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Dr. Margo Turner

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    • #72661

      Thank you Craig for the info on the new ASCD book sounds really helpful…and I am glad you attended Linda Dorn’s workshop…she does speak much about empathy through literature/literacy teaching! Being from Arkansas also I always enjoy references to her!

    • #72606

      I thought the same thing Lisa, but while reading it I was maybe more aware of how I do these things and want to stop…I was reminded about the book How Full Is Your Bucket?Positive Strategies for Work and Life by Tom Rath & Donald Clifton – since you like summaries, here is the speed summary from (FYI – Tom Rath is the StrengthsFinder guy).
      Donald Clifton, cited by the American Psychological Association as the grandfather of Positive Psychology, once discovered that our lives are shaped by our interactions with others. A long conversation with a friend or a short interaction with a stranger both make a difference, sometimes positive, sometimes negative. Although these interactions might seem to be ineffectual, Clifton believed that they accumulate and profoundly affect our lives. Before his death from cancer in September 2003, he and his grandson, Tom Rath, wrote How Full Is Your Bucket? to help people focus on the positive in their lives.

      Clifton had a theory he created in the 1960s that was based on a simple metaphor of a “dipper” and a “bucket.” According to this theory, each of us has an invisible bucket. The authors write, “It is constantly emptied or filled, depending on what others say or do to us. When our bucket is full, we feel great. When it’s empty, we feel awful.”

      Positive and Negative Emotions

      Clifton’s theory says that each of us has an invisible dipper that we can either use to fill other people’s buckets with positive emotions by saying or doing things that increase their positive emotions, or dipping from others’ buckets by saying or doing things that decrease their positive emotions. The theory also explains that when we fill others’ buckets, we also fill our own, and likewise, when we dip from others’ buckets, we diminish ourselves. A full bucket gives us a positive outlook and an empty bucket poisons our outlook. We make the choice every moment of every day whether we fill one another’s buckets, or dip from them. These choices profoundly affect our relationships, productivity, health and happiness, the authors write.

      I also use the children’s picture book version in my classes. How Full Is Your Bucket? For Kids ( 2009)
      by Tom Rath (Author), Mary Reckmeyer (Author), Maurie J. Manning (Illustrator).

    • #72605

      Great responses. Thanks! I have just posted an article, “ADHD: what to know, what to do” lists the specific definition from the DSM V and the with a long list of practical suggestions for teachers. I also wanted to refer to the PATS study that I read about at
      The Preschool ADHD Treatment Study (PATS): What You Need to Know
      Sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health, and conducted by a consortium of researchers at six sites, PATS is the first long-term, comprehensive study of treating preschoolers with ADHD. The study included more than 300 three- to five-year-olds with severe ADHD (hyperactive/impulsive, inattentive, or combined type). Most exhibited a history of early school expulsion and extreme peer rejection.
      Stage 1: Parent Training
      Ten-week parent training course in behavior modification techniques, such as offering consistent praise, ignoring negative behavior, and using time-outs.
      Stage 2: Medication (such as Ritalin; side effects)
      Notable findings
      Lower doses of medication were required to reduce ADHD symptoms in preschoolers, compared to elementary school children.
      Eleven percent ultimately stopped treatment, despite improvements in ADHD symptoms, due to moderate to severe side effects, such as appetite reduction, insomnia, and anxiety. Preschoolers appear to be more prone to side effects than elementary schoolers.
      Medication appeared to slow preschooler growth rates. Children in the study grew half an inch less and weighed three pounds less than expected. A five-year follow-up study is looking at long-term growth rate changes. Look for preliminary results in 2009.
      Bottom line
      Preschoolers with severe ADHD experience marked reduction in symptoms when treated with behavior modification only (one third of those in the study) or a combination of behavior modification and low doses of methylphenidate (two thirds of those in the study). Although medication was found to be generally effective and safe, close monitoring for side effects is recommended.
      For more information on the Preschool ADHD Treatment Study: Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, November 2006. (, National Institute of Mental Health, (

