Love and Logic Tips for Developing an Empathetic Classroom

Here are some tips for developing an empathetic classroom:
1. Start by building a classroom culture in which students feel safe and secure.  Students who are afraid of physical or emotional harm give attention to their own well-being, and have less ability to notice the well-being of others. 2. Classroom procedures and routines build a sense of predictable security for children.  Well established …routines also help students practice self-regulation skills as they learn how to wait calmly, recognize the behaviors that lead to positive outcomes in the classroom, and follow the steps to success.    3. Help students develop listening and observation skills by planning morning meetings, having discussions about what is going well and what needs to improve in our classroom, and teaching specific observation skills and listening which some children have not learned in the home. 4. Self-regulation skills are the foundation for empathy.  By learning to calm themselves, regulate emotions, delay gratification, persevere, and stay focused on the right things, students develop the skills which allow them to look beyond themselves.  Don’t take self-regulation skills for granted.  Find ways to purposefully help children develop these skills within the classroom. 5. Consider developing a clear set of expectations for how adults will treat students and how students will treat each other within the classroom.  Making a commitment to treating each other with respect, and then learning to stand up and speak up for yourself and for others helps build a powerful sense of community (The Juice Box Bully, Bob Sornson, 2011). 6. Use great literature and tell great stories to inspire students to understand the experience of others. 7. Model empathy.   Your students are watching! 8. Relationships matter.  Empathy is the ability to understand how someone feels, but caring about others precedes giving effort to noticing the experience and feelings of others.  Help kids build relationships which inspire them to trust and care for others.
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2013 Overview of the School Choice Movement

“In our life we take for granted choice in all aspects that are so much less important than the education of our own children,” says Lisa Snell, director of education and child welfare policy at Reason Foundation, the nonprofit that publishes this site. In this interview, Snell gives a good overview of the direction that educational choice is moving to empower parents, students and teachers to improve education. A great look at the movement nearing the end of National School Choice Week.

School Choice – reason.tv

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Building Motivation, Instilling Grit: The Necessity of Mastery-Based, Digital Learning

In the following article Michael Horn hits a “slam dunk” when it comes to helping to motivate the disengaged student. Too many times educational ownership and the ability to move and direct ones own educational direction is all that is need to reengage a struggling student. Our current school structure has created an situation where all learning is directed and orchestrated for our students regardless own interests, which for many creates an atmosphere of boredom. We need to create more blended learning environments that allow students to learn at their own pace and direction but provide for a students need to socialize with peers.

Building Motivation, Instilling Grit: The Necessity of Mastery-Based, Digital Learning

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Respecting Teachers (Salman Khan)

Excerpts from a Reason Magazine (February 2013) interview with “The Education Visionary” Khan Academy founder Salman Khan on the future of learning.

“Reason: In the book you mention that New York State spends about $18,000 per public school student per year….We’re spending $18,000 a year for flat results over the past 40 years for public schools. What’s wrong with the status quo?
Khan: The reason I highlighted that in the book is that a lot of times people make it sound like it’s a money issue. The problem is you can never say you’re spending too much on education. It’s such an important thing; if you can get a dollar of value in education, it’s worth it….and when you look at the $18,000 number (or even in the lower districts that spend less, $8,000 or $9,000), and you multiply that by how many students are in a classroom – someplace between 20 and 30 – you get a fairly large number. You get something [in the range of] $300,000, $400,000, $500,000. When you do that very simple back-of-the-envelope calculation, you realize how little of the money is actually touching the student. Very little of that is going to the teacher. Very little is going directly for the facilities. Most of that is going for lays of administration. We can actually professionalize teachers as they are, turn it into a career that pays as well as doctors. The money is there. There just has to be a major restructuring in how you spend that money…I think the general sense is that there’s a lot of lip service being given to teachers: oh, we need to respect you. We want the best of the best doing this. But society’s not sending that economic signal. In engineering I used to say: how come more people are going into finance than engineering? Well, look at the salaries, and you get a very clear picture of why. Now that’s actually changing in engineering. Engineers can do just as well as or better than people in finance. I think that has to happen in teaching. We are getting a lot of great talent in teaching, but we’ll get even more people who aspire to do this. And it will change the dynamic in the classroom to where the students say, I wish I had a chance of becoming that privilege to be with in this room….”

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What’s a Magnet Anyway? (And Other Things You Wish You Knew About Schools)

This article comes at a timely manner, as I had just started a blog post to explain all the differences in school choice options. Many people are confused with the exact definition of choices in educational electives and who funds these schools. Teachers’ unions have lead the public astray in regards to the process of these institutions and how the public can benefit, despite the overwhelming call from parents for more educational alternatives. Don’t be fooled, be educated as options benefit students, families and teachers…

What’s a Magnet Anyway? (And Other Things You Wish You Knew About Schools)

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Movement Helps with Learning

I have a few active learners who enjoy moving to learn. For instance, my second son learned his alphabet jumping off a chair as he said the letters. Even though this is a non-traditional style of learning, I have found active kids stay more engaged in the learning and become less bored or frustrated with the process. This video also shows another way we have used movement to learn. Keep is fun, with less drama and kids thrive in learning.

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“Beat the Clock”

Another idea to keep the dawdling student on task, helping to get schoolwork doing in a timely manner.

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