How to Help Children and Teens Cope with the Violence and Tragedy of the CT Massacre

 

behavior management blog

teacher help
 

SPECIAL ISSUE:

How to Help Children and Teens
Cope with the Violence and Tragedy
of the CT Massacre

 

rwteach2

Youth Change Workshops is based outside Portland, Oregon, 30 miles from the Tuesday, December 11 mall shooting. I am Ruth Herman Wells, Director of Youth Change. I grew up just 75 minutes away from Friday's shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT. Even though I have devoted my life to helping schools and teachers work with students who struggle with problems like coping with trauma and tragedy, like you, I was knocked to the ground by the two horrific shooting massacres. Because I had ties to both shooting sites, the horror seemed very personal and close to home. Many of you may have had a similar reaction.

After 911 and Katrina, I was asked to help many schools and teaching staffs to learn how to best recover from the traumatic events in those regions. Since that time, research into the brain has really advanced, and mental health counselors now have a bit better understanding of what to do– and not do– to help children cope with and rebound from extreme tragedy like last week's deadly violence. Those new insights are incorporated into the guide below.

The guide is intended for use by teachers, counselors, and other adults who may be struggling to understand what to do in the aftermath of the horror at Sandy Hook. This guide covers K-12 students, and both students with pre-existing challenges, and those without. The guide is intended for use with students who were in proximity to the tragedies, as well as those who were not in proximity, but still deeply affected.

Youth Change Workshops exists for one purpose: To help educators, mental health professionals, and other youth professionals to help troubled youth. In addition to the help offered in this how-to guide, Youth Change is available to assist you further (without charge). You can reply to this email, call us at 503.982.4220, reach us via our Contact page, or click on the Live Expert Help icon that is at the bottom right corner of every page on our website, http://www.youthchg.com. This guide is no substitute for consulting a local mental health professional, which you are legally bound to do if you suspect a child may be at risk of serious harm or self-harm.

 

A Dozen New Guidelines:

How to Help Children and Teens
Cope with Extreme Violence and Tragedy

1. Don't Board the Upsetting Thought Train

For children who are having trouble managing their thoughts following the week of violence: Have the child look at the upsetting thought and figure out "if that thought was a train, where would it take me?" If the answer is that the child would end up upset, suggest the child not board that train. Teach children they are not their thoughts; they have the power to control what they are thinking. Recent research by psychiatrist Dr. Daniel Siegel and others suggests we have more ability to manage our upsetting thoughts than previously believed.

2. Who is in Charge of the Thought Train?

Children tend to say "I had this upsetting thought…" New research by Dr. Siegel indicates that it is critical to teach children that they aren't their thoughts, that they have a choice about whether to pursue thoughts that upset them. So, teach children and teens to say instead: "My mind offered me this thought…" That distinction reinforces the idea to students that they are not their thoughts. That distinction also helps them remember that they can be the boss/engineer of their "thought train," not a helpless victim of it. Since the hallmark of depression is powerlessness, this strategy is fantastic for use with depressed students.

3. There is No "Right Way" to React to a Horrible Wrong

A Holocaust survivor wrote that "an abnormal reaction to abnormal circumstances is normal." That means there is no "right way" for children and teens to endure. Watch instead for the severity of the reaction, the denial or avoidance. A "different" reaction doesn't necessarily equate with worse, but if the response appears to be extremely problematic– immediately or long term– that's the signal to become concerned.

4. New Research Changes the Old "Talk About It" Guideline

Mental health experts have always believed that children and teens need to have the chance to "talk out" traumatic events. Counselors call this "processing" the event. We used to think that having youngsters talk about– or draw about, write about, or otherwise process the trauma– was extremely important. New brain research puts a new spin on this long-hold truth.

Studies are showing that while venting or expressing about upsetting events is still important, there comes a point when the processing can become ruminating. The key point here is that processing is supposed to help children feel better, but ruminating can really increase depression and sadness.

When does processing become ruminating? That's tough to pinpoint. Perhaps the best indicator is to watch the impact on the child's body and emotions/demeanor. If the youngster is becoming more agitated, anxious, upset, sad, or depressed, that's not good. If the youngster's body is showing increasing or beginning distress, that's also not good. If you want to help your students process the tragedy without causing harm, stick with brief headlines vs prolonged discussions, and permit no graphic comments within groups. Work individually with students who persist in making graphic depictions to avoid upsetting other youngsters.

5. Watch for Fight, Flight and Freeze Reactions

During extremely traumatic times, children tend to either engage in fight, flight or freeze behavior. These behaviors are built-in survival mechanisms common to many species. If you spot these reactions in your students who are struggling, you can educate students about how our bodies can help us during extremely difficult times by using the fight, flight or freeze reaction. Next, you can talk about how bodies also know how to recover. Discuss with students what rebounding might look like for each of them. Alternatively, have students create art, writing or digital projects portraying how they will look when they have rebounded. Having students portray this outcome can help create the outcome.

6. Radically Revised Rules for Trauma Recovery

Historically, for counselors and other mental health providers, the goal after a traumatic incident was typically to help children and teens process the tragedy. New work by Peter Levine and others, suggests that is not the correct goal, and, even worse, can result in re-traumatizing youngsters.

Dr. Levine believes that by focusing on and re-examining what happened, people re-live the scary events. Levine has studied how animals respond to trauma. After a terrifying event, animals "re-set" their nervous system and return to a focus on the present. Based on his research, he recommends that you and your children do not have a prolonged focus on the traumatic incident, i.e. don't extensively process content. Levine believes that counselors and others should focus instead on helping the ramped-up sympathetic nervous system calm.

Not sure he's right? Watch what happens to the bodies of children who are re-telling the traumatic event and/or recapping their reaction to the incident. You may notice that these students get more agitated and more upset. Now, help the child focus on the present, even perhaps momentarily forgetting the event. You can see the body relax. That's why calming the out-of-control sympathetic nervous system should be your goal instead of processing the event.

7. Cancel the Past, Replace it With the Safe Present

So, in an update to accepted practice, it appears that calming the nervous system is becoming the best goal to have when striving to help traumatized children. One of the best tools to calm the agitated nervous system is to have children focus on the present. A quick way to do that: Ask your youngsters to find 3 things that they see and like, and to tell you what they like about each thing. That stops the focus on the scary or the sad, and can help shift each child to the safety of the present. You can teach children to do that procedure on their own: To "cancel" the upsetting past, and to "replace it" with the "safe present."

8. Switch to the New Trail with Repetition, Repetition, Repetition

In the past decade or so, we've come to understand that the brain works a bit like a trail through the forest– the more you walk the trail, the more defined that trail becomes. If you switch to a new trail, that old unused trail can eventually fade out a lot or a little. Even though I am stating the research in very simple ways, that doesn't denigrate the importance of it. This new insight means that researchers know now that people can literally re-wire their brains. Brain researches often quip: Neurons that fire together, wire together. Teach students to switch trails, to leave the painful path behind.

9. When Students Say They Can't Think, Can't Learn

You may already be hearing students say they can't concentrate, they can't think, and they can't learn. There is a lot of truth to those claims. Brain researchers believe that when the sympathetic nervous system is activated, the brain goes into a laser-focus mode. In nature, this single focus helped animals stay safe, but in humans this survival mechanism can persist long after it is needed for physical survival. When the sympathetic nervous system calms, your students' ability to focus, concentrate and learn should return. You can't demand students just get those lost abilities back on command. If you want to try to encourage this process, engage your students in activities that will help soothe and calm the nervous system. Even simple activities like having students talk about happy experiences or events can help.

10. Stop Thinking and Start Acting

For students who seem to really perseverate on the traumatic incidents, help them stop thinking and start taking useful actions. Actions can be anything positive, from starting a collection for the Sandy Hook students to going for a walk instead of sitting and recapitulating the upset. For students who seem to want to "rummage through the trash," teach them to "dump the trash" then take a "clean-up" action.

11. Watch Out for the Con Man

When you teach students to terminate upsetting thoughts or memories, they may tell you they feel insensitive, or callous, or selfish, or petty for not continuing to suffer. Teach students about the "con man" who will trick them into believing that the "Path of Pain" is the only path to be on. Teach students that children should never have to suffer, and any thought that suggests otherwise is just a sneaky Con Man.

