involved in the metacognitive cycle.

The three steps in this process are self-monitoring, self-assessing, and self-regulating. Self-monitoring has students answer the question “What am I doing?” as they collect data about a certain area where they struggle. Self-assessment has them examine the collected data and ask, “How am I doing? Is what I’m doing working?” Finally, self-regulating involves reflecting on the question, “What can I do to improve?”

4. Using the information gathered during the metacognitive cycle, help the student set narrow “micro-goals” to gradually learn new behaviors.

This allows students to feel success as they gradually make progress so they can build on that gradual growth. Micro-goals are generally the steps of a larger goal. For example, instead of immediately focusing on having a child get ready for school within a certain amount of time (which involves many steps), maybe the target behavior is for them to have their backpack ready to go the night before. Once progress is being made toward this goal, another step can be added.

5. Recognize that there is no quick fix.

Executive functioning struggles are frequently neurological in nature, and while the brain exhibits amazing neuroplasticity, developing new strategies and skills to compensate takes time. Progress is gradual, and if an intervention doesn’t have the desired effect right away, keep at it. Tweak your strategy or data collection plan; novelty is a great motivator for kids with executive dysfunction.

Emily Kircher-Morris,President and founder of the Gifted Support Network and inspired by her own experience as a twice-exceptional (2e) learner, Emily Kircher-Morris, M.A., M.Ed., L.P.C., is dedicated to supporting 2e children in a way she wasn’t during her academic years. She has taught in gifted classrooms, has been a school counselor, and is now in private practice as a licensed professional counselor, where she specializes in helping gifted and twice-exceptional kids. Emily lives near St. Louis, Missouri.

Emily is the author of the forthcoming Free Spirit title Teaching Twice-Exceptional Learners in Today’s Classroom.

We welcome your comments and suggestions. Share your comments, stories, and ideas below, or contact us. All comments will be approved before posting, and are subject to our comment and privacy policies.

FSP Springybook Signature(c)© 2020 by Free Spirit Publishing. All rights reserved. The view expressed in this post represent the opinion of the author and not necessarily Free Spirit Publishing.

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There’s No Such Thing as Too Many Internships

By Madelaine F.
Free Spirit has an active internship program. We invited our fall 2019 publishing intern Madelaine F. to write a post reflecting on her experience at Free Spirit.

There’s No Such Thing as Too Many InternshipsAs the fall semester washed me into my senior year of college, I found myself faced with the crunch of time and thoughts of trying to find a career. I had already had three internships, both in marketing and editorial, at journalistic publishers and a film and arts magazine. Even with three internships completed and my internship credit fulfilled for school, I found myself still feeling unprepared for the real world.

I talked to my academic advisor and friends about how I was applying to book publishing internships and how I wanted to try out that world. I received the same surprised reactions from everyone and reminders that I had already had an internship. Ignoring the shocked reactions I received, I scoured the open internships in Minnesota and was delighted when I was offered the position at Free Spirit Publishing this fall.

For these past three months, I’ve been so lucky to work with and learn from creative, personable, and genuinely nice colleagues. I’ve loved coming into the office (even on Mondays) and being able to work with inspiring and original books. The mix between marketing and editorial tasks has made this internship more all-encompassing of the publishing industry than I’ve experienced before in other internships. My love for books has overflowed with new vigor this semester, and I’m excited to graduate in the spring and hopefully find a job that will allow me to exercise my creativity and build upon my excitement to learn the way I have at Free Spirit.

I’m so glad I plowed ahead and found another internship that allowed me to take the time to learn something new in a field I’ve found I’m passionate about. Looking back on my time, here are a few things that I’ll take with me from the Free Spirit Publishing internship:

The Books and Tools

Going into Free Spirit, I knew that they published books that gave tools to kids and adults who care for them, but I didn’t realize the variety of tools they truly shared. Each book I worked with was a new topic and allowed me to open my mind to new needs and problems kids may face. Whether it was the going-veg guide Living on the Veg (I secretly wrote down a recipe from the cookbook section for a green pasta sauce to try later) or something more complex, like Fighting Invisible Tigers, I could count on the shelves at Free Spirit to always have something that made me proud to work there.

