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Author: Ruth Orme-Johnson

Restorative Justice with 4th Graders – Part 3

I have discussed restorative justice here before. In parts 1 and 2 of this series, I described why we are using social circles (the term we use to refer to peace circles) and provided a brief glimpse into the curricula I use. Now that we are ending the year, I will tell you about watching these 4th graders grow and take ownership of their social circles and restorative justice. I have been so thrilled to see them make social circles process their own. Each Wednesday afternoon, students know that they will have the chance to bring up issues that bother...

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SuperFlex to the Rescue!

Describe your intervention. What type of student would benefit most from it? How do you use it? SuperFlex is one of many interventions by Michelle Garcia Winner and colleagues at Social Thinking. SuperFlex teaches social skills to students using the universal concept of heroes (SuperFlex himself) and villains (the “Team of Unthinkables”). Students pretend that they are in a superhero training academy, and participate in activities that help them practice social skills. There is a lot of role playing and interactive good stuff that the kids get to do. SuperFlex is generally intended to be used with students who...

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Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment in Schools

What is Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT)? SBIRT is an evidence-based intervention designed to address substance use through screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment.  The brief intervention, which is typically the lengthier portion of this 10 to 30-minute intervention, focuses on substance reduction goals. Additional time may be necessary when counseling or treatment center referrals are needed. Who can do SBIRT? Most health and social service professionals, such as school social workers can deliver SBIRT.  This intervention is designed to be utilized by those who are not substance use experts. School social workers see many...

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Restorative Justice with 4th Graders – part 2

So I’ve already talked about restorative justice and how it’s changing behavior management and discipline in schools. Now I will give an update on what I am working on with the fourth grade in the classroom. Let’s talk peace circles or, as we refer to them here, social circles. Social circles have started off with the fourth grade, and so far so good! It is amazing what students are willing and able to absorb if given the chance. Looking back just eight short weeks, we were still learning new skills and building some trust. It’s amazing to see how far...

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Restorative Justice with 4th Graders – Part 1

Really powerful change can come from the ground up in education. The emergence of restorative justice programs in schools across Illinois is, in part, a story of excellent grassroots organizing. New laws (specifically SB 100) have started to force schools to take restorative practices seriously and incorporate restorative justice into the fabric of our discipline. The change is welcome and necessary. Restorative justice practices are an excellent way to help students, teachers and staff frame their thinking regarding student behavior and discipline. If you have not yet heard a quality explanation of restorative justice, please watch this video of a...

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