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Monday, September 18, 2017

Bullying: Making School a Safe Place to Learn

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A number of children and families are being affected by bullying every day.  Schools cannot deny the fact that the increase in school violence, suicide, and bullying are detrimental to learning and children feeling safe at school.   In a recent survey of over 30 million U.S. students between the ages of 12 and 18, nearly 32 percent reported that they were bullied at school (US Department of Education 2011). The internet and social media have increased the tragic and traumatic effects that bullying has had on many students in school.  Research is showing the increase in hateful comments and intimidating behaviour that occurs through social media as well as messaging and video responses.  This has prompted many school districts to take action through policy and programming to try and alleviate this issue.

So what do we do??  How can schools control, monitor or supervise activities that are being done over the internet and through social media?  Can we make schools safe for everyone and have children feel that they will not be bullied or intimidated by those they share a space with?

Let's begin by defining bullying and what it means to be bullied.
In order to be considered bullying, the behavior must be aggressive and include:
  • An Imbalance of Power: Kids who bully use their power—such as physical strength, access to embarrassing information, or popularity—to control or harm others. Power imbalances can change over time and in different situations, even if they involve the same people.
  • Repetition: Bullying behaviors happen more than once or have the potential to happen more than once.
Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.

Why Cyberbullying is Different

Kids who are being cyberbullied are often bullied in person as well. Additionally, kids who are cyberbullied have a harder time getting away from the behaviour.
  • Cyberbullying can happen 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and reach a kid even when he or she is alone. It can happen any time of the day or night.
  • Cyberbullying messages and images can be posted anonymously and distributed quickly to a very wide audience. It can be difficult and sometimes impossible to trace the source.
  • Deleting inappropriate or harassing messages, texts, and pictures is extremely difficult after they have been posted or sent.
1.  The first approach that educators must implement is an assessment of the current bullying situation in their school.  Data collection may be difficult because sometimes students don't understand the definition of bullying and what it is or they feel uncomfortable telling people in authority what may be happening to them.  
2.  Engage Parents and Youth to take control of the situation.  Developing or promoting a committee that includes parents, teachers, and youth is a great way to make sure all relevant stakeholders are being responsible for the outcomes within the school.  
3.  Set clear rules, policies and expectations around the behaviour in the school, in the playground, on the bus and the parents can be asked to set expectations at home.  Developing a Code of Conduct and sending it to all members of the school to sign and acknowledge.  A Student Bill of Rights may also be a powerful tool to engage students to exhibit appropriate behaviour.  
3.  Create a safe and secure classroom environment with the teacher making sure to stand up to inappropriate language, comments and behaviour.  Establish a climate of inclusion and acceptance that welcomes all students.  Monitor school "hot spots" that may have known bullying incidences.  
4.  Training sessions can be formal or informal.  Discussions among staff, parents and students can happen anywhere and at any time.  Design activities that focus on what can be done to prevent bullying - art, research projects, presentations, classroom meetings.  
5. Never underestimate the power of the community when it comes together to address bullying issues.  People in the community bring with them unique strengths and ideas and should be utilized on a regular basis.  Examine the potential community partners the school can involve themselves with to address issues happening in the school.  

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Anti-Bias Education: Teaching Sensitive Issues in the Classroom


Challenging our biases as teachers is an important practice so we can become self aware of the messages we are giving children on a regular basis.  What are your biases toward gender, sexuality, race and ethnicity?  What kind of literature are you using that portrays certain stereotypes or class structure?  AS teachers it is our job to model respect and embrace the differences we encounter in our classrooms and within our communities.  The difficulty comes in when our belief systems are challenged by others and what do we say when a child is being bullied or someone is shaming them because of their sexuality, gender or race.  I have prepared a free workshop to help you with strategies and ideas to use in your classroom around the concept of anti-bias education.


6 Ways to Help Decrease Anxiety in Children

Anxiety is an increasing issue that is arising in the classroom.  Teachers and parents are having a difficult time managing students experiencing high levels of anxiety while trying to maintain an active learning environment for others.  Anxiety can be moderate to severe and debilitating for the student to function.  Symptoms can range from worrying about things like tests or assignments, to avoidance of activities because of their feelings about what could happen in that environment.  Anxiety is really a form of stress that the child is experiencing and it involves the child's view of the world and what is happening around them.  Anxiety is a normal reaction to certain events but when it hinders our ability to engage in activities or with others it becomes an issue.  What can we do to help children who may be experiencing anxiety and having difficulty in the classroom?  Here are 6 ideas for you to implement:

1.  Incorporate Forms of Exercise:  Exercise is an excellent way to help children alleviate anxiety as it can get rid of energy that is negative.  Running, skipping, hopping or other gross motor activities can be used to engage a full body response and help the child focus on the body rather than the events that are making him/her anxious.  Games should also be used to engage the child in fun activities.

2.  Music:  Playing soft quiet music can be helpful for the brain to move into a more calming state.  Using music/ipods, earphones or earplugs can block out excessive noise that may be contributing to higher levels of anxiety.

3.  Mindfulness:  This program teaches children to become mindful of how their body is reacting in the moment.  It is about becoming self-aware of how they are feeling and teaching them strategies to control the thoughts and their reactions.

4.  Connecting Mind with Body:  Very similiar to mindfulness but we actually utilze activities the child can incorporate to reconnect their body with their environment.  For example:  tangle toys or fidget toys that the child can use.

5.  Change Location, Change State:  Have the child move to a different location if they are feeling stressed or anxious.  Leaving the location helps the child associate a different emotional response to a new setting.

6.  Guided Relaxation or Mediation:  There are many YOUTUBE videos that you can utilize with all your children to enter a calm and relaxed state:  Magic Bubbles

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Monday, September 11, 2017

Canadian Seminars and Workshops

We are all ready to go with the Canadian Workshops "Proactive Strategies for Children with Challenging Behaviour".  This is our popular seminar focusing on strategies and ideas for the classroom or home.  We offer a fantastic day with tons of ideas and ongoing support following the workshop through email.  Have a peek at our locations and join us for an awesome day!!!

Go to our website for more information and to get registered.  Spaces fill quickly!!!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Classroom Management

We have started the beginning of the year in Canada and loving every minute of it!  If you are not what is happening.  Do you need some ideas on classroom management techniques or strategies to help children reach their potential.  The beginning of the year is the best time to set your routines and procedures for the class to run smoothly for the rest of the year.  Save Your Sanity can help you with some innovative ideas and strategies to implement in your classrooms for Children with Challenging Behaviour.  Our online course "Proactive Strategies" is available at our website and you can have unlimited access to video support, email support and resources.  Check us out.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Back to School

The time has arrived.  It is back to school for our Canadian teachers and students.  Let's get this year off to an amazing start.  I have put together some incredible online seminars that you can access and continue to access through the year.  These workshops come with ongoing support, video and online content.  Check them out... CLICK HERE!

Have an awesome year!!!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Flexible Classrooms

Setting up our classroom is so important to help engage our students, decrease impulsive behaviour, encourage growth and ensuring a secure safe environment for everyone.  I love seeing all the different ways teachers utilize the space in the classroom to make it the best learning environment for the students.  7 Teachers have been featured in Edutopia's latest article.  It is totally worth a peek.

Bullying: Making School a Safe Place to Learn

                                                         FREE RESOURCES A number of children and families are being affected by bullying...