12. Finding the Beauty That Still Remains

Understandably, children and adolescents may believe that there is no road back to happiness. After there is some distance in time from the precipitating event, teach students that throughout history, children and teens have triumphed overly seemingly overwhelming adversity, and that their own minds and bodies are equipped to ultimately rebound too. You want to inspire, and offer hope, but without adding any pressure, time frames, or the expectation of universal conformity. Offer students examples of children and teens who have overcome obstacles. Consider using excerpts from Anne Frank's diary to inspire older students to discover in Anne's words, "the beauty still left around you."

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    Schedule the Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Workshop to come to your site. This is the one professional development inservice that produces results, results, results. Call 1.800.545.5736 now. This surprisingly affordable inservice also makes a terrific fund raiser. College credit and 10 professional development clock hours are available. Your staff will finally have the more effective, real-world tools they need to work with today’s challenging, difficult youth.

     

    Contact us now, and begin solving your worst “kid problems” today. Call 1.800.545.5736, or email.

     

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    Library of Congress ISSN: 1526-9981 | Youth Change, Your Problem-Kid Problem-Solver
    http://www.youthchg.com | 1.503.982.4220 | 275 N. 3rd St; Woodburn, OR 97071
    © Copyright 2019, All Rights Reserved | Permission granted to forward magazine to others.


Classroom Management Problems Solved: Professional Development Solutions At Your Fingertips

 

classroom management blog articles

Classroom Management Problems Solved:

Professional Development Solutions
At Your Fingertips

 

 

education speaker Ruth Herman WellsYouth Change Workshops has been providing training to educators and mental health workers for more than two decades, but some of the classroom management problems we’ve been hearing about lately just seem to be in a league of their own. We’re hearing about students shoving teachers, students refusing to follow staff directions, and we’re hearing about kids who refuse to even wear shirts in the classroom. Fortunately, we know how to help.

I’m Ruth Herman Wells, M.S., the Director and Trainer for Youth Change Workshops. Our classroom management methods were created to target your most defiant, utterly unmanageable students. If you have a few or a lot of students who fit that description, you’ll use every word in this blog article.

Some tips to managing unmanageable students are below, but, even better, for a limited time, we’re letting our subscribers try our new online class, Control the Uncontrollable Student without any charge. This fast professional ezinetag10development seminar will show you how to get back in charge of oppositional students, and how to stay in charge of these challenging youngsters if you’ve been successfully managing them so far. The Control the Uncontrollable Student Online Class (click) is normally $39, but you will get the course with no charge if you take the two easy steps described below.

Get Control Uncontrollable Students Online Class
  FREE!

Take 2 steps by 12-31-12:
(1) Share our site (http://www.youthchg.com) with your co-workers on your website, blog, Facebook page (click), or similar. (2) Click here to email the details of how you shared us, and we’ll send you the link to the online class by return email. It’s that easy.

 

Classroom Management Survival Tips
Controlling Unmanageable Students

Start with Excellent Follow-Through

Even if you want to have warm, friendly bonds with students, you absolutely need to start your school year with tight, firm, consistent classroom management. That means that if you set rules, you enforce those rules. Period. And, yes, that means no “not noticing” infractions that might be difficult to address. Students may be counting on just that reaction. Remember that many acting-out students read us like comic books and know us perhaps better than we know ourselves. Either you start off strong, or you will be stuck trying to fix classroom management problems that are much, much harder to fix than get right the first time. If you start off too tough, students won’t protest when you ease up. If you start off too weak, you’re in for a big battle when you attempt to tighten up.

Different Strokes for Different Folks

No teacher would ever attempt to put all students in a single size of desk, or have all students use a single math book. You are used to tailoring your classroom to meet the specific needs of each child. That approach now needs to be extended to student discipline. One-size-fits-all discipline doesn’t work with seriously misbehaved students. If “nothing” seems to work to rein in your most difficult students, now you know what is going wrong. Read below for more on how to fix it.

 

Test Your Classroom Management Methods Now

Here’s a quick test for you to gauge your classroom management intervention strategies: If you are using relationship-based approaches like character ed and values clarification, for example, you are using inappropriate strategies that are almost certainly doomed to fail. Many of your most out-of-control youngsters are “wired” differently than other students. Recent research into the brain has now confirmed what mental health and juvenile corrections staff have suspected all along: you must switch to interventions that avoid relationship elements. These youngsters will generally behave worse if you don’t. It’s critical that you learn the more effective, specialized techniques required with this type of student. If you want to see methods that have been crafted and tested to work better, the online course, Control the Uncontrollable Student, is offered to you without charge above for a brief time.

 

Get a Mini Skills Upgrade

Here is a list of the most critical do’s and don’ts for working with the toughest students to manage. If you memorize these, and carefully adhere to the list, it’s a place to start. This mini skills upgrade is no substitute for more extensive learning, so more comprehensive professional development options are shown below.

DO: Provide far more than minimum sanctions so students can’t evaluate the risk of consequences for misbehavior. DO: Keep the sanctions very steep to minimize misbehavior. DO: Make sure every interaction with severely acting-out students includes a focus on the one thing they care about most– me-me-me. DO: Be wary of heartfelt apologies and don’t reduce sanctions for tears and “sorrys.” DO: Function as part of a cohesive team. Staff interaction problems result in students playing and winning at Divide and Conquer.

DON’T: Debate or discuss. Just talk then walk instead of being played during prolonged discussions. DON’T: Give second chances. DON’T: Be so predictable. When students can forecast your actions, they arrange their misconduct accordingly, perhaps misbehaving at 10 AM when you normally leave the room momentarily. DON’T: Interact in a mode other than businesslike; heart-to-heart is the path to being played. DON’T: Doubt your ability to manage acting-out students because they can smell uncertainty from afar. Find a boss or mentor to help if you are uncertain. No strategy can compensate for uncertainty.

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    Bring the Breakthrough Strategies Workshop to Your Site

    Help Unmotivated, Failing, Troubled and Unmanageable Students

    teachermissYou have students who struggle. We have solutions for students who struggle…so your job doesn’t have to be so difficult. We have cutting-edge strategies to manage group and classroom management problems like behavior disorders, trauma, disrespect, bullying, emotional issues, withdrawal, substance abuse, tardiness, cyberbullying, delinquency, work refusal, defiance, depression, Asperger’s, ADHD and more.

     

    Schedule the Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Workshop to come to your site. This is the one professional development inservice that produces results, results, results. Call 1.800.545.5736 now. This surprisingly affordable inservice also makes a terrific fund raiser. College credit and 10 professional development clock hours are available. Your staff will finally have the more effective, real-world tools they need to work with today’s challenging, difficult youth.

     

    Contact us now, and begin solving your worst “kid problems” today. Call 1.800.545.5736, or email.

     

    Working with Troubled Students Doesn’t Have to be So Difficult
     


    Behavior & Classroom Management Problem-Solver Blog Articles

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    Library of Congress ISSN: 1526-9981 | Youth Change, Your Problem-Kid Problem-Solver
    http://www.youthchg.com | 1.503.982.4220 | 275 N. 3rd St; Woodburn, OR 97071
    © Copyright 2019, All Rights Reserved | Permission granted to forward magazine to others.


The Best Back-to-School Bad Behavior-Busters– Includes Online Class with Surprising Strategies

 

student behavior management blog


The Best
Back-to-School
Bad Behavior-Busters


Includes Online Class
with Surprising Strategies

 


workshop trainer Ruth Herman Wells

If back-to-school means back to student behavior problems, then you're going to love the problem-stopping classroom management interventions we've packed inside this issue.

I'm Ruth Herman Wells, M.S., the Director and Trainer for Youth Change Workshops. For over two decades, I've been training teachers, counselors, principals, and youth professionals around North America. I really believe that I have the most dynamic, unusual, attention-grabbing classroom management methods to help you build a better new school year– no matter how much bad behavior you see in your classroom. In addition, ezinetag10 to the lively strategies described below, subscribers of this magazine, can try my new online class absolutely free, and get even more behavior change methods.

One of my newest online professional development classes is Control the Uncontrollable Student (click). Normally $39, this online course is offered without charge to you if you take the two steps described below.

Get Control Uncontrollable Students Online Class
  FREE!

