Calling on Students and Making Groups: Tips You Can Use Monday

In the last few posts we looked at some of the reasons why THAT student may have become THAT student.  The main idea was to look for positive things about THAT student, and that would shift your focus a little bit.

Today we will look at a couple of management ideas.  Remember, classroom management is not discipline.  Management is how the classroom is run.  Discipline is about what we do when a student steps out of line.

One thing that happens when we have THAT student in class is we start to call on students to answer questions a little bit differently.  First, we tend to call on students we think are most able to answer the particular kind of question we are asking.  If we subconsciously think Aaron is more capable, we call on him to answer questions that take higher levels of thinking.  If we subconsciously think Leia is less capable, we call on her to answer questions that have yes or no answers, or questions that involved low level thinking skills.

One of Roe’s Rules is about hand-raising.  Here it is:  There are two kinds of students who raise their hands to answer a question.  One is the student who actually knows the answer.  The other is the kid that wants to look like s/he knows the answer.  That’s the one who always answers, “I forgot”, when we call on him/her.  There are also two kinds of students who do not raise their hands.  One is the student who is praying, “Oh, please don’t call on me!”  The other is either day-dreaming or thinking, “Yeah, I know the answer but I’m not going to tell that !@#$% teacher what it is.”

I got to thinking about who does and who does not raise their hand, and about how we educators subconsciously direct particular kinds of questions to students who we think are capable of answering them.  I wondered how I could get every student to participate in answering questions without my subconscious running the show.  The solution was Roe’s Card Trick.

Here is how it works:  Write each student’s name on a 3×5 card.  (Or you can buy half size cards.  I liked the half size ones but I used to cut my cards myself.  I liked the half sized ones because they fit into the too small pockets manufacturers put into women’s pants.)  You now have a deck of X number of cards.  You can use this stack to call on students.  You ask a question, look at the name on the top of the deck of names, and then put that card on the bottom of the stack.

That’s where I discovered a flaw.  I discovered that once I had called on Aaron and put his name at the bottom of the stack, Aaron figured he will not be called on again until every other student in the class was called on.  That gave Aaron “permission” to start doing everything except pay attention to what was going on in class.

The solution was to have a second deck of cards with the students’ names.  Now you have a larger deck of cards and every student’s name is in the deck twice.  Students don’t know if their name is going to be first and fourth or tenth and twentieth.

Here is the procedure I taught the students.

  • Do not raise your hands to answer questions. I will call on you using this deck of cards.  Each student’s name is in the deck twice.
  • I will shuffle the deck regularly so we don’t know where your name will come up. You will have to pay attention to be able to answer a question when I call on you because you won’t know when the cards will turn up your name.  Because your name is in the deck twice, I could call on you right now and you don’t know if your name will be next again, or if it will come up again 15 names from now.
  • Now you may be thinking, what if I don’t know the answer? That’s not a problem.  If you don’t know the answer after a few seconds, I’ll put the card back into the deck more into the middle.  That means you’ll probably get called on again soon.  But it also means that nothing bad happens if you don’t know the answer.
  • Let’s try it out. Here is the question:  How do you get a turn to answer questions?  (Look at the cards and call on the student whose name is on top.)  Leia?  Yes, that’s right.  I will call on students using the cards.  Next question is this:  . . .

With a little practice, students got the idea.  They liked that it wasn’t real high stakes to get called on to answer a question because they could pass without a penalty – and in the first couple of weeks that I used them, I would make sure it was not the least bit high stakes by making sure my face was in neutral if a student didn’t know the answer.  We both liked that things moved along faster because I was not waiting to see who raised their hands.

Sometimes I would put my name into the deck, or I would answer questions if I turned up the name of a student who was absent.  The students got a kick out of me having to answer questions, especially if I pretended to be a student when answering.  (All those years in drama club helped a lot!)

I know some teachers use popsicle sticks to call on students.  That can be okay, but there are some drawbacks to using those.  First, usually each student’s name is in the can only once so if the student is called on, he knows he probably won’t be called on again.  Second, it is difficult to carry the popsicle sticks around, so they really work best when the teacher isn’t mobile.  When you use the cards, you can slip them in your pocket as you walk around the room.  The third thing is that some teachers make a production out of stirring the sticks, and selecting one.  This means that the lesson doesn’t flow along as quickly.  (THAT student often has difficulty with the time gap between when a question or directive is given and when it is executed.)

