Taking Care of the Caretaker


A few months ago I wrote a post called, “Check your Stress!” While it had some good tools to identify whether or not you were stressed, getting to the mindset of self care is something I have observed many parents and teachers avoid even if they realize it is affecting their work and happiness. Here are a few resources out there.

Get informed

Seven Types of Self-Care Activities for Coping with Stress

Self Care Advice for Caring Professionals

The Internet Wants to Help You Take Care of Yourself Stop. Are you hungry? Then eat something before reading this.

Self-Care For Teachers by Anne Brunette, MSW, Family Therapist

How Self-Compassion Can Help Prevent Teacher Burnout

Stess Warning Signs and Symptoms

Write about it

Simple approach
Think about ways of behaving, feeling or thinking that you would like to: • stop • start • continue.
For example: I would like to stop feeling guilty that I am not doing more for my ill family member. I would like to start taking an afternoon time out just for myself, to go shopping or to do yoga or to visit with friends. I would like to continue going to a family self-help group such as the Mood Disorders Association of Ontario when this support group ends.
Write down your wishes.
Stop: ____________________________________________________________
Start: ____________________________________________________________
Continue: ____________________________________________________________

Activity : Quick wins

Get Help

Get a Therapist.  In the US or Canada this link will find a therapist for you.

Some measures of Stress and Burn out



Putting Things Into Perspective Where is your time going?

Tself-care assessment scale by Saakvitne and Pearlman from the Traumatic Stress Institute.

Ted Talk Videos

Self Care

Other Links

Self-Care for Teachers

The following resources can help you cope with some of the common sources of stress and burnout among educators and others in the helping professions.

Self-Care Review – Checklist

Student SELF-CARE Manual (Good tools)

Self-Care Domains In each domain, list the activities you are doing to take care of yourself.

My Self Care Plan

Workbook with Self Care tools

Self Care Strategies


Podcasts for Educators


So awhile back I walked into a classroom after school and the teacher was listening to an educational Podcast on classroom behavior. He introduced me to a series of Podcasts on the BAM! Radio Network. It is now the largest all-education talk radio network in the world, offering programming from the nation’s top education organizations and thought leaders and reaching a wide audience of people passionately committed to quality education.

The K-12 Greatest Hits is a good place to start.


Collections / Themes

The On Being radio podcast series is inspiring and educational. This is a sight to grab some inspiration!

Other Notable Sources

Best Education Podcasts

50 Educational Podcasts You Should Check Out

Best Educational Use Of Media – 2014 Edublog Awards



Developing Functional Independence in Children


All children have to learn skills that lend to their independence and autonomy. Developing  Functional Independence is a parent’s main duty. Educators can team with parents to support independence in their students by helping identifying a need and suggesting strategies that support self reliance in a child. Chores are a great way to introduce concepts of developing independence.

There are 5 questions I think you can ask that will help you as you decide how to handle the situations at home to promote independence.

  1. What things are really important to you as a family? If taking care of pets is really important and your child has a role in that, then as a family, that’s an important piece. But if no one else makes the bed in the family, for example, it may not be an important thing to expect of that child. This is what I mean by choosing what you’re going to do battle over.
  2. What things are really important to your child and their life? It may not be important to you that your child chooses their own TV programs in the evening. But for your child, it may be really important to do that. Or it may be very important for your six-year-old to pick out her own clothes. If these tasks give your child age appropriate independence, I say let them do it.
  3. Does the expectation contribute to the family or household? If your child has a responsibility to empty the dishwasher and that helps the next person who has to set the table, that’s a more important task than something that doesn’t have any connection to anyone else in the family.
  4. Can there be some give and take? Can there be a choice to do something similar but different? There may be something your child is more willing or able to do that might be more meaningful to the rest of the family. Remember, the goal is for your child to succeed at what he’s doing and to build on that success.
  5. Are there things you can do to help organize your child? Can you help structure that particular task or responsibility so that your child can be more successful? Setting it up so your child can more easily sort the recycling by having a designated area and special bins set up might do wonders to get the job done. Source



Great Video-How to Strengthen Your Parent-Child Bond

Young Children

Developmentally Appropriate Practice – Adaptive/Self-Help Skills

Developing Young Children’s Self-Regulation through Everyday Experiences

Developing children’s social and emotional skills

Child Development Principles and Theories

School Aged Children

10 Great Ways to Teach Children Responsibility

Parents told: ‘use chores to teach children basic skills’

How To: Teaching Life Skills Through Physical Education

Building Social and Emotional Skills in Elementary Students: Empathy

Across the Span Infancy to Adolescents

The ultimate guide to chores

Enhancing and Practicing Executive Function Skills with Children from Infancy to Adolescence

Responsibility: Raising Children You Can Depend On

Parenting: Raise Independent Children Are you raising responsible or contingent children?

