The Behavior Code

The Behavior Code: If you are frustrated and confused about the way students behave, get this book! When Harvard Education Press sent me a review copy of The Behavior Code: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Teaching the Most Challenging Students, I was intrigued by the title and concept but procrastinated reading it because of the formal tone. I’ve grown accustomed to reading educational resources that are written in the first person and take on a more conversational approach to the topic at hand. When I initially flipped through The Behavior Code, I wasn’t sure whether I’d review it, as I won’t recommend any books on my blog unless I think they’re going to be a truly relevant and practical read for a time-pressed classroom teacher. However, I was re-organizing my library this week and decided to give The Behavior Code another look, flipping open to a random page to see if there was anything caught my eye. This is the paragraph I found on page 15:

All behavior is a form of communication. This is a key principle that helps when teachers are mystified by students’ behavior. Even though students’ behavior can look bizarre or disruptive, their actions are purposeful and are their attempts to solve a problem. Even if the behabior is not productive or is inappropriate, it is critical to step back and try to decipher what the student is trying to communicate and what the function (or intent) of the behavior is. Instead of asking, ‘Where did that come from?’ ask, ‘What is the student communicating?’ With practice, teachers can learn to stop and ‘listen’ to the message the behavior is conveying. Rather than assume they know the reason for a behavior, teachers can ask these critical questions and, by answering them, begin to break the behavior code and respond in more productive ways.

And with that, I knew this was a book I needed to dive into…and I’m so glad I did. The paragraph above is actually a great summary for the book as a whole: “breaking the behavior code” means understanding that students’ behavior is about communication and the way students act is reflective of their efforts to solve problems. Minahan and Rappaport explain that all student behavior stems from one (or more) of the following four needs: gaining attention, escaping something undesirable, gaining something desirable, and obtaining sensory satisfaction. As you would expect, the authors devote a lot of time to showing teachers how to recognize and respond to the underlying reasons why students act out. There are sections for anxiety, oppositional behavior, withdrawn behavior, and sexualized behavior. It’s very rare to find a behavior management book that deals with inappropriate sexual behavior in the classroom such as this, and I found it extremely helpful.

The authors introduce a structure to help teachers identify why a child is behaving in a certain way. It’s called the FAIR Plan: Functional Hypothesis of Behavior and Antecedent Analysis, Accommodations, Interaction Strategies, and Response Strategies. Um, yeah, let’s just call it FAIR, because it’s not nearly as complex as the name makes it sound.  The authors share an ABC data sheet which is a template that allows teachers to quickly and easily track, understand, and respond to student behaviors according to the FAIR plan. Basically, you write down the antecdent to the behavior (what happened immediately before the student acted out), a description of the behavior, and the consequence (what happens immediately after.)

As I read about this, I realized I’d followed a very similar template before as part of the child study process at my school, and keeping that record was extremely valuable not only for conferences and IEP meetings, but also for myself as I tried to uncover patterns in student behavior and discover responses that worked and didn’t work. Minahan and Rappaport acknowledge that tracking student behavior requires extra time, and I appreciate that their suggestions for tracking are very mindful of how busy teachers are. This is something you only need to do for your most challenging students, not the whole class, and although the authors don’t state this outright, you can read between the lines and figure out that challenging students are going to take up more of a teacher’s time, anyway, so you might as well focus your energy on being proactive rather than reactive. You can spend 15 minutes preventing and analyzing meltdowns, or spend an hour documenting what happened when you had to huddle your class in a corner of the room to prevent them from being harmed by a student who’s in yet another violent rage. It’s a pretty clear choice.

The book’s focus on pro-active measures is what really sets it apart from other behavior management books which focus on what to do after a child misbehaves. Knowing what triggers a child is more than half the battle, in my experience, and minimizing those triggers and supporting children during situations they find triggering can prevent a surprising number of meltdowns. Minahan and Rappaport explain exactly how to do this in very clear and practical terms, and also share how to help students learn replacement behaviors and coping strategies. Additionally, they discuss ways the teacher can build rapport and trust with the student (something that many books tell teachers to do but don’t explain how to do it, from a psychological perspective.)

The authors also explain how the teacher should respond when challenging behaviors occur. The response strategies they provide are very thoughtful and focus on the long-term fix rather than just preventing a meltdown in the moment. This information is really helpful for teachers, as it’s so easy to lose sight of the big picture (the type of character and self-control we want students to develop) in favor of just getting our classroom under control. The strategies they share can be applied when working with children in a wide range of grade levels and settings.

This is not a book you can flip through casually to read funny anecdotes about what doesn’t work or find bullet points of quick strategies you can try. The Behavior Code is a book for the teacher or parent who has been baffled by student behavior for too long and seeks to truly understand why children act out the way they do. It’s a book for those who are struggling with children they just can’t seem to get through to, and want to end the frustration for themselves and the kids they care about. And it’s for any educator who wants to develop behavior plans that are humane, thoughtful, manageable for the teacher, and most importantly, effective for troubled kids. If you are willing to put the time and energy into understanding the behavior code, the payoff is well worth it.