Take 2 steps by 9-25-12:
(1) Tell your co-workers about our website (http://www.youthchg.com) by posting about us on your website, on your blog, your Facebook page (click), on Pinterest (click), or similar place. (2) Click here to email us the link to the page where you posted. We'll verify that you posted about us, then send you the link to the online class by return email. It's that easy.

 

The Best Back-to-School Bad Behavior-Busters

Motivation: As Close to Magic as You Can Get

motivational activity You know there's no magic answers when it comes to getting students to behave, but motivation may as be as close as you can get in the real world. Motivating your students to truly believe that education is the key to survival, can make everything better. In my live professional development classes, I sometimes pretend to switch the topic to funeral insurance, and ask the participants if they will stay in the room. No one ever wants to stay. Your students can't get up and leave physically, but they can leave in many other ways. The device shown here is just one of our thousands of motivational methods that can motivate, motivate, motivate! To print or save this cool behavior management device, simply click on the image or here.


Teach Specific Classroom Behavior Skills remote control student activity

Stop wishing there was a fun, fast way to stop constant classroom management problems like loud talk, interruptions, and run-on comments. We've got an intervention that offers everything you've wished for. Bring a television remote control to school and then you can "mute" students, "slow" them down, or "fast forward" them. Your whole class will be laughing and asking for a chance to operate the remote control. You will have transformed a chronic classroom management problem into a non-problem. Even better, you will find that by creatively training kids to be skilled students, almost any behavior problem can be improved or eliminated.

 

Provide On-Going School Skill Training quiet spray

 

Did you ever notice that while your school has an elaborate academic curriculum, it has no formal, equivalent curriculum for teaching kids how to be students so they can fully benefit from the academic instruction that is offered. Just as you must provide on-going assistance to learn and remember academics, you must provide on-going assistance to learn and remember school behavior skills. The humorous intervention pictured here, Quiet Spray, does just that. It is another example of how chronic classroom management problems can become history. To make a bottle of Quiet Spray, simply label a spray bottle accordingly. The bottle can be empty or you can add some plain or scented water to it. Teachers tell me, for best results, let students spray themselves. Some teachers comment that they can actually see students relax when they mist themselves– whether the bottle contains water or is empty. Either way, this easy-to-do, fun intervention is an almost sure bet to work in your K-12 classroom.

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    Reprint or Repost This Article
     

    Bring the Breakthrough Strategies Workshop to Your Site

    Help Unmotivated, Failing, Troubled and Unmanageable Students

    teachermissYou have students who struggle. We have solutions for students who struggle…so your job doesn’t have to be so difficult. We have cutting-edge strategies to manage group and classroom management problems like behavior disorders, trauma, disrespect, bullying, emotional issues, withdrawal, substance abuse, tardiness, cyberbullying, delinquency, work refusal, defiance, depression, Asperger’s, ADHD and more.

     

    Schedule the Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Workshop to come to your site. This is the one professional development inservice that produces results, results, results. Call 1.800.545.5736 now. This surprisingly affordable inservice also makes a terrific fund raiser. College credit and 10 professional development clock hours are available. Your staff will finally have the more effective, real-world tools they need to work with today’s challenging, difficult youth.

     

    Contact us now, and begin solving your worst “kid problems” today. Call 1.800.545.5736, or email.

     

    Working with Troubled Students Doesn’t Have to be So Difficult
     


    Behavior & Classroom Management Problem-Solver Blog Articles

    Subscribe Unsubscribe/Change Subscription
    Contact Us*  *Not for Unsubscribing
     

    Library of Congress ISSN: 1526-9981 | Youth Change, Your Problem-Kid Problem-Solver
    http://www.youthchg.com | 1.503.982.4220 | 275 N. 3rd St; Woodburn, OR 97071
    © Copyright 2019, All Rights Reserved | Permission granted to forward magazine to others.


Teaching in Times of Crisis: What Every Educator Needs to Know

classroom management blog


Teaching in Times of Crisis:
What Every Educator Needs to Know

 


News and graphic images of the recent disasters in Japan are everywhere right now. While some of your youngsters are unaffected by the tragedy, your troubled students are at high risk to deteriorate emotionally, socially, and academically– even when the crises are occurring a world away. If you're an educator, it's critical to successful classroom management and instruction, that you know which of your students are at risk, and what you should do to prevent, moderate, and manage these concerns.

workshop trainer Ruth Herman WellsI'm Youth Change Workshop's founder and trainer, Ruth Herman Wells, M.S. In this issue, we've identified the top questions that K-12 educators ask me about troubled students, along with my best answers. For educators in 2011, updating your skills is critical at a time when mental health counselors are routinely cut from school budgets. All of us here at Youth Change understand that today's educators are expected to manage more troubled students with fewer resources. If you still have questions about your troubled students after reading this magazine issue, Youth Change's no-fee Live Expert Help page is standing by ready to answer your remaining concerns.

 

HOW CAN I TELL THE DIFFERENCE
BETWEEN "NORMAL" FEAR AND OBSESSION?

You can't always tell the difference initially, but time will often give you the answer. While most children move on, or find ways to adapt, troubled students who continue to be fearful may have a problem. You can also watch for the degree of fear vs peers' reactions. Stressed children are like rubber bands. They only stretch so far before they lose their resiliency. You can use a rubber band as a visual aid to help children or parents understand "overreactions" to the Japanese disasters.

 

WHAT ARE SOME METHODS TO HELP CHILDREN
WHO ARE OBSESSIVELY WORRYING?

For younger children, use a map or globe to show the distance between the child and the disasters. Also, stress how the adults will do their best to ensure safety, and consider gently reviewing earthquake and disaster procedures in an age-appropriate manner. Older kids can be encouraged to write poetry, make collages, counsel younger children, donate a portion of their allowance to the relief efforts, volunteer to give blood,donate time to a relief agency, or make posters that encourage Japan to triumph over all the adversity they face. You can also have students undertake a fund raising project, or become involved in the many websites that have been created to help or voice support for Japan. Have students read about Anne Frank, Martin Luther King Jr., Maya Angelou, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and others who found courage during frightening times. Remember that the hallmark of depression is often a feeling of powerlessness, so try to use activities that can reduce that feeling.

 

WHAT OTHER METHODS CAN YOU SUGGEST THAT WON'T DO ANY HARM AND MIGHT HELP?

For teens and children who are worrying nonstop, to the detriment of school and other crucial activities, have the child draw or write their fears, then put them in an envelope, then tell the student that you will worry about them for a while. If permitted, give the child a positive phrase or saying they can recite, such as the Alcoholics Anonymous serenity prayer: "Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

 

WHAT DO I SAY TO VERY FRIGHTENED CHILDREN ABOUT FEAR
WITHOUT SOUNDING MACHO OR UNREALISTIC?

You can say that fear is normal and unavoidable. Even heroes feel fear. Everyone does. Fear keeps you from walking out in traffic. Not recommended to say: "You're big enough not to be scared." Comments like that can help aim kids towards ulcers, substance abuse, and night terrors. Tell them: We all feel what we feel so we might as well all accept it. What can we control? How we respond to the fear. Being overwhelmed by fear at times is normal. The goal to suggest: accept the fear but don't let it run your life. One more idea: Teach students that they are the boss of their brains, and not to let their brain "bully" them with upsetting thoughts. Be sure to encourage students to avoid graphic images and broadcasts of the devastation, and engage their parents if necessary.

 

WHAT DO I DO IF
NONE OF THESE IDEAS WORK
TO ALLEVIATE THE CONSTANT WORRY AND FEAR?

Worst case scenario: Teach children to think "Cancel" every time they have upsetting thoughts. Alert parents and your supervisor to children who appear to be deeply troubled, and do your best to locate mental health consultation. It is critical that you moderate the academic demands on a deeply frightened child, or else you run the risk that like an over-stretched rubber band that has lost it's resiliency, the child can snap. Your goal for the classroom should be to strike the balance between being sensitive to the child's fears and your mission to educate.

 

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    Reprint or Repost This Article
     

    Bring the Breakthrough Strategies Workshop to Your Site

    Help Unmotivated, Failing, Troubled and Unmanageable Students

    teachermissYou have students who struggle. We have solutions for students who struggle…so your job doesn’t have to be so difficult. We have cutting-edge strategies to manage group and classroom management problems like behavior disorders, trauma, disrespect, bullying, emotional issues, withdrawal, substance abuse, tardiness, cyberbullying, delinquency, work refusal, defiance, depression, Asperger’s, ADHD and more.

