classroom management

how to tell people no

On my way home from the TpT conference last Saturday, I overheard a random conversation between a JetBlue flight attendant and a passenger. It’s now the topic of a blog post here, so I suppose that’s a lesson to all of us that even our most off-handed words can have a tremendous impact and reach. We […]

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group work

Do your students hate group work? If so, they’re not alone. Personality conflicts and a wide range of abilities within the group often create results like this: Here’s a strategy to make it easier for you to form effective groups for a project or activity and differentiate the work that students do within their groups: 1) Pre-assess students […]

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highly decorated classrooms study

You’ve probably read some version of the study that has gone absolutely viral on social media in the last few days: Heavily Decorated Classrooms Disrupt Attention and Learning In Young Children. But have you seen the classroom used for the study? The bottom image shows the researchers’ idea of “highly decorated,” which looks like a pretty typical […]

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alternatives to reading logs: authentic ways to manage students

Let’s face it: reading logs are boring, and most kids hate writing down the titles and authors of books they’ve read in order to “prove” they’ve done their required 20 minutes of reading time at home. Here are some more authentic ways to hold students accountable for their reading time and foster a love of books. Please […]

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Wibki home page bookmarked favorites learning games

I’m always on the lookout for great free tech tools for teachers, so I was excited when Wibki reached out to me about reviewing their site. Wibki is a completely free tool for saving and sharing your favorite websites, and it’s especially nice for teachers because it’s an easy and highly visual way to bookmark […]

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10 smart ways to end the school day

I was recently a guest on the Teacher Aid program of BAM! Radio talking about the dismissal strategies I shared on the Tips and Tricks for Arrival and Dismissal Routines page. I was joined by Jen Carey, Melanie Taylor and Kristen Vincent, who had some wonderful tips for making the dismissal process go more smoothly. Click here to listen to […]

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tips and tricks for student engagement

Yesterday was the spring EdCampNYC, a free unconference where educators get together informally and talk about problems and solutions in education. You can read this post to learn more about how edcamps work and how to find one in your area, and check out the #edcampnyc hashtag on Twitter or this Google Doc to see other […]

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responding when students say I don

Sometimes an “I don’t know” comes from a child waving his or hand wildly, desperate to be called on, only to be at a loss for words once acknowledged. Sometimes you hear “I don’t know” because the child is shy, embarrassed to talk, or unsure of the answer. And sometimes “I don’t know” is said […]

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fun ideas for getting kids to WANT to read

This guest post is sponsored by SNAP Learning. With mobile devices and video games competing for students’ free time, getting your students excited about reading can be a daunting task for even the most determined teacher. Here are some ideas to inspire your students to get back to books: 1) Become a Book Character: Get […]

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breaking the cycle of nagging

Every teacher has fallen into the trap of repeating directions we’ve given a million times. Kids already know what they should be doing, so they tune us out. We say it again, they ignore it again. And we go home at the end of the day exhausted because we’ve spent our time trying to control […]

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magazine holders to store student materials

I’m always amazed at all the different systems teachers create to help their students organize materials. I see so many great ideas passed around in the Encouraging Teachers Facebook group that I asked to share a few of them here. Katie T uses magazine storage containers as kids’ work buckets. Students store iPads, head phones, and […]

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understanding introverts

I’ve insisted on having some quiet time built into my day for as long as I can remember. I’d drop the class off at P.E. and retreat to my classroom, breathing a deep sigh and reveling in the silence. I always built down-time into our daily schedule, following up an intense period of direct instruction […]

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Want to have your ideas featured on The Cornerstone for Teachers? Submit your idea for the "real teachers, real tips" post series! This month

Class Dojo is a popular and somewhat controversial free tech tool for behavior management. I frequently hear it recommended by teachers at all grade levels, but am not familiar with it personally. So, I’ve invited a teacher who has used Class Dojo with her students to explain what’s worked for her.  Amanda Killough, who has been […]

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50 fun call-and-response ideas to get students

Call-and-response is a time-tested technique for getting attention, not just in classrooms but in the military, in churches, at sports events, and in traditional cultures in various parts of the world.  Some of the tips and ideas I’ve compiled here are commonly and widely used so I didn’t credit anyone for them, but the ones […]

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real teachers, real tips on classroom management

If you’ve ever considered having students bring their own devices (BYOD) to class, you’ve probably worried…won’t the kids text all day long? How do I keep them from taking inappropriate photos or posting on Facebook while I’m teaching? Aren’t students’ phones a huge distraction? Here to help is Kristy from the 2 Peas and a Dog […]

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How to create individual plans for kids (plus free plans you can download and edit)

This is the time of year when we tend to be especially short-tempered with our “frequent fliers”, as a principal of mine used to call those kids who seem to spend more time traveling down to her office than in the classroom. I wrote a post last week called Why discipline is different from punishment and […]

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punishment vs discipline

I shared this image recently on Facebook and was really surprised by the amount of pushback it received. There were a number of teachers who felt that punishment is the only thing that works at times, especially for students in high-poverty classrooms. Some commenters interpreted the quote to mean that positive reinforcement should be used […]

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difficult class

It’s a difficult phenomenon to describe to non-educators, but classroom teachers will instantly know what I’m referring to–having a group of students that just don’t click with you and are extremely difficult to handle, usually with more than the average extreme and violent behavior issues tossed into the mix. These experiences seem to suck the joy […]

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real teachers, real tips on classroom management

If you only have access to one or two mobile devices in your classroom, you’re going to love these ideas for how to really make the most of them! Karen Sabados is our guest blogger, and she’s taught elementary school for over ten years. Much of that time has been spent with first graders and […]

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collective punishment

“Alright, that’s it. You guys can’t handle this activity, we’re shutting it down right now. Everybody, clean up. It’s over.” Chances are, you’ve spoken words like that to your students at some point. You’ve given way too many warnings for the kids to get on task, quiet down, and/or get to work, and the classroom […]

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