Archive | Culture and Community

Top 5 Tips for Connecting with Parents

Building great home-school relationships right from the start I once heard a school administrator remind her staff, “Parents don’t send their bad kids to school and keep the good ones home. They send us the best they’ve got.” Teachers don’t get to handpick our “clientele.” The mix of students will include kids with a variety of skills, […]

Continue Reading

“Making Someone Wrong”

What does that really mean? It was just a little editorial comment in the column of the manuscript for my last book. I was explaining the power of conditional access to positive consequences, noting that it was not necessary to “make [kids] wrong or point out the error of their ways when they blow it” […]

Continue Reading

The Gift of Service: Certificate

Download page for Service Certificates Click here to download a page with two copies of a certificate you can duplicate to offer the gift of your service to someone in your life. This page corresponds to Chapter 4, “The Pleasures of Service,” in Magic, Miracles and Synchronicity by Jane Bluestein, Judy Lawrence, and S.J. Sanchez. See below […]

Continue Reading

Angels in Disguise: Certificate

Download page for Angel Certificates Click here to download a page with two copies of a certificate you can duplicate to recognize and acknowledge the Angels in Disguise who enrich your life. These “angels” could be family and friends, or they could be helpers, service people, or total strangers who add to your life with […]

Continue Reading

Drunken Danse Macabre

A tale of two departed alcoholics John A chronic alcoholic, a phone call, the police, and devastating news: the formula of tragedy. Found dead in his apartment at forty-seven years of age, John’s death was not a surprise. His lifelong alcohol and drug induced pseudo-nirvana had ended. Any hope for a spiritual awakening, possibility of […]

Continue Reading

Book: Managing 21st Century Classrooms

How do I avoid ineffective classroom management practices? You know all those behavior management strategies we learned to use? Well guess what! Some of them are actually making things worse! It’s long past time for our approach to classroom management to catch up to the kids we’re teaching. This book explores common misconceptions about classroom management […]

Continue Reading

Obedient vs. Cooperative Behavior

There is a difference! As you can imagine, my perceptions and ideas about children’s behavior have evolved over the years, including shifts in the vocabulary and conceptual framework I use in my writing and seminars. These changes have been especially evident in relation to the concepts I explore in this post. Because it’s so easy […]

Continue Reading

It’s Only Disrespect if I Think it’s Disrespect

Attitudes are in the eye— and ear— of the beholder Do you have snarky people in your life? This post was adapted from material originally written for beginning teachers. The same ideas and strategies are equally effective in home and work environments, as well as any educational setting. Just substitute “student” (or “kid”) for “child,” […]

Continue Reading

Presentation: Bouncing Back: Resiliency

Building Resiliency and Persistence in Our Students Presentation by Dr. Jane Bluestein How often do we see students struggling with a new challenge and just give up? Some don’t even try, and can invent all sorts of excuses— sometimes with their parents’ support— to avoid the risk we all need to take when we’re learning […]

Continue Reading

Presentation: The “Core” of the Matter

Creating a Community for Making Common Core State Standards Work Presentation for educators by Dr. Jane Bluestein Student engagement, achievement, and performance all start with classroom climate and the quality of the learning environment. As our educational system continues to evolve, we need to create a context to make new programs, policies, and requirements “work.” […]

Continue Reading

Back to the Future?

Not so much, thank you! I’m out of town this week for several speaking engagements in New England. As usual, I have a rental car, a brand new Toyota with all sorts of bells and whistles that didn’t exist when I bought my last car 13 years ago. As I sat in the parking lot […]

Continue Reading

Creating Kindness

Finding a positive outlet for outrage and pain It’s the day after the verdict in the Trayvon Martin case and I’m seeing pain, heartbreak, and outrage in post after post on Facebook. I can appreciate each one of these comments, and frankly think they say a great deal about my Facebook friends. Of course I’m […]

Continue Reading

Thumbs up, thumbs down

The importance of meaningful feedback My husband just came in to read a bit of consumer feedback on a product he was researching. The book received rave reviews but the reviewer gave the author three out of five stars because “the box was dented.” We’ve all seen this kind of feedback. Excellent restaurants downgraded because […]

Continue Reading

An Alternative to Advice Giving

Asking questions to guide problem solving The questions that follow are provided to help with the mechanics of mastering the technique of “asking—not telling,” an effective alternative to giving kids advice that encourages independence and problem-solving competence. The questions are (more…)

Continue Reading

Non-Supportive Responses to Avoid

Yes, these really do make things worse! If people trust us enough to share an experience that has had an emotional impact on them, we usually do the most good when we can respond with empathy and support. Unfortunately, the following non-supportive or negative responses are so common and pervasive in our culture that avoiding […]

Continue Reading

The Myth of the Self-Esteem “Myth”

What self-esteem is, and is not On this page you will find a comparison between the characteristics of someone with a healthy, functional sense of self-worth vs. the characteristics of someone whose sense of worth, value, esteem, and deservingness is weak or low. See below for additional information. Self-esteem clearly goes beyond simply “feeling good […]

Continue Reading

Stress and the Brain

Fact Sheet: The impact of stress on learning and behavior Here are a few things to remember about the impact of stress on the brain, and on an individual’s ability to function effectively— academically and behaviorally— in a learning environment. While originally developed for educators, this information is also relevant to parents, and applies to […]

Continue Reading

“Magic” Sentences for Effective Communication

Positive language for avoiding conflict, negotiating agreements, and taking care of yourself “Magic Sentences” are key phrases that offer practical ways to use specific language to prevent, minimize, or de-escalate conflicts with others. Different sentences will be useful in different situations. These examples represent a win-win approach to relationships, and while they were originally developed for […]

Continue Reading