     

    Schedule the Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Workshop to come to your site. This is the one professional development inservice that produces results, results, results. Call 1.800.545.5736 now. This surprisingly affordable inservice also makes a terrific fund raiser. College credit and 10 professional development clock hours are available. Your staff will finally have the more effective, real-world tools they need to work with today’s challenging, difficult youth.

     

    Contact us now, and begin solving your worst “kid problems” today. Call 1.800.545.5736, or email.

     

    Working with Troubled Students Doesn’t Have to be So Difficult
     


    Behavior & Classroom Management Problem-Solver Blog Articles

    Subscribe Unsubscribe/Change Subscription
    Contact Us*  *Not for Unsubscribing
     

    Library of Congress ISSN: 1526-9981 | Youth Change, Your Problem-Kid Problem-Solver
    http://www.youthchg.com | 1.503.982.4220 | 275 N. 3rd St; Woodburn, OR 97071
    © Copyright 2019, All Rights Reserved | Permission granted to forward magazine to others.


Human Pressure Cookers: If Anguish Turns Violent Do You Know What to Do?

 

school discipline blog for teachers


Human Pressure Cookers
If Anguish Turns Violent
Do You Know What to Do?

 


workshop trainer Ruth Herman WellsIn 2005, annual state-wide testing in Texas included
an essay section. Of the one million essays submitted, nearly 700 youngsters wrote about their own abuse, neglect or rape (USA Today, March 28, 2005). Around the same time, The New York Times suggested that a recent Minnesota school shooting may have occurred because "anguish turned homicidal." In the next sentence, they wrote: "Teachers are ill-prepared to identify and address the normal emotional difficulties of their students, much less the aberrational ones." Further, they correctly observe that "school counselors, who are better suited for the task, are severely outnumbered."

Those words from 2005 carry even more weight 6 years later as counselors are often among the first staff jettisoned in the ubiquitous layoffs of our current difficult economic times.

For more than two decades, I have criss-crossed North America training teachers, counselors, principals and other youth workers to better understand and assist troubled youth and children. I'm Ruth Herman Wells, M.S., Director of Youth Change. For all those years, I have been saying over and over, in school after school, in city after city, that anguish can easily become rage.

However, the media continues to simplistically lump together all students who engage in serious school violence such as school shootings, and repeatedly names bullying as the sole cause of the extreme behavior. That over-simplified sound bite has made my job much harder because bullying is often not the sole– or even primary– contributing force that spurred tragedy.

The central force was the developing rage and on-going depression. The
simplistic focus on bullying means that quiet anguish that doesn't involve bullying, can more easily pass unnoticed by adults and any opportunity for prevention is lost. It is very discouraging that in my workshops, most teachers, principals, counselors, and other youth workers do cite bullying as the main cause of school shootings. In the 2005 Minnesota case, the young shooter was a pressure cooker. The signs of depression, alienation and frustration were there to see; and bullying may not have been a factor at all.

It is time for youth professionals to refine how they view school shooters. By subscribing to media characterizations that over-emphasize bullying, youth workers are more likely to miss the most important clues: depression, anguish and frustration. These powerhouse emotions can easily occur without any bullying.

If you want to become better prepared to notice and understand youngsters who are human pressure cookers, there is only one option. If your background does not include mental health basics, now is the time to upgrade your skills. Concern about a potential tragedy at your site is not the sole reason that non-mental health workers must finally broaden their expertise. The real reason that these youth professionals must become more skilled in basic mental health methods is that for every sad child who does pick up a gun, there are hundreds more who struggle and suffer more quietly. We now know that by 2005 there were at least 700 of them in Texas.

Children in Oregon have also confessed distress in that state's essay exam. Some of those sad stories lacked proper punctuation, or had sub-standard sentence structure, and ultimately received failing grades. A child tells of beatings or a recent rape, or writes of homelessness, or a lost parent. Not only will the cry for help fail to be answered, the cry for help itself is graded as failing.

In 2005 in Texas, a student died the day before the state-wide exam was scheduled. The school staff asked to delay the exam to allow the children time to grieve. The students were nonetheless required to take the test, seated next to the empty desk of their newly dead friend and classmate.

High stakes testing mania has become the center of the education universe. It consumes countless dollars, aggressively devours teachers' time, and diminishes the importance of every other educational activity. If a teacher wants to keep her job, she must produce the right testing numbers. With eyes firmly focused on testing, teachers are left precious little time to even think, never mind notice children's anguish.

Testing is most certainly not the cause of this country's problems with extreme school violence, but testing has most certainly contributed to the problem. Flunking cry for help essays, compelling testing even hours after death, and our relentless pursuit of magic numbers are just a few of the ways that we sacrifice children's humanity to the gods of testing.

If we put a mere 10% of the effort we devote to testing mania, into noticing and helping deeply troubled children, perhaps we could stop some of the shootings before they occur. Further, since you can't push profoundly distressed children to perform well on tests anyway, perhaps by noticing and attending to the distress, many sad children would accomplish more academically.

 

How Prepared is Your School to Notice and Help

Troubled Children?


How do you know if your team is properly noticing and helping distressed students? Further below is a quick litmus test to determine if your team has a solid, basic mental health knowledge base, plus the inclination and willingness to notice deeply depressed youngsters who might one day explode; brief answers are provided as applicable:

1. Can your staff name the 3 students at highest risk of engaging in
extreme violence?
Answer: Conduct disorders; thought disorders; extreme agitated,
depressed kids.


2. Conventional behavior management methods don't work with the
three students identified in Question #1. Does your staff know how they must intervene differently with each of those three types of students?


3. Can your staff name the symptoms of major, clinical depression, and the three methods that work best to prevent explosive rage?
Answer: There are a vast array of symptoms that can signal depression. While only mental health professionals can diagnose,
all youth workers can watch for sad moods especially without
apparent cause, diminished enthusiasm, anxiety, hopelessness,
feelings of worthlessness, helplessness, problems with concentration, changes in sleep, changes in weight, changes in
appetite, and suicidal gesturing or comments. These are a few
of the most common signs. The best methods to address
depression, especially with the help of your school counselor:
exercise, talking and carefully monitored anti-depressants.


4. Can your staff name the most important methods to use– and not
use– with conduct disordered students?
Answer: The single most important method is to keep the costs
of misbehavior high, and the benefits low. For diagnosed
conduct disorders, all conventional, relationship-based
approaches should be discontinued since they often make the
problems worse while failing to produce improvement. If you
have used conventional methods to rein in conduct disordered
students, you may have ended up feeling that "nothing works"
to control their misbehavior.


5. Is there a mechanism at your site or within your community to
ensure that all children are noticed by their teacher, mentor or other
adult so that warning signs (like violent website postings, essays
expressing distress, threatening remarks, alienation, and desperation)
are not missed?


6. Candidly speaking, what would your staff say is the highest priority at your site?
Answer: Academic achievement and high testing scores really
shouldn't be the top answer in our current violent times. The top answer offered by your team should be site safety, or else safety is not the priority that it must be in our current violent times. Educational goals will quickly assume lower status if your team ever loses students or staff in a shooting or other tragedy. School safety should be the one thing that is more important than anything else that occurs within the walls of your school. Without school safety, nothing else matters.

  •  


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    Bring the Breakthrough Strategies Workshop to Your Site

    Help Unmotivated, Failing, Troubled and Unmanageable Students

    teachermissYou have students who struggle. We have solutions for students who struggle…so your job doesn’t have to be so difficult. We have cutting-edge strategies to manage group and classroom management problems like behavior disorders, trauma, disrespect, bullying, emotional issues, withdrawal, substance abuse, tardiness, cyberbullying, delinquency, work refusal, defiance, depression, Asperger’s, ADHD and more.

     

    Schedule the Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Workshop to come to your site. This is the one professional development inservice that produces results, results, results. Call 1.800.545.5736 now. This surprisingly affordable inservice also makes a terrific fund raiser. College credit and 10 professional development clock hours are available. Your staff will finally have the more effective, real-world tools they need to work with today’s challenging, difficult youth.

     

    Contact us now, and begin solving your worst “kid problems” today. Call 1.800.545.5736, or email.