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Angela is a National Board Certified Teacher with 11 years of classroom experience and 7 years experience as an instructional coach. As founder of Due Season Press and Educational Services, she has created printable curriculum resources, 4 books, 3 online courses, the Truth for Teachers podcast, and The 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club. Subscribe via email to get her best content sent to your inbox!

{ 180 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sue May 23, 2013 at 9:16 am

This sounds like a wonderful resource and something I’d like to read this summer. Thanks for reviewing it.

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2 Andrea May 23, 2013 at 9:47 am

Sounds like a great books –
some of my most challenging behaviors are flight and calling out incessantly…

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3 Shannon May 23, 2013 at 9:48 am

I’ve found that my most difficult behaviour challenge, as I work with mainly younger students, is finding the triggers! Usually it isn’t too terribly difficult to figure out what the child is trying to say, but redirecting is not so easy! I’d love the opportunity to read this book and learn more. :)

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4 Rebecca May 23, 2013 at 4:38 pm

Oh this would be a great summer read!

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5 Sarah May 23, 2013 at 7:03 pm

I would enjoy to read this. I have some very demanding and challenging children. I would love to decode their behavior so I can spend more time teaching and less time discipling.

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6 Sarah May 23, 2013 at 7:03 pm

* disciplining (sorry about the typo)

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7 Lisa Thompson May 23, 2013 at 7:05 pm

I love it when you find resources for teachers! Thanks, Angela! Hope to read this….SOON!

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8 Lisa May 23, 2013 at 7:06 pm

The most difficult behavior challenge is noncompliance and manipulation in the classroom. I would love the opportunity to learn more about what that child is trying to communicate.

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9 Dawn May 23, 2013 at 7:06 pm

Would like to read more!

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10 Janna May 23, 2013 at 7:07 pm

WOW! I work in a Title 1 school and we have many students with challenging behaviors. This would be awesome to study over the summer and present to staff next year as a professional book study.

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11 Tara May 23, 2013 at 7:08 pm

Sounds like a great resource!

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12 Matt May 23, 2013 at 7:08 pm

Wow, this book sounds fantastic!

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13 Krystina May 23, 2013 at 7:09 pm

This book sounds like a must read this summer.

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14 Jennifer Maier May 23, 2013 at 7:09 pm

I am a speci education teacher. I am always looking for new ways to address behavior. This would be the perfect summer read.

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15 Jodi May 23, 2013 at 7:09 pm

I would be interested in reading this!

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16 Jodi May 23, 2013 at 7:10 pm

Oops! Had to fix my email address!

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17 Mindi May 23, 2013 at 7:10 pm

most challenging is adhd child who is smart and sweet, but acts first and thinks later. He realizes too late what he shouldn’t have done.

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18 Kathy May 23, 2013 at 7:10 pm

Students behavior can be frustrating when you don’t know the whole story. Was the child having a bad day, did something happen at home that has them worried and concerned, are the academics causing frustration? So many questions that could be asked just to determine the cause of one behavior.

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19 Sarah May 23, 2013 at 7:10 pm

This sounds like a wonderful resource–especially for a teacher working with an at-risk population of students! Thank you!

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20 Christal May 23, 2013 at 7:11 pm

Even if I don’t win a copy, I definitely want to get one somehow. This is my greatest struggle for understanding because behavior and classroom management are keys to successful learning.

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21 Deb May 23, 2013 at 7:12 pm

The biggest problem I had all year, this last year, was the name-calling and the horrible cattiness of my fifth grade girls. It was major drama every single day. The books sounds like it has some effective tips for dealing with many problematic behaviors, big and small.

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22 Demetria May 23, 2013 at 7:13 pm

I think this would be an awesome book to read…. I had several challenges this year and we are looking at several challenging students for the next year! I would LOVE to be on top of this before the year begins!

Thanks for the chance!
Demetria
First Grade Teacher

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23 Demetria May 23, 2013 at 7:16 pm

Let me add what I was supposed to speak upon…. The most challenging aspect of student misbehavior is consistency and control. Each misbehavior is different and some can be irritating, throw you off your process, and you just want to be fair and consistent with all children. This process can be a challenge with different medical behavior diagnoses or lack there of.

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24 Jen May 23, 2013 at 7:13 pm

I work with middle school kids and they always have confusing behavior!!! WOuld love to read this and maybe get some help with my students

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25 Kristen Hawley May 23, 2013 at 7:14 pm

I’m a grad student in Education — would LOVE to win this book! :)

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26 Penny May 23, 2013 at 7:15 pm

Would love a copy of this book. Could have really used this on several former students.

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27 Farida May 23, 2013 at 7:15 pm

Parents! They do not it easier sometimes!

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28 Donna H May 23, 2013 at 7:16 pm

My most challenging behavior issue this year is trying to help a sweet kiddo overcome his negative behavior which he gets from home. He thinks he is a bad person who is dumb and mean. He is a smart kid who only knows how to get attention by doing something negative. I have been trying to show him how amazing he his by praising all his positive behaviors but I always have to start over every week after a weekend at home.

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29 Victoria May 23, 2013 at 7:16 pm

This looks like a great book to read! As a new teacher this would be a great resource for me to have!

