Wednesday Wisdom

When student behavior needs adjusting, flip the script on the old “sit by yourself desk”.  Check out this Florida classroom’s “Motivation Station”, created by adding some picture frames with needed inspiration and some fidget spinners.  Looking for ways to turn more negatives into positives will go a long way to motivate students to stay on track, and change their behavior when it’s needed.

One of the most powerful classroom management tools is good instruction.  If students are given the opportunity to collaborate, move around, create, and engage with each other, they're less likely to misbehave.  Use pair-shares, fishbowl circles, table teams and other methods of creating engaging (and collaborative) lessons, offering students an opportunity to share what they know and feel accomplished.  Included is a great list of activities to increase student engagement to inspire you.

When setting goals for the new year, we tend to go big and look long-term.  Not only is it hard to see progress this way, it can also be challenging to know where to start.  Small wins move you towards your long-term goal, encouraging people to keep going, especially when you celebrate your achievements. Tangible rewards (i.e. tokens, tickets, etc.) are meant to be reminders for US just as much as they are for the kids.  Use them as a strategy to connect with students with challenging behaviors.

Tangible rewards (i.e. tokens, tickets, etc.) are meant to be reminders for US just as much as they are for the kids.  Use them as a strategy to connect with students with challenging behaviors.

When problem behavior shows up, it can be challenging to express ourselves in a manner that will encourage students to change their behavior, particularly in the moment.  When we express our words in the form of an accusation, typically, we are met with resistance.  Try instead, to simply state your message as an “I need” statement, ending with an expression of thanks. 

Keeping students engaged in learning is foundational to good classroom management.  Tapping into students’ interests and experiences will provide more opportunities for students to respond while maximizing engagement and promoting academic success.  In a recent Edutopia article, Peg Grafwallner discusses three strategies and suggests that teachers can reach content objectives by providing opportunities for students to speak, listen to, read and write about their interests.

Gratitude is good for us!  Grateful youth are happier, more satisfied with their lives and selves and report higher GPAs, more engagement and less depression.   As adults and teachers we can nurture in our students a more genuine exploration of gratitude when we move beyond lists of what we’re thankful for, and help students consider why the person did it, what the cost was, and what benefits they received from the act. 

Encouraging students to do what we want them to do is aided by the words we choose to use. The delivery of these words makes all the difference in the impact. Aim for praise that is positive and non-judgmental, specific, sincere, and immediate. Included are some examples of what to say, provided by PBIS Apps.

Research indicates that students with meaningful connections at school are less at-risk.  Staff at Cold Springs Middle School in Nevada share a strategy to ensure that every student connects with at least one adult every day in this recent Edutopia article.

Dr. Lori Desautels reminds us of the negative impact that trauma, stress and anxiety have on the brain and learning.  When educators actively teach strategies to address the stress response in the limbic brain areas, they support a boost in emotional regulation, and students’ overall emotional, physiological, and cognitive health.  Try one of these strategies today!

Helping students feel included and a part of the school environment can go a long way to support their academic and behavioral success and overall engagement (and attendance)!  Check out this free, downloadable phone application, “Sit with Us”, to help kids connect with one another during lunch time. 

This intervention strategy displayed visually for easy reference is a great way to re-teach the expectations regularly and offer frequent feedback.

Their “gotcha” ticket system provides instant reinforcement, plus several opportunities for students to save and spend their paw bucks later.

Positive office referrals are an additional way to recognize students or staff for their outstanding demonstration of the school-wide expectations and to keep the focus for all on the positive.  

Students include what tasks they want to accomplish for the day, what specific skills they want to learn, or what they hope to achieve by working alone or with others.

When we are active, we increase blood flow to the brain, promoting mental clarity, physical and neurological health.