     

    Working with Troubled Students Doesn’t Have to be So Difficult
     


    Behavior & Classroom Management Problem-Solver Blog Articles

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    Library of Congress ISSN: 1526-9981 | Youth Change, Your Problem-Kid Problem-Solver
    http://www.youthchg.com | 1.503.982.4220 | 275 N. 3rd St; Woodburn, OR 97071
    © Copyright 2019, All Rights Reserved | Permission granted to forward magazine to others.


Gender-Proficient Strategies for Troubled Girls

 

classroom management blog


Gender-Proficient Strategies
for Troubled Girls

 


workshop trainer Ruth Herman Wells"I just finished counseling a student for 45 minutes. It's amazing how
rough life is on kids, and it seems to especially be girls. She's been to
20 plus schools, hasn't lived with her parents since she was 6, has been
living with first one sister then another. Her parents are into drugs, in
and out of prison. She couch hops through friends' houses so she can
play sports because the last bus out of town is at 7. Now her sister
wants her to change to a new high school, where she doesn't know
anyone. It's hard to see kids under so much stress. Sadly, this is an
epidemic. I'm not sure if girls are just more vocal about what's wrong
in their life or if affects them more, but this is the fifth or sixth girl I've
taught that has had just a dismal life, and has a hard time dealing with
just the daily stresses of what school and friends bring. Of those 5 or 6
girls, I can only think of one or two that have escaped the calamity of
their surrounding to do something. I hope this new girl ends up making
it. I'll do my best to see services start coming her way, but the cycle of
discover, help, and fail is hard to take."

Many of you can relate to the comments above, sent by a high school special ed teacher. His comments are especially true right now. When government faces hard economic times, service cuts are inevitable. Often, cuts to services disproportionately affect girls versus boys. When boys are troubled, they often act out in ways that affect the community. When girls are troubled, they often act out in ways that the community may not even notice. Troubled boys may slash tires, troubled girls may slash their wrists. The boy will leave behind angry victims demanding the child's behavior be addressed and controlled. The troubled girl will have no one demanding anything on her behalf.

When budget cuts come, they are not dispersed across the continuum of children's services. In tough economic times, girls tend to take the brunt of service reductions. In all classes of services, troubled girls receive fewer services, less intense services, for less time, and they're served later in life than their male counterparts. There is no indication that troubled girls have fewer problems than boys; all indicators suggest they may have more. So, in today's difficult economic times, where services for young females are very limited, it is imperative that everyone who works with youth, have gender-proficient strategies for girls. One-gender-fits-all strategies fit no one, so here are some gender-proficient strategies crafted especially for troubled girls.


Gender-Proficient Solutions for Troubled Girls


TEACH GIRLS TO
THRIVE DESPITE ROUGH LIVES

Finding help for troubled girls in these difficult economic times is
tougher than ever. If you're not a trained mental health professional,
it's never wise to attempt to provide therapy when you can't find
qualified help for a girl who is struggling. Instead of offering therapy
without having the necessary training, attempt instead to be a bridge
for the girl until help can be found.

Here is a strategy that may help without becoming as personal and intimate as a therapy techniques. When a girl is struggling to find her way, and feels lost and uncertain, offer her this guideline: Find a course of action that is good for the girl and good for others. This mantra helps train the girl to habitually choose actions that avoid self-harm.

You can vary this strategy by having the girl identify someone she admires, and imagine What Would X Do?, and emulate that.

Another variation on the first strategy: Say "no" to bad thoughts. The girl can imagine erasing or canceling upsetting thoughts so she can concentrate on school and other critical activities. All these strategies are just stopgap measures until qualified help can be found; ultimately severe problems will necessitate professional intervention if the girl is to avoid lasting consequences.

 

TEACH GIRLS TO
BETTER MANAGE DEPRESSION

Studies suggest that depression may affect girls at a higher rate than
boys. While skilled help would be optimal, you can offer some interim
assistance so that your girls can improve their skills coping with
adversity without being overwhelmed by depression. Here are a few
interventions that both mental health workers and others can use. Be
sure to follow your site's rules about reporting safety issues if you have
any concerns that a girl may be at risk of harm.

For girls who are sad about their difficult circumstances, teach them to
"bloom where they're planted," and discuss how to do that. For girls
who devote a lot of time to ruminating about their problems, refocus
them to the present, and help them turn their thoughts to "now"
instead of yesterday or tomorrow, which they can't influence anyway.
To further re-orient girls to focus on now rather than past or future
problems, suggest that every time they catch themselves mulling the
past or future, they stop and find three positive things about the
present. That disrupts the on-going ruminating.

Finally, for girls who report upsetting thoughts like mulling over events
from the past, offer interventions that teach the brain some new,
healthier habits. For example, when a girl is upset by thoughts like "I'm
always going to be upset," teach her to be the boss of her brain and to
reject her "bully brain" hassling her. It's a way of making the invisible
cognitive process more concrete and understandable so the girl can
visualize how her thoughts deepen her upset. Once she realizes that she
doesn't have to submit to the upsetting thoughts, she has a much
better chance of taking control of them, making her less vulnerable to
persistent, deep upset.

  •  


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    Bring the Breakthrough Strategies Workshop to Your Site

    Help Unmotivated, Failing, Troubled and Unmanageable Students

    teachermissYou have students who struggle. We have solutions for students who struggle…so your job doesn’t have to be so difficult. We have cutting-edge strategies to manage group and classroom management problems like behavior disorders, trauma, disrespect, bullying, emotional issues, withdrawal, substance abuse, tardiness, cyberbullying, delinquency, work refusal, defiance, depression, Asperger’s, ADHD and more.

     

    Schedule the Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Workshop to come to your site. This is the one professional development inservice that produces results, results, results. Call 1.800.545.5736 now. This surprisingly affordable inservice also makes a terrific fund raiser. College credit and 10 professional development clock hours are available. Your staff will finally have the more effective, real-world tools they need to work with today’s challenging, difficult youth.

     

    Contact us now, and begin solving your worst “kid problems” today. Call 1.800.545.5736, or email.

     

    Working with Troubled Students Doesn’t Have to be So Difficult
     


    Behavior & Classroom Management Problem-Solver Blog Articles

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    Contact Us*  *Not for Unsubscribing
     

    Library of Congress ISSN: 1526-9981 | Youth Change, Your Problem-Kid Problem-Solver
    http://www.youthchg.com | 1.503.982.4220 | 275 N. 3rd St; Woodburn, OR 97071
    © Copyright 2019, All Rights Reserved | Permission granted to forward magazine to others.


Classroom Management Help From the Experts on Disruptive Students

 

expert classroom management help

 

Classroom Management Help From the Experts on
Disruptive Students

 
 

 

Classroom management expert helpHello from Youth Change Workshops Director, Ruth Herman Wells, M.S. In our last issue, you were offered the chance to name the topic for a future issue. We got many interesting requests. Watch for more issues to focus on these suggestions. For this issue, we have chosen an idea from Theresa G., who is a kindergarten teacher.

Here is part of Theresa's email to us:

"I teach kindergarten and would love to see an issue dealing with constant interruptions…I'm not a new teacher (15 years) but the behaviors I have seen and dealt with the past two to three years are becoming much more common. Out of a class of 16, 8 of them have really horrible behaviors. "

Theresa, we actually covered this problem nearly a year and a half back, probably before you were a subscriber. Here is a replay of that issue plus some brand new methods not included in that earlier issue. Most of these classroom management methods will work with students of all different ages.

Here's the remedy for the constant interruptions: You have to teach the behaviors before you can expect them. This is true whether you have little kids like Theresa, or far bigger ones. Since most schools have no formal, written-down plans to train children to be students, many youngsters act like they have never been trained to be students. This training does not mean restating the expectations. This training does mean that you actually teach the specific skills that you want to see in your classroom or group room. You will have to teach each aspect of the target behavior, just as you must teach all elements of spelling or riding a bike in order to ensure mastery.

help to manage disruptive studentsTo focus on interruptions, you will have to teach all the skills needed for proper class or group participation, including how and when to: walk around, leave the room, chat with others, make silly sounds, send notes, borrow a pencil, and talk out. Until you do teach all those nitty gritty basic skills, you can set whatever standard you want regarding interruptions, however you probably won't get satisfactory compliance. You have to teach the behavior before you expect it.

