Educator Blog

How to Use Gentle Guidance Interventions With a Difficult Student

Dear Kid Whisperer,

My life this school year is miserable because of one student. He was recently out sick for a week, and it was the best week we had all year, by far. The problem is that nothing works with this student to get him to behave. I know that if I correct his behavior and tell him what to do, he explodes and I can kiss the next hour goodbye. If I ignore him, which I usually do now, his behavior gets worse, and then I tell him to stop, and he ends up exploding anyway! Help! -John, Sacramento, CA

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How to Gently Guide Kids in the Classroom

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I have a student in my fourth-grade class who has been diagnosed with severe anxiety and ADHD. These diagnoses are right on: everything I do seems to agitate him and nothing I do gets him to pay attention. What now? -Mary, Bar Harbor, Maine

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How to Set a Limit With Your Principal

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I asked you a question a few weeks ago about my third graders coming back from recess most days angry at each other. I told you about how their tattling about what happened at recess was wreaking havoc in the classroom after recess. You answered it, and that answer was very helpful. But now more students are coming to me every day with stories of chaos at recess, even kids getting in fights with no consequences, and sometimes adults not being aware of it. There are not enough adults out there, and the ones who are are not holding students accountable. I’m at a loss. -Mark, Lansing, Michigan

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How to Put an End to Post-Recess Tattling

Dear Kid Whisperer,

My students are always coming in from recess angry at each other. Really, there are two boys in particular that cause 90% of the issues. There’s always an argument over a game or some such thing. I do read-alouds with my third graders at that time and lose tons of time most days because I’m always trying to figure out what happened and generally get to the bottom of it. We barely ever get to read at all anymore. What do I do? –Mark, Lansing, Michigan

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How to Put an End to Arguing in Your Classroom

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I have come up against a behavior with my 8th grade students that I don’t know what to do with, and that behavior has multiplied in one of my class periods to the point that it puts a stop to all instruction almost every day. I call it strategic arguing. I have four students in my fifth period class who have realized that they can stop me from teaching if they argue with me. I can see it in their eyes- they’re messing with me. What do I do? I have to teach, and I don’t want to be messed with. -Jay, Phoenix, Arizona

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How to Get Online Students to Work Hard

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I am now teaching third grade online, and I have come upon a problem. Real-World Workshop is a fantastic way of managing independent work time in my classroom, and it works great online– unless students just refuse to do what they have to do (Nows), and they go straight to what they would rather do (Laters). What do I do when this happens? -Jennifer, Columbus, Ohio

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How to Use Interventions to Handle an Impulsive Student

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I have a fourth-grade student in my language arts bloc who is very impulsive. When his mom forgets to give him his ADHD meds, he is out of control. He doesn’t focus, he gets up and walks around, he lays down on the floor, and he shouts out. I tell him to sit down and get to work over and over and over. We have a card system. With no meds, he loses all his cards in ten minutes. I’ve tried everything. I’m out of ideas. -Jaime, Columbus, Ohio

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How to Curb Tardiness With Middle School Students

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I have a seventh-grade student who saunters into class at least 5 minutes late every day. I actually have him for two different classes. It just drives me crazy. No matter what I say or even how angry I get, he doesn’t show up on time. Before you ask, there is no reason for his tardiness. His last class is 10 feet from mine. I asked around and he is only late to my class. We have a demerits system and no matter how many times he gets demerits for tardiness, he continues to be late. I always start these two classes being angry at this student. What do I do? -Mary, Cincinnati, Ohio

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How to Gently Guide Students Toward Positive Behaviors

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I need some advice in dealing with a first-grade student who never listens to me. I tell him to not blurt out; he blurts out more. I tell him not to grab other kids while he’s in line; he does it more. I have tried everything. Nothing works. I’ve even had the nurse check his hearing. She says it’s fine. His grandma wants him to be evaluated for some kind of disorder. I’m at a loss. -Jessica, Columbus, Ohio

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