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Lost at School: Why Our Kids with Behavioral Challenges are Falling Through the Cracks and How We Can Help Them
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Lost at School: Why Our Kids with Behavioral Challenges are Falling Through the Cracks and How We Can Help Them

4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  824 ratings  ·  113 reviews
From a distinguished clinician, pioneer in working with behaviorally challenging kