Divorce can be hard on kids


In working with kids, I have found varying levels of resiliency with coping with divorce. Most kids that go through a divorce will have needs over time to be addressed. Here are some ideas and resources.


Great resources for parents-

Guides, Concepts, and Models

SMILE: An educational program for separating and divorced parents with minor children

Helping Kids Cope with Separation and Divorce



Separated fathers: Fathers, Separation and Co-Parenting

Divorce: A Parents’ Guide for Supporting Children (NASP)


The Parenting Plan

Impacts on kids

The Effects of Divorce on Children

Long-term Effects of Divorce

Phone Apps

DIVORCEWORKS is designed by two psychologists with 3 decades of experience working with families going through separation and divorce. The app helps people cope with this transition mindfully and in a sane manner.

Teacher Resources

Practical tips for educators


Kid Resources

Appreciating the child’s point of view and position is important.

Divorce Brings Many Changes

Divorce is about loss — loss of the family as the child has known it, sometimes even the loss of a familiar home and often many other changes. Loss sometimes brings deep sadness and anger. One thing we can give children is the right to feel — the right to feel sad and angry…the right to feel pain…along with the security of knowing that they still do have adults in their life that will care for them and love them.

The Importance of Rules

Children want to know that some things will not change. They need to know there will still be rules. Rules help them feel secure and loved. Especially if children feel omnipotent, they need firm rules. Even though they may fight the rules, they really do feel more secure knowing that adults are in charge.

Expressing Feelings

Encourage children to use words like “I’m mad” or “I’m sad” when they’re having a tough day. That’s so much better than lashing out at other people or damaging things. One of the most important uses of language is expressing feelings.

Suggest physical activity, like pounding play clay, running in the yard, digging in a pile of dirt, or playing at a playground — all of which can help children drain off some of the tension of angry feelings. You could also encourage drawing pictures, talking to and for a puppet, or making up stories.

Read together children’s books about divorce. Hearing about other children who are dealing with divorce and talking about pictures in a book can often encourage children to bring up their own feelings and concerns.

Even though divorce can be hard to talk about, whatever we can talk about often becomes more manageable. Children need to know that the divorce is not their fault — it’s because of a problem between the grownups. Source

Resources for children

Alpert-Gillis, Linda, and Bernadette Melnyk. Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches Never Change. Rochester, N.Y.: University of Rochester Medical Center, 1993.

Grindley, Sally. A New Room for William. Cambridge, Mass.: Candlewick Press, 2000.

Lansky, Vicki. It’s Not Your Fault, Koko Bear: A Read-Together Book for Parents and Young Children During Divorce. Minnetonka, Minn.: Book Peddlers, 1998.

Stern, Zoe, Evan, and Ellen. Divorce is Not the End of the World. Berkeley, Calif.: Tricycle Press, 1997.

Migrant Students and Trauma

Some of our students who’s parents are migrant farm workers are preparing to go back to Mexico over the Winter School break. Some of our students may encounter an event that could cause undo stress and trauma. This post is gear towards gaining understanding around how to support trauma at school.

Undocumented immigrant children and youth are frequently subject to particularly traumatic experiences, including racial profiling, ongoing discrimination, exposure to gangs, immigration raids, the arbitrary checking of family members’ documentation status, forcible removal or separation from their families, placement in detention camps or in child welfare, and deportation. Source

Teachers are also affected by the stress of some of the fall out that occurs in migration and immigration issues. Here is a quick conclusion to a recent study of those who work with migrant immigrants.

” Although there is an increased interest regarding factors that contribute to immigrants’ mental health, little attention has been given to the psychological needs of Mexican immigrants affected by deportation. Research focused on this population is necessary in order to better understand and generate appropriate interventions for working with Mexican immigrants affected by deportation. Similarly, experiences of professionals with a history of working with this population may identify potential challenges and provide recommendations for working with this population. Furthermore, it is important that educators and mental health training programs offer additional training in multiculturalism to those students interested in working with this population.” 

The Heart of Learning and Teaching: Compassion, Resiliency, and Academic Success

Teacher toolkit on trauma

Preliminary Adaptations for Working with Traumatized Latino/Hispanic Children and their Families

When Immigration Is Trauma: Guidelines for the Individual and Family Clinician

Partnering with Parents and Families to Support Immigrant and Refugee Children at School

How Today’s Immigration Enforcement Policies Impact Children, Families, and Communities- A View from the Ground


Helping immigrant children heal

Immigrant Children and PTSD PowerPoint

Responding to Students with PTSD in Schools

How to Support Refugee Students in the ELL Classroom

Mexico’s Violence and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Immigrant Children: A Call for Collaboration Among Educators

Evidence-Based Practices with Latino Youth: A Literature Review

Migrant Health Issues Mental Health and Substance Abuse

Brochures/Fact Sheets


 Migrant Farmworker Families: Books for Kids

Slow Learners


Children with less ability, such as slow learners or students with low average intelligence, could not be expected to learn as well because their potential was less and, therefore, their difficulties in learning could be explained (Meyer, 2000).