As time went on, I discovered another use for the cards.

I used a lot of small groups when I taught elementary and middle school.  One of the complaints I got regularly was from students who felt they were being burdened with being put into a group with THAT student.  I know a lot of education gurus recommend putting students into groups for the long term.  I tried that, but found that whatever group THAT student was in was the one that had the most problems and the most complaints.  I tried several different ideas when the idea struck me:  use the cards!  (Right now I’m thinking “Use the cards, Luke” in Obi Wan Kenobi’s voice.)

I changed the cards a little bit.  I used two different colors of cards.  Let’s say one set of cards is yellow.  Each has a student’s name on it.  The other set of cards is green and each has a student’s name on it as well.  Shuffled together they look pretty colorful and can be used as described above.  But when it is time to divide students into groups, the teacher can separate out one color of card, and then deal those out into however many groups s/he wants.  The students see that the group members are being selected randomly and they feel less targeted.  And because the groups are changed with every group project, they know whomever else is in the group, it is a temporary grouping.

The routine went like this:

  • Class, in just a minute I’m going to put you into groups to ___ (whatever the task is going to be).
  • You will need to have a pencil, your notebook, your textbook. While you are getting those out, I am going to shuffle the cards.  (I’d quickly separate out the colors of cards and deal the cards out.)
  • Are you ready? Okay, do NOT move until I’ve said all the names.  When you hear which group you are in, hold up that number of fingers to you don’t forget.
  • Group one is . . . . and you will sit here. Group two is . . . and you will sit here.  (Etc.)
  • Do you know what group you are in?   You may go to your group’s area now.

I found it was useful to use some humor when looking at who wound up in which group.  For example, I had two young men in a seventh grade science class who had been best friends since they were born.  They had a bit of a problem being in a group together because they would talk about off topic subjects.  So if their names came up in the same group, I’d dramatically act like that was the worst thing ever and raise my eyebrow at one or the other.  They’d laugh and I’d continue with the melodrama and say something like, “Well, if you are sure you can manage to work together . . . “  They’d laugh some more and we’d move on.

I would usually deal out the cards for the group very quickly, and then scoop them up and reshuffle them quickly as well.  That was so the students didn’t get into the habit of looking at the names I’d dealt.  Why?  Well, besides the fact that I wanted the students to listen the first time, I have a little confession:  I didn’t always tell the truth about whose name was in which group.  If two students were likely to attempt to kill each other if they were in the same group, I’d quickly change one of the names out of that group and into another.  The students were none the wiser.  I’d show them the names just often enough that they thought I was always being honest.

Okay, I have a second confession:  I wasn’t always honest about whose name I called when asking questions either.  But I was pretty careful about this.  I only skipped over students if I thought someone was having a very, very bad day.  I don’t mean like they had an argument with a friend kind of bad day.  I mean the “he didn’t get any sleep last night because his parents were too drunk and too loud” kind of day.

I’ve used Roe’s Card Trick with elementary, middle, high school, college, and teachers.  Out of the four groups, the one group that had the most difficulty with it was the college students.  They would often pause too long before trying to answer, or would ask me to repeat the question.  The latter was often because they had gotten into the habit of not paying attention to questions.  I think this is because college students have already had 13 years of K-12 education where students were called on by raising hands, and because college students are often multi-tasking during class.  (I can’t tell you the number of times I observed students writing papers for another class or messaging others on their laptops.)

What this illustrates is that if you introduce your own “Card Trick” to use with your class after the school year has begun, you will need to allow students a little bit of time to practice the procedure before it becomes an established routine.

If you want to make absolutely sure that you are not subconsciously directing only certain kinds of questions to certain kinds of students, and that you are being completely fair in creating groups, use the Card Trick.  It honestly works great!


The plan for next week is to look at my godmother’s statement of “Never ask questions you don’t want to know the answer to”.


The OTHER Relationship to Nurture

I usually post on Sundays, but I just read an essay by a parent that triggers this response:

We all know relationships are a very important part of being a teacher.  Who hasn’t heard the saying that kids won’t care about learning unless they know you care about them?  In the last two posts, I’ve encouraged you to try to find something THAT student does that is positive.  Looking for the positives in a student can change our whole perspective!

There is another person (or persons) with whom we need to establish a positive relationship:  the parent.  If you are like many teachers, you read that line and rolled your eyes.  After all, if THAT student had parents who cared, would s/he be such a challenge?

