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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A Smooth Transition to the School Year

The new school year is fast approaching, and the sunlit days are growing a little shorter. It’s time to transition from summer to the more structured schedule of fall.  There are still a lot of unknowns this school year, so it will helpful for kids to feel as ready as they can. When we leave this shift until the last minute, the change can be difficult for both kids and adults and anticipatory excitement can become overwhelming stress.  In order to create as smooth a  transition as possible to this new school year, consider some of the following:

  • Fully experience
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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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Rethinking Rewards: Focus on Finding Solutions

Rethinking Rewards: Focus on Finding Solutions

 

During stressful times, when we are challenged by our kids’ behavior, it is easy to fall into a punishment-reward cycle.  We may lose our calm, flip our lids, and lay down a punishment. Then we feel bad and come back instead with ideas for incentives and rewards. Research tells us that neither work for developing self-motivation or long-term success. Punishment and rewards are alluring because they often do show very short-term success. They are also familiar to us because most of us grew up with them. What other approaches can we use when faced with problems like unfinished school …

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Resilience through Transition – An Art Activity for Classrooms or Families

Resilience through Transition – An Art Activity for Classrooms or Families

This activity is designed to support students (and adults too!) with all that this new school year brings. The changes are happening fast, and there is still much unknown. This is an opportunity to slow down and emotionally process the changes internally. William Bridges (author of Managing Transitions) calls this internal process a “transition.” As we navigate the change, the transition starts with the feelings associated with losing something familiar, something we thought of as normal, or something we cared about. The activity can be adapted for your family or classroom. It is one way to build connection and …

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Rethinking Rewards: Alternatives to Offering Incentives

Rethinking Rewards: Alternatives to Offering Incentives

Teachers, you have been accomplishing incredible feats this year! It is mind-boggling how your job has changed because of the pandemic and online teaching. Though some of your students are thriving, you may be worried about many who do not seem engaged and who aren’t completing assignments. It is easy to think that rewards may be the answer that you just need to provide the right incentives to get your students to be engaged and completing their work. Despite solid research showing that rewards decrease internal motivation, passion, and interest, the draw to use rewards and incentives is strong. They …

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Holding on to Hope (For Teachers)

Holding on to Hope (For Teachers)

This year has been rough. An undeniable understatement. Hope seems hard to reach, especially when our resilience has been tested these in these long challenging months since last spring. Yet hope is an antidote to despair. And while acknowledging the emotional toll of these times is crucial, equally crucial is our ability to hold onto a belief in positive future possibilities. Hope can sustain us, and gives our hard work a purpose that fuels us with energy and optimism. The same is true for our students. Students who are high in hope have greater academic achievement, stronger friendships, more creativity …

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Harnessing Hope (For Parents)

Harnessing Hope (For Parents)

Hope is the belief in a positive future. It is an optimistic, exciting sense of what is possible. In this time of global health crisis, economic uncertainty, racial reckoning, and physical disconnection from other human beings, the day to day challenges of doing everything differently make it difficult to hold onto hope. Yet hope is an antidote to despair. It can give us the energy to persevere and can offer a sense of purpose, calm and connection. Parents are children’s first hope builders. Your presence, connection, and attitude can help your child be more hopeful. They look to you to …

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Four Ideas for Stressed Parents

We are parenting more hours a day than ever before.  In-person school, in-person play dates and visits with family and friends are things we hope to resume in the near future, but they aren’t providing much relief for parents at the moment.

Have you noticed any of these issues coming up for your kids?

  • stressing out over seemingly small things, like tech issues during on-line school or having to ask the teacher a question
  • more disorganized than usual and having difficult time keeping up with assignments
  • less physically active
  • less social and more isolated
  • on screens much more than usual
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Tips for Teaching Online

Here are some ideas that have been proven to make a positive difference for teachers and students doing online learning. 

Brain breaks and self-regulation breaks –  For both adults and children, research finds that taking breaks every 20 or 30 minutes rejuvenates working memory and calms our nervous systems. Embed regular self-regulation activities to get students to stand up, stretch and move, into the flow of your online days.  5-minute brain breaks can be led by students, allowing them to feel both more engaged and more of an integral part of the classroom community.Here are a few brain-break and self-regulation …

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