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Saying Goodbye... For Now

Posted by Valentine Burr on Thursday, Jun 13, 2013

It's time to say goodbye. We heard from many of you with wonderful ideas about ways you mark the end of the year in your classrooms and we've added some ideas from our own. These include: Having students write or draw about important memories of the year. Hosting special class ...


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Spring Fever & Student Behavior

Posted by Pamela M. Jones on Sunday, May 26, 2013

Survival Tips for Teachers Recently, one of our students said, "You wouldn't believe how wild and out-of-control the students have been this week! What's up with them?!!" In reply to this impassioned plea, another student who was within earshot said simply, "It's spring fever." While scientists have yet to identify ...


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Navigating the End of the School Year

Posted by Valentine Burr on Monday, May 13, 2013

How are we in the middle of May already? Hardly seems possible. Like you, we have been consumed with the endless details that come towards the end of a school year. Carving time for a blog post in itself a herculean feat! May is a train hurtling down the track, ...


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But You Don't Understand!

Posted by Pamela M. Jones on Monday, May 6, 2013

Supporting Students (and Students' Families) With Health Issues In January Child Life faculty member Deb Vilas wrote a wonderful post for us titled: When Chronic Illness Comes to School. We felt the topic was of such importance we've decide to continue the theme here. Students who present with health issues, ...


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Stepping Off the Conflict Escalator

Posted by Valentine Burr on Tuesday, Apr 23, 2013

Maia, "I was using that marker."Ruby, "No, I was. I need it."Maia, "You can't use it. It's mine."Ruby, "It's not yours, I'm using it. You're always taking stuff. This is for sharing."Maia, "I was using it! You saw me! Look! You can't just grab. Give it!!"Ruby, "Stop! Ugh!!"And picture now: ...


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There's Nothing Like a Good...Social Story

Posted by Pamela M. Jones on Friday, Apr 12, 2013

For many of us, getting through our days without major incident is a common occurrence. We know when and how to manage moments of frustration and anger and if we need help, we know how to advocate for ourselves. In short, much like a computer is programmed with routines and ...


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More Resources on Test Stress

Posted by Valentine Burr on Friday, Apr 5, 2013

A colleague recently alerted us to Renée Dinnerstein's blog Investigating Choice Time: Inquiry, Exploration, and Play. It's a lovely blog, which we recommend exploring. Her most recent posts are also focused on testing and so we thought it fitting to highlight. We're linking to the post titled "Tears!" in which ...


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The Test Are Coming…Helping Children Manage Stress

Posted by Valentine Burr on Tuesday, Apr 2, 2013

One of the most pernicious outcomes of the current testing climate is the degree of stress shouldered by students. Anxiety becomes a fog that creeps into every nook of some school buildings. Principles are anxious about their school's performance, which may impact funding or even school closure; and teachers increasingly ...


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When the Rules Aren't Enough

Posted by Pamela M. Jones on Thursday, Mar 21, 2013

A Look at Character Education's Impact on Student Behavior Be Safe. Be Kind. Be Clean. Fix Your Mistakes. These are some of the rules, or norms, that we and other educators have used in our classrooms.We generate the norms with our students so that they have a connection to these ...


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'That's Not Appropriate!'

Posted by Valentine Burr on Tuesday, Mar 19, 2013

Recently I have had several animated conversations with teachers and soon-to-be-teachers about this phrase (and versions of it). Since it has been rattling around in my head, I've decided to tackle it here. "That's not appropriate," is one of those common teacher phrases that can become like breathing. It's language ...


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More Ways to Use Sign in the Classroom

Posted by Valentine Burr on Monday, Mar 11, 2013

Pam's recent post on using Americal Sign Language (ASL) has had me on the look out for examples in action. It didn't take long. Last week I was visiting a 3rd grade inclusion classroom in a public school and saw this poster at the front of the room. It reads: ...


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I Won’t Talk & You Can’t Make Me!

Posted by Pamela M. Jones on Sunday, Mar 3, 2013

How Sign Language Can Support Your Students' Behavior and Communication The ASL sign for the letter "B" Fists are pounding on the table. Screams and unintelligible sounds are all that you can hear. Unifix cubes are being lobbed across the room. Sound familiar, even slightly? This scene could describe myriad ...


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Guest Post: How Do We Want to Feel in School?