In this issue, we are going to focus in on just one aspect of interrupting: the mouth. However, please note these next two points:

First, in addition to teaching the skills students need to manage their mouths, please be sure to also use lots of our popular motivation-makers so your youngsters value your site and service. (Find dozens of articles on motivation from our index to all of our educational articles.)

The more your students value your service, the more their behavior will reflect that. Similarly, the less students value your service, the more their behavior will reflect that too. Interruptions certainly may reflect students' low regard for the service you provide.

Second, don't forget to cover all the other skills that youth and children need to act acceptably in your setting. To stay focused on just interruptions, you can't just teach "mouth control" skills, but also must cover how to manage your body, when to arrive, when to exit, how to manage supplies, and so on. Beyond the focus on interruptions, you should cover all the classroom behaviors that you expect.

 

Innovative classroom management strategiesFavorite
Classroom Management Methods to
Help Disruptive Students
 

► Strategy

Give Me Five

This is a fun classroom management intervention for younger students. Have the child give you a "high five" slap while saying: "High Five! 2 ears listening. 2 eyes watching. 1 mouth shut."

 

► Strategy

Do the Wave

This is an incredibly fun intervention that doesn't come alive at all in writing; you simply have to give it a try to appreciate how wonderful it is. This intervention can be used with any age group. Raise your hand, then teach your group to fall silent while rhythmically clapping to this beat: 1-2, 1-2-3 (two slow claps and then three fast.) Most classes quickly learn to instantly transform from rowdy to silent. The effect of the sudden clapping is similar to a crowd doing the wave at a basketball game. Allow students to take turns performing the job of raising a hand to initiate the clapping. You end up with a very quiet room– with no work required on your part to achieve it.

 

Article Continues Below

 

 

classroom management

 

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It's More Affordable Than You Think

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Uncontrollable, Unmotivated and Withdrawn Students

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One Click Can Solve It All

 

 

Article Continues Here


► Strategy

The Mouth Goes Shut

This device is fun with any age group, and it's quick and simple. You simply raise your hand and teach your class: "When the hand goes up, the mouth goes shut." If you wish, a student can perform the raising the hand part of this intervention for you.
 

► Strategy

Dragnet Helps

This device generates instant quiet. Sing the theme of the TV show, Dragnet: dun da-dun dun, dun da-dun dun. Teach students to be quiet in time to sing the last note with you. (The entire tune: dun da-dun dun, dun da-dun dun, dun!)
 

► Strategy

When Everybody Talks, Nobody Can Listen


The preceding interventions can engender quiet. Save this new intervention until you have taught your group how to maintain quiet, perhaps using one of our methods from above. If you have reached that point, tell your group that you have a treat for them. However, to powerfully convey how disruptive interruptions can be, ask all or many of your students to talk at once while you quietly share the location of a treat (such as stickers, popcorn, or whatever would be relished by your group.) Your students will not be able to identify how to access the treat because nothing was accomplished while everyone was talking. Stop the noise then discuss the impact of talk outs. Following the discussion, repeat the initial intervention and re-state the location of the treat. This time, ask the group to maintain quiet while you speak, and time how long it takes your students to access the treat. Help the group to compare the first and second trials as your students enjoy their treats. Ask the group to determine which works better: talking one at a time or everyone talks whenever they wish.


► Strategy

A Talk Thing


This intervention is a great follow-up to the preceding strategy. Now that your students have identified problems with talking out, ask them to develop a plan to fix the problem. Encourage the group to develop a concrete, immediately do-able solution like requiring students to have a "talk thing" in hand prior to speaking. What's a talk thing? It's anything your group wants it to be. It could be a ruler, a cardboard sign, a ball, or any item that the group desires. Whatever the item, the group can require that students possess the talk thing prior to speaking. They can determine the mechanics too. For example, they can put the adult in charge of monitoring and distributing the talk thing, or maybe they will have the person in charge be a student. In a way, it doesn't matter what they decide, because regardless of the configuration that results, your students will have established a way to control talk outs in your group or classroom.

 

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    Bring the Breakthrough Strategies Workshop to Your Site

    Help Unmotivated, Failing, Troubled and Unmanageable Students

    teachermissYou have students who struggle. We have solutions for students who struggle…so your job doesn’t have to be so difficult. We have cutting-edge strategies to manage group and classroom management problems like behavior disorders, trauma, disrespect, bullying, emotional issues, withdrawal, substance abuse, tardiness, cyberbullying, delinquency, work refusal, defiance, depression, Asperger’s, ADHD and more.

     

    Schedule the Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Workshop to come to your site. This is the one professional development inservice that produces results, results, results. Call 1.800.545.5736 now. This surprisingly affordable inservice also makes a terrific fund raiser. College credit and 10 professional development clock hours are available. Your staff will finally have the more effective, real-world tools they need to work with today’s challenging, difficult youth.

     

    Contact us now, and begin solving your worst “kid problems” today. Call 1.800.545.5736, or email.

     

    Working with Troubled Students Doesn’t Have to be So Difficult
     


    Behavior & Classroom Management Problem-Solver Blog Articles

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    Contact Us*  *Not for Unsubscribing
     

    Library of Congress ISSN: 1526-9981 | Youth Change, Your Problem-Kid Problem-Solver
    http://www.youthchg.com | 1.503.982.4220 | 275 N. 3rd St; Woodburn, OR 97071
    © Copyright 2019, All Rights Reserved | Permission granted to forward magazine to others.


School Skills Training: Better Classroom Management Now

 

classroom management blog

 

School Skills Training:
Better Classroom Management Now

 


Breakthrough Classroom Management workshop instructorWe've been hearing that a lot from weary teachers who are crossing the country to come to our Seattle Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Youth Workshop. Many of them travel in search of better classroom management. I'm course instructor, Ruth Herman Wells, M.S.

When lots of your students are disrespectful, defiant, angry, disinterested, and apathetic, we understand that you want help now, not in a couple months. While we can't pack all 200 interventions from our workshop into this issue, we're going to give you a few of our quickest, most innovative and effective classroom management improvement devices that you can use right now.

We always stress in our workshops that teachers should never assume that their class participants have any idea how to look, act, or sound like students– that teachers may need to teach that before expecting it. That's right. You need to transform kids into students before you are going to get the kind of behavior you need in your classroom.

We call this notion School Skills Training. School Skills Training techniques take untrained, unmotivated, uncooperative kids and helps them become skilled, motivated, cooperative students. You may find that this simple, do-able, time-efficient training approach will rapidly transform your kids and classroom.

Keep reading, and discover that better classroom management can start today.

 

Better Classroom Management Now


TEACH SCHOOL SKILLS BEFORE EXPECTING THEM
 

Improve Attendance and Punctuality


What You Miss Today Makes It Harder to Learn Tomorrow

motivational lesson planEnlarge the student worksheet shown in the picture for better viewing.

Attendance may be the single most important School Skill to teach. If students aren't in class, nothing else matters.

Years ago, parents routinely taught their offspring to regularly attend school. That is not as likely today. If parents aren't reliably teaching attendance, then you must.

Here's a sampling of the thousands of attendance-building teaching tools we have to offer.

This lesson plan and printable are called "What You Miss Today Makes It Harder to Learn Tomorrow." The intervention vividly and memorably convinces students of the importance of regularly coming to school.

It's just one of our endless supply of resources that teach attendance skills to students who are truant, frequently late, or missing part of the school day.

This lesson plan and worksheet are from our Turn On the
Turned-Off Student book (click).

 

TEACH SCHOOL SKILLS BEFORE EXPECTING THEM


Build Motivation and Enthusiasm for School


Even Rock Stars Gonna Need School

motivational worksheetSo many students believe that school is a waste. Fortunately, School Skills training gives you unexpected, innovative techniques to combat the
apathy and poor motivation that you see each day in your classroom.

You're going to really like how effectively this lesson plan and printable start to reverse student apathy.

The lesson is called "Even Rock Stars Gonna Need School." This intervention begins to debunk students' beliefs that they'll never need education because they're going to become rock stars, models, or sports stars. No single intervention can turnaround all the apathy and disinterest, but fortunately, we have thousands more you can use to finish the job.

The worksheet shows an injured star saying things like "I can't even balance my checkbook." Also shown: a rich, beautiful model is suddently disfigured by a huge mark on her face. A wealthy wife is suddenly widowed and broke. A rock star and others meet similar fates. You can ask your students to speculate what happens to all these people that makes school suddenly so very important and necessary.

