The best gifts we can give our kids…self-regulation skills

Self regulation, Tips & Tools

Self-regulation is the ability to recognize, manage and modulate one’s own emotions, emotional reactions and behaviors. These skills may be the most important tools that your child learns, with many recent studies determining that a child’s emotional intelligence, or “EQ”, is more important than their “IQ” for future success and happiness. Brain science has revealed that self-regulation skills can be learned at any age. As parents, we are our children’s most important self-regulation teachers. 

Brain science explains what happens to us when we feel as though we have “lost it” and are overtaken by a big emotion.  The amygdala, the …

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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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PCEs and ACEs

Connection and love, In the News, Tips & Tools

There is a lot of information now on the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and how they change the brain in ways that make learning more challenging. Emerging also are studies which show how, combined with Positive Childhood Experiences (PCEs), children can grow to be sensitive, strong, and capable adults. Building PCEs for the students in your classroom can be done with intentional small shifts in thinking and practice.

Myths about PCEs:

  • It is about happiness. Of course, we feel better when our students feel better. That leads us to wanting to make them happy. It turns out though,
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Building Family Connections

Connection and love, In the News, Tips & Tools

Relationships matter. As human beings, we have a deep pull toward being connected to each other. We learn about who we are in the context of social connections. There is clear data that shows that these positive childhood experiences have long term benefits. Those connections change the way our brain grows which influence the way we interpret and respond to the world around us. Families play a big role in how we make meaning of ourselves and the world. Children who hold the belief and experience that there is another person in the world to whom they really matter are …

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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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Instilling joy and contentment

Connection and love, Feelings and emotions, Tips & Tools

When we ask educators what they hope for in their students when they enter adulthood, they usually respond with a long list of life skills which include a sense of connection, peace, and contentment. Even though you have huge responsibility for teaching academic subjects, as educators you also value the human being doing the learning. There are many things you do in the classroom that invite both a joy in learning and a sense of joy and contentment in life.

  • Share your joy in teaching. Not every moment is joyful, but you didn’t take on this job for the
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