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8 No-Prep Methods to Reduce Classroom Bullying: By Beth Morrow

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on October 13, 2014

With the continual crush of standards and tests in our classrooms, it’s tempting to bypass the more creative and less structured social activities that don’t end up on a bubble sheet.

The irony is that those feel-good moments are the only opportunity many students have to get to know each other in a socially positive environment as people, not competitors. Bullying is often the result of one person seeking power or attention--or both--from someone lacking confidence in their own social self-worth. The danger is that in eliminating deliberate social skill-building activities, students do not have exposure to or experience in building their own self-worth.  By cutting out these confidence-building moments, it’s as though we are expecting fewer bullying behaviors by eliminating the very tools that can help improve the situation.

We frequently claim we need more time to improve classroom climate but more time is not a prerequisite. Here are eight no/low-prep ways to infuse our classrooms with the behaviors we most want to see from our students.

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Research Roundup, October 8

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on October 08, 2014

State Introduces Tools for School Change EdSource

The California Department of Education has released a new resource site called Quality Schooling Framework that will “guide administrators through the process of identifying priorities, gathering data, building support and implementing and assessing new programs,” with an emphasis on “school culture and climate.” This framework is set to help reach school improvement goals within the budgetary and state limits, while taking action on districts’ priorities. However, questions remain unanswered regarding how this framework will be executed within districts.

Invalidation During The Teenage Years Increases The Risk Of Self-Harm In Young People Science World Report

In a study conducted among 99 hospitalized teens, researchers found that there was a high perception of the lack of acceptance from either family or peers. These 99 teens were hospitalized “out of concern about suicide risk,” ranging from cases regarding bullying to family invalidation. Boys particularly had a “statistically significant predictor of a later suicide event,” and both boys and girls had “strong indicators” of self-harm.

Helping Students Find Purpose and Appreciation for School Edutopia

How can educators take mindful steps to recharge, appreciate, take ownership, and find purpose in their role as leaders in the school? This blog post by Maurice Elias explains that changes one step at a time can make a big difference in satisfaction and productivity, and how you can start integrating the needs of educators with the needs of students.

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Research Roundup, October 1

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on October 01, 2014

Verbal and Physical Bullying Decrease as Children Age but Cyberbullying Increases DOE Office of Safe and Healthy Students Prevention News Digest

Instances of cyberbullying are found to increase as students grow older. Published in School Psychology Quarterly, “Examination of the Change in Latent Statuses in Bullying Behaviors Across Time” is a paper that shows findings in bullying victimization, also highlighting the decrease in verbal and physical bullying from fifth to eighth grade, but an in increase in cyberbullying. While in past studies, bully and bully-victim subgroups are constant over time, this paper is unique in that “it captures data about bullies and bully victims over time using latent transition analysis, a person-centered approach that classifies different subgroups and traces the changes in membership over time.”

8 Tips for Schools Interested in Restorative Justice Edutopia

More recently, restorative practices in schools are surfacing to the top. Rather than punitive approaches to misbehavior, restorative justice “brings together persons harmed with persons responsible for harm in a safe and respectful space, promoting dialogue, accountability, and a stronger sense of community.” How can school implement what they know about the benefits of this approach? Edutopia provides 8 tips on how to get started.


Hearing That Things Can Change Helps Teens Dodge Depression npr

In this small study conducted by David Yeager from the University of Texas at Austin, research finds that helping kids understand that “things can change for the better” can “help mitigate the high rates of depression.” Students who participated in the intervention study who were told that high school gets better showed “no increase in depressive symptoms, even if they said they were bullied.” The study is still in its early stages, but the findings look promising for teens on the onset of depression. 

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Research Roundup, September 24

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on September 24, 2014

A press release from the U.S. Department of Education has announced that it has awarded over $70 million to 130 grantees around the country to improve school climate, as a part of the “Now is the Time” proposal from the Obama administration. “If we can’t help protect kids and staff, and make them feel safe at school, then everything else that we do is secondary,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. 
It’s fall and that means it’s the season for parent-teacher conferences. A few issues with these meetings? Not enough time to go beyond academic grades, and, as students get older, less parents are likely to show up. In New York City, schools are trying to change this. By increasing the number of conferences from two to four per year, and starting as early as last week, parents will be up to date on what’s expected of their children, in addition to how they are doing. "It's less about progress and more about getting to know the parents," says East Bronx Academy for the Future teacher, Nick Lawrence.
This State Now Grades Schools on Recess and Health Huffington Post via Education Week
School improvement goals in Colorado are going beyond the classroom. Health and wellness metrics are being used to connect the well-being and academic success of students.  In Colorado, the state-mandated reports show student academic scores as well as information on “if that school has a nurse, if it offers 30 minutes of daily physical activity for students, and if it has a school-based health center.” ‘By holding schools accountable for creating environments that are conducive to learning and by providing educators and administrators with a comprehensive understanding of student performance--including how health conditions may directly affect learning--resources could be better deployed to schools and students at greatest risk,’ says a paper distributed to coalition members in August.”

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Research Roundup, September 17

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on September 17, 2014

Do students learn more when their teachers work well together? Washington Post

Student achievement may be connected to the quality of relationships among teachers. “A number of studies suggest that good things happen for students in schools where teachers work together routinely,” the blog states, which highlights work from organizational behavior scholars Carrie Leana and Frits K. Pil from University of Pittsburgh. Students who have disadvantages of lower achievement due to socioeconomic status may be able to offset their chances if they have teachers of high social capital.

Preschool Program Focuses on the Brain KVNF

“Focused Kids” is a program that helps preschoolers focus and calm their minds so they are ready to learn. The young students tend to come from lower income and broken families, so even at the age of five, they can learn to take “charge of their own brain.” The Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning in Chicago have studies that have found that “developing kids’ social and emotional skills is critical to being a good student, citizen and worker. And, it can prevent or reduce risky behaviors.” Focused Kids utilizes the SEL model as their foundation.

One to Grow On/Releasing the Will to Learn Educational Leadership-ASCD

How can educators motivate students to learn? Student success requires motivation, but barriers to this are parental support, lack of time, and lack of resources (Education Week Research Center, 2014). The “Three Concentric Circles” are the areas discussed in this ASCD piece that affect student motivation: The Personal Sphere, The Social Sphere, and The Academic Sphere. Read about the concerns of students and how teachers can respond to them.

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