Posted by Valentine Burr on Thursday, Feb 21, 2013

This post comes to you from Bank Street College alumna and guest blogger, Andrea Henkel. Before meeting my 7th grade students, I had been warned that they were a tough bunch. Let me rewind and explain my circumstances: This is my first year working as a learning specialist at a ...


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Getting Lost in a Good Book

Posted by Pamela M. Jones on Thursday, Feb 14, 2013

Stories that Boost Kids' Self-Esteem For kids who struggle academically, behaviorally, or socially, their sense of self takes a devastating hit. As a result, many of them begin to act out or give up on classroom success. One viable go-to strategy is to borrow from methods of bibliotherapy, which is ...


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POW! Addressing Violence in Children’s Writing

Posted by Valentine Burr on Friday, Feb 8, 2013

He saw a wood nymph. The wood nymph said, "Hah, your ears are floppy." "Hey, that's mean. I will punch you." Ba Boom. Well, that's the end of that. This page is the last in a 4-page book written recently by my 7-year old son. He's proud of his first ...


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Can You Say, "Namaste?"

Posted by Pamela M. Jones on Thursday, Jan 31, 2013

The low hum that denotes productive noise has crescendoed into a boisterous roar. Now, you're wondering how to get back on track so that you don't veer too far off of your day's plan. Believe us when we say we've been there.We know your agendas are packed with delivering lesson ...


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Rainbow Butterflies...And Not Yelling

Posted by Valentine Burr on Thursday, Jan 24, 2013

I was thinking more about helping children set goals (see our recent post, Goals for the New Year) and remembered a wonderful example of social emotional curriculum I saw in action in a 4/5's class a few years ago. In the middle of the year the children thought, drew and ...


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Subscribe To Us!

Posted by Valentine Burr on Thursday, Jan 24, 2013

Great news! You can now subscribe to our blog. It's now easier than ever to follow FiNE via Google Reader, a Web-based aggregator, capable of reading RSS feeds. We hope you'll join our ever-expanding community of readers and contributors.


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Rebooting After the New Year

Posted by Pamela M. Jones on Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013

It's January 2nd and school is back in session. This date would be inconsequential if not for this simple fact: it's been two or more weeks since your students have been in school. We teachers take one look at the mayhem ensuing and all we can say initially is "yikes!" ...


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Guest Post: When Chronic Illness Comes to School

Posted by Valentine Burr on Monday, Jan 14, 2013

This post comes to you from Bank Street College faculty member Deborah B. Vilas, MS, CCLS, LMSW It is flu season and many of us are under the weather. We know that with a bit of rest, fluids and maybe antibiotics, we will feel fine soon. But what about our ...


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Goals for the New Year

Posted by Valentine Burr on Wednesday, Jan 9, 2013

Happy New Year! We hope everyone had a chance to rest and rejuvenate over the holiday break. We took some time ourselves to step back from blogging, but have returned and look forward to continuing to develop and strengthen this blog as a resource for you in the year ahead. ...


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Responding to the Newtown Tragedy

Posted by Valentine Burr on Sunday, Dec 16, 2012

This post was co-written with Buffy Smith and Anne Santa, school psychologists at the Bank Street School for Children. We are deeply saddened by what happened in Newtown, CT. The tragedy weighs heavily on all of us. For teachers the grief may be especially acute as you think of what ...


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Easing Holiday Stress

Posted by Valentine Burr on Tuesday, Dec 11, 2012

The last two mornings in my home have been chaotic. I have two boys, 7 and 9, and while the morning rush to get off to school is never simple, this week has started full of tears and drama. The holiday season is upon us... We're all slightly under the ...


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Guest Post: Getting the Message

Posted by Valentine Burr on Tuesday, Dec 4, 2012

This post comes to you from Bank Street graduate student and guest blogger, Kenzie Chin. In my class of 27 third grade girls, it sometimes seems as though the feeling of the day depends on what social fever is currently striking the class. On days when social conflict peaks, students ...


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The Power of Visuals

Posted by Valentine Burr on Tuesday, Nov 27, 2012

How do you mend a broken heart? Recently I watched as a teacher held up a paper heart and asked her students what hurts their hearts in the classroom. The kids offered suggestions such as name calling, put-downs, teasing, not sharing...all familiar experiences to most children in most classrooms at ...


