Lunch time! How Bryn Mawr Elementary Creates Community in the Lunchroom

Lunch time! How Bryn Mawr Elementary Creates Community in the Lunchroom

Connection, Inspiring Stories, Routines, Teachers

We all have distant memories of a loud, chaotic lunchroom, where students often had their heads down for being too loud and left lunch a bit dysregulated and less ready to learn. At Bryn Mawr Elementary, the staff has creatively addressed one of the key sources of stress for all schools this year – how to manage the lunchroom in the wake of a pandemic.

Lunch time at Bryn Mawr Elementary

They wanted to create opportunities for students to learn and be part of community throughout the day, and that included lunch time. The classified staff met in August to …

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How Teachers can move from “What is Wrong with You?!” to “What Happened to You?”

We now know that childhood trauma, including ongoing toxic stress, has a profound impact on brain development and behavior. In fact, behaviors teachers see in the classroom that seem to make no sense may actually be a student’s adaptive responses that show a brain’s capacity for prioritizing survival.

When we blame the student or take behavior personally, our responses may be hurtful rather than helpful. Over the past 18 months, as the effects of the pandemic have further increased stress and struggle for all families, especially those from marginalized and Brown and Black populations, teachers may see a good deal …

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Teachers & Students Need to Rebuild Stamina for this School Year

We may be back to in-person learning, but it’s anything but normal. Masks, social distancing, altered scheduling, and new safety protocols make the days almost unrecognizable from where we were in March 2020. One of the biggest differences? The amount of stamina you may have for this new normal.

And it won’t just be you. Another thing you may notice is that the stamina your students had for things that seemed natural and normal in the past is now fragile. After almost two years of restricted socializing and limited school hours, our students’ capacity to focus and be in groups …

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Gathering Student Input Helps Create New & Effective Solutions

Gathering Student Input Helps Create New & Effective Solutions

Feelings and emotions, Inspiring Stories, Teachers

Redwood Elementary in Grants Pass, Oregon is one of the schools in our District Partnerships pilot program. Last school year, the school’s data team collected data about student behaviors that were most challenging to the staff. One of the challenging behaviors was defiance.

Initially the team started thinking about it from the teachers’ perspective, wondering what other tools could be used to deal with student behavior that appeared defiant. Before they implemented any tools, they decided to gather some information from students. Teachers talked to students individually and had class discussions. What they learned surprised them. As students shared, a …

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A Strong Start for Teachers

Teachers: we sincerely hope you were able to take some well-deserved time off this summer. The past two school years have asked too much of you. And right around the corner is the beginning of something new…a new classroom of kids, new challenges, new successes.  Although we continue to face many unknowns this school year, here are a few ideas help craft a smooth transition and a strong start for your students and yourself.

Welcome your students: Just like us adults, they will be feeling a rollercoaster of emotions this new school year. Explicitly validate their feelings of both nervousness …

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The Problem with ‘Learning Loss’ Part II: My Conversation with Jessica Calabrese-Granger, Chief of School Improvement in Renton, Washington

The Problem with ‘Learning Loss’ Part II: My Conversation with Jessica Calabrese-Granger, Chief of School Improvement in Renton, Washington

In the News, Online Learning, Teachers

“Discipline is an outcome; engagement is an opportunity.” -Jessica Calabrese-Granger

In my last post at the close of the 2020/21 school year, I shared my conversation about ‘learning loss’ with Regina Elmi of the organization Supporting Partnerships in Education and Beyond (SPEB). We discussed that while much of the collective conversation in education was on the topic of ‘learning loss’, there have been unexpected gifts of distance learning – time with family, the chance for kids to focus and go deeper on a passion, closer sibling relationships, and authentic bonds between classroom teachers, and students and families. Regina’s experience reinforced …

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A Creative SEL Screener Tool for Remote and In-person Learning

A Creative SEL Screener Tool for Remote and In-person Learning

Inspiring Stories, Teachers

Remote learning has many challenges, one of the biggest being a lack of connection. Without the ability to read body language, see faces, and spot someone in a hallway, how can educators connect with their students to see how their doing?

 

After the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) mandated the adoption of a SEL screener, a tool that allows teachers to assess students’ social emotional health and skills, Talbot Hill Elementary, in the Renton School District, knew it had to come up with a solution that worked remotely. So, they came up with a creative solution.…

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Lowell Elementary’s Educational Enhancement Site

Lowell Elementary’s Educational Enhancement Site

Inspiring Stories, Teachers

When the pandemic hit last year and school buildings were shut down, the staff at Lowell Elementary in Seattle quickly saw the disproportionate impact remote learning was having on many of their students of color and those without stable housing. While some students in their school had the technology and support from their caregivers to transition to remote learning, many could not.

 

Lowell Elementary staff responded to this inequity by creating an Educational Enhancement Site, a physical space where students get free access to in-person adult support, tutoring, meals, recreation, and reliable internet. At the same time, students …

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Teacher Panel Shares Experience Transitioning to Hybrid and In-Person Learning

Teacher Panel Shares Experience Transitioning to Hybrid and In-Person Learning

Inspiring Stories, Online Learning, Teachers

“Nothing is going to be perfect, and that’s o.k.”

When Sound Discipline convened a group of educators to discuss the transition to in-person learning, this is how Christine Mooney, the Principal of Redwood Elementary School, opened our discussion. Redwood Elementary is in Grants Pass, Oregon. They started the 20-21 school year with grades K-3 in hybrid learning and grades 4-5 in distance learning. At the end of November, they moved to all distance learning. On February 1, 2021, they moved back to a hybrid model with all grades.

A group of their staff met with us on February 11 to …

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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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