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30 Maddie Currier May 23, 2013 at 7:17 pm

This looks like a great resource for all educators! Especially for General Ed. teachers who may have EBD/ASD/other students with exceptionalities in their classroom and can learn about working with these types of students as special educators like myself and colleagues do and will do on a daily basis.

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31 Sue May 23, 2013 at 7:17 pm

Really interested in their ideas around sexualized behaviors and how to help. That has never been covered in any of my special ed courses.

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32 Elizabeth Sullivan May 23, 2013 at 7:18 pm

I had one student who was threatening…he actually scared me. We had to use a councilor.

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33 Denise May 23, 2013 at 7:18 pm

Will be adding this to my summer reading list!

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34 H. Haggett May 23, 2013 at 7:19 pm

I absolutely need to read this book this summer. I have I had a number of students displaying a variety of behaviour issues in my classes over the years, and next year it looks like I might get several high profile behaviour students in my class as well as in classes I will be interacting with. I would love to be able to understand them better and interact with them in a more positive way. If I can help all of my students to have a good year, it is a positive outcome for all of us.

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35 Diane Mentzer May 23, 2013 at 7:21 pm

I find the lack of respect the most annoying. Students talk to teachers as if they are no one. This is the way we see them talk to their parents and it is awful.

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36 Fran Long May 23, 2013 at 7:21 pm

I think this looks like a wonderful resource for kids with problem behaviors. So often we are left trying to figure out what the cause of the problem is and we never do find the answers. I would love a copy of this book.

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37 Jessica Meacham May 23, 2013 at 7:21 pm

I bet this book would quickly become dog-eared, highlighted, and annotated! I’d love a copy!

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38 Anna May 23, 2013 at 7:21 pm

Super excited!

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39 S.Williams May 23, 2013 at 7:22 pm

The most challenging part of misbehaving students is when they are defiant. What do you do to reach them when no matter what you do they refuse to cooperate.

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40 LucyTeach May 23, 2013 at 7:23 pm

I have found parents to be the most frustrating obstacle in dealing with difficult students. It seems that, more often than not, there is little support from home to back us up at school.
My rising 2013-2014 6th grade students are supposedly, overall, a very challenging group. This book should help my team get off to a strong start in dealing with some notoriously difficult students!

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41 Sarah K. May 23, 2013 at 7:23 pm

This sounds like a great resource. I look forward to reading it!

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42 Nancy Wolski May 23, 2013 at 7:23 pm

I could really use this book…I am very burned out this year because of the challenging behaviors in my room.

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43 Steph foreman May 23, 2013 at 7:25 pm

I’m starting. New position as a behavior teacher…. Can’t wait to read this book!

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44 Donna Kole May 23, 2013 at 7:26 pm

Would love to read this book. What I find most challenging in dealing with negative behaviors is finding positive reinforcements that work and last for different students.

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45 katie r May 23, 2013 at 7:27 pm

sounds like a great book!

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46 Jennifer May 23, 2013 at 7:28 pm

You have no idea how badly I need this book. I’ve had the most stressful school year dealing with behaviour issues.

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47 Peggy May 23, 2013 at 7:36 pm

Jennifer,
I recently completed student teaching, and my poor 1st grade mentor teacher has never had a year this hard dealing with behavioral issues. She is ready to quit. After I read this book, I plan on passing it on.

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48 Kristin May 23, 2013 at 7:28 pm

It is even more challenging to coach student teachers to reach all students – even the ones who resist them the most!

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49 Tracy Rosen May 23, 2013 at 7:29 pm

Absolutely. Behaviour is communication. I just may need to purchase this book, though it would certainly be nice to win a copy :)
Thanks for the review, Angela.

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50 BW May 23, 2013 at 7:33 pm

The most challenging aspect of dealing with student misbehavior, in your experience, is my own REACTION at times and trying to find the best ACTION to fit the issue/student.

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51 Peggy May 23, 2013 at 7:34 pm

I recently finished student teaching and one student will probably be classified as oppositional defiant. I have raised my kids and worked with children for years, and have never seen a child act like this. I cannot wait to read this book so I can learn to be proactive in understanding my students.

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52 Debi May 23, 2013 at 7:35 pm

The most challenging aspect of student misbehavior I have had to deal with is trying to motivate the students who just refuse to do any work. It isn’t that they can’t learn or struggle to learn, it is more that they don’t want to learn and refuse to learn.

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53 Jen L May 23, 2013 at 7:36 pm

I really have struggled this year with a student who is incredibly defiant. He just cannot pull it together and sit quietly through a 15 minute mini-lesson – let alone an entire block of one subject. It disrupts my whole flow, from me to the students. Even his fellow classmates recognize when he is absent from our room and how much that absence allows them to work. Sigh…

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54 Denice May 23, 2013 at 7:37 pm

Sounds like an interesting book. I hope I win so that I can start reading it.

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55 Wendy Proksoch May 23, 2013 at 7:38 pm

This booklooks great….could help with one of my childcare kids
Thanks

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56 Christina May 23, 2013 at 7:39 pm

The most difficut issue for me this year was pinpointing the root cause to apply appropriate interventions.

