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Teaching Kids to Thrive

Teaching Kids to Thrive
Essential Skills for Success

  • Debbie Silver - Education Consultant, Keynote Speaker, and Author,
  • Dedra Stafford - Education Consultant, Keynote Speaker, and Author,

Foreword by Rick Wormeli

June 2017 | 288 pages | Corwin

There’s more to student success than standards and test scores…

The modern view of student achievement focuses on high test scores, higher standards, and racing to the top. Thrive skills fit with new ESSA requirements to go beyond basic academic measurements in order to equip students for lifelong success.

Debbie Silver and Dedra Stafford present a practical handbook that guides teachers and parents in fostering learners who are socially and emotionally healthy and prepared to undertake future challenges.  Through practical examples, precise strategies, and specific tools this book demonstrates how to empower learners in areas that include:

  • Using mindfulness strategies to help students tap their inner strengths
  • Learning to self-regulate and control other executive brain functions
  • Developing growth mindsets along with perseverance and resilience
  • Cultivating a sense of responsibility, honesty, and integrity
  • Encouraging a capacity for empathy and gratitude

Grounded in decades of psychological research, Teaching Kids to Thrive merges academic, social, and self-skills to stimulate personal and school achievement.

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About the Authors
Why Teach Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) in the Classroom?  
What Are the Thrive Skills?  
Taking This Book to the Next Level (Thrive Website)  
Thriving Together  
Why Don’t They Just Pay Attention?  
Mindfulness: What It Is and What It Is Not  
Using Mindfulness in the Classroom  
Beginning a Mindfulness Practice  
Research on Mindfulness in the Classroom  
Implementation in the Classroom  
What Supporting Mindfulness Looks Like in the Classroom  
Frequently Asked Questions  
Discussion Questions and Exercises  
Thrive Skills in Action  
Executive Function: What Is It?  
The Six Skills of Executive Functioning  
EF Skill 1: Self-Regulation and Self-Control  
EF Skill 2: Working Memory  
EF Skill 3: Task Initiation, Organization, and Time Management  
EF Skill 4: Flexibility  
EF Skill 5: Emotional Regulation  
EF Skill 6: Focus  
What Supporting Executive Function Looks Like in the Classroom  
Frequently Asked Questions  
Discussion Questions and Exercises  
Thrive Skills in Action  
Self-Efficacy: What Is It?  
Self-Efficacy: What Is It Not? (Learned Helplessness)  
Aim for the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD)  
Students’ Beliefs About Success (Attribution Theory)  
Growth vs. Fixed Mindsets  
How Do We Help Students Develop Growth Mindsets?  
What Supporting Self-Efficacy and Growth Mindset Looks Like in the Classroom  
Frequently Asked Questions  
Discussion Questions and Exercises  
Thrive Skills in Action  
Quit Now or Finish? What Makes the Difference?  
Perseverance: What It Is and What It Is Not  
What Educators Need to Know About Perseverance  
What Does Perseverance Look Like in the Classroom?  
What Supporting Perseverance Looks Like in the Classroom  
Frequently Asked Questions  
Discussion Questions and Exercises  
Thrive Skills in Action  
Resilience: What Is It?  
Acknowledge the Struggle  
Normalize the Struggle  
The Classroom as the Tribe  
Resiliency in Boys  
Developing Resiliency Through Competency  
Building Hope  
What Supporting Resilience Looks Like in the Classroom  
Frequently Asked Questions  
Discussion Questions and Exercises  
Thrive Skills in Action  
Give Kids a Chance to Act Responsibly  
Teaching Responsibility in an Entitled Society  
Using Accountability to Promote Responsibility  
Building a Culture of Responsibility  
Teachers as Models of Responsibility  
How Do We Reinforce Responsibility?  
What Supporting Responsibility Looks Like in the Classroom  
Frequently Asked Questions  
Discussion Questions and Exercises  
Thrive Skills in Action  
How Do We Teach Personal Integrity?  
How Do We Teach Academic Integrity?  
What Do We Do When Children Cheat?  
The Restorative Justice Approach  
The Courage to Take a Stand  
What Supporting Honesty and Integrity Looks Like in the Classroom  
Frequently Asked Questions  
Discussion Questions and Exercises  
Thrive Skills in Action  
Empathy: What Is It?  
Does Everyone Have Empathy?  
What Does Empathy Look Like in Action?  
Why Is It Important to Teach About Empathy?  
Modeling Empathy in the Classroom  
Service Learning Projects  
Integrating Empathy Into the Curriculum  
The Power of Empathy  
What Supporting Empathy Looks Like in the Classroom  
Frequently Asked Questions  
Discussion Questions and Exercises  
Thrive Skills in Action  
“Pay It Forward” Is Still Thriving  
Gratitude: What Is It?  
What Research Tells Us About Gratitude  
Why We Should Teach Gratitude in the Classroom  
How Do We Teach Gratitude in the Classroom?  
What Supporting Gratitude Looks Like in the Classroom  
Frequently Asked Questions  
Discussion Questions and Exercises  
Thrive Skills in Action  
Final Words

"The 2017-2018 school year started off with a great excitement in Roxbury this year! With the support of Corwin, our district was delighted to welcome Mrs. Debbie Silver, author of Teaching Kids to Thrive, Deliberate Optimism, and Fall Down 7 Times, Get up 8, as keynote speaker. She delivered an exhilarating address to over 500 staff members getting them excited about the prospect of a new school year, mindfulness strategies, and self-efficacy. She then led independent breakout sessions for our elementary and secondary populations with a focus on stress management and deliberate optimism. I can't imagine a better way to have kicked off our school year and gotten our staff excited about the return of our students than Debbie. She was entertaining, heart-warming, and knowledgeable, what a perfect combination. I would recommend Debbie to any school looking to establish these skills without hesitation."