You don't need to buy this student printable. You can make it, or use the information featured on the worksheet verbally. This lesson plan and worksheet are also from the Turn On the Turned-Off Student book (click).

 

TEACH SCHOOL SKILLS BEFORE EXPECTING THEM


Improve Negative Attitudes


I'm Not the Problem at School

student lesson plan lastch2bigpages_Page_2Students' negative attitudes can quickly create serious, chronic classroom management problems. While there are plenty of negative attitudes around, few resources exist to turn them around.

School Skill Training covers all aspects of being a successful student– even how to have a positive attitude about school.

Enlarge the pages for better viewing here.

This lesson and worksheet are called "I'm Not the Problem at School." This unusual lesson and
printable are designed to reverse students' negativity.

Of course, a single lesson can't accomplish all that at once, but hopefully this sample will get you off to a good start. If you need additional attitude adjustment tools, we may be the only place that can provide you with powerful, gets-the-job-done attitude adjustment resources.

This lesson plan and worksheet are from our Last Chance School Success Guide book (click).

 

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    Reprint or Repost This Article
     

    Bring the Breakthrough Strategies Workshop to Your Site

    Help Unmotivated, Failing, Troubled and Unmanageable Students

    teachermissYou have students who struggle. We have solutions for students who struggle…so your job doesn’t have to be so difficult. We have cutting-edge strategies to manage group and classroom management problems like behavior disorders, trauma, disrespect, bullying, emotional issues, withdrawal, substance abuse, tardiness, cyberbullying, delinquency, work refusal, defiance, depression, Asperger’s, ADHD and more.

     

    Schedule the Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Workshop to come to your site. This is the one professional development inservice that produces results, results, results. Call 1.800.545.5736 now. This surprisingly affordable inservice also makes a terrific fund raiser. College credit and 10 professional development clock hours are available. Your staff will finally have the more effective, real-world tools they need to work with today’s challenging, difficult youth.

     

    Contact us now, and begin solving your worst “kid problems” today. Call 1.800.545.5736, or email.

     

    Working with Troubled Students Doesn’t Have to be So Difficult
     


    Behavior & Classroom Management Problem-Solver Blog Articles

    Subscribe Unsubscribe/Change Subscription
    Contact Us*  *Not for Unsubscribing
     

    Library of Congress ISSN: 1526-9981 | Youth Change, Your Problem-Kid Problem-Solver
    http://www.youthchg.com | 1.503.982.4220 | 275 N. 3rd St; Woodburn, OR 97071
    © Copyright 2019, All Rights Reserved | Permission granted to forward magazine to others.


How to Help Bullied, Potentially Suicidal Students

 

classroom management blog

 

How to Help Bullied,
Potentially Suicidal Students

 


workshop trainer Ruth Herman WellsIt's been the top story in the news: bullied students committing suicide
because they can't cope with the bullying.

I'm educational workshop instructor Ruth Herman Wells, M.S. with ideas that can help right away.

Even veteran counselors and social workers worry they might not always notice every student who is so distressed that they might engage in serious self-harm, but the reality is that the front line of "first responders" is actually made up of educators, who may not have even have mental health expertise.

Further, many educators may have dozens and dozens of students they see each day. That glimpse into a young person's world may not be enough for a teacher to become aware that a student is in serious emotional distress. Especially as schools increase teacher-student ratios, effectively tracking emotionally fragile students becomes harder and harder for even the most dedicated, aware educator.

Despite the significant obstacles educators face when working with deeply troubled youngsters, none of us ever want to wonder if we did absolutely everything we could to spot and stop bullying, and the staggering consequences that can follow. It is a tough, new job to effectively help bullied students.

This issue of our magazine is designed to help you be as pro-active as possible to prevent a tragedy at your site, but by no means is  this short tutorial comprehensive, so if you suspect safety issues, tell your administrator immediately. In the meantime, you can strive to better equip yourself, your students, and your school to be a place where bullying and ensuing tragedies are less likely to happen. This article is a first step in that effort to help bullied students.

For more help, come to our Seattle or Portland Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Youth Workshop (click).

Bad budget? We've got work-study slots if you need financial aid. Call 800.545.5736 for details.

You can also take the distance learning workshop (click), or schedule us to provide a professional development inservice at your site. We also have free online articles, tutorials, strategies and more throughout our site.
 

New Methods to Help Bullied Students Now
 

EDUCATE VICTIMS
AND POTENTIAL VICTIMS


poster for suicidal studentsA good place to start is by educating vulnerable students on how and when to ask for help from adults.

It may seem obvious to you that a child would seek aid, but to the child the bullying can just seem so overwhelming,
massive, and permanent, that the child can feel there is no useful help out there. The printable poster (Poster 248) makes a good visual that can be an on-going reminder.

The resource can also be used as a worksheet to start off a
discussion of issues like these: "Will adults know how to help? " and "What should you do if you feel so hopeless that you want to hurt yourself?"

Gear the discussion to fit the age of your students, but have the discussion right away. Suicides often seem to engender more suicides, and that is why you need to tackle this safety issue right away.

 

STOP USING INEFFECTIVE APPROACHES TO
CONTROL BULLIES


anti-bullying poster 90If only popularity was the best gauge of a method's
effectiveness. The truth is that many very popular methods that are commonly used to rein in bullies are incredibly ineffective and outdated.

Many bullies are not capable of developing a "normal" conscience and compassion, yet many bullying intervention methods– like character ed– rely on students having those traits, or being able to learn them. If you truly want to become more effective at controlling bullies, you must switch to more up-to-date
interventions that don't require a conscience or compassion in order to have impact.

Here's a few examples of strategies that don't rely on the bully being able to have or rapidly develop compassion. Ask the bully to make a list of all the activities that he wants to do in life, then have the youngster go through the list and cross out all the items that "go well" with bullying. For example, the student may list his desire to be a truck driver. Ask the student to consider if the trucking company boss or the truck dispatcher is going to want to want to take time to deal with a driver who bullies dispatchers, co-workers, customers, or superiors. If the student resists, have the student actually talk to a truck company boss or dispatcher, and ask. If the student says "But I won't bully on the job," challenge the student to prove it by stopping bullying now for
one month. If the student can't or won't stop, ask the student who else will help him learn how to be different by the time he's on the job.

Use the expression "Bully Today. Bully Tomorrow." Notice how all these techniques show the bully that by hurting others, she is hurting herself. It is critical that all the interventions you use with bullies contain that element. Bullies may never care about others, but they almost always care about "Me-Me-Me." Use that to reduce the bullying behavior by convincing the bully "I can't hurt others without hurting me." Our Poster #090 (shown above) is another good example of how the bully will only alter her behavior when she sees it's in her own interest to do so. To order this bully prevention poster for $8, click here.
 

WORK WITH BOTH BULLIES
AND BULLIED STUDENTS

Most schools tend to focus on the bully. While a focus on the bully is certainly essential, since it takes two for the situation to occur, it is as important to work with the victim as it is to work with the bully. If you fail to assist the victim to develop the skills, motivation, and attitude needed to avoid further victimization, you are failing to use half the tools you have available.

To leave all the accountability with the bully– who has a demonstrated record of not being trustworthy or compassionate– is unwise, potentially dangerous, and
inappropriate.

It is always critical that you upgrade the victim's skills to prevent and manage victimization. To not do so could be considered negligent. To upgrade the bullied student's skills, focus on spotting aggression before it starts, what to say or do to avoid victimization, where to go, where to never go, and so on. But the recent student suicides are a reminder that adults have to help victims cope. Learning to cope  emotionally may be as important– perhaps more important– than just learning bullying prevention and survival skills.

Create a worksheet entitled "The Consequences of My Actions." This intervention can be used effectively with both bullies and bullied students. Design the worksheet to have three columns. In Column 1, students list their Behaviors such as bullying or being bullied.

In Column 2 and 3, they list the Money Cost and the Pain Cost of those behaviors.

For bullies, the worksheet captures the consequences of bullying, and how those consequences can be so distasteful that it can make bullying less appealing. For bullied students, this worksheet can show what positive outcome can happen when these youngsters learn and use new skills to actively avoid bullying. This worksheet also shows bullied students how failing to take protective steps can predictably yield poor results.

