building community

building community

  • Getting Ready for the Start of School, Part III: How to Build Community and Bully-Proof Your Classroom

    Getting Ready for the Start of School, Part III: How to Build Community and Bully-Proof Your Classroom

    Do you ever wonder why the children in some classrooms work well together and show kindness to each other, while in other classrooms the children tattle, tease each other, and constantly seek teacher attention? One reason is community-building.
    In an effective classroom, the children – and the teacher – feel safe, secure and part of a larger whole. Read More

  • Preparing for Testing without Stressing

    Preparing for Testing without Stressing

    Are your children asking to go to the bathroom every ten minutes? Are they sharpening their pencils until they’re just stubs? Have you sent more kids to the nurse in the last week than you have all year? It must be close to testing time!

    In schools all over the country, teachers are preparing their students for standardized testing. Read More

  • Use Group Meetings to Problem-Solve

    Use Group Meetings to Problem-Solve

    Do you problems that might best be solved by involving the whole class? Perhaps children are saying unkind things, using materials inappropriately, tattling, or rejecting certain children? Consider bringing the issues to a class meeting. Children at all ages are more likely to understand and adhere to rules, procedures and decisions that they have had a part in creating. Read More

  • Are you Meeting the Love and Belongingness Needs of Students?

    Are you Meeting the Love and Belongingness Needs of Students?

    “Ignore him–he just wants attention!” How many times have you heard a teacher say something like this? Attention-seeking behavior has a bad reputation in our schools, and it can often lead to difficult classroom management challenges. Read More

  • Holiday Teacher Gifts: Pros and Cons

    Holiday Teacher Gifts: Pros and Cons

    Mugs with “World’s Greatest Teacher” on them, note paper, bath sets, gift certificates….This is the time of year many families give holiday gifts to teachers. In some places, this is an unquestioned practice, but perhaps we should look more closely at this tradition.
    PROS: Teachers are under-appreciated and it is lovely to see and feel a family’s appreciation for your hard work. Read More

  • Positive Classroom Culture

    Positive Classroom Culture

    I just returned from a lovely Thanksgiving trip to Ireland. One of the reasons we enjoyed ourselves so much was the Irish hospitality and easy-going nature of the people. Servers went out of their way to please us. Buses yielded to let cars into exit lanes. Shoppers calmly waited in line. We could feel the subtle difference from the cultural norms we are used to in the New Jersey/New York area. Read More

  • First Weeks of School: Developing Rules

    First Weeks of School: Developing Rules

              Rules are important in any social context. In classrooms, it’s helpful to distinguish between “rules” which relate to appropriate behaviors all the time, and “procedures” which related to specific behaviors in specific contexts. Read More

  • Young Children, 9/11 and Bullying

    Young Children, 9/11 and Bullying

             I’ve been thinking a lot this week about the upcoming 9/11 remembrance ceremonies, the new New Jersey law requiring anti-bullying efforts, and the connection between these two. And of course how this all affects young children. Read More

  • Tattling

    Tattling

                Children tattle on each other when they are used to an environment in which children are punished for misbehaviors. The first step in reducing tattling is to create an environment in which children feel psychologically safe. Read More

  • Teasing Prevention: Kind Words

    Teasing Prevention: Kind Words

         We were discussing different family configurations in my “Working with Families” course the other night and the question was raised as to what to do if children tease each other about their family – for example, a child who has same-sex parents, a child whose father is incarcerated, or a child who is homeless. Read More