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Supporting Students in Sandy's Aftermath

Posted by Pamela M. Jones on Sunday, Nov 18, 2012

One Teacher's Story As a follow-up to our posting on how to support students, families, and yourselves in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, we are now presenting you with one teacher's story about her students' reactions to Hurricane Sandy and how she has addressed their questions and concerns. As the ...


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Supporting Children, Families and Yourselves in the Aftermath of Sandy

Posted by Valentine Burr on Tuesday, Nov 6, 2012

As school resumes this week for most in the New Jersey and New York areas, and beyond, we have been thinking about the needs of children, families and teachers during this time. The Northeast coast and inland from Virginia to Massachusetts were impacted to varying degrees. As residents of New ...


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Building a Relationship with Our Students: Concluding Thoughts

Posted by Pamela M. Jones on Monday, Nov 5, 2012

Part Three of an Interview with Jillian Crowther, 9th Grade Teacher In this final installment of our interview series with Jillian Crowther, we hear concluding and illuminating thoughts on building relationships with students. Click here for Parts One and Two. Pam: Sounds like you advocate for your students by deciding ...


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A Case for Chewing Gum

Posted by Valentine Burr on Thursday, Oct 25, 2012

An opinion piece in the New York Times that came out a few days ago advocated for allowing children to chew sugar-free gum in school as a way to improve dental hygiene and reduce cavities in children. The research looks pretty good on the positive impact. Before you wonder if ...


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Building a Relationship with "Nia"

Posted by Pamela M. Jones on Monday, Oct 22, 2012

Part Two of an Interview with Jillian Crowther, 9th Grade Teacher In Part Two of our interview series with Jillian Crowther, we hear her talk about how she approached relationship building with another student, Nia*. Click here for Part One. Pam: Could you provide me with some similar background information ...


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Part II: What's Your Trigger?

Posted by Valentine Burr on Tuesday, Oct 16, 2012

Putting Out the Fuse In part one of this post I shared a visual strategy for helping kids identify their triggers. Part II of this strategy is to help kids learn to "put out the fuse." Once kids can identify and talk about the kinds of things that make them ...


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Building Relationships with Students

Posted by Pamela M. Jones on Sunday, Oct 14, 2012

An Interview with Jillian Crowther, 9th Grade Teacher Recently, I sat down for a virtual chat with Jillian Crowther, a 9th grade teacher and Bank Street College graduate. What follows is the first in a 3-part interview series where Jillian shares her approach to building relationships with her students. Pam: ...


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ADHD in the News

Posted by Valentine Burr on Wednesday, Oct 10, 2012

There's a provocative article in the New York Times on using ADHD medication to help school performance, particularly for children in unresponsive school settings. It's a maddening article as it sensationalizes and over-simplifies a complex topic, but interesting for a few of the issues it raises. I was struck in ...


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Part I: What's Your Trigger?

Posted by Valentine Burr on Tuesday, Oct 9, 2012

A Tool for Helping Kids With Their Anger When I was in the classroom I worked with many kids who struggled with anger. Some of these kids were "slow burns" for whom perceived slights and perceptions of mistreatment built up slowly over time to reach a boiling point whose origin ...


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Knowing Yourself as a Teacher, Learner & Person

Posted by Pamela M. Jones on Wednesday, Oct 3, 2012

The Connection to Successful Behavioral Intervention Do you understand your strengths and challenges as a learner? Are you apt to do more direct instruction or guided inquiry with your students? Further, are you comfortable or uncomfortable when your students are confused about a concept and are asking you how to ...


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Engagement

Posted by Pamela M. Jones on Wednesday, Oct 3, 2012

The Connection to Successful Behavioral Intervention Several years ago, a teacher said to me, "What does engagement have to do with managing kids' behavior?" My answer to her was, "Everything!" While I am the first to admit that intervening successfully into our students' behavioral and socio-emotional lives is a multi-faceted ...


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Process and Problem Solving

Posted by Valentine Burr on Wednesday, Oct 3, 2012

In our post on "Relationship Building" a reader commented with a question about how to engage a struggling student. The themes raised in this comment struck us as universal and worth exploring in more depth in a post. The commenter wrote: I have a student for the second time this ...


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Emotional Literacy for Older Students

Posted by Valentine Burr on Monday, Oct 1, 2012

In our post "Teaching Emotional Literacy" we show an example of how one pre-K teacher supports the development of emotional literacy with her students. The work does not end in the early elementary years, however. Early adolescence is a time during which children are actively negotiating their own changing emotional ...