Special Education

Building Independence In Children with Intellectual Disabilities or Autism


Life Skills Activities, Worksheets, Printables, and Lesson Plans

Lesson Plans for Teaching Self-Determination

Activity Ideas-Based on Age


Erikson was keen to improve the way children and young people are taught and nurtured, and it would be appropriate for his ideas to be more widely known and used in day-to-day life. It is good to take stock in what should be accomplished at each stage of development to help keep expectations in perspective when parenting toward independence. Source


Touch Math


TouchMath is a multisensory math program that makes critical math concepts appealing and accessible for students who struggle to understand grade-level content.

• Built on the Common Core State Standards
• Blended solution of print and technology
• Complete instructional core programs for pre-k through 2nd grade
• Additional collection of programs for upper grades
• Unique, student-friendly manipulatives to reinforce learning and differentiate instruction


Touch math is a quick and easy way to help your child learn his/her math facts. Counting on fingers may work for a time, but as the numbers get larger counting on fingers becomes cumbersome and less accurate. To be able to do “touch math” successfully your child needs to be able to count to ten forwards and backwards with ease (please practice often). Touch math uses dots in a certain pattern on numbers that we touch with a pencil to help keep track of our counting. At first this process takes time because you are putting the dots on the numbers, but as your child memorizes the patterns on each number the counting becomes more automatic and the need for the dots subsides. When completing a math fact we put dots on both numbers and we count until we run out of dots. For subtraction we place the first number in our head and count backward until we run out of dots.

The Teaching Process

Longer Teacher Training Manual

Who is it for?


Great Curriculum Resource



The ForeSight Report is a curriculum treasure trove.

It covers grades K-8 and you can sort the materials of Math, ELA/ Writing, and Science within the areas listed below.


  • Strategy
  • Engagement
  • Standards
  • Resources
  • Lesson Plan
  • Video
  • Classroom Mgnt*
  • Leadership*
  • Pedagogy*
  • Other


  17,972 Sources – Researched by Master Educators
♦  New Ideas & Best Practices From Educators Nationwide
  Guaranteed Actual Classroom Strategies & Insights
♦  Save Time and Collaboratively Develop Staff


Parenting Balanced Kids


Last night I attended the talk by Dr. Denise Pope at Cabrillo College. She recently wrote a book called – Overloaded and Underprepared: Strategies for Stronger Schools, and Healthy Successful Kids. For the past thirteen years, she has specialized in student engagement, curriculum studies, qualitative research methods, and service learning. She lectures nationally on parenting techniques and pedagogical strategies to increase student health, engagement with learning, and integrity. Her book Doing School: How We are Creating a Generation of Stressed Out, Materialistic, and Miseducated Students was awarded Notable Book in Education by the American School Board Journal.


Denise is a three-time recipient of the Stanford University Graduate School of Education Outstanding Teacher and Mentor Award. She has been featured on CNN, World News Tonight, the Today Show, NPR, among other television and radio programs. Source

She had a great message and I could not stop thinking about how applicable it was to our kids. She of course has written books (which I plan to read) and is published professionally, but what I found remarkable was the amount of resources on her website.

Here are a few:

Research based fact sheets
Crisis Information



Dr. Wendy Mogel is another champion of today’s children.

Tip Sheet

ANONYMOUS A 26 step program for good parents gone bad

Really fun video!



Movie on the topic

Social Autopsy and other social teaching tools


A social autopsy is a problem-solving strategy designed to support social skills. Students with difficulties understanding social interactions can use a social autopsy as a way to analyze the social errors they made.

Examples of where social autopsies may be used include:

• Ignoring others’ greetings

• Asking a question in a class without raising hand

• Continuing to talk on the same topic

• Sneezing without covering own mouth

The steps include:

• Identify the error. The student describes to an instructor what happened and identifies what the error was. Identifying the correct emotions about the error can be difficult. The instructor helps the student understand the moment. In addition, the instructor teaches the unspoken rules that govern people’s behavior in a given setting.

• Identify the persons who were hurt by the error. Lack of theory of mind can be an obstruction in identifying others’ feelings or thoughts about the error. Teaching theory of mind may become a central aspect for this step.

• Decide how to correct the error. The student may need to observe the natural setting in which the desired behavior can happen. The instructor helps the student identify what other people do in the same situation and how the consequences can be different.

• Develop a plan that does not cause the error. Based on the identified way to alter the error, the student makes a plan and writes down in the worksheet what to do for the next time.