The hallmark of depression is powerlessness. This worksheet can help bullied students feel that their actions can have impact and power. For bullied students, this worksheet can help convince them to learn and use new skills, while also helping to combat the feelings of powerlessness that lead to depression and potentially, to desperate behaviors.

If you prefer to order this worksheet, purchase our Coping Skills Sampler book here.

 

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    Schedule the Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Workshop to come to your site. This is the one professional development inservice that produces results, results, results. Call 1.800.545.5736 now. This surprisingly affordable inservice also makes a terrific fund raiser. College credit and 10 professional development clock hours are available. Your staff will finally have the more effective, real-world tools they need to work with today’s challenging, difficult youth.

     

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    Library of Congress ISSN: 1526-9981 | Youth Change, Your Problem-Kid Problem-Solver
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Student and School Mental Health: Teacher Professional Development Guide

 

school mental health guide

 

Student and School Mental Health:
Teacher Professional Development
Guide

 
 

 

School mental health consultationHello from Youth Change Director and Workshop Presenter Ruth Herman Wells, M.S. One of the toughest things about my job is figuring out how to help teachers and other educators to acquire a gut-level understanding of student and school mental health problems. I'm a veteran mental health counselor so I'm always working hard to be sure that I leave teachers and other educators with the same close-up, inside look at student mental health problems that I have. I hope this brief guide will help.

Sometimes there can be a lot of misinformation in the way. Other times, there can be negativity about mental health issues and the related struggles that today's students can frequently present. Here is one way to bridge that gap and effectively give educators an inside view of students' mental health challenges and related issues and problems.
 

A Close-up Look Inside
Student Mental Health Problems

School Mental Health The class assignment for a group of high school students was to write a letter to one of your teachers telling them what you wanted or needed to say.

Here are excerpts from one student's letter:

 

Dear Mr. ___ ,

If the world were just, good teachers would overshadow the less perfect teachers. It's too bad that you should be one of those overshadowed. During Math, I was repeatedly insulted with the nasty names you called me. This was not a big issue in my life; you and your class could be easily overlooked. But it was not as easy for a lot of people I know.

Sam was a kind person, a typical teenager with a less than typical home life. He went through things no kid should even know about, never mind live through. Sam was not able to put your insults behind him. He took the easy way out. He started just skipping your class. After a while missing your class, he started to miss the whole day. Less than a year later, Sam was deeply into drugs and other things that a person would never wish upon any kid.

In the 12 years, I shared classes with Sam, I watched many teachers unsuccessfully try to make it better for him, but I will always remember the one teacher who successfully made it worse.

Fast forward about 4 years from the date this letter was written, and here is the latest news about Sam: He was spotted walking near the home of Chris, his old friend, and the author of the letter excerpted above. Sam was yelling and screaming as he came down the street. His clothes were in tatters, and he looked as though he was homeless and under the influence of alcohol or other substance. "Chris!" he screamed as he pounded on the door of his former classmate's home. "Chris, do you still live here?" Chris had moved to college years earlier so he wasn't there to open the door. Sam continued yelling and mumbling as he shuffled down the street.

Fast forward again about 1 more year. Sam was spotted on the big highway that goes through the center of his town. He was attempting to throw himself into traffic.

What is the point of Sam's sad story? The point is that kids never walk into Math class and announce that they were beat up last night and can't endure any more abuse. No student will ever say "My Dad already called me bad names before I left to school, so please, would you stop doing it?" As a teacher or counselor, your site is supposed to be a haven, an oasis for students who should heavy loads. Is it?

You may be surprised to know that this topic is one of the top areas that many participants in our Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Youth Workshops ask us to cover. They are tired of the "the lousy attitudes of my co-workers," "how hard some teachers are on kids," "adults who are burned out," "adult rigidity and insensitivity," and "what to do when the adults make the situation much worse."

Student mental health In our workshop, counselors, principals and special ed teachers often will describe how teachers and other adults will sometimes steamroll over a fragile child, indifferent to the burdens they are adding to a child's already heavy load. One story stands out. A girl asked to go to see the nurse rather than run laps in P.E. The teacher denied the request despite repeated pleas from the child to go to the nurse, the office, or to call her mom due to what she said was severe stomach pain. Ultimately, the girl had no choice but to run the laps. She soon collapsed and almost died of a burst appendix.

No matter where we are in North America, workshop participants become the most distressed, discouraged and animated when seeking solutions for when the adults contribute to the problems that the students present. In our workshop, we actually give the participants highly unusual, but extremely effective "adult attitude adjustment devices." These decidedly unique, experiential methods can't be sufficiently captured in a quick professional development educational article like this, but here is a device that you can use with your team that could perhaps help. It will lack the drama and power of our best adult attitude adjustment devices, but it's a good starting place to get your staff thinking about how they impact students.

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As we discuss in our live and online Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Youth Workshops, changing the adults' mind about how they view and interact with students is a bit like changing peoples' opinions about religion or politics: change seldom occurs as a result of mere verbiage. Indirect, more compelling methods that shock will work best. Since we can't "shock" from an educational article on a web page vs in person, here is our next best intervention if you can't come to an upcoming live conference, on-site seminar, or online workshop presentation. In a departure from our usual pattern, be sure to note that this intervention is a quiz that is intended for use with adults, not kids. This is just an excerpt from the full quiz; to get the entire document, read the "Follow-Up" section below:

 

Student and School Mental Health Issues

Rate Your Attitude Quiz
 

school mental healthThink you're unbiased, cordial, objective and not too burned-out? Then check this out.

 

1. Problem Students
How do you view hard-to-manage students? Have you ever said "Nothing's going to work with that one?" Ever tried to convince your boss to place this child in someone else's class?

2. Special Needs Students
Have you ever said "ADD kids are just lazy kids," or "These types of kids take too much of my time"?

3. Diverse Students
Youngsters with unfamiliar accents and different skin colors may be a growing part of your group. Have you ever thought "Oh, not another one," or "He'll be slow too," about a child of a diverse background?

4. Troubled Students
Ever pushed on a poorly performing child only to discover later that the child had been hampered by beatings, illness, homelessness or tragedy?

If you answered "yes" to any of these queries, you run the risk of harming students– especially those carrying heavy loads. You run the risk of ignoring clear cues, like the P.E. teacher in the story above. You also run the risk of missing cues that are not even said out loud, like those offered by Sam.

You don't ever want to end up thinking that you would have behaved very differently– if you'd only known.

If you answered "yes," or if some of your team members should answer "yes" to the quiz questions, it's important to change beliefs and actions now before harm is done that may be irreparable. If you don't get help now from a workshop like ours,' or other resource that shows you how to manage your students differently, you run the risk of one day fearing that you bear some responsibility for Sam flinging himself into traffic. There are Sams in every setting where there are children. If you hone your skills to respond properly, you will not add to Sam's burdens, and you may even prevent him from ever running out onto the road at all.
 

Want More Student and School Mental Health Interventions
Like the Ones Above?

School Mental Health Workshops

 

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    Reprint or Repost This Article
     

    Bring the Breakthrough Strategies Workshop to Your Site

    Help Unmotivated, Failing, Troubled and Unmanageable Students

    teachermissYou have students who struggle. We have solutions for students who struggle…so your job doesn’t have to be so difficult. We have cutting-edge strategies to manage group and classroom management problems like behavior disorders, trauma, disrespect, bullying, emotional issues, withdrawal, substance abuse, tardiness, cyberbullying, delinquency, work refusal, defiance, depression, Asperger’s, ADHD and more.

     

    Schedule the Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Workshop to come to your site. This is the one professional development inservice that produces results, results, results. Call 1.800.545.5736 now. This surprisingly affordable inservice also makes a terrific fund raiser. College credit and 10 professional development clock hours are available. Your staff will finally have the more effective, real-world tools they need to work with today’s challenging, difficult youth.

     

    Contact us now, and begin solving your worst “kid problems” today. Call 1.800.545.5736, or email.

     

    Working with Troubled Students Doesn’t Have to be So Difficult
     


    Behavior & Classroom Management Problem-Solver Blog Articles

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    Contact Us*  *Not for Unsubscribing
     

    Library of Congress ISSN: 1526-9981 | Youth Change, Your Problem-Kid Problem-Solver
    http://www.youthchg.com | 1.503.982.4220 | 275 N. 3rd St; Woodburn, OR 97071
    © Copyright 2019, All Rights Reserved | Permission granted to forward magazine to others.