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57 Juan May 23, 2013 at 7:41 pm

I love this book,
its practical and easy to use for teachers, It has given me many tips that I have implemented with challenging students

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58 Becky May 23, 2013 at 7:41 pm

This book sounds like something our staff might be interested in offering as a book study next fall. I’d love a copy to read this summer so I could lead the study once school is ack in session. Thanks for reviewing it for us! 😉

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59 Tina Rose May 23, 2013 at 7:41 pm

Would love to have this book.

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60 Laura Griffith May 23, 2013 at 7:42 pm

I would live to win this… And will be purchasing if I don’t!!

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61 Megan Neubauer May 23, 2013 at 7:43 pm

I have developed a similar way to keep track of student behaviors. It would be great to read more about this!

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62 Jenny May 23, 2013 at 7:43 pm

Would love to see this book. :))

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63 Laura May 23, 2013 at 7:48 pm

It’s obvious that my student wants attention, but what kind and from who?? This is the mystery.

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64 Terri May 23, 2013 at 7:49 pm

The most challenging aspect of dealing with a challenging student is the inconsistency of his/her behavior. It’s hard to gauge how to deal with him/her on a daily basis.

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65 Amber May 23, 2013 at 7:49 pm

I’d love to read this and put it to use in my classroom.

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66 Annette May 23, 2013 at 7:50 pm

I would love to win this book!

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67 Wendy Lima May 23, 2013 at 7:51 pm

This would be so helpful!!

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68 Kim Konecny May 23, 2013 at 7:53 pm

A challenge is dealing with students who don’t seem to be motivated by anything, intrinsic or with rewards.

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69 Christina tundo May 23, 2013 at 7:54 pm

Would love a free copy! Love this website!

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70 Carol Tavares May 23, 2013 at 7:57 pm

Wow! This is a great giveaway! Sound like a book I can definitely use.

Hope I win.

Carol

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71 stacey thune May 23, 2013 at 7:59 pm

i’m excited to read this book! i hope i win!!!

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72 Amanda Killough May 23, 2013 at 8:00 pm

I think the most challenging aspect of dealing with difficult behavior is finding what works for each child. There is no one-size fits all remedy for difficult behavior, so much trial and error.

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73 shree May 23, 2013 at 8:01 pm

Interesting topic!

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74 Libby May 23, 2013 at 8:01 pm

Would love to read! I teach an inclusion classroom and have different behavior challenges each year.

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75 Alexandra May 23, 2013 at 8:01 pm

I teach online school and my biggest challenge is finding way to deal with those misbehaviors through the phone or though the cyber word. You can tell they behavior is happening but understanding the why and the dynamics of the home life is very challenging.

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76 Alexia May 23, 2013 at 8:02 pm

I have found some of the most troubling behavior problems are that a lot of it has to do with home life, parents need to step in with their children’s education and not allow children to teach themselves. It isn’t right for them to do that. Parents and the school need to work together with the children. As, they are only children. They won’t discipline themselves because they won’t know if it is right or wrong what they are doing. If you are not willing to learn, no one can stop you. If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you. Children have their own opinions and they need to express what they think, thus to help behavior. A lot of children’s behavior depends on how they feel, when they feel like no one will listen they act out upon that. When disciplining a child, explain what they did wrong and what they should do differently next time. It is not a teacher’s fault if a child is not willing to learn no matter what the teacher does to try to motivate the student – especially at the secondary level. Unfortunately, since the no child left behind act went into effect – more teachers are being blamed for the students who refuse to learn and refuse to do work. I know at the school I went to this past year, teachers are lectured if they don’t have 100% of the students on task and doing their work 100% of the time. I find the lack of respect the most annoying. Students talk to teachers as if they are no one. This is the way I see them talk to their parents and it is awful. Behavior is communication. Even if I must purchase this book, I would love to win a copy. I just think it would be a good thing to have something else to see what to do about behavior.

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77 Carolyn May 23, 2013 at 8:06 pm

This sounds really interesting! I’d really love to win and read this book!!!!

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78 Karen May 23, 2013 at 8:08 pm

The most challenging part, to me, is when students will not accept that their behavior is inappropriate and parents support the child.

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79 Kelly Irving May 23, 2013 at 8:08 pm

The biggest challenge I face is the unknown….what students experience at home, then bring to school….how this influences their behavior in school. Many of my students do not have the “language” skills to express verbally what is wrong, so they act out to express their frustrations.

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80 Leighann May 23, 2013 at 8:09 pm

This book sounds like it has so much good information. Maybe it will help with my child at home too. I hope I win.

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81 Prudence May 23, 2013 at 8:10 pm

I think this might be the answer to all of my questions that I have had this year. I can not even begin to count the number of times that I have said, “I just don’t understand, what can I do?” I have tried numerous behavior modification programs and I feel that they have failed. It sounds like this book will offer some long needed advice. I hope I win!

Prudence: AKA Facebook Name David Hanly

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82 Heather Shortt May 23, 2013 at 8:13 pm

The most difficult part for me is trying to hone in on the root of the misbehaviors while trying to eliminate the disruptions that they cause.

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83 Linda Myrick May 23, 2013 at 8:13 pm

A challenge when dealing with a troubled child is being “in the moment” with that child when there are so many other needs swirling around at the same time. The reality of the time limitations in a classroom environment often interferes with the time and attention that seem to be required for an effective solution to be reached—most effectively when it can be reached with the child’s active involvement in the decision and realization of a better alternative.