Helping Slow Learners Succeed

In this Principal Leadership article, McGill University professor Steven Shaw focuses on slow learners, many of whom, he says, fall through “one of the largest and most pervasive cracks in the educational system.” Students with borderline intelligence, who make up about 14 percent of the student population, don’t quality for special education but often do poorly in regular classrooms and high-stakes tests. “Standard systems and supports are often ineffective – even counterproductive – because they fail to meet students’ specific learning needs and instead create a cycle of failure,” says Shaw. “By the time many of these students get to high school, their academic difficulties and related self-perceptions and attitudes toward learning are entrenched.” They are disproportionately kept back, get in trouble, drop out, and are underemployed, unemployed, or incarcerated. Still, many slow learners graduate from high school and complete postsecondary education.

Shaw lists some keys to success:

– Making sure they have close relationships with one or two staff members;

– Maximizing academically engaged time and providing extra time on task;

– Breaking down lessons and tasks into manageable chunks;

– Presenting information concretely versus abstractly and relating it to real-world experiences;

– Using hands-on activities and computer-assisted instruction to reinforce learning;

– Helping students relate new material to previous learning and organize it for effective memory storage;

– Providing repetition and frequent practice of discrete skills applied to different challenges;

– Helping students generalize skills and knowledge and apply them to new situations;

– Providing a variety of ways to demonstrate competence;

– Pairing students with peer mentors; – Helping them set long-term goals and manage their time;

– Helping them develop academic motivation by getting them involved in activities they enjoy and in which they are successful;

– Maintaining high expectations and rewarding genuine effort.

It’s a myth that slow learners need slow-paced instruction, says Shaw. “Slower-paced instruction is a surefire recipe for falling further behind,” he says. “Students with borderline intellectual functioning require more practice opportunities in the same amount of time as their average-ability peers. An appropriately paced classroom is one that is well organized, that uses computer-assisted instruction, and is taught by a teacher who has high expectations for rapid work completion. This type of environment enables slow learners to learn the discrete facts they need to know to overcome their limitations in generalization. Computer-assisted instruction makes learning basic skills automatic, which is essential to gaining fluency.” “Rescuing Students from the Slow Learner Trap” by Steven Shaw in Principal Leadership, February 2010 (Vol. 10, #6, p. 12-16), no e-link available


Slow Learners an Academic Guide

Great Teacher Handouts on Supporting Slow Learners in the classroom

Slow Learner PowerPoint

Slow Learner’s in the context of BLOOM’S PowerPoint

Grade Retention and Borderline Intelligence: The Social–Emotional Cost

Slow Learner FAQ

What’s the Difference — Slow Learner or Learning Disabled?

Slow Learners: Role of Teachers and Guardians in Honing their Hidden Skills


Teacher Step By Step Strategies (Slow Learners)

Staff Development for Teaching Slow Learners


Grit and the Growth Mindset

Above is a visual representation of a huge movement in the schools called the “Growth Mindset”.


Angela Duckworth takes this concept a bit further focusing on GRIT in her TED talk below.

12- Item Grit Scale


Carol Dweck Revisits the ‘Growth Mindset’

Overview of Growth Mindset

KQED Growth Mindset


Hope of a better tomorrow

At least monthly I see or hear and/ or work with people who experience tremendous tragedy and strife. It can bog me down. Teachers often ask, “How do you deal with suffering all the time?” I tell them that kids inspire me almost every single day.

I also believe that the information and books they are exposed to influences their world view of hope and happiness. Like the old adage “garbage in, garbage out “, the opposite is also true. So, go get into some good stuff and have fun!


Poverty and learning


Poverty is a reality that educators face everyday. Seeing kids wrestle with food and housing insecurity as well as a myriad of struggles that come with a lack of resources can be daunting for teachers.  Linking families with resources to keep afloat can be very challenging. I think that we have a poverty crisis that creates unforeseen difficulties in the classroom for the student ranging from learning to making good behavioral choices.

How Poverty Affects Behavior and Academic Performance

U.S. Schools Have a Poverty Crisis, Not an Education Crisis

Poverty and high school dropouts


Improving educational outcomes for poor children

Chilling statistics.

What Teachers can do.

Leading Learning for Children From Poverty Six effective practices can help teachers help students from poverty succeed.