    • #72545

      In addition to the book I mentioned in the previous post I want to offer a study skills tool that I teach to my students who are teachers and teacher candidates called mindmapping. I often say that mindmapping is a way to teach students HOW to study vs. telling them TO study.
      Much of the work of school is memorization. To briefly review memory consists of both implicit memories, such as procedures, reflexes, and emotions, as well as explicit memories, such as semantics and episodic events. Teachers contribute to students’ memories through encoding, maintenance, and retrieval. All of this requires much cognitive work and students can struggle with sustained attention and forming long-term memories for many reasons, i.e. nutrition, sleep, trauma, emotions to name a few potential memory busters. Teaching students study skills can help them be more successful in school. Here are a list of important study skills:
      Time Scheduling
      Listening & Note taking
      Writing Skills
      Organize thoughts when brainstorming or recalling
      Effective method of taking notes
      Mindmapping is one way to teach students to organize thoughts, ideas, notes, information, and improve their school performance. Mindmapping is brain friendly: harnesses the full range of cortical skills – word, image, number, logic, rhythm, color and spatial awareness; aids creativity, memory, and specifically the recall of information; and its a multi-modality skill (utilizes various brain regions)
      We know that learning by association – link two (or three, or four) things together, can be very helpful in encoding, maintaining and retrieving memories. Mindmapping does all of this and more!
      Here are the steps to building a good mindmap:
      1. Start in the center of a blank page turned sideways.
      Give your brain freedom to spread out in all directions
      2. Use an image or picture for your main idea.
      An image helps your imagination. It is more interesting and keeps your focused helping you to concentrate.
      3. Use colors throughout.
      Colors are as exciting to your brain as are images. Color will add energy to your creative thinking.
      4. Connect your main branches to the central image etc.
      5. Make your branches curved instead of straight lined.
      Having nothing but straight lines is boring to your brain.
      6. Use one key word per line
      Single words give your Mind Map more power and flexibility.
      7. Use images throughout
      Each image, like the central image, is worth a thousand words!
      Some resources to go deeper in study skills and mindmapping:
      Eric Jensen, Teaching with the Brain in Mind (2nd edition).
      Tony Buzan
      Free from Google store and integrates with Google Drive – MindMup

    • #72544

      Thank you all for these suggestions and resources. I appreciate the hope we have as teachers that we are role models of how to care genuinely for another’s best … the golden rule lived out, “do to others as you would have them do to you”. To contrast this, our 5th grade twins this year are experiencing an interesting choice by their teachers that is not developing empathy. There are a small group of students who DAILY are not on target with behavior at lunch so the entire class has to miss recess time, stand silent in the halls, or do knee bends for 5 minutes (remember this is the perspective of 2 10 year olds…and there are 2 sides to every story). Instead of working together to solve the issue positively they along with their classmates are developing an “us vs. them” mentality. We talk through all of this at home and hope that they understand and live out how they could possibly help these students and the classmates.
      Class meetings are great places to develop empathy skills and opportunities. I appreciate William Glasser’s 3 types of class meetings: open-ended, diagnostic curriculum, and problem-solving (see more at As teachers and students sit in a circle and discuss important issues, etc. like lunchroom behavior, science fair ideas, weekend reading ideas, etc., they look at each other, listen to each other, and develop care for each other. All important components for creating positive interdependence (see Johnson and Johnson, Kagan, Jensen for more about cooperative learning). Responsive Classrooms calls these Morning Meetings and specifics are available at I use this approach with my teacher candidates, grad students, and our own children and believe it builds a “team” perspective that they will carry into their classrooms and lives.

    • #72542

      Thank you all for these responses and resources about JOY! This summer I was at Disneyworld during the parade and was standing near a beautiful four year old-ish friend when the princesses appeared in front of Tinkerbell’s castle. She was EXURBERANTLY jumping up and down, arms in the air, shrieking, “I can’t believe it! I can’t believe it! There is …. OH THERE SHE IS!” and would insert the name of each princess, over and over as her colorful braids were flapping and she was spinning around and around. She was completely unaware of me or anyone else except those princesses. I enjoyed her JOY more than the parade and vowed to live more JOY-FULL, at work and home!
      To help teachers and students be more joyful, Response Classroom’ s Margaret Berry Wilson offers these practical steps (
      Smile more. I know it seems simplistic, but sometimes just forcing yourself to smile at and with children can make you relax and lighten the mood. It really works. (Of course, laughing helps, too.)
      Read your class some jokes or short poems. Many jokes or poems can be read in less than two minutes, and even if you’re under tremendous time pressure, that’s enough time for a quick joke or a funny or moving poem to bring smiles.
      Add some choice to your lessons. When students have the power to choose which book to read, what topic to study, or even which of two worksheets to complete, they are more engaged and motivated. They feel more joy.
      Play a game. Playing a noncompetitive, fun game is a great way to build community and a sense of joy and playfulness among your students. Games can build social skills, provide quick reviews of academic content, or be a mix of both.
      Go outside a little more . . . with your class. As the weather gets warmer, flowers bloom, birds return, and the sky is bluer, spending even just a little time outside will lighten your mood and that of your students. Take a quick walk outside, play a game, or find a way to do some observation of nature or science.
      Do something kind for your students or a colleague. Write students quick notes about something positive you’ve noticed. Or, write a card, note or email to a colleague just to compliment that person on some aspect of his or her teaching.

