How to Improve Your Child’s Memory

Dear Kid Whisperer,

As we get toward fall, I am anticipating having the same problem I had last year with my 9-year-old. He lost five coats last year. When I ask how he lost his coat he just shrugs his shoulders. The last time he lost one, he actually yelled at me, saying that he’s not meaning to lose his coats. He has to have a coat. I can’t send him outside to freeze to death. Nothing I say helps. What should I do? Jill, Springfield

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How Teachers Can Become the Ultimate Authority Figures in Their Classrooms

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I am an elementary school assistant principal. I need a good referral paper for when kids act up in class and their teachers send them to me so that I know what they did and so that I can talk to them about what they did wrong. It is my job to “put out the fires”, and I hope that a good form will allow me to be more efficient at doing so. –Riki, Iowa

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How Teachers Can Achieve a Calm, Compliant Classroom

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I teach fifth grade. I follow your column and website and I know that I will be a better teacher this year because of you, so thanks. Anyway, what is the one piece of advice that you would give a teacher like me who has struggled with discipline throughout his career? What’s the one thing that I need to do that will make this school year easier/better?

— Johnathan

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How to Simultaneously Remove and Train a Belligerent Student

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I appreciate you offering to give me some strategies because my para and I are at our wits’ end. I am in a K-3 ED classroom with five children. I’ve got a great para and we are on the same page – which is important.

The student giving us the blues is a first grade female. When she has an anger/rage episode, it starts w/ her walking around the class (let her do, she wants attention) When she gets no attention & others are great at ignoring, she ups the ante by putting her face into others faces and calling them “bitch” or she’ll touch their desk. Others are still pretty good at ignoring. I praise them for ignoring, she escalates more.

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How to Help Your Students Deal with Bullies

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Dear Kid Whisperer,

I teach fifth grade in Los Angeles, CA. I have a really rough group of kids. I read your blog religiously and I have had a lot of success using the skills that you describe. I am able to be more strict and more relaxed than at any other time in my 20 year career. I wanted to know if anything you teach can be used to get my students to stop bullying each other. They won’t mess with me anymore, so I feel like they have turned on each other! Any thoughts?

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How to Get Kids to Do Schoolwork

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I have a (generally) well behaved 4th grade class, but I have one student who has serious anger issues. He gets angry, especially when he has to do work. I can see it coming a mile away. I always tell him that he could do the work if he just tried. This has had no effect. When he doesn’t have a tantrum and just does it, he’s actually done before a lot of other kids, which I always tell him. He’s very smart. His parents have sent him to therapy because of his anger. It has not helped at all. In fact, things have gotten worse since the therapy started. How do I get him to not throw a fit and just do the work?

Amy, Kansas City, Missouri

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How to Train the Chronic Tantrum Thrower

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I have a (generally) well behaved 4th grade class, but I have one student who has serious anger issues. He gets angry, especially when he has to do work. I can see it coming a mile away. I always tell him that he could do the work if he just tried. This has had no effect. When he doesn’t have a tantrum and just does it, he’s actually done before a lot of other kids, which I always tell him. He’s very smart. His parents have sent him to therapy because of his anger. It has not helped at all. In fact, things have gotten worse since the therapy started. How do I get him to not throw a fit and just do the work?

Amy, Kansas City, Missouri

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How to Be Calm When Everything Kids Do Drives You Crazy

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I am a nagging, mean teacher. At least that is how I feel most days. I arrive every day thinking to myself “OK, I’m going to be nice today”. I say it to myself during the morning, and it’s almost comical; literally two seconds later a kid does something and I either yell or talk through my gritted teeth or I’ll use sarcasm or some other useless idea. I know none of it works, but I just have these knee-jerk reactions. I’m in the middle of my first year of teaching and I’m starting to think that I have wasted the last five years of my life. Ugh, I want to stop reacting with anger, but how?

-Eva, Pittsburgh, PA

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How to Get Your Students Quiet During Silent Sustained Reading

Dear Kid Whisperer,
I’m a first grade teacher and I have a question about small group time. Every year during reading group time (while I’m sitting with my small group) I have a hard time with voice control. I must admit that we do reading group time for an hour and so 30 minutes is independent work time, 15 minutes with me and 15 minutes on the computer. So sometimes I feel like I may be asking them to work silently for too long. However, what are some tips and tricks that can help them either work silently or at least quietly during this time so I’m not nagging them about this? Thanks!

– Natalie, Meridian, Idaho

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