What Principals can do.

Positive School Climate Strong interpersonal relationships and ongoing support for students’ self-regulation create a positive context for learning.

What all Educators should do.

Schoolwide Methods for Fostering Resiliency

Movies to inspire:

Teachers are awesome

“One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.”
Carl Jung

I am so lucky to work with fantastic, caring, and dedicated teachers! Here are a few videos that can give a parallel peek into what I see in my schools. Thank an old teacher that inspired you.

Being Positive

I opened my email today and saw an article that said, “Bite your lip today”. As I read further it went on to say don’t say anything negative today. I like to think that I am positive (most days), but I like the idea of hanging on to noticing the content of what I say and do. So for today I will definitely be taking inventory of my positive out put.

Modeling this behavior is important for kids to see especially at school. I know at home with my own kids when visiting the beach or park we try to pick up some trash while we are there to keep it a little cleaner than we found it. I think the same concept should be played out with the people we interact with as much as possible.

A popular book in school is “How to fill your bucket”. Many schools have adopted this metaphor for being a good citizen. Below is a kid friendly reading of the book.

After reading the book here are some classroom ready materials to use.

Bucket Filler Resources

Great Scholastic Article

Free Teachers Pay Teachers link

The Ned Show Lesson Plan

Adult version of the bucket filling concept. I just put it on my reading list.

Margaret Wheatley and the “The Six Circle Model”

A few years back I learned about Margaret Wheatley and her work around, “The Six Circle Model”. In a nut shell it is the structures of work and its interplay with the culture, communication, and relationships within that structure.

Tehama Schools Concise Synopsis

Margaret J. Wheatley (commonly Meg Wheatley) (born 1941) is an American writer and management consultant who studies organizational behavior. Her approach includes systems thinking, theories of change, chaos theory, leadership and the learning organization: particularly its capacity to self-organize. Her work is often compared to that of Donella Meadows and Dee Hock. She describes her work as opposing “highly controlled mechanistic systems” that only create robotic behaviors.

In any organization you must find a blend of melding above and below the green line. I think that in my work when we have been faced with a problem, considering what might be missing on the “The Six Circle Model” has really helped our teams better reset on a path to better practices.

At this time in our history, we are in great need of processes that can help us weave ourselves back together. We’ve lost confidence in our great human capabilities, partly because mechanistic organizational processes have separated and divided us, and made us fearful and distrusting of one another. We need processes to help us reweave connections, to discover shared interests, to listen to one another’s stories and dreams. We need processes that take advantage of our natural ability to network, to communicate when something is meaningful to us. We need processes that invite us to participate, that honor our creativity and commitment to the organization. – Margaret Wheatley

Reflective reads for educators (Authenticity)

Reflective practices and teaching go hand in hand. Teachers/ educators are very aware of their strengths and areas to improve. Kids tend to help us realize these areas in real time as we work through our day. The best strategy oftentimes is to address, adjust and move on. In that spirit, I have collected a few articles to read.

The following Carl Rogers quote is for my counseling and school psychologist colleagues.

Can I be strong enough as a person to be separate from the other? Can I be a sturdy respecter of my own feelings, my own needs, as well as his? Can I own and, if need be, express my own feelings as something belonging to me and separate from his feelings? Am I strong enough in my own separateness that I will not be downcast by his depression, frightened by his fear, nor engulfed by his dependency? Is my inner self hardy enough to realise that I am not destroyed by his anger, taken over by his need for dependence, nor enslaved by his love, but that I exist separate from him with feelings and rights of my own? When I can freely feel this strength of being a separate person, then I find that I can let myself go much more deeply in understanding and accepting him because I am not fearful of losing myself. (1961, p.52.)

Rogers, C. R. (1961), On Becoming a Person. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.


  1. Authenticity in teaching
  2. Teaching with authenticity 
  3. Higher education article
  4. Perception of authenticity

General boundaries

  1. 8 preventers of authentic happiness
  2. Book suggestion

A big player in psychology is Martin Seligman who wrote  Authentic Happiness (2002) which brought positive psychology into the mainstream.

In Authentic Happiness, Seligman describes a compellingly simple model of happiness based on three pathways:

Positive emotion – leading to a pleasant life

Flow – leading to an engaged life

Purpose – leading to a meaningful life

In short, the Authentic Happiness model suggested that you can achieve happiness in your life by pursuing one or more of these three pathways. This means that even if, for example, you don’t experience much positive emotion in your life, you can still be happy by doing activities which engage or absorb you fully, or by finding meaning in life by using your strengths in service of something larger. This conclusion was probably quite a relief to Seligman, who freely acknowledges in the book that until relatively recently he himself had been a bit of a grouch.