Linda Flanagan

How Reverse Planning for Goals Can Help Students Succeed in School

When Mamie, a 12th grader, has a long-term project ahead of her, she starts by making a list of everything she needs to do to finish the assignment. At some point in the day, she takes out her calendar and writes out—by hand—what she needs to complete. “Every day I work on a different task or topic,” she said, crossing off the work when she’s through so she can see what’s remaining. She builds in extra time in case she’s underestimated how time-consuming a particular task might be and sets reminders to keep herself on schedule.

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Making Comfort Dogs an Everyday Part of School

Cameron is no ordinary dog, and not just because he was born on Valentine’s Day. To Maggie, a first-grader at Burgundy Farm Country Day School, the Labrador/terrier mix with chestnut-brown eyes and “really fluffy” black hair who spends most days on campus is more like a friend. When Cameron is near, Maggie feels “really, really, happy,” she said. “I feel safe around him,” she added. “He’ll lay down and ask me to scratch his tummy,” she explained, because Cameron likes Maggie.

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How to Help Older Kids Develop a Sense of Imagination

Celebrated American author Ursula K. Le Guin — dubbed by the Library of Congress  in 2000 as a “living legend” for her contributions to science fiction, who died in January at the age of 88 — had strong feelings about the imagination.

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How to Find Balance When Too Much Self-Doubt Gets in the Way

By all appearances, Sophia D. is the model of a successful student. A senior at an Ivy League college, she has maintained a grade-point average of 3.75 while working 10 hours a week, joining a sorority and running regularly. She carries herself with a subtle swagger that suggests confidence without arrogance, competence without hubris. She seems poised to conquer the world.
“Self-doubt drives me,” she said with a weak smile when asked to explain the root of her ambition. “It’s the key to my success.”

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How Ending Behavior Rewards Helped One School Focus on Student Motivation and Character

Handing out colored bracelets and upbeat stickers when students behave well seems like an effective strategy for encouraging civility. Little prizes and public praise would seem to encourage honesty, generosity and other marks of good character, and for years schools have relied on such rewards to elicit the behavior they desire in their students.

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How a School Ditched Awards and Assemblies to Refocus on Kids and Learning

When Paula Gosal took over as principal of the Chilliwack Middle School, she walked smack into the middle of a long-standing debate among the staff over awards. It wasn’t exactly a rumble that Gosal was tossed into so abruptly in the fall of 2016. Most of the teachers at this school for seventh- through ninth-graders in British Columbia had read the literature on awards, and were looking for feedback and support from their new principal. The majority wanted to do away with the school’s awards and awards assemblies, and needed the backing of their principal to make it happen.

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For Teachers Who Dread Math, Finding a Better Way

Several years ago, former fourth-grade teacher Tracy Johnston Zager took an informal survey of two groups of people to find out how they feel about math: mathematicians and teachers who teach math. She discovered that while mathematicians used words like “beauty” and “wonder” to describe math, teachers recalled “dread” and “fear.” These words aligned with what Zager had observed in her job mentoring student teachers who expressed similar reservations about math.

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How to Design a School That Prioritizes Kindness and Caring

Countless schools across the nation strive to make character a feature of education. Whether through classes on social-emotional learning, mindfulness exercises or reminders about the virtues of gratitude, thousands of students are exposed to messages that deplore cheating and bullying and celebrate kindness and consideration.

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How Teens Can Develop And Share Meaningful Stories With ‘The Moth’

Aleeza Kazmi endured her first identity crisis when she was 6 years old. It was during a first-grade art class, when she and her classmates were drawing self-portraits. Seeing herself as just like her white-skinned peers, Kazmi reached for the peach-colored oil pastel to fill in her face. Just then, her teacher intervened. “That’s not your color,” the teacher told her, and handed Kazmi a stubby brown crayon instead. “That was the first time I realized I wasn’t white like all my friends,” she said.

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How Making Kindness a Priority Benefits Students

He goes by Ice, but Tanapat Treyanurak is known among his peers at Hamilton College for his disarming warmth. He grew up in a village in Thailand, where he lived with two older brothers, his mother and father, and his grandmother. Both parents worked long hours, so Ice spent considerable time with his grandmother, who encouraged him to be kind.

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