Charles Seipp
Roxbury School District, Massachusettes

"Teaching Kids to Thrive: Essential Skills for Success is a book that not only argues effectively for including social and emotional learning in every classroom, it also shows teachers how to do it.  Debbie Silver and Dedra Stafford demonstrate how SEL instruction can be woven into all subject areas at every level of preK-12 education. They descriptively outline what SEL-friendly classrooms look like, and they provide a wealth of tools and strategies for educators who want to teach beyond the standards. I recommend this book for new and veteran teachers alike who want to help students learn to thrive both now and throughout their future lives."

Todd Whitaker, Professor of Educational Leadership
Indiana State University, Terre Haute, IN

"Reading Teaching Kids to Thrive was like feeding my brain with PopRocks! It had me captivated, wondering, and marveling…all at the same time. Debbie and Dedra provide insightful research, actionable skills, and inspirational stories, while recognizing the voices of students and teachers at the turn of every page."

Dr. Russell J. Quaglia, Executive Director
Quaglia Institute for School Voice & Aspirations, Portland, ME

"There are some books that you pick up and just cannot put down. Well, this is one of them. If you are ready to move beyond grit, then Teaching Kids to Thrive is the linchpin needed in every school system. The authors provide relevant research to build their case and share easy and simple teacher-approved strategies that can be used immediately. Any stakeholder in education who wants to transform school culture must make Teaching Kids to Thrive required reading."

Simon T. Bailey and Marceta Reilly, Authors
Releasing Leadership Brilliance

"Debbie Silver and Debra Stafford go to the heart of schooling students in this century - addressing the power of mindfulness, the value of empathy, and boosting the resilience of young people at a time the world requires such a skill the most. Using relatable stories and strategies the goal to help students THRIVE is central in every chapter. Like a favorite piece of music, the authors' passion for education is extremely contagious and memorable."

Jennifer Buchanan, MBA, MTA
President/Speaker/Author, Calgary, Alberta

"Hoorah! Here is help with the overlooked aspects of teaching that matter most. Don't just read it, study it, live with it, and you too will thrive."

John Lounsbury, Dean Emeritus
Georgia College, Milledgeville, GA

“'Good teachers teach subjects. Great teachers teach students.'” This often repeated quote of unknown origin typifies both the authors of this book and the intent of the book’s content. In a world where “all data counts but all that counts in not data” Debbie Silver and Dedra Stafford provide guidance and important information on how teachers can teach students some of the most important of all lessons, things that do not become part of the data base which too often defines students. Teaching students to Thrive guides teachers in how to incorporate essential social and emotional skills into daily routines. These are the essential skills students need in order to realize their potential not only as students but as successful and fulfilled members of society.  As well as essential information, the authors incorporate practical activity guides to enable teachers to help their students become more successful in school and in life. Anecdotes, examples, and practical activities guide the reader to become more adept in incorporating social and emotional learning skills into everyday classroom environments. This book is a must-read for all teachers who harbor the desire to help their students develop the skills to successfully navigate not only school but life itself."

Duane Inman, Ph.D., Professor of Education
Berry College, Mt. Berry, Georgia

"In college courses, education students learn how to teach academic content. In Teaching Kids to Thrive, Silver and Stafford emphasize the importance of also teaching students. In a world changing at a pace rarely seen in human history, merely learning coursework won’t be enough. Today’s children need to be prepared to face challenges, and have the capacity to flourish, regardless of what life throws at them. Thrive has teacher-friendly strategies and support that allow even the most experienced educators to see real cognitive, social, and emotional growth in their students."

Cheryl Mizerny, Educator and Blogger
It’s Not Easy Being Tween,

"Why should you read Teaching Kids to Thrive? Students today may be the most connected generation in history, but they can’t find ways to connect with themselves. Dr. Debbie Silver and Dedra Stafford masterfully illustrate that “Thrive" skills can no longer be considered soft. This book evidences that learning how to control their bodies and emotions is every bit as essential to the modern learner as understanding how to control the devices that students love so dearly."

Jared Covili, Author
Going Google: Powerful Tools for 21st Century Learning, Second Edition, Salt Lake City, UT

"Teaching Kids To Thrive: Essential Skills For Success is an excellent practical guide for educators who want to apply the ideas of Social Emotional Learning to their classroom."

Larry Ferlazzo, Teacher, Author and Education Week Teacher advice blogger
Luther Burbank High School, Sacramento, CA

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ISBN: 9781506326931

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