How Family Meetings Can Help Kids Learn to Use Their Voice

How Family Meetings Can Help Kids Learn to Use Their Voice

Now that the school year is in full swing, we find ourselves settled into the hectic monotony of rushing kids to school, prepping dinner, and getting ready for bed. How do you connect with your kids and give them a voice in the family amidst the daily chaos? Consider trying out family meetings.

Family meetings are a tangible way for kids to practice exercising their voice and sharing their opinions. Young people benefit so much when they have a say in how their environment is structured. When they can use their voice it also fosters feelings of self-worth and builds …

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Five Ways to Encourage Student Voice and Share Power in the Classroom

Five Ways to Encourage Student Voice and Share Power in the Classroom

As educators, we may (often unconsciously) hold on to the power in our classrooms. But we do have the choice to share power with our students. Sharing power and prioritizing student voice strengthens students’ sense of belonging and diffuses power-over dynamics between educators and young people. When we let go of some control, we are able to build authentic relationships with students and find more joy in teaching.

When we value student voice, choice, and agency we build a more cohesive school community. We look for ways to provide ample opportunities for our students to share their gifts, talents, and …

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Lakeridge Elementary’s Journey

Lakeridge Elementary’s Journey

Inspiring Stories, Problem Solving, Race and Equity, Racial Justice, Teachers

What is it like to transform a school into a place where all young people feel they belong, they matter, and they can grow as learners?

Lakeridge Elementary, in the Renton School District, has been on just such a journey. In the spring of 2020, while navigating remote learning during school closures, the skilled Lakeridge data team, supported by Sound Discipline facilitators, decided to focus data collection on identifying patterns of racial disproportionality in discipline and identifying ways to develop a truly inclusive school community.

Analyzing Data and Looking for Patterns

A typical data team is made up of members …

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Specialists Find Special Time with Students

Specialists Find Special Time with Students

Connection, Inspiring Stories, Problem Solving, Relationships, Teachers

Imagine you’re a librarian at an elementary school. You have the unique opportunity of getting to interact with EVERY student in your school community and hopefully instill in them a lifelong love of reading. Cool, right? Here’s the catch: unlike a classroom educator, your time with students is limited and spread out. So, how do you develop those deeper relationships that support students to engage in learning?

The Specialist staff at Terminal Park Elementary in Auburn, Washington were feeling this struggle of not having enough time to get through their content while also getting to know their students as individuals. …

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2020 Taught Us to Embrace Mistakes

If there was ever a year in which we did a lot of learning in a short time, it was 2020. It took multiple attempts and making lots of mistakes along the way. We worked at gaining skills at delivering online instruction and figuring out ways to build relationships and create community even though we weren’t in the room together. We accomplished what we had never imagined before the pandemic. Most of us do not like to make mistakes, but last year we had to leap in. We discovered that that people had more grace for us than we expected. …

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Sartori Elementary Practices Repair and Problem Solving

Sartori Elementary Practices Repair and Problem Solving

Inspiring Stories, Problem Solving

Our Inspiring Story in November is the staff team from Sartori Elementary School, for the many creative ways they’ve been integrating Positive Discipline into their school practices this fall. In September, they designated their first lab days for Social & Emotional Learning (SEL). Grade level teaching teams explored goals for class meetings, then planned a Positive Discipline lesson focusing on structures, talk moves and questions to help students be sense makers. They tried out their lesson together in two classrooms, with time allotted for the teaching team to reflect after each one. The teamwork and the curiosity of the …

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Practicing Patient Parenting

Mistakes yours and theirs, Problem Solving, Self regulation, Tips & Tools

It happens to most of us…there’s no cream for coffee, you are late leaving the house, the traffic is bad on the way home….and then one of our children unknowingly says or does something that pushes us over the edge. Out comes that “yelling” parent, leaving our child bewildered and us feeling guilty and regretful. All parents have at one point or another resolved to be more patient with our children, because of course we know, they are learning from how we respond, more than how we tell them to respond. What we do matters. Here are some ideas to …

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Mistakes Can Be Opportunities

Mistakes yours and theirs, Problem Solving, Tips & Tools

No one likes to make mistakes. Making mistakes can invite uncomfortable feelings of guilt and shame. Those feelings result in students (and most of us) thinking about mistakes in ways that aren’t helpful. Students may think that mistakes are “bad” or that others will laugh at them if they do something wrong. They may work really hard to try not to make any mistakes – to be perfect. These thoughts and feelings invite students to feel discouraged or to give up.

As an educator you know that learning requires making some mistakes. Can you imagine learning math or how to …

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TURNING BLUNDERS INTO WONDERS

Mistakes yours and theirs, Problem Solving, Tips & Tools

Traditional discipline often focuses on what not to do – often blaming, shaming or humiliating children when they make a mistake, in an attempt to “teach” them to behave. Isn’t it interesting that we think we have to make children feel worse before they can do better? Positive Discipline focuses instead on teaching children what to do. They don’t always get it right the first time, but they do learn. We can start by modeling the courage to be imperfect ourselves– acknowledging and repairing our own mistakes. We can also:

  • Ask curiosity questions when children have an issue: What
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Class Meetings

Problem Solving, Tips & Tools

Class Meetings are an effective way for students to learn many of the life skills that are just as important, long term, as academic skills. Students do not magically know how to safely get into a circle, how to listen respectfully, or how to focus on solutions. These are foundational skills that need to be taught and practiced before Class Meetings are implemented.

Before teaching your students how to do class meetings ensure that they have some basic skills. This takes time and patience.

  • They need to be able to self regulate enough to sit quietly in a circle for
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