Conflict resolution is one of the most important life skills that students can learn when it comes to social and professional relationships. If you've ever spent time in an elementary school, you understand that students get mad at one another. As a former first grade teacher I heard my share of kids who said, "He's gave me a dirty look," or "He called me the S word," which was not the vulgar S word that came to mind. No name calling is ever kind but we do know that some are much worse than others. Students have disagreements all the ...


It no longer matters what kind of school system you belong to, it only matters that what is being done presently is more political than ever and it is not good for kids. Schools have always been able to provide opportunities, better or worse, based on zip code. The wealthiest schools around the country can provide resources that other urban and rural schools may not be able to provide. Regardless of the type of school it is usually a microcosm of their whole community. Students walk in shaped by their parents' ideas and school is a place where those ideas ...


In the past I have written that educators should be joining Twitter. It's not because I get some kickback from the social networking organization. Twitter was something I didn't know very much about until a few months ago. There was a time that I thought it was more fluff than substance. I'm far removed from the celebrities who Tweet where they are going to dinner or who they are with on any particular evening. However, the benefits that I have received from Twitter are far greater than just collecting friends and finding out who is more popular. Twitter has given ...


"We cannot have an impact on educational issues if teachers are the only ones who feel that the good ole days were in fact good at all." Over the past couple of decades students sat in classrooms feeling unengaged or disrespected. They may have had combative relationships with their teachers, struggled with academics, or may have been gifted and ultimately bored with their state of affairs. Perhaps their parents did not have a great deal of respect for school, so they grew up hearing how bad school was for their parents and were disengaged by the time they hit middle ...


Data can tell educators and students where they have been successful and where they need help, but too much data can make those same educators lose focus of what they are supposed to be doing, which is educating students and creating a safe and nurturing environment. Data is quickly creeping into the daily lives of teachers and administrators. Everywhere educators turn they are asked if they are making decisions based on data. As much as data is important to instruction, the more the word gets used, the more there is a chance that it will clumped into the junkyard of ...


Last week, a story about book banning in the Tucson Unified School District appeared in newspapers (NY Times) and blogs (Larry Ferlazzo). Tucson USD allegedly banned books on a variety of topics but mostly those related to the oppression of ethnic minorities, one of which was Rethinking Columbus edited by Bill Bigelow and Bob Peterson. The banning was all part of a decision by some Arizona state politicians to shut down the district's popular ethnic studies program. As schools are trying to engage students through the use of 21st century skills there are others schools that are still practicing the ...


No Name Calling Week is about so much more than just name calling. It's about what name calling symbolizes. It's pretty common for kids to call each other names. If you ever grew up with siblings, you probably got into a few fights with your brothers or sisters and called them a few names during the confrontation. When anger and frustration hit, it's pretty easy to slip a few bad words into the equation. After a fight with a sibling, the first thing your parents probably had you do was apologize for calling them names. Maybe you felt badly or ...


"All kids can achieve if they are given the correct opportunities, but currently, that is not happening. And that needs to change." There are so many outside influences affecting our students these days. Many of us cannot fathom ever living the way some students have to. There are parents who are incarcerated for drugs, robbery or murder. Even saying it out loud seems like it cannot be real. Focusing on school is hard when the situation at home is so difficult. I grew up in a middle class suburb north of Albany at the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains. My ...


Last weekend I was on #elemchat with my colleagues near and far on Twitter and the topic of discussion was service learning. Service learning can be defined in many ways but it is primarily when students work on a project together for their community or communities far away. It is such an important learning experience for students to be involved in and it should be replicated in every school. Service learning is a spin on both community service and project based learning (PBL). Sometimes community service and PBL involve individual projects or small groups working together but service learning involves ...


"At fourteen you don't need sickness or death for tragedy." Jessamyn West Peer relationships can be complicated. Students who get along today may not get along tomorrow. Research shows that there is a great deal of storm in stress in adolescence and the smallest of issues can become the biggest of problems. With an increase in social media and texting among kids as young as elementary age, the issues that used to be considered small can be blown out of proportion on the internet. Hurtful words and arguments seem worse when they are seen in print or through e-mail. Those ...


The opinions expressed in Peter DeWitt's Finding Common Ground are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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