Free Thinking and Meetings

As an intern, I was able to participate in marketing and creative meetings. I found myself in these meetings, sitting there in awe and wondering how so many intelligent and imaginative people could work in one place. Any part of business that was talked about, I was instantly enthralled as if I were watching my own personal publishing documentary. Each detail of publishing was open to me to ask questions and learn about, such as how to decide on the front cover of a new book, marketing to different audiences, and how authors can market themselves along with their book. It was fascinating to be on the other end and help authors publish their talents, passions, and messages. The meetings affirmed my passion for publishing and made me want to dive further into the industry.

Every Day Is a New Day

As a general publishing intern, I was able to get extensive training in both marketing and editorial tasks. I was never bored. I found I could see how each side looked at each book differently. I got to see how different audiences would look at the material of a book, and I strengthened my writing in ways I wouldn’t have if I hadn’t been a general publishing intern.

Did I Mention the People (and Dogs)?

Nothing makes writers block go away faster than a dog running up to your desk. Even as I write this, I took a needed minute (or maybe three) to pet an attention-seeking dog. It’s not only the dogs that make me smile every time I enter the Free Spirit office. It’s also the people who wish me a good morning, tell stories about their lives in the kitchen, and advise me. Their guidance through each task is enough for me to feel secure yet free enough to make mistakes and learn without discouraging my growth.

Be advised, my fellow class-worn students, there’s no such thing as too many internships. Classes can be nice, but I’ve learned the most about myself and where I want to be through internships. As I’ve found while at Free Spirit, learning and gaining new tools can happen at any age and any time. I feel more prepared and at ease as graduation and the real world rush toward me. I hope everyone is able to, at some point in their life, work at a place like Free Spirit—it’ll be enriching and so, so much fun.

Madelaine F. was the fall 2019 intern at Free Spirit Publishing. She is a senior at Hamline University, majoring in creative writing and minoring in business.

We welcome your comments and suggestions. Share your comments, stories, and ideas below, or contact us. All comments will be approved before posting, and are subject to our comment and privacy policies.

FSP Springybook Signature(c)© 2019 by Free Spirit Publishing. All rights reserved. The view expressed in this post represent the opinion of the author and not necessarily Free Spirit Publishing.

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To Help Kids Succeed, Help Them Fail

By Kelly Huegel Madrone, author of LGBTQ: The Survival Guide for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Teens 

To Help Kids Succeed, Help Them FailAs mentors, how do we help kids succeed? Perhaps we’ve largely been starting with the wrong (or at least an unhelpful) question. Instead, maybe what we define as success would come more readily to young people if we focused on helping them fail.

In his book Late Bloomers, Rich Karlgaard underscores a disturbing trend: skyrocketing anxiety rates among young people due, in part, to a crippling fear of failure. So venerated are the handful of tech giants who dropped out of school to develop and sell a software company and who became billionaires before they could legally buy beer, the YouTubers who have enough cash and cache to retire before they can drive, and even the activists who’ve addressed the UN or created their own global nonprofits before graduating high school, that young people feel that if they haven’t achieved high-profile status by the time they depart their teens, they’re already behind.

This terrifying fear of failure in the day-to-day—which can look like fear of not getting the lead in the play, not winning the student body presidency, or not getting A’s in an AP class—is becoming crippling, making young people afraid to try anything at which they might not succeed.

Studies show that when kids are pressured to achieve within a “you’re either smart, talented, beautiful or you’re not” culture, they’re more likely to cheat or otherwise take deceptive actions to preserve the perception that they were born all that instead of having to learn it. (Elizabeth Holmes and her company Theranos, which she founded when she was just 19 years old and lied extensively to protect as it began to tank, is a high-profile example.)

How do we as teachers, parents, and other adults engaged with young people combat this disturbing trend? One of the most effective things we can do is emphasize the value of swinging and missing.

Spanx founder Sara Blakely (the world’s first self-made female billionaire) famously talks about how embracing failure helped her get where she is today. Blakely’s father frequently asked his kids, “What did you fail at today?” because in their house, failure was a good thing—it meant you were trying. As a result, when Blakely didn’t pull the LSAT scores she needed to pursue a career as a lawyer, she kept her head up and applied herself to something else (with considerable rigor).

One of the most common complaints I hear about the education system is that it is too focused on teaching to standardized measures—that it teaches kids how to take tests, not how to learn. The fact is that some of our greatest learning comes from failure; however, in a system that doesn’t honor that, many kids become afraid to try.

I remember one of my bodywork teachers told us, “Be glad if you get some questions wrong on the test—I guarantee you that in practice, those are the things you’ll never forget.”

To Help Kids Succeed, Help Them FailLearning how to fail successfully also helps foster healthy self-esteem. We no longer look at a grade letter as a symbol of our worth, but instead focus on our willingness to persist in engaging with the process.

As a creative coach, I tell people that great stories involve failure and defeat, living them and writing them. Imagine reading a story where the protagonist simply succeeds at everything that comes their way. Bo-ring. And what have I learned as the reader? Not much.

What I try to impart to my clients is that a best-selling author achieves that status not because they were born a great writer, but because they were willing to fail over and over again and keep trying. Perseverance is 90 percent or more of the writing game.

And it’s 90 percent or more of the life game.

The more we can help young people not just endure a process in which failure is inherent, but appreciate it, the better we can prepare them for life. The more we can open their minds and spirits to true learning, the less afraid of failure they will become. Their failures will still define them, but in an entirely different way.

How do we do that?

Show the path to learning. Celebrate failure. Discuss its benefits and the knowledge returns that each attempt netted.

For young kids, books such as Rosie Revere, Engineer and the Amazon show Tumble Leaf in particular celebrate failure and the process of figuring it out. For older readers, Sarah Lewis’s book The Rise dissects accomplishment by presenting stories of how folks from all walks of life persisted in the face of failure.

Public speaking presents perhaps one of the best opportunities to celebrate failure because it’s something most of us are terrified to do. Instead of having students prepare and deliver talks, show them how to make a presentation great.

I’ve performed narrative stories to large audiences, and while the prospect of standing in front of hundreds of people all by my lonesome was nerve-racking, it was also exhilarating because I’d learned how to prepare—I’d been taught how to succeed. I practiced and performed for producers and friends, tweaked and retweaked to learn what language, beats, pauses, and even facial expressions drew a desired reaction and which didn’t. These were invaluable learning experiences.

It was similar with my teaching education in college. We recorded our lessons and workshopped them. We got feedback. It wasn’t one and done. Again, we learned how to succeed.

Students can be taught across curriculum in this way. Talk about vocal tone and inflection and how we hear things differently. Study the power of body language and how various gestures or expressions mean different things in different cultures. Study great orators in history and what made them effective. Workshop talks together so students can see how their skills improve, along with those of their fellow students, then maybe even show off the results at a schoolwide performance.

The possibilities for failure are endless. Embrace them.

Kelly Huegel MadroneKelly Huegel Madrone is a freelance writer, writing coach, and speaker. She has worked for the Metropolitan Washington, D.C., chapter of PFLAG where she helped provide support and educational services to LGBT people and their families. The author of two books and more than 100 published articles, Kelly holds a degree in secondary education. She lives in New Mexico with her wife Mala and their daughters. Kelly welcomes readers to follow her on Twitter @LGBTQguide or visit her website at kellymadrone.com.

LGBTQKelly is the author of LGBTQ: The Survival Guide for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Teens.

We welcome your comments and suggestions. Share your comments, stories, and ideas below, or contact us. All comments will be approved before posting, and are subject to our comment and privacy policies.

FSP Springybook Signature(c)© 2019 by Free Spirit Publishing. All rights reserved. The view expressed in this post represent the opinion of the author and not necessarily Free Spirit Publishing.

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Top 19 Posts of 2019

Top 19 Posts of 2019Before we jump into a new year of fantastic advice on the Free Spirit Publishing blog, let’s celebrate the top posts from 2019!

We rounded up our most popular posts this year for your (re)reading pleasure. Got a favorite we didn’t include? Drop it in the comments.

1. Movement-Based SEL Activities for the Classroom

In this post, Connie Bergstein Dow, author of From A to Z with Energy, offers three simple and creative movement activities that build social and emotional learning skills.

2. 10 Inexpensive Ideas for DIY Fidget Toys

Forget the fidget spinners craze. Blogger Andrew Hawk shares 10 ideas for simple (and quiet) fidget toys you or your students can create.

3. Teaching Students to Think Critically

One of the most important skills a student needs for future success is critical thinking. In this post, Richard M. Cash, Ed.D., author of Advancing Differentiation, provides an example of how to teach critical thinking.

4. How to Foster Growth Mindset in Trauma-Informed Classrooms

Foster growth mindset whenever possible. Blogger Amanda C. Symmes, LICSW, provides simple trauma-sensitive suggestions for incorporating growth mindset in a way that weaves the concept, language, and lens into your teaching.

5. The Power of YET: 40+ Songs for Supporting a Growth Mindset

One playlist, more than 40 songs that support a growth mindset. Grab your headphones and check it out!

6. The Upside to Conflicts in Middle School

Conflict in middle school? It’s the perfect opportunity to help students learn to navigate struggle and resolve disagreements, says middle school counselor Stephanie Filio.

7. Growing as a Teacher with the Help of a Coach

If you’re working with a coach to improve teaching practices, you’ll want to read this post about how to make the most of your time, with tips from the authors of Intentional Teaching in Early Childhood.

8. Differentiation 101

What is differentiation? A fad? Unattainable? Neither, says Richard M. Cash, Ed.D., author of Advancing Differentiation. In this post, he explains what differentiation is and provides an example of a differentiated fifth-grade social studies assignment.

9. How to Motivate Students with Effective Praise

Motivating students can be a challenging part of the work you do, but blogger Amanda C. Symmes, LICSW, explores how effective praise can help.

10. Oops! Even Teachers Make Mistakes

Oops! You made a mistake. Now what? Otis Kriegel, author of Everything a New Elementary School Teacher REALLY Needs to Know (But Didn’t Learn in College), answers.

11. Enhancing Social and Emotional Learning Through Self-Regulation

SEL alone doesn’t give kids the whole picture of what it means to be self-regulated. Richard M. Cash, Ed.D., author of Self-Regulation in the Classroom, shares the three dimensions of self-regulation for learning and how they can enhance SEL.

12. The ABCs of Self-Care for Educators

If self-care were a recipe, it would be as straightforward as ABC: Attitude, Balance, Compassion. Beth Baker, M.S.Ed., coauthor of The PBIS Team Handbook, uses the ABC framework to share three guidelines for taking care of yourself.

13. Helping Students Resolve Disagreements with Friends

Conflict resolution skills are back on our top posts list again. This post from James J. Crist, Ph.D., author of The Survival Guide for Making and Being Friends, offers advice for helping friends work through disagreements.

14. Positive Emotions in the Classroom: Tips for Boosting Curiosity, Hope, and Belonging

Feelings are contagious! Christa M. Tinari, M.A., coauthor of Create a Culture of Kindness in Middle School, shares strategies for boosting the positive emotions of curiosity, hope, and belonging.

15. Nurturing Everyday Creativity in Children

Building on the Torrance Manifesto for Children, Susan Daniels, Ph.D., author of Visual Teaching and Learning, shares how to nurture, develop, and sustain children’s capacities for creative expression.

16. Everyday Social-Emotional Learning

There are so many benefits to teaching social and emotional learning. In this post, early childhood education blogger Molly Breen gives examples of ways you can incorporate SEL into your current practices.

17. The 3 Rs of Supporting Grieving Teens

What can adults do to support teens grieving the death of a friend? Use the three Rs—reassure, reason, and redirect—says Marilyn E. Gootman, Ed.D., author of When a Friend Dies.

18. On Boy Books and Girl Books

Amadee Ricketts, librarian and author of Gentle Hands and Other Sing-Along Songs for Social-Emotional Learning, takes on the idea that there are boy books and girl books. (Spoiler: there are just books.)

19. 3 Visual Teaching Strategies for Students with ADHD

These strategies from Ezra Werb, author of Teach for Attention!, are simple and effective at making things visually clear for students with ADHD—and everyone else too.

We welcome your comments and suggestions. Share your comments, stories, and ideas below, or contact us. All comments will be approved before posting, and are subject to our comment and privacy policies.

FSP Springybook Signature(c)© 2019 by Free Spirit Publishing. All rights reserved. The view expressed in this post represent the opinion of the author and not necessarily Free Spirit Publishing.

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