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Relationship Building

Posted by Pamela M. Jones on Monday, Aug 6, 2012

One of the Cornerstones of Effective Behavioral Support Little of substance can happen in the classroom without the benefit of building relationships with your students. If you ascribe to the range of psychodynamic theories of behavioral intervention, you value the role that trust and caring play in establishing bonds with ...


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Debunking the Myth of Control

Posted by Pamela M. Jones on Sunday, Aug 5, 2012

Embracing the Potential of "Letting Go" With the new school year quickly approaching, many teachers are no doubt thinking about how to establish their "voice" and "role" in the classroom. Becoming effective "managers" of student behavior is a skill that many administrators have privileged for quite some time. We're challenging ...


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Managing Stress

Posted by Pamela M. Jones on Tuesday, Jul 31, 2012

In a word, stress can be insidious! While many of us use small amounts of stress as a motivating factor, in large doses it can wreak havoc on our minds, bodies, and spirits. Perhaps you've heard people say to you, "Don't stress!" To that, we often say, "Sure, that makes ...


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Being Pragmatic About Conflict Resolution

Posted by Pamela M. Jones on Tuesday, Jul 31, 2012

No doubt you have heard, or even said, "Let's be pragmatic about this!" But what does this really mean, especially in the classroom? If you ask yourself questions like, "Isn't education supposed to help us help our students find solutions to problems" or "What are the possible academic, social, and ...


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Making the Rules in School

Posted by Pamela M. Jones on Tuesday, Jul 31, 2012

The knowledge our students construct is not only relevant to them personally but is also relevant to the classroom community as a whole! Constructivism, when applied to behavioral intervention, has many faces but one example is the rule-making process. For example, in a constructivist class, the rules would not be ...


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Must-See Teacher Resources

Posted by Pamela M. Jones on Tuesday, Jul 31, 2012

Just the other day, a teacher shared these wise words with my advisee: NEVER STOP GROWING! This sage advice is key if we want to evolve in our craft because after all, our students' learning is dependent upon the depth and breadth of our knowledge and skill base. The more ...


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Teaching Emotional Literacy

Posted by Valentine Burr on Wednesday, Jul 25, 2012

Emotions charts from a pre-K classroom These images are part of a broader social/emotional curriculum with 4/5's aimed at expanding children's emotional vocabulary and helping them to label and discuss their emotional states. After the teachers introduce the charts, they are posted throughout the classroom at child-eye level. Children are ...


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Your Needs

Posted by Valentine Burr on Wednesday, Jul 25, 2012

As we kick this blog off, we'd like to know your needs. What's on your mind this fall related to the emotional and behavioral needs of your students? What kinds of topics, resources, and questions would you like us to explore? How can we be of help? Send us a ...


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Differentiation and Behavioral Growth

Posted by Valentine Burr on Wednesday, Jul 25, 2012

If we can agree that different kids may need different strategies and approaches to supporting their emotional and behavior growth, we are still left with the questions: what does that really mean and how might it look in the classroom? Be consistent! We are told as beginning teachers. If kids ...


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Fair Is Not Equal

Posted by Valentine Burr on Wednesday, Jul 25, 2012

Different children may have different learning needs "Fair doesn't mean that everyone gets the same thing; fair means everyone gets what they need to be successful." This expression, or some version of it, is an aphorism most teachers will hear at some point in their career. There is an intuitive, ...


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Blog Policy

Posted by Valentine Burr on Thursday, Jun 7, 2012

We encourage your comments and look forward to a collaboratively created space where you share stories, ask questions and connect with other professionals. We will play an active role in moderating this blog for several reasons. Primarily we want to ensure that this is a safe and constructive space. We ...


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Our Goal

Posted by Valentine Burr on Thursday, Jun 7, 2012

Our Goal Our experience as teachers and teacher educators has lead us to understand that teachers never stop needing better ways to intervene in their students' behavioral, social, and emotional lives. The Fair is Not Equal (FiNE) blog is a resource for getting support, sharing strategies and engaging in an ...


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Who We Are

Posted by Valentine Burr on Thursday, Jun 7, 2012

Valentine Burr and Pamela Jones, faculty at Bank Street College of Education. Pam worked as a learning specialist for grades K and one, as a third grade general education teacher in an inclusion setting, and as a 5th grade teacher in a general education classroom. In addition, she served as a ...


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