Remember the Autopsy is:

 a supportive, structured, constructive strategy to foster social competence

 a problem-solving technique

 an opportunity for the child to participate actively in the process

 conducted by any significant adult in the child’s environment (teacher, parent, bus driver)

 conducted in a familiar, realistic, and natural setting

 most effective when conducted immediately after the social error

It is not:

 a punishment or scolding

 an investigation to assign blame

 controlled/conducted exclusively by an adult

 a one-time “cure” for teaching the targeted social skill

Social Skills Autopsy By Rick Lavoie


Social Autopsy – School

Blank Social Autopsy Template

Three Other Variations include:

  1. SOCCSS (Situation, Options, Consequences, Choices, Strategies, Simulations) developed by Jan Roosa. Designed to help individuals understand social situations and interactions, SOCCSS is a step-by-step problem-solving process teaching that choices have consequences. It provides an individual with decision-making techniques, including questioning and choice making. SOCCSS is a perfect intervention to incorporate into a comprehensive program plan. Source

Example SOCCSS

SOCCSS Worksheet

Situations-Options-Consequences-Choices-Strategies-Simulation (2 sided)

2. Comic strip conversations: Also developed by Carol Gray. Visual symbols such as those found in cartoons often enhance social understanding, turning abstract and elusive events into something tangible that a person can reflect upon. This can help with theory of mind, and to understand the intent behind others actions. In comic strip conversations stick figures with speech and thought bubbles are drawn to illustrate the story while the child is talking. Colors from a color chart illustrate feelings e.g. green equals kind words and thoughts, and red equals mean words and thoughts.  Source

Great in-depth PowerPoint 

Comic Strip Conversations Manual

3. Social Behavior Mapping-Developed by Michelle Garcia Winner. Social Behavior mapping teaches a student how to Connecting Behavior, Emotions and Consequences Across the Day and is geared for use by parents and professionals to help those with social thinking challenges understand what behaviors are expected and unexpected in a way that makes sense to their way of thinking.

Social Behavior Map

Example 2

Social Behavior Map Template (Expected verses Unexpected Behavior)

Support Materials- Scaling Tools


The Magic Ratio 5 to 1


According to relationship researcher John Gottman, the magic ratio is 5 to 1. What does this mean? This means that for every one negative feeling or interaction between partners, there must be five positive feelings or interactions. Stable and happy couples share more positive feelings and actions than negative ones.

Students need to feel valued and safe to take risks with their learning.




Classroom Management & the Power of Positive Reinforcement: A How To Guide


Praise’s magic reinforcement ratio: five to one gets the job done.

100+ Ways To Praise A Child

I like the imagery of the burger below, however I prefer “corrective feedback” over “criticism”.

SMART Goal Setting with Students





Edutopia article Link Source


Setting Goals: Who, Why, How?

SMART Goals Connect a School – Jan O’Neill

Student Achievement Goal Setting Guidebook (DOC)



Personal Values – Activity



Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.

Ralph Waldo Emerson


Differentiating Instruction


The graphic above demonstrates the “Interdependence of Key Classroom Elements” when executing Differentiated Instruction.

Whether you need motivation to implement differentiated instruction in the classroom or simply need reassurance that it’s working, you’ll find inspiration in these words of wisdom from Tomlinson:

  1. Every child is entitled to the promise of a teacher’s optimism, enthusiasm, time, and energy.
  2. Educators should be champions of every student who enters the schoolhouse doors.
  3. Teachers in the most exciting and effective differentiated classrooms don’t have all the answers. What they do have is optimism and determination.
  4. It is a human birthright to be a learner. There is little we do that is more important.
  5. Like students, teachers grow best when they are moderately challenged. Waiting until conditions are ideal or until you are sure of yourself yields lethargy, not growth.
  6. Teachers change either because they see the light or because they feel the heat.
  7. A great coach never achieves greatness for himself or his team by working to make all his players alike.
  8. Becoming an expert at differentiation is a career-long goal. One step at a time, you will get there.
  9. Don’t feel compelled to grade everything. There’s a time for students to figure things out and a time for judging whether they did, but the two shouldn’t always be the same.
  10. If curriculum and instruction are the heart and limbs of sound teaching, then classroom management is the central nervous system. Without the heart, there is no life, but without the nervous system, there is no function. Source

The below graph helps to further describe what the  specific aim of Differentiated Instruction.




How to Differentiate Instruction in Mixed-Ability Classrooms, 2nd Edition by Carol Ann Tomlinson

Differentiating Instruction: Making It Happen in Classrooms By Dr. Vicki Gibson

Differentiated Instruction: A Primer

Differentiated Instruction for Students with Learning Disabilities

Great PowerPoint on Using Assessment to Drive Instruction

Using Assessment to Drive Instruction PDF of a PPT

Assessments to help with the process of Differentiating Instruction

Differentiated Instruction Self-Assessment

LINK- The Bender Classroom Structure Questionnaire (a self-evaluation of your classroom)

Scoring the BCSQ

Scoring the BCSQ may be done either formally or informally. Because these techniques generally represent “best practices,” a higher score on the BCSQ is more desirable and indicates that a teacher is employing the instructional techniques that should facilitate successful inclusion. To get a general score, one may merely total the circled score for each indicator, resulting in a score that ranges from 40 (the lowest possible score) to 200. Bender (1992) reported that a group of 127 general education teachers in Georgia (from Grades 1 through 8) generated a total score of 143 (SD = 19) on this questionnaire. A group of 50 teachers from New Jersey (Grades 3 through 12) generated a score of 139 (SD = 19) on this scale. These general scores may provide some indication of how you provide varied instruction for students with learning disabilities in your class.