classroom management

Extreme student behavior: 7 traps to avoid when NOTHING seems to work

A teacher named Kerri recently emailed me to ask: What do you do for that student that continually chooses to misbehave? We have tried everything but nothing fazes him and it’s sending a message to to the other students in my class that I have a different standard of behavior for him. I feel like […]


classroom makerspaces

Makerspace is a rapidly growing trend in schools across the country, but to be honest, I’ve never implemented one myself, and I can’t quite picture the logistics of orchestrating a Makerspace. How do kids know what to do? How can you find out what they’re learning? How do you make time for that with all the […]


Excellent tips for improving rubrics--why didn

I’m always in search of simple, time-saving rubrics that make it easier for kids to understand how they’re being assessed. Today, I’ve invited middle school principal and former Language Arts teacher Dennis Kafalas to share some awesome strategies he’s developed for making your rubrics easier to use AND higher quality. Thank you, Dennis! Correcting student work with a rubric […]


back to school anxiety

Have the back-to-school nightmares started for you yet? Oh what, you thought it was just YOU that tosses and turns all night long, dipping in and out of dreams that feature you managing 165 kids in one classroom, or finding out you got moved to a new grade level in the middle of the first […]


6 tips for encouraging students

Have you gotten in a rut of using the same phrases over and over to encourage students? Repeatedly saying “You did great!” can cause the sentiment to lose its effectiveness over time and even start to sound insincere. And relying only on praise like “You’re so smart!” can cause kids to attribute their success to innate […]



Understanding by Design (UbD) is a powerful but potentially daunting approach to planning curriculum. I’ve invited Jennifer Martinez, of everything just so, to share how she went from dreading UbD to allowing it to transform teaching and learning in her classroom. Jennifer, who’s from Columbus, Ohio, taught for nine years and spent a year writing curriculum for the NEA Master […]


overcoming special education stigmas

I’ve invited Nashima Harvey to share some tips for helping teachers remove the stigma from special education through building positive relationships with students and families. Nashima is a New Jersey certified educator with over 20 years experience working with kids and families. She’s the founder of the Little Green House LLC, global awareness learning collective that helps build a bridge of 21st Century learning […]


8 ways to redirect off-task behavior without stopping your lesson

Do you continually have to stop your lessons because of one or two off-task or disruptive students? Are you frustrated because the kids who don’t want to learn are continually interrupting the ones who do? Here are 8 ways to redirect off-task behavior without interrupting your lesson or allowing your entire lesson to be derailed. 1.  Use fewer words […]


Art with Jenny K Round Logo

It can be tough to find time to integrate arts into an already overstuffed curriculum. So today I’ve invited an experienced elementary and middle school art teacher, Jenny Knappenberger of Art with Jenny K, to share one of her favorite ways to get kids creating and collaborating. Thank you, Jenny! Teaching students with an art-infused curriculum […]


parent surveys

I have used 4 different types of parent surveys for many years in my classroom to help open the line of communication with my students’ parents. They have been really instrumental in helping me get feedback and make sure I’m meeting kids’ needs, and they’ve been an invaluable way to document my attempts at outreach. […]


15 easy indoor recess ideas

If it’s not the bitter cold, ice, and snow keeping your class indoors for recess, it might be the rain that so many regions of the country get inundated with in the springtime. After a whole day trapped in the classroom, you and the kids desperately need some fresh air and unstructured break time. If you’re […]


Today, I’ve invited Meg from The Teacher Studio to share how she runs math workshop in her classroom. I really admire her approach to math instruction and she has done an AMAZING job outlining everything in this post. Meg has tons of practical, classroom-tested tips for math instruction on her website and is going to be launching […]


I used this form a few times a week to assess the work students did independently. It makes it super easy to correct any misconceptions right away, plan the rest of the unit  based on how well the class understands the current skill, and assign differentiated follow-up tasks for every student.

Many of us educators are keeping a little secret about differentiating instruction. We believe it’s a good idea in theory, we try to do it when we can…but we really don’t have any workable system for differentiating. No one really knows how it’s supposed to be done, and the only ideas we’ve had so far are […]


10 inexpensive ways to get children’s books for the classroom

A well-stocked classroom library encourages self-selected independent reading and can also serve as a great place for children to enjoy some down time during the school day. However, keeping your class library replenished with a rotation of good books may present a bit of a challenge since most teachers have to pay for reading materials using their […]


FREE! Daily Connections: an easy way to build individual relationships with your students

As teachers, we all want to establish strong connections with students and give them individual attention on a daily basis. But that’s a pretty broad goal that can be hard to put into action, especially considering how many other priorities are vying for our attention. How can we make time for individual connections? How can […]


7 teacher tips for surviving the week before holiday or winter break

We’re heading into the home stretch here in 2014, and it can be one of the hardest times in which to maintain order in the classroom. Fortunately, there are ways to make the last few days count and maintain your sanity: 1. Don’t build anticipation. Assemblies, presentations, and other holiday events are unavoidable in December, but […]


Verso multiple classes

Are there students in your class who never seem to share their opinions or want to engage in group discussions? There could be a number of reasons why a student does not participate, and one of them is fear. Kids often find it difficult to share their opinions in class because they’re afraid of being wrong, […]


calm class after lunch

After recess or lunch can be one of the toughest times to transition back into instruction. Often the kids are so wound up that it takes 10 minutes (or more) to get everyone ready to learn again, and with the amount of curriculum we need to teach during the school day, that’s 10 minutes we can’t afford […]


How to foster gratitude and teach kids to be thankful (classroom ideas)

Every year, it seems like the grumbling grows louder about the next generation’s sense of entitlement. People say they want things handed to them. They’re not appreciative of what adults do for them. They complain when teachers give them things (“Is that all you’ve got?”) and ask “What do we get for doing this?” before completing […]


Thank students for good choices with compliment slips

The problem with most behavior management systems is that the kids who are misbehaving get all the attention. It’s hard to remember to pay attention to kids’ GOOD choices when you’re required to track and address their bad choices. And often rewards are built into behavior management plans so that a child who struggles to […]