Let me share a little story about me.  I have a son.  When he was a child, he was very challenging, both at home and at school.  From what I head from teachers, A was rude, defiant, lazy, distracted, and he did not turn in homework.  I used to feel sick when it was time for parent-teacher conferences.  I wouldn’t sleep the night before.  I knew I would hear a litany of negative things about the little boy I loved.

To make matters worse, I was an educator, for goodness sake!  I knew what was expected of a child in school.  I knew how to get 30+ kids in a single room to behave and how to instill a sense of self-discipline.  What A’s teachers did not seem to know was that every day I did all of the things that I knew were supposed to work, all of the things I had suggested to parents during a parent-teacher conference myself.  I never found a particularly good way to tell the teachers that A had an assigned homework time, that if he didn’t bring his homework home, he would be assigned homework by me.  He had a bedtime that was enforced.  He was encouraged to read and explore his interests.  He was forced to practice his saxophone daily.  We played chess.  He did chores.  He was disciplined when he make a poor behavior choice.  Screen time was limited.  We did things together.  In short, we did all of the things one would expect a parent of a “good” kid to do.  And if I did manage to tell the teacher these things, it was always clear that s/he didn’t believe me.

As I would listen to teachers tell me things like, “He’s smart but . . .”, I would cringe inside.  As the teacher began to speak in a more and more patronizing tones, I would take a firm grip on my anger with both hands.  I would feel furious and guilty at the same time.  At school functions I felt like teachers were whispering among themselves, “You see her over there?  That’s A’s mom.  Did you know . . .”  After all, I had heard teachers say such things in the school where I taught, so why wouldn’t the same be true at A’s school?  I felt judged and belittled.

(Yes, A is smart.  He earned the second highest ACT score in the state the year he took that exam, but he graduated from high school with a 1.0 grade point average.  He managed to raise his GPA that high the day before graduation by showing the English teacher the novel he was allegedly writing; he’d managed to knock off the first three chapters the night before.)

This repeated for every parent-teacher conference for every year A was in school.  I figure that is about 26 conferences, and that does not count telephone contacts or letters or “mid-term reports” that would usually arrive just about in time for report cards to come out and it does not count the times I was asked to come to the school for a “special” conference.  Is it any wonder that I felt stressed and angry and fearful at the thought of going to conferences or attending school functions?

My son was diagnosed with ADD when he was very young, back when it was called “minimal brain dysfunction.”  I did all of the things the doctors recommended:  medication, changing his diet, using behavior modification strategies.  I would try to talk to teachers each school year about what that kind of diagnosis meant and how I wanted to work with them so that we would be a united team to help A reach his potential.  Each year the teachers would demonstrate that they did not really understand ADD (“He pays attention to the computer well enough!”) and they began to assign the “challenging” label to him, and would talk about his “bad behavior.”

Although I lobbied for my son, and even though I repeatedly requested 504 plans, I was consistently told that he did not qualify.  I heard this even when I was working on my masters and studying education law.  I knew he qualified for many things, but the schools told me he did not and that if I would just do this or that, he would “straighten out.”

I can honestly say that in A’s whole school career I only heard one positive thing about him and that was from the school principal when I was called in to discuss some other infraction.

Why do I tell you all this?  To show that I have a prejudice?  To gain some sympathy?  No.  I tell you this because I have a unique perspective:  I’ve seen students’ behavior from both sides of the desk – from the perspective of a teacher, from the perspective of a parent, and, later, from the perspective of a school principal.

Because of this unique perspective, I learned something:  parents who care deeply about their child’s school success can be alienated from the whole school system.

If you’ve taught for any time at all, you know what it is like to deal with parents who are alienated from the schools.  These are the parents who do not answer emails, who do not return phone calls, and who do not come to school functions.  They are the parents who are hostile when we do catch up to them or who seem to dismiss our suggestions and requests.  They can be the parents we dread to contact because we know they will yell or blame us for whatever the student is doing.  Eventually we start to shake our heads and talk about how so-and-so’s parents let him or her get away with murder and who just don’t care.

Raising A taught me many things.  One thing is that parents do care.  They may not care in the way you would like them to care, but they do care.  They are doing the best they can, and while we educators may not agree with how they deal with school issues, they are trying to raise their child well.

Don’t get me wrong!  It only takes a single trip to WalMart or the grocery store to see parenting styles that any teacher would classify in the fail column!  Nonetheless, parents do care.

So why do so many parents act like they don’t care?  Because of their previous experiences with the school, and their perception of what the “school” thinks of their child.

I tried an experiment when I was still in the classroom.  I was reading on my never ending quest to know more about classroom management and discipline, and I found a suggestion that I contact every student’s parent(s) with something positive about him or her at least once a month.  I was teaching middle school at the time and saw more than 100 students per day.  I wasn’t sure I had enough time to do it, but I gave it a try.  I was overwhelmed by the response.  I heard parents sob on the other end of the phone and tell me they had never once heard anything good about their child from the school.  I had parents tell me that they were surprised that anyone at the school liked their child.  Suddenly I had parents describing me as one of the “good” teachers even though I was strict.  In fact, they would praise my being strict with their child.  The principal called me into her office to tell me that she’d received phone calls about me, positive phone calls.

Why did they react this way?  I think the parents defined it best:  they believed those positive phone calls meant that I liked their child.  Later, if I had occasion to make a call about something negative the student did, they were much more willing to listen and to discuss what we, together, could do about it.

I tried the same tactic when I became a principal.  I could not contact every student’s family every month, but I picked out the kids who had a reputation for being chronic troublemakers.  I watched those kids and made calls about the positive things they did.  The response again was positive.

(You can read a short essay I wrote about this in ASCD Express: )

So besides your relationship with the students, there is another relationship for you to nurture:  your relationship with parents.  Yes, there are parents with whom it is very easy to establish that positive relationship.  It is more challenging to contact the “helicopter” parents and still more challenging to work on the relationship with those parents who have a reputation for not caring or for hating the school system  It can be done, and the rewards are enormous.  Every positive contact a teacher makes is like putting money into the bank.  When that day arrives when the teacher has to make that contact about the student’s negative behavior, that “bank account” pays huge dividends!

Don’t forget that not every household has internet access.  It costs money that many families do not have, and it is hard to come by in rural areas.  Email is convenient, but it is not the only way to contact parents.  I learned to love voice mail.  I could make a call, leave a quick message – “Hi, this is Ms. Roe from school.  I just wanted to let you know that . . .”  I came to believe that there was something more personal about using the phone anyway.

Give it a try!  Hopefully, you are already looking for positive things about each of the students, especially THAT student, as suggested in previous posts.  You know some of the reasons we form negative opinions about students and are, hopefully, working on ways to overcome the self-fulfilling prophesy.  Take the next step and start to let parents know about the positive things you’ve noticed about their child.  It is well worth the effort!

Where Do Those Opinions Come From?

In the last post, we looked at how the self-fulfilling prophesy can affect teachers and students, and a way to start changing those expectations.  But how do we get these ideas about kids in the first place?  We will look at that and at another idea for working with THAT student.

Have you ever heard another teacher say something like, “Oh, well, you know she’s my BD kid,” or “What can you expect with parents like that?” or “Can you believe that kid was allowed to leave the house dressed like that?”  All of those statements show that a teacher has formed a certain opinion about a student, and that s/he believes the other teachers share that opinion.

We form opinions about things all day long.  Our opinions are based upon a set of rules our brains have set up to keep us safe, emotionally and physically.  Those mental rules are based on our experiences, our up-bringing, and our values and beliefs.  The brain evaluates whatever is in our environment based on those rules and sends messages that govern the way we think and the way we act.  We are not always conscious of the rules our brain has set up for us, but we are influenced by those rules anyway.  (If you want to read a short article on how we form opinions of others, look at this brief overview: )

(When the brain’s rules add up to “threat” the body responds in a way that we label “stress”!  Understanding how and why we form opinions can help us manage our stress levels.)

Most schools are based on middle class values and norms (Indiana University, 2016).  Anything that falls outside of those values tends to be looked at as something that is not desirable and a threat to the environment.  Add to the mix our experiences as brand new teachers who were not particularly adept at classroom management.  Our experiences with students who act out become part of our belief system about who is and who is not capable in the classroom.  Toss into the mix what other teachers have said about this or that kid and their families, what we read in a student’s file, and experiences with THAT student’s family, siblings, or friends.  Remember, the brain’s rules are set up to keep us safe from threats, so anything that deviates from what it sees as normal is perceived as a threat to our school environment and “threat” translates as “stressor”.

