How to Effectively Manage Games in Your Classroom

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I love playing dice/board games with my 4th graders. I have dice in plastic cups. The rule is the dice are “rolled” while they remain in the cups. Most kids are able to do this. However, some students fling the dice out of the cups, even though there are lids on those cups. This is obviously intentional. I feel like if I remove the student from the activity for doing these things, it leaves their partner stranded and it didn’t change their behavior. Any advice?  Renee, Omaha, Nebraska

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How to Handle Kids During Bus Duty

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I have daycare van duty at the end of the day at school, and it’s pretty much the worst way to end my day. Kids have their hands all over one another, they scream, they’re not in their lines, they push and shove to be first, and it’s just miserable. I never tolerate these behaviors in class or on recess duty (I’m a specials teacher, so I know every one of these students.) This is throwing me for a loop. It’s not just one or two students. It’s the group as a whole. Everything I’ve tried isn’t working, and it’s a stressful way to end an otherwise amazing day.       -Stephanie, Miami, Florida

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How to Remain Calm in the Classroom

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I teach high school English. I read your column, follow your blog, and I do a good job of using the skills and strategies that you outline — when I can remember to not get angry and say things that I shouldn’t say to my students. This may be a silly question, but how can I remain calm so that I can use the things that you suggest? — Steve, Columbus, Ohio


How to Use Consequences for Serious Classroom Negative Behaviors

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I am a first-year 2nd grade teacher and I have a class that is totally out of control. Fighting, throwing desks, climbing on furniture, etc. I have just started reading your blog, so I know that I need to have consequences, but my room is so crazy, it’s hard to know how or where to start. It is so bad that my principal has begun the process of building evidence with which to fire me. Please help. –Mary Jo, Columbus, Ohio

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How to Deal with Your Kid’s First Day of School Meltdown

Dear Kid Whisperer,
My youngest child will be entering kindergarten in August. He has two older sisters. Both times that I dropped his sisters off for kindergarten, they threw huge tantrums. It was really embarrassing and I want to avoid this situation with my youngest. He, too had a screaming, crying fit last year when I dropped him off for the first day of pre-kindergarten. I know it’s coming. How do I avoid it?
Selena, Los Angeles, CA

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