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84 Hilary Gard May 23, 2013 at 8:14 pm

This book looks great! I plan to buy it if I don’t win it!
Hilary
Second Grade is Out of This World!

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85 christina t May 23, 2013 at 8:15 pm

It’s been difficult dealing with the parent aspect of challenging behavior and being able to work as a team with parents. I love the blog and would love a copy of the book!

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86 Colleen May 23, 2013 at 8:18 pm

I teach first grade this year and I am mystified by the defiance and passive-agressive behavior!

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87 K. C. May 23, 2013 at 8:20 pm

The most difficult challenge for me this year has been identifying the cause of a child’s behavior and knowing how to help the child to improve in all areas of their life.

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88 Mary Ashley May 23, 2013 at 8:23 pm

One of the most challenging part of dealing with student misbehavior that I’ve experienced is teaching the student to independently use coping or social skills to manage their behavior, rather than act out aggressively when frustrated or angry.

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89 Marjorie May 23, 2013 at 8:24 pm

Sounds like a great book! I can’t wait to read it!

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90 Crystal Shepherd May 23, 2013 at 8:30 pm

I don’t know if I am too easy or too hard. I have a hard time with some students listening to me.

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91 Wendy Rufa May 23, 2013 at 8:32 pm

The biggest challenge, I find, is keeping cool under the pressure of this behavior and its effect on your other students.

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92 Kathryn B. May 23, 2013 at 8:34 pm

The hardest aspect of dealing with student behavior for me is figuring out ways to handle/help students who shut down or become destructive/harmful.

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93 Sarah Pritchett May 23, 2013 at 8:43 pm

This sounds like a great summer read to ramp up for the next school year. May also be something to share with the rest of the staff at my school. As far as what has been the most challenging aspect of dealing with student misbehavior, in my experience……that would be the consistency of the behavior intervention plan across the campus and across staff members. That is key to the success of the child!

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94 Laura Milligan May 23, 2013 at 8:43 pm

The most challenging aspect of student behavior is dealing with mean-spiritedness that seems to come out of nowhere. The second most challenging aspect is arguing with the teachers as a way to get attention. Kids these days have some really poor ideas of what is acceptable behavior/talk.

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95 Donna A May 23, 2013 at 8:46 pm

If I don’t win this book, I will have to buy it.

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96 Deb May 23, 2013 at 8:46 pm

The most difficult thing to deal with is the lack of respect when they try to cover a multitude of problems that I don’t understand.

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97 Linda May 23, 2013 at 8:54 pm

I wish I had this book during this past school yr. it had to be the most challenging yr in 19 yrs.

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98 Heather Dennis May 23, 2013 at 8:55 pm

Oh how I could have used this book this year!!!

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99 Laura May 23, 2013 at 8:56 pm

The hardest part for me has been understanding why a child would want to act that way when they know it will bring consequences.

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100 Annie May 23, 2013 at 9:04 pm

I’m an elementary school counselor, suggesting Behavior Code as a book study for our district team next year. This book is intriguing & I hope I win. I’ll buy it, anyway!

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101 Kory May 23, 2013 at 9:08 pm

One of the most difficult parts for me is having the feeling that it is so unfair for all the other kids when it is just one student getting the majority of my attention and time. And also feeling like some of my other students become “bad” students simply because they see and learn “bad” behaviors from that one particular student.

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102 Marie-Claude May 23, 2013 at 9:12 pm

I have a few students who really need attention and are acting up in order to get it from others. This book would really help,me figure things out in this kind if situation and out in place measures to prevent them.

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103 Tara May 23, 2013 at 9:17 pm

Thanks for the review, I could have really used it before this past year. I will check it out…

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104 Kelly C May 23, 2013 at 9:18 pm

This books sounds great, especially with Angela Watson’s seal of approval!

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105 Christyn King May 23, 2013 at 9:19 pm

This looks really good. I hope I win it so I can read it since summer vacation begins really soon.

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106 Diana Moberly May 23, 2013 at 9:24 pm

Blurts and comments about every thing that everyone in the room does, all day long.

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107 Tara May 23, 2013 at 9:26 pm

Just noticed the giveaway… The toughest behavior issues I have had have been from students who are neglected and abused at home. I work in an international school and unfortunately it is sometimes still part of the culture here to discipline children with force. It’s hard to convince parents that’s not the way to get kids to behave better, it only worsens the situation.

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108 Jeanne May 23, 2013 at 9:29 pm

After the year I’ve had, I’d like to read this book. I need advice and practice on how to read student behavior. Thanks for the review!

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109 Bonnie May 23, 2013 at 9:31 pm

I like the idea of spending time to analyze meltdown triggers. I think we could apply the same strategies to some adults :)

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110 "Miriam" May 23, 2013 at 9:35 pm

I’m using a pseudonym here because my biggest problem is a little incriminating… my biggest problem has been a lack of admin support. In my position I have very little authority to enforce anything I say, so it is very easy for kids to take advantage. I try to make consequences in my classroom self-contained, but it is really limiting and not enough to motivate the tough kids, especially when you can’t count on backup from the parents either.

