Archive | Increasing Positivity

Dream Big!

Encouraging Your Children’s Fantasies—and Their Future! It’s something a child hears often: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” A simple, even rhetorical question. But for children, this is a serious inquiry that can also be a great opportunity to share their ambitions, dreams, and creative longings. Even if the answers vary […]

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Presentation: Perfectionism—What’s it Costing Our Kids?

The high cost of the pressure to be perfect What’s wrong with perfectionism? Everything! Here are the causes and consequences of perfectionism—plus a few suggestions for potential “cures.” Some young people continually strive for excellence, trying to do their best, willing to make mistakes and learn from them, and take on challenges to grow their interests. Others chase perfection, […]

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Motivating the Unmotivated

Getting past defenses, disinterest, and disengagement Presentation by Dr. Jane Bluestein Of all the challenges teachers face, the one mentioned most consistently over the years has been, “How do I engage kids who aren’t motivated and just don’t care?” Few things are more frustrated that having your planning and enthusiasm met with groans, shrugs, or eye […]

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Bouncing Back

The art of resiliency Excerpt from “Emotional Safety: Personal and Character Development,” from chapter 15 of Creating Emotionally Safe Schools by Dr. Jane Bluestein © 2001, Health Communications, Inc., Deerfield Beach, FL. This excerpt was extracted from the manuscript for this book and may be slightly different from the actual printed copy. The entire bibliography of Creating Emotionally Safe Schools is […]

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The Problem with Zero Tolerance and Push Out Strategies

contactHow these programs are making things worse On March 4, 2015, I had the privilege of keynoting the National Youth At Risk Conference for the second time. In meeting with many of the participants who attended the keynote and my follow-up session, as well as what I’ve observed in my visits to schools around the country and […]

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Preventing Bullying in the Digital Age

Understanding and managing cyberspace aggression Guest blogger Amy Williams shares what to watch for and how to prevent meanness in the digital age. The ripple effect of bullying can be felt across all lanes of life. Similar to raging drivers on the road, aggressive Internet users can create a threatening environment for the people around them. […]

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“Making Someone Wrong”

What does that really mean? In what has become a bit of a family joke, my husband and I can spend the entire day together in the house. Yet, regardless of how much time we’ve been talking or interacting, something happens the minute I reach for my keys to leave for a meeting, class, or […]

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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 […]

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Book: Managing 21st Century Classrooms

How to 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 easy-to-read book explores common misconceptions about classroom management and […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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“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 […]

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Improving Student Behavior through Positive School Climate

It’s not about the rules! From the January 2013 newsletter: There is a strange myth around kids’ behavior that if we just have enough rules (and severe enough punishments), the misbehaviors will disappear. What I’ve observed, however, is an even stranger reality in which the opposite tends to be true. In schools, the longer the […]

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Ways to Improve the School’s Social Culture

Practical strategies for positive change • Pay attention to peer-to-peer interactions. Increase awareness, advocacy, and a willingness to take immediate, positive action (regarding how kids treat one another). • Advocate for the underdog. Encourage kids to connect with children who seem isolated. Emphasize the value of inclusion. • Interrupt any instances of meanness, name calling, […]

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Picking up the Pieces

Reclaiming our essence “I can never read your writing.” “That was awful. Maybe you should leave the athletics to your sister.” “I can’t tell what this drawing is supposed to be.” “You’ll never be any good at…” Do any of these sound familiar? I know very few adults who grew up without at least some […]

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15 Ways to Live Optimistically

Increasing positivity, hope, and optimism in your life and the lives of your loved ones Some of us are wired to be optimistic and cheerful, even in the face of unrelenting challenges and obstacles. Others have to make a conscious effort to focus the positive. Wherever you are on this continuum, here are a few […]

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The School as a Dysfunctional Family

And some healthy, functional alternatives Similarities between schools and dysfunctional families are reflected in the beliefs or rules that can compromise the emotional climate of any system. Included for each category are alternatives which, when chosen, can have a positive impact on this climate, as well as on the relationships and performance of individuals functioning […]

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