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October 23, 2012
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News for the Education Profession

ASCD Special Report:
Students who challenge us (Part I)
Children, parents and teachers all want school to be a positive experience. Sometimes children are distracted, bored or frustrated by challenges they face, while parents and teachers desperately try to find answers to help these students who challenge us.

Part I of this report examines the learning and behavior challenges faced by students. We look at the reasons behind student behaviors that can disrupt the classroom along with considering ways to engage students who may have neurological differences. We look at articles that encourage teachers to focus on the positives of even the most challenging students. The report also offers ideas for addressing student needs in the classroom, along with providing a list of ASCD resources.

Part II of the report, to be published Thursday, will focus on teaching strategies, technology and ways to connect with students who challenge us.

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  Classroom challenges  
  • Are bored students just stressed out?
    A group of researchers has published a study in Perspectives on Psychological Science linking student boredom to feelings of stress. While it's still important for teachers to create a stimulating and engaging environment, students might have some internal emotion or frustration causing their boredom. "We know when people are stressed it makes it harder to focus and pay attention at a very basic, fundamental level," said John D. Eastwood, lead author of the research. Education Week (premium article access compliments of (10/10) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Aggressive children may lack coping skills
    Cognitive and executive function skills are needed for children to understand adult perspectives and determine alternatives to fighting and hitting to solve problems, according to a study by researchers from Pennsylvania State University. Researchers say aggressive children who lack the ability to verbalize frustrations are at-risk for long-term consequences, including delinquency, violence, dropping out of school, drug abuse and suicide. "Research tells us that the earlier we can intervene, the better the chances of getting these children back on track," said Lisa Gatzke-Kopp, an assistant professor of human development and family studies at Penn State. RedOrbit (9/28) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Harnessing the power of the ADHD brain
    The brain of someone with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is like a Ferrari engine with bicycle brakes, writes author and psychiatrist Edward Hallowell, who has ADHD and dyslexia. Hallowell writes that he uses the analogy when he gives an ADHD diagnosis to students, explaining they need to work to strengthen their brakes so that their brain can stay on track. He encourages teachers to offer students a safe environment, as was offered to him as a child. "All of us learn better and do better when we feel safe," he writes. Educational Leadership (10/2012) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • N.J. school builds community around anti-bullying message
    Students at Lanoka Harbor School, an elementary school in Lacey, N.J., viewed "Stand Together," a video depicting three real-life stories of children who have been bullied, as part of the recent National Week of Respect. Principal Rosemarie Bond said the school also uses the Responsive Classroom to focus on increasing academic achievement, decreasing problem behaviors and improving skills, ultimately leading to more high-quality instruction. "We want all our children to feel safe and comfortable," Bond said., N.J. (10/4) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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Cocurricular Activities Seal the Educational Deal
Download our free whitepaper on the impact of athletics, clubs and service on student engagement. Visit
  Engaging struggling students 
  • Seeing positives in challenging students can change lives
    Brian Nichols was characterized by his second-grade teacher as having "something wrong" with him, and the label stuck until sixth grade, when Mrs. Kaufman saw his potential, recalls Nichols, who grew up to become an educator and now is the director of school leadership for 24 schools and four early-childhood centers in Newport News, Va. Nichols' life as a challenging student changed because a teacher believed in him, writes Marge Scherer. "Almost always, to reach those students on a personal level, it's necessary to abandon negative perceptions and assumptions in favor of identifying student strengths and abilities to build on," she writes. Educational Leadership (10/2012) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Understanding neurodiversity
    The term neurodiversity, writes author and educator Thomas Armstrong, originated among activists for people with autism who were seeking a term to describe the "differently wired brain." Understanding neurodiversity can help teachers better meet student needs, he writes. "By focusing on assets rather than labels, educators in both regular and special education can develop better ways of helping all students succeed," Armstrong writes. Educational Leadership (10/2012) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Students with special needs learn to express themselves
    Students with neurobehavioral conditions such as anxiety disorders, Asperger's syndrome and Tourette syndrome often struggle with executive functioning skills, making it a challenge to get organized enough to take out a pencil, says Laura Markson, founding director of The Orion School in Atlanta. The school offers small classes and speech or recreational therapy to help students ages 5 to 13 to become more self-aware and use speech to express themselves, such as using the analogy of an engine to say whether students are tired, hungry, frustrated or sad. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (9/24) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Teacher: Engage students by connecting lessons to real life
    Teachers must set high expectations for their students if they want them to succeed, veteran English teacher Ann Camacho writes in this blog post. Teachers also must focus on real-life, authentic assessments, as well as standardized testing, to engage students in classroom lessons. In her own classroom, Camacho writes that she has witnessed the enthusiasm students have for learning when they are able to connect their own opinions and experiences with what they read and write. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Education (10/2) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
Free whitepaper: Powering Up Technology
Download our free whitepaper on how educators are using technology to create learning opportunities. Visit
  Managing Behavior Issues 
  • How are schools meeting the needs of students with ADHD?
    Parent and nonprofit executive David Bernstein in this opinion piece considers how schools today are addressing the needs of students with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Bernstein rejects the notion that students with ADHD should be medicated to adhere to today's model of education, and suggests an alternative by author Seth Godin that "caters to diverse learning styles, passion for ideas and what individual students really care about." The Washington Post/The Answer Sheet blog (9/24) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • A FAIR way to deciphering classroom behavior
    Teachers should keep in mind that inappropriate behavior by students is not permanent, write Nancy Rappaport, a child psychiatrist, and Jessica Minahan, a behavior analyst and special educator. They created a plan to decipher and change inappropriate classroom behaviors called FAIR: F is for understanding the function of the behavior, A is for accommodations, I is for interaction strategies and R is for responses. They explain the plan, which includes, among other things, asking what prompts the behavior, considering accommodations and replacement behaviors. Educational Leadership (10/2012) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Recognizing, addressing ADHD in the classroom
    Teachers should be aware that students with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder may have particular difficulties concentrating in the classroom at the beginning of the school year, says 10th-grade English teacher Christine White, who has a child with the disorder. "ADHD is virtually invisible. You have to be living in it. As a teacher, I'm coming to learn that for the most part most kids are there to learn, they really want to, and if they're not, there's a reason -- there's definitely a reason," White said. Las Vegas Review-Journal (10/8) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Promising results reported on school behavior program
    Elementary schools in Maryland that used the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports program reported more positive behaviors among their students than schools not using the program, a study in the journal Pediatrics found. Researchers also noted fewer students displaying problem behavior or sent to the principal's office for disciplinary problems in PBIS schools. Reuters (10/16), Disability Scoop (10/17) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
Free whitepaper: Broad Knowledge Drives Literacy
Download our free whitepaper on the value of key academic background knowledge. Visit
  ASCD Resources 

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