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111 Michelle Reagan May 23, 2013 at 9:37 pm

I think this is a wonderful sounding book. I think every teacher needs a copy. I hope I win. :-)

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112 krennie May 23, 2013 at 9:38 pm

My most difficult students are the students that act out because they are afraid of failing.

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113 cicely hogan May 23, 2013 at 9:39 pm

This sounds like a very good.book to check out. I am hopefully about to begin my teaching career in the fall.

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114 Tina May 23, 2013 at 9:42 pm

This has been the hardest year for me. I have a lot of difficult students in my class. I REALLY need to read this book!

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115 Pam May 23, 2013 at 9:54 pm

I prefer to deal with challenging behavior one-on-one and not in the middle of class. I find that this can be difficult

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116 Stephanie A May 23, 2013 at 9:55 pm

I look forward to reading this book. It should be very enlightening!

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117 Marla May 23, 2013 at 10:04 pm

Right now my biggest issue is 4 students fighting over spots in line. Beginning, middle, end of the line, it doesn’t matter. It’s driving me crazy!!!

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118 Chrystiana M. May 23, 2013 at 10:11 pm

What a great book for a first year teacher to have!

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119 Penny Barrentine May 23, 2013 at 10:15 pm

I would love to win. After my first year of teaching, I am looking for better ways to manage my classroom.

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120 E.v. May 23, 2013 at 10:16 pm

It’s been a frustrating year. Any insight would help.

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121 laurie weil May 23, 2013 at 10:26 pm

The most difficult aspect for me is figuring out why can’t the student follow or correct a behavior. I never think of it as won’t. It is even more challenging when there is no clear antecedent. I would love to read this book- better yet- I would love to win it. I have been working as a special ed teacher since 2002 and it was my job as a special ed ta that led me back to school in my forties to earn an M.A.T. in special ed.

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122 Jen Schneider May 23, 2013 at 10:28 pm

This would be the perfect read over the summer to be in a positive state of mind. Letting go of frustrations and finding success is always the way to go.

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123 Brooke Becker May 23, 2013 at 10:33 pm

This book sounds very eye-opening…you always post about the most intriguing books!

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124 Colleen Mayberry May 23, 2013 at 10:35 pm

This year I have noticed an increase in difficult behavior. I have a few students that have no support at home and I find it hard to motivate them and encourage them when there is none of this coming from home as well.

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125 Amy Reede May 23, 2013 at 10:43 pm

Sounds like a great book! I could totally use this for extended learning time students!

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126 Heather May 23, 2013 at 10:43 pm

I am looking forward to reading this!

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127 Emily W May 23, 2013 at 10:56 pm

This book would have been amazing this year.

After 10 years, I thought I had seen it all until this class with 8 red zone behavior kids who stirred the pot to get all kids involved in their behaviors. Teacher nightmare year! Would love some more ideas to figure out strategies to be able to keep teaching when behaviors occur (and administration ignores it).

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128 Krista May 23, 2013 at 11:05 pm

I think the toughest behaviors I’ve had to deal with this year are the kiddos who have no homesupport and are too street-mature for being in 1st grade.

Sooo eexcited for this book! *fingers crossed

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129 Corinna May 23, 2013 at 11:11 pm

This looks like an excellent read. I am adding it to my summer reading list right now!

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130 Martha Bermudez May 23, 2013 at 11:31 pm

I am very interested on learning more about how to handle students with behavior problems. We always have them in class. Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy of the book.

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131 Dana May 23, 2013 at 11:41 pm

I find it challenging to promptly address students misbehavior while there are 31 other students waiting for instruction to begin.

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132 jennibell May 24, 2013 at 7:59 am

Exactly.

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133 Karen Constantino May 23, 2013 at 11:44 pm

WOW, sounds like a great book. Would be good for a summer read.

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134 Kirsten May 23, 2013 at 11:46 pm

Sounds like a great book. I have several students in my class this year with very little home support who love causing chaos in the classroom.

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135 Cheryl R. May 24, 2013 at 12:13 am

HI!
I think the most frustrating is when a student responds disrespectfully by rolling their eyes, talking under their breath, etc. It makes me sad and a bit mad. I think, “I’d never have thought to respond that way to a teacher.” It’s such a different place kids are these days.
CR

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136 debra May 24, 2013 at 12:34 am

What has been the most challenging aspect of dealing with student misbehavior, in your experience? When the student is seriously bent on harming themselves.

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137 Deana Patrick May 24, 2013 at 12:48 am

The most challenging behavior I have had to deal with in my classroom is a student who runs from the classroom when she is mad or upset.

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138 sarah S. May 24, 2013 at 1:41 am

Dealing with irrate irrational students is the biggest challenge I have faced.

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139 Kelsey May 24, 2013 at 1:52 am

This sounds like exactly the book my school needs! I will have to read it (hopefully by reading the one you’re giving away) and then recommend it for a book study. It sounds perfect!

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140 samia May 24, 2013 at 4:27 am

I face difficult to handle students very often. This book must be very useful. I am planning to donate it for our library so that many teachers can benefit from it.

