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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A Sense of Wonder

Growing Responsibility, Routines, Tips & Tools

Curiosity is a sense of wonder and openness about the future. It comes partly from the brain wanting to understand or make order out of something that doesn’t make sense. If you have a young child at home, you know that they see the world through the lens of curiosity. They have lots of questions. Curiosity is associated with the release and flow of dopamine and seratonin in the brain, generating a sense of pleasure. Curious brains are also better at learning. Here are some ideas to encourage and help your child maintain a sense curiosity and wonder:

  • Be curious
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Cultivating Curiosity

Growing Responsibility, Routines, Tips & Tools

For most of us, curiosity means a sense of inquisitiveness. Studies suggest that curiosity has a deep impact on learning. Researchers at the University of California, Davis found that brain activity increased when participants were more curious about certain questions, resulting in better quick recall as well as in long-term memory.  What’s most meaningful is the path, not the destination. There is something powerful in being to hold our sense of wonder for awhile. Teachers can help students discover that, while technology can make a search easier, finding an answer is often less satisfying than the struggle it took to …

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It’s Time to Play!

Connection and love, Feelings and emotions, Routines, Tips & Tools

What comes to mind when you think about play? For some of us, play is fun, something we look forward to, and a deep source of joy. For others of us, the very unpredictability and unstructured nature of play makes us uncomfortable. It won’t surprise you to realize that how you feel about play also impacts how your children learn to experience play. And, play is important for children and adults. Play gives children a chance to learn and experiment. It is one of the main ways they make sense of the world and their place in it. Play is …

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Play Helps Students Learn

Feelings and emotions, Routines, Tips & Tools

Play is an essential part of development – it contributes to the cognitive, physical, social and emotional well-being of children and youth.  It is one of the ways humans learn. According to Dr. Karyn Purvis, author of The Connected Child, play is like a ladder of social competencies that are vital to building deep emotional bonds and learning social rules. It begins with ‘goo-gooing’ to the infant, evolving to playing ‘peek a boo’ and then to imaginative play and board games. It involves discovery and brings a sense of joy.  Play is often missing for many children who live …

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Closing a Memorable School Year

Connection and love, Routines, Tips & Tools

People shape their memories of events by how they end, so it is important to think about how you want to end this year with your students. It is a time of year filled with mixed emotions for both teachers and students. You’ve seen some remarkable student growth, and if you are like most teachers, there are a few among your flock who you were not able to reach as well as you had hoped. You’ve built a connected community, and it is hard to imagine not learning and being together every day in the safe structure that is your …

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Share Rituals to Build Community

Routines, Tips & Tools

Routines in the classroom are an important classroom management tool. Knowing what will happen when they arrive, where their belongings are stored, when breaks and lunch happen, are all part of the daily and weekly routines that help students feel safe and secure. The structure in their daily routines and interactions with others helps students know they belong and leaves room in their brains for learning. Although there are many similarities from classroom to classroom, you as the teacher, have your own unique style and traditions that make your classroom unique. These traditions also give you and your students a …

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