    • #72540

      Patricia you stated, “The good part, is that this may make you more resilient in some ways. When you inherit the effects of trauma, you also may inherit a sensitivity that alerts you to signs of danger earlier and allows you to respond positively in ways that are powerful and effective.” This correlates with significant findings that Maia Szalavitz and Dr. Perry share in “Born for Love: Why Empathy Is Essential–and Endangered”. One particular interviewee, Trinity, shares that her childhood experiences of trauma in particular from her abusive and drug-addicted father and vacant mother who was also a drug addict made her stronger, smarter, and more caring and parental with her seven younger sisters. The resilience she learned during those years of having to be the adult when she was a young child made her more successful in school. The authors state, “Trinity was constantly watchful and observant, considering what other people were feeling and thinking…her keen intelligences also gave her an advantage. Research on resilience shows that smarter children are often better able to cope with chaotic and stressful childhood.” (Fergusson and Lynskey, 1996, pg. 281-292 as referenced in this book). A counselor at school during 6th grade noticed Trinity’s intelligence and compassion and signed her up as a peer counselor which became a defining moment for her. As an adult she has worked as an advocate for foster youth in California.
      We all understand that students who have lived through traumatic experiences have permanent changes to their brains and lives, and through resources like the ones you have mentioned and the one highlighted here, we learn that some of those changes can work in positive ways if given the right amounts of encouragement and opportunities. This is hopeful!

    • #72037

      Thanks Iliana for this resource and I look forward to reading it in 2017. It reminds me of a book I read this year by Amy Morin entitled “13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do: Take back your power, embrace change, face your fears and train your brain for happiness and success”…it is a collection of rules for those who desire to be mentally strong. One rule in particularly came to mind when I read your summary of the presentation at the conference – “They don’t fear alone time”. I have noticed that many people even standing in lines, eating together at restaurants, and while DRIVING are using their cell phones…
      I have recently made some changes with how often I check my phone for texts, read or respond to emails, get in front of a screen, and am taking a break from social media like facebook (all possible multitasking culprits). I have found I am more productive, present, and peaceful.

    • #72032

      Ernest, I would also recommend “Born for Love: Why Empathy Is Essential–and Endangered” by Bruce D. Perry and Maia Szalavitz. A substantial volume that showcases the statistics and biology, but also many true stories re: trauma and its affects on how people regard themselves.

    • #72029

      Elizabeth, I am glad that you are noticing that there are right times for music…and it can be distracting – especially using music with lyrics while students are quietly working. I too find that jazz music as mentioned by Alicia can be a good bridge to classical music, as is using some instrumental pieces of some favorite holiday songs!

    • #72028

      Yes, thanks Bryan for this resources. Working with teacher candidates for over 11 years, I have seen many resources/materials and often find them lacking in terms of what is needed most – an understanding of cognitive science – how students acquire knowledge vs. complete assignments. Many introductory education courses focus on what is out of date, or surface level….i.e. learning styles or multiple intelligence. This resource is helpful to overview the complexities of working memory transfer and memory retrievel… although I wondered that emotion and its role in learning is not mentioned, unless I missed it.

    • #72024

      I agree Bryan and Ricky that engagement activities are very helpful for all students, especially those with ADHD. One problem I see as I observe in primary or elementary classrooms is the use of off topic “brain-breaks” like gonoodle clips. While fun and upbeat, I do notice that some students find if difficult to get back to the topic of the lesson when these interrupt the learning as a way of allowing students to ‘fidget’. Would love to know what your thoughts are about use of these tools in the midst of a lesson.

    • #72023

      Great question, nusrat-jahan! If you are asking about a student vs. teacher I would offer that a thorough discussion of what is not working well with the student may help. Once those areas are out in the open, find 1 or 2 things that the student could do to be more successful. For example, a book on study skills which lists various ways to improve study techniques would be very practical. Make a list of the skills or strategies the student wants to work on and set some achievable goals. Often it could be a pretty simple adjustment re: organization of materials (use a binder to collect class materials, date and keep in order) and the study environment (turn off screens). I had this discussion with a college student who was really struggling academically and was lacking motivation. We talked about what was not working and what her goals were for herself as a student. We then listed a few things to try over a short period, including getting a planner and listing all assignments, exams, etc. I had her show me for added accountability and encouragement the planner once she had it set up . She did make improvements with the practical tools and did perform better in her classes. This was very motivating for her, along with my cheering her on along the way! There are MANY websites that list study skills for all ages and offer suggestions on how to improve ! Performance accomplishment is one of the important self-efficacy and I would add motivational conduits!

    • #72015

      What an interesting article, Karan. I am mindful of teachers who have their “hands tied” in terms of not having a choice about administering tests. I was in this situation as an adjunct professor this past semester, and was required to give multiple choice type exams…to make the experience more brain friendly I had the students to put the grade at the top of the test (before turning it in) that they thought they had earned. Then once all exams were turned in we immediately went over the answers so that they received feedback. Then we discussed their grade guesses with their actual scores and the answers that they felt were confusing. I believe the students learned from this type of feedback. There are many ways to know if learning has occurred and brain-wise teachers can utilize many tools for their students’ progress!

    • #72014

      Thank you Dr. Chen! Another idea as we wrap up 2016 is to have a family discussion of the highlights from the year. Each person of the family (preferably around the dinner table while sharing a meal) names their high, medium and low memories from 2016. This allows memory retrieval, but much more – by processing life events together, we express empathy and celebration…good for the brain and heart! Follow up the memory sharing with each person listing a family and personal goal for 2017. Goal setting can lead to a growth mindset and self-regulation skills, again good for the brain and heart. Here’s to a great 2017!

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