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141 Rachel Benton May 24, 2013 at 6:48 am

I find that the most challenging aspect of dealing with the misbehavior of students is that it takes away valuable learning time from the other children. I worked in a classroom with children who have been labeled SED or Seriously Emotionally Disabled and major meltdowns were an everyday occurance. Even though it was challenging it was easier in a way because there were 7 kids and 4 adults in the room to deal with the behaviors. When a student had a meltdown if possible they were removed from the room and dealt with one on one. In a classroom with 20 plus kids and one adult that isn’t feasible and the situation can escalate quickly.

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142 jennibell May 24, 2013 at 7:56 am

Definitely a book that I would read and find valuable as a MS teacher.

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143 jennibell May 24, 2013 at 7:58 am

My biggest behavior problem is not coming to class prepared. My administration feels like I should give the pencil/another copy/something to write on each time the student comes unprepared. I’m struggling.

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144 Marie May 24, 2013 at 10:01 am

I have one particular student whose behavior is an enigma to me… I am hoping this book could give me some ideas that I haven’t thought of or tried before! :)

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145 Linda May 24, 2013 at 12:12 pm

I really need this book because of the class I will be getting next year. Actually I could have used it this past year with a couple of kids whom I could not figure out. Please let me win!!!!

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146 Brooke Brandt May 24, 2013 at 12:22 pm

This book fits into my philosophy perfectly! I know behaviors are communicating but sometimes I can’t figure out what they are trying to tell me! Teaching through building relationships is the way to go.

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147 Allison May 24, 2013 at 12:52 pm

How many times I’ve wished for a book like this– not band-aids, but a way to truly understand what is going on with a child who is struggling. Sounds great.

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148 Michelle May 24, 2013 at 1:22 pm

This book sounds intriguing. The summary of the book makes a lot of sense. We need to look for the cause of the behaviors.

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149 Veronica May 24, 2013 at 1:58 pm

This is just the kind of book I’ve been looking for! Thanks for posting about it.

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150 melinda May 24, 2013 at 2:11 pm

To me the hardest thing is when I honestly believe the student doesn’t know any better and is acting out of pure frustration

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151 Julie May 24, 2013 at 4:09 pm

I’m always looking for ways to help my students!

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152 Kathy May 24, 2013 at 9:01 pm

Seems like this kind of book is needed more and more — and I teach Kindergarten! :(

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153 D May 24, 2013 at 11:26 pm

When administration doesn’t back up the teacher. It’s very difficult when there are rules and consequences in place, but they are bent to please parents. Students don’t learn anything. Isn’t that the point of discipline?

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154 Shannon Slade May 24, 2013 at 11:36 pm

My children are my biggest behavior problem!! LOL!

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155 S and told to deal withharon May 25, 2013 at 1:34 am

My biggest difficulty is parents telling their children that it is their right to; walk out of a class if the teacher won’t let them leave when they want to, hit back other children. Too often I have called home only to be cursed at. The apple usually doesn’t fall far from the tree.

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156 louise May 25, 2013 at 1:36 am

I teach Grade two, and I’m having a very challenging year. One child with autism, one with extreme anxiety who has melt downs, two others who are extremely impulsive and also have frequent meltdowns, and one who likes attention (negative or not!). nd then there are the followers! I have taught for many years, but this many children with behaviours is wearing me down.

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157 Sandra May 25, 2013 at 10:01 am

I am currently subbing and often am at more difficult schools with a lot of gang issues. I have a hard time dealing with the ring leaders who show up in my middle school classrooms. I know that there is more underlying there and would love to discover it!

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158 sarah r. May 25, 2013 at 11:18 am

being consistent with your responses. it’s so hard in the moment to always follow through!

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159 Leeanne McAloney May 25, 2013 at 11:46 am

I work with students with a diverse range of needs and sometimes extreme behaviours so I’m always looking for great books that suggest practical strategies to help.

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160 Amy May 25, 2013 at 1:42 pm

This is the book that I needed at the beginning of the school year! I have one more half-day left with this group, and I STILL don’t understand why some of them do the things they do, nor how to help them. I’ve taught for 9 years now, and this has been the toughest one of all, including my first! If I don’t win this, I’m definitely buying a copy to read over the summer. Thank you for the great review!

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161 Amy May 25, 2013 at 1:49 pm

Sorry! I didn’t realize there was a writing prompt! :) I think the most challenging aspect of dealing with student misbehavior has been my frustration at the loss of instructional (and even personal) time. I spend so much time documenting behaviors and trying to find the perfect consequence to extinguish the behavior that I have less time to work on effective planning and less family time with my own kids. Knowing the *function* of the behavior (what the student is trying to tell you with their actions) would save so much time, because by knowing what the child is trying to communicate, I could prevent future outbursts from occurring! Thank you for the great review! I hope I win, but if I don’t, I’m purchasing a copy of this! :)

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162 Kimbrly May 25, 2013 at 4:40 pm

I work with migrant toddlers and have a child who seems to be destined to become the next bully….
he will hurt other children, back them into corners, take their toys, yell at them and spit on them…. at the same time he is extremely frighten of fire alarms and the need to move anywhere quickly or suddenly. I recognize that it is a need to be in controll of his envirnment and need for attention, but have run out of ideas on responding to these behaviors. I am curious if this book would be helpful for us in the early childhood field?

