Contributions Create Capable, Competent Kids

Growing Responsibility, Routines, Tips & Tools

Our children shine when they know that they have helped. We can see it on their faces. But as parents, we often fall into doing everything ourselves, forgetting how important contribution is to the well-being of our children. When kids are little they are constantly begging, “Me do it!”  We may tell them something that dissuades them gently, while in our heads we are rationalizing that they are not big enough or can’t do the job well enough or quickly enough. It seems easier in the moment to “just get it done”. But, let’s look at the bigger picture. Eventually, …

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When Students Contribute, They Feel Capable, Connected and Confident

Growing Responsibility, Routines, Tips & Tools

Finding ways for your students to contribute is a powerful positive step towards fostering their belief that they matter and make a difference. ALL kids can contribute….academic excellence is not the only way to shine. Sometimes being trusted to help makes all the difference.  Think of the teen gang leader whose savvy teacher recognized her student’s leadership skills and charisma and asked him to be greeter of the high school class, welcoming each member individually and setting the tone for the period to come. He has said that the day he was asked to take on this responsibility was the …

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Homework Hassles

Motivation, Routines, Tips & Tools

There is a tension around homework for lots of reasons. While there is no strong evidence that homework improves outcomes, it certainly is part of a long-standing school tradition. And, well-designed homework can be fun and interesting for your students.

  • Think about the “why.” It is helpful to be have a clear compass on each assignment. How does the work set each student up for success in your class? Is it for practice? Is it to explore a new idea or a different perspective on an idea you are working on in class? Is it to bring new perspectives
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Avoiding Homework Headaches

Motivation, Routines, Tips & Tools

The beginning of the school year is a good time to create routines that support learning at home. What is the homework routine in your family? Do you have a consistent time and space for your child to complete required homework or sit down and read with you daily? Intentional effort now can create a structure that helps you and your child all year. Parents and teachers are often frustrated with homework. Each expects the other to take a little more responsibility for homework. Interesting, isn’t it? Where is the student in all of this? What can we do to …

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Memories Matter

Connection and love, Routines, Tips & Tools

August is the time of year for most of us that we are holding on to the last weeks of time with our families while are brain is increasingly thinking about the coming school year. There are so many details to think about – and a deep sense of curiosity and anticipation in getting to know our “new” students. If you think back to your own years as a student, what memories stand out that helped you know you belonged or you mattered at school. Was there one particular teacher? A set of friends? An event or some particularly interesting …

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Making Memories

Connection and love, Routines, Tips & Tools

What are your memories of your family growing up? Some of us have treasured memories of joy and connection. Others have memories of challenges or stressful experiences. Most of us have some mixture. It turns out that childhood memories become the foundation for our adulthood. They influence how we relate to our parents or caregivers and also how we relate to the young people we care for; be they our own children, nieces or nephews or children of other people we love. You can think about how you decided to be “like” your parent and recreate some of the memories …

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Talking and Teaching about Truth

Growing Responsibility, Routines, Setting limits, Tips & Tools

In the milieu in which our children live – social media, the internet, television and movies – it is often hard to sort fact from fiction. Our children get mixed messages about honesty. While they are told it is an important value, they are surrounded by messaging that implies you can say anything you want, and as long as someone believes you, it is okay. In the era of “fake news” it is important to hold up the value of honesty and the importance of telling the truth. Beyond learning to be honest themselves the ability to detect falsehoods in …

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Fact and Fiction for the Growing Brain

Growing Responsibility, Routines, Setting limits, Tips & Tools

Children experience the world through a different lens than adults and are learning to tell the difference between what is “real” in their imagination, and what is real in the world. Often children lie for very similar reasons as adults – they feel trapped, are afraid of being punished or rejected, or sometimes just because it seems easier. As adults, most of us also aren’t always accurate truth tellers either. Sometimes to help someone feel better we omit information or tell what we call “white lies to protect ourselves or others. Sometimes, like children we distort the truth to avoid …

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An Attitude of Gratitude

Feelings and emotions, Routines, Tips & Tools

The month of November, with Thanksgiving and the holiday gift-giving season approaching, is a wonderful time to help students cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Studies have found that the introduction of the practice of gratitude in the classroom can result in positive relationships and helps students feel better about school.

  • Keep gratitude journals. Make it simple by giving prompts like, Thanks for _______. You might keep your own journal for a couple of weeks before you introduce the idea so you can share some of the things you are grateful for as you introduce the idea. Have students write
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Growing Gratitude at Home

Feelings and emotions, Routines, Tips & Tools

Have you ever had one of those days where you just wish that your children would appreciate you and what they have? That they would say, “Thank you” more often or notice what you do for them? Teaching children gratitude is about much more than saying, “Thank you.” Gratitude in children involves perspective taking and some pretty advanced skills in emotional knowledge.  At the Raising Grateful Children Project at UNC Chapel Hill, they’ve discovered gratitude has four parts: Notice-Think-Feel-Do. Parents can encourage their children to experience all four parts by being intentional with each of the steps.

NOTICE

  • Start with
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