So our opinions, usually unconscious, are based on our beliefs and experiences.  But research shows that there are certain student characteristics that will most likely cause the teacher to mentally classify the student as being less capable than other students.  Take a look at these characteristics:

  • Gender – believing that boys or girls are better at X; this could also be when a child of one gender does things that are usually associated with the other gender, like boys who cry easily or girls who get into fist fights
  • Socio-economic status – believing that those who live in poverty behave or act in certain ways and believing that those with more money than the norm behave in certain ways
  • Ethnicity – this can include things like being from a different religion than the majority of the students or adults in the school
  • Cultural background – culture is a complex topic, but the short version is this: if a student’s culture differs from the teacher’s or the majority of the students s/he can be viewed as less capable
  • Previous experience with siblings or relatives – believing that if a student’s older sibling behaved in a certain way, this student will, too.
  • Clothing – if a student wears dirty clothes, clothes that are dissimilar to other students, clothes that are too big or too small, clothes that would be more appropriate on an older or younger child, etc.
  • Hygiene – a student who appears dirty or who smells, and students who do things like pick their noses, wipe their noses on their hands or sleeves.
  • Being “too quiet” or “too loud”
  • Having a chronically messy desk or locker, or turning in work that is messy or crumpled
  • Acting immaturely
  • Parents who are different from the parents of other children
  • Labels – students who are labeled as needing extra help, who have been classified as needing special education or Title I help are often viewed as less capable

I have never met a teacher who would say s/he treats any student poorly.  Every teacher would say she believes wholeheartedly that every student can learn and that s/he treats students equally.  And I believe every teacher truly wants to treat each and every student with love and compassion.  But our values and beliefs can get in the way.  Remember, much of our opinions are formed unconsciously.

No matter how a teacher forms his beliefs that certain students are more capable than others,  what happens as a result of those beliefs is that he treats the students differently in very subtle ways.  He smiles more at those he thinks are more capable.  He directs certain kinds of questions to the students he believes are more capable and a different kind of questions to those he believes are less capable.  She calls on students to answer different kinds of questions based on her beliefs about the students.  In short, the teacher creates a very different kind of social and emotional climate in the classroom for those she believes are more or less capable than others.  And this happens in the exact same classroom at the exact same time.

Students are perceptive and they can tell if a teacher likes them, or if a teacher seems stressed out when interacting with them.

So if this is mostly unconscious, how do we change it?  The first thing to do is to look for good things about each student.  You were asked to do that in the last blog post.  The next thing is this:

Look at the bulleted list above and think about whether or not THAT student fits into any of those categories.  If s/he does, think about how you might be treating him/her differently than other students.  If nothing particularly comes to mind, don’t panic.  Remember, much of this is unconscious.

Next, resolve to get to know THAT student a little better.  What does THAT student do when not in school?  What makes THAT student laugh?  What does THAT student know a lot about?  What does THAT student want to be when s/he grows up?  Now, you may not always like or approve of the answers to those questions, but that is not the point.  The idea is to get to know THAT student a little bit better.

The final thing to do, to improve classroom management, is to try to set a friendly tone for THAT student and for all the students entering the classroom.  Harry and Rosemary Wong recommend greeting every student at the door.  Standing at the door and saying, “Good morning” or “How are you today?” or “Did you see that play in the last quarter?” to each student is a step towards creating a friendly, respectful classroom environment.  If you want to take another step forward, try shaking hands with each student as s/he is about to enter.  This isn’t as easy as it sounds.  When we have had negative experiences with a student, it is much more difficult to look at him/her directly, to smile at him/her, let alone shake his/her hand.  On the other hand, it is a bit more difficult to act negatively towards someone you’ve greeted in this way.

Remember, there are no magic bullets when trying to turn around THAT student.  Celebrate your baby steps.  You may even want to make a little, secret list of the things you’ve done to create a positive relationship with THAT student, and try to add something to that list every day.


Next time we will look at another idea you can start using right away with THAT student.

Post Script:  Immediately after publishing this post, I stumbled over this article about a new study that shows amazing things that happen because teachers greet students at the door.  You can read the article here:

Ashley Peterson-DeLuca, C. M. (2016, October 11). Top five qualities of effective teachers, according to students. Retrieved September 23, 2018, from Pearson Education:

Indiana University. (2016, August). Teachers Favor Middle Class Behaviors by Students. Retrieved September 23, 2018, from Science Daily:

Sezer, S. (May 2017). Novice Teachers’ Opinions on Students’ Disruptive Behaviours: A Case Study. Eurasian Journal of Educational Research (EJER), 199-219.

