Educator Blog

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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How to Make Your Student Nametags Last All Year Long

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I have a kind of silly question. Your followers who are not teachers will probably think it’s really dumb. I teach 2nd Grade and every year I take a lot of time to get nice nametags and neatly adhere the nametags to their desks with clear contact paper. Invariably, three weeks into the school year, most of the nametags have been ripped up or picked at so much that it just looks terrible. In the past, I have replaced them, but that becomes time consuming. Plus, I know I don’t want the students to think they can ruin things and that I will clean up after them. Is there anything that I can do to stop them from destroying their nametags?

-DJ, Kansas City, Missouri

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How to Get Your Students Quiet So You Can Teach

Dear Kid Whisperer,
I am a third grade teacher. I have a lot of behavior issues in my class and I am looking forward to being done with the year. I feel like the most annoying issue that I have is simply that my students won’t be quiet when I have to teach. Specifically, when they are working, and I let them talk when they’re working, getting their attention and getting their eyes on me is rarely very successful. It makes me very angry and I feel helpless to do anything about it. I’ve tried screaming and yelling, I’ve tried taking away their recess. Nothing works. I am out of options. I know this year is down the drain, but I don’t want to deal with this another year. Any ideas?  -Kayla, Eugene, Oregon

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How to Get Kids to Stop Arguing With Each Other

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I teach 4th grade and my students are mostly well-behaved. I have a group of three students who sit next to each other who are constantly arguing about every little thing. We do a lot of cooperative learning and we play a lot of games. I feel like I spend half of my day refereeing their drama. Should I move them or what? Please advise. Peggy, Las Vegas NV

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How to Avoid Warning and Reminding

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I have seen you present at my school and I follow your blog. I really like what you have to say but I don’t understand something that I heard you say at my school and you said it in a blog as well. You say that an adult should never remind or warn a child. I guess I don’t understand how that is possible. Please explain.

– Pam, Kansas City, MO

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