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163 KB May 25, 2013 at 9:54 pm

I teach preschool in an innercity school, and always try to find the route causes of challenging behaviors, but I’m always looking for new ideas for coping strategies or replacement behaviors. Thank you!

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164 Jennifer Crawford May 26, 2013 at 2:45 am

I teach kindergarten and I feel like, by far, the hardest part about behavior is the lack of support from parents/administration. Because they are so young everyone tends to brush their misbehavior under the rug. The problem with that? The behavior only escalates as they get older and the behavior becomes harder and harder to manage. By the time they are in 2nd-3rd grade they are completely unhinged. On top of that, the students have all the power and the teachers are the ones that get into trouble when they try to discipline the students. Again, ignoring the problem only causes bigger problems over time and addressing the problems directly can get the teacher into big trouble. It’s a no win situation for all parties involved.

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165 Rani M. May 26, 2013 at 2:34 pm

The most challenging thing is a bright boy who is unwilling to try because if a fear of getting it wrong. It brings him to tears.

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166 Andrea May 26, 2013 at 4:38 pm

This is a book that I would find useful with my Pre-K students. I’d be glad to include it in my professional library.

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167 Yvonne Richardson May 27, 2013 at 5:40 pm

This summer is dedicated to finding some answers with the multitude of behavior issues that about 10% of my students display rendering the remaining 90% wishing they would stop. That has always been present, but this last year was the first year that I noticed that they had matching parents. Got a book recommendation for that? :-) I hope this book will help. Hopefully, I won’t have to buy one, but I may.

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168 Jessica May 27, 2013 at 6:23 pm

I teach high school seniors, and this book sounds very interesting. Thanks for sharing!

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169 Elizabeth Dziedziech May 27, 2013 at 9:13 pm

This year I was faced with a class of more than fifty percent of the students having challenging behaviors. Their frequent disruptions and off task behaviors nearly caused my administrators to end my teaching career. My resources were some what limited, however after several frequent observations, conferencing, and limited coaching, I was able to reset my career for a teaching contract for 2013 – 2014. I would cherish owning a copy of the Behavior Code that I could use to strengthen my management skills and boost my confidence at the same time. :)

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170 valerie May 28, 2013 at 12:09 am

I work in a high needs classroom…sounds like a must read!

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171 Love and Lollipops May 28, 2013 at 2:38 am

This sounds like a really good read and THE book that I have been looking for. Would be fantastic to win this :)

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172 Love and Lollipops May 28, 2013 at 2:44 am

I didn’t answer the question – I assist teachers who require assistance with gaining cooperation and defiance in the classroom. Defiance and oppositional behaviour is often the most challenging for many teachers.

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173 Stacy May 28, 2013 at 8:30 am

As a school psychologist, many times teachers come to me at their wits end with a student and want me to fix the behavior…now! As a school psychologist early in my career, I find that my toolbox of tips and tricks is not as full as I would like. Any resources that help me to become a better problem solver, student advocate, and collaborator is incredibly helpful!

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174 kate May 28, 2013 at 4:12 pm

As others have mentioned, one difficult aspect of handling misbehaviour can be the lack of support from others (admin, parents, etc.) Also, being consistent (which in turn is complicated when there are so many different needs/situations within one classroom.)

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175 Rachel J May 28, 2013 at 5:39 pm

First year teacher- just finished my first semester of teaching intermediate with a VERY challenging group of students. Thought more then once that my toolbox is too small and I made a mistake when I could manage the behaviors and multiple challenges going on in our room.
Would love a foundation to understand how to manage with the long term in mind.

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176 delaina May 28, 2013 at 6:53 pm

The most challenging aspect of dealing with student misbehavior has been the balancing act. You don’t want to get into fruitless power struggles, but you also want to maintain high expectations for all students in work and behavior. Feeling like I actually had the tools to deal with the behaviors would keep me from getting so stressed out about it.

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177 Danielle May 28, 2013 at 7:04 pm

The most challenging aspect of student behaviour is the inconsistency of consequence in the home environment. Parents are often not aware of the impact their perspective of your management in the classroom has on their child. They prefer to stay “friends” with their child rather than support their child’s learning by support teacher decisions.

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178 Susie P. May 28, 2013 at 9:23 pm

My biggest challenge this year has been that I am at a new school site where only 1/2 of the PBIS program is in place. We have the fun reward part down, with the tickets and the weekly drawings and the compliments and the behavior models/guideline, but there is no discipline side at all. Nothing is backed up, no system is in place, so the whole thing is pretty spineless. I just came from a school with a really strong PBIS plan, so this really shocked me. I know I need more guidance on dealing with students in my room where I KNOW there will be follow-up. This book sounds great (and next year’s group of kids is supposed to be a rough one!)

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179 Stacey May 29, 2013 at 9:20 pm

It makes perfect sense that in order to stop the behavior we need to know the reasons behind the behavior. Sounds very interesting!

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180 Candice Campbell May 29, 2013 at 10:29 pm

My most challenging was teaching 80 sixth graders… Good moments, bad moments, but always baffling!!

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