As many of you know, I was absent on Monday because I was attending a seminar about emotional regulation and how to create a more positive learning environment in the classroom. I learned a lot of valuable information that will guide my teaching and help me better understand my students. Here are some of the takeaways... - Willamette Primary is ahead of the game. Thanks to the vision of our district and amazing individuals like our school counselor, Mark Silverman, we have a common language in our school to help students regulate their emotions. Our school and district stay up to date with the latest research and teachers are regularly given time to read and discuss this research in order to put best practices to use. This seminar strengthened my already strong belief that Willamette is a leader in fostering resilient learners. - Children learn best in the classroom when the culture is one where they feel safe, it is predictable, and it is consistent. - When students are exhibiting certain behaviors (manipulative, dramatic, clingy, oppositional, flighty, disinterested, aggressive, etc.) they are trying to tell us something. It is most helpful to view these behaviors through a need fulfillment lens. Teachers should be looking to identify a student's needs rather than simply reacting to their behaviors. - Communication is key! 98% of all conflict is rooted in miscommunication. - Educators/parents need to be mindful of whether their emotions are regulated before responding to a stressed student/child. - A positive learning environment requires the "New 3 R's": Relationships (establish and maintain them), Responsibility (give clear expectations and hold everyone accountable), and Regulation (calm and focused brain that is learning-ready) - When in doubt, shut your mouth and take a breath. - I heard the following quote and immediately texted it to my wife as a reminder to both of us of the importance of our job as role models to our daughters: "Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others; it is the ONLY means." - Albert Einstein If you're interested in learning more, I would recommend that you pick up a copy of the book, Fostering Resilient Learners by the presenters, Kristin Souers and Pete Hall.