Wong, H. and Wong, R. (2018). The First Days of School: How to be an effective teacher 5e. Harry K. Wong Publications.

Help for Working with THAT KID

Does this sound familiar?

You cringed just a little when you saw that name on your class lists.  You’ve heard from last year’s teachers about THAT KID, and the news wasn’t good.  You sigh, and think, “Okay, I will do my best and hope that over the summer THAT KID grew up a bit or learned to behave.”

The school year starts and you’ve prepared well.  Things start out pretty well, but THAT KID has crossed the line a few times already.  You give the consequences you’ve specified in your discipline plan, but THAT KID doesn’t seem to care and continues to push the limits.  You’ve called home but the parents were hostile and defensive.  You’ve sent THAT KID to the office, but that didn’t help.  Your stress level increases.  You start to wonder why THAT KID is never sick.   You’ve done just about everything you can think of except deciding to move to France.  The mere mention of that kid’s name makes you tense up.

What are you going to do?

That is what we are going to look at in this blog:  Just what you can do to turn THAT KID around, or at least give you some peace and less stress.

THAT KID could be any kid, at any age, male or female, rich or poor, any race or ethnicity, any religion or creed, any level of intelligence.  However, it is more likely that certain kids get a reputation for being difficult.  We will look at that in the next post.

Let’s look at one of the reasons why THAT KID seems to push your buttons.

Have you ever considered buying a certain car (or other item)?  You’ve given it some careful thought and you think you know what you want.  Suddenly, you start seeing that particular kind of car almost everywhere – in the grocery parking lot, waiting for the light to change, going down the street past your house.

You’ve just experienced something called the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon.  Some people call it a frequency illusion.  (You can read a quick article on this phenomenon at or a short definition by the person who named this phenomenon, Arnold M. Zwicky, at )  What has happened is that your brain has been put on alert to notice a particular thing.  Then when you see it, your thinking about that thing is confirmed –“Yep, I knew it!  That car is the best because everyone seems to have one!”

When we translate this into the classroom, what happens is this:  You’ve heard X about THAT KID and your brain is subconsciously alerted to notice the things you’ve heard about THAT KID.  Now, your brain does the same thing with the kids that have a reputation for being angelic.  For example, if you’ve heard that Ellie is helpful and kind to others, when you see her whispering to another student, your brain thinks, “Yes, there it is.  Ellie is helping that other student.”  That’s great, but the opposite is also true.  When you see THAT KID whispering to another student, your brain associates that behavior with the negative things you’ve heard and you think, “Oh, THAT KID!  I wonder what he’s plotting now?”

Every teacher consciously believes that s/he gives every student an equal chance to succeed, however the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon contributes to a self-fulfilling prophesy, something that happens without our conscious effort.  It works like this:  you develop a particular idea about a student; you see the student do something and attribute that behavior to what you’ve heard about the kid; that confirms what you’ve been told.  That confirmation means we look for the behavior all the more, and that means we act a bit differently towards that kid and s/he lives up or down to the expectations our behavior has communicated to him/her.  What’s worse, the whole process is subconscious.

Let’s be very, very clear – we do not do this consciously.  This is unconscious, and not done on purpose!  Few if any teachers consciously think:  I can’t wait to treat THAT KID differently than I do the rest of the class.

This information is all well and good, but what can you do right now, today, to start to relieve your stress?

Try this:  make a list of good things about THAT KID.  This isn’t always easy, especially if THAT KID has been a thorn in your side for a while.  However, by consciously thinking, “I want to notice good things about THAT KID,” you start to break the cycle of the self-fulfilling prophesy.  For example, you might start to eavesdrop when THAT KID whispers to another and find out THAT KID is just asking to borrow a pencil, or you may hear THAT KID is asking if the other student wants to borrow something.

It’s that simple:  start to really look for good things about that kid.  Yes, it may be difficult to do, but there are rewards that are almost immediate.  First, it is much more pleasurable to look for positive things than it is to only notice negative things.  Second, you are less stressed when you think about positives because when you do not notice mostly negative things your body does not react as if you are in a threatening situation.  Third, you begin to chip away at that self-fulfilling prophesy which is the start of a turn-around for THAT KID.

Give it a try!


Next time we will look at how kids get a negative reputation.  You may be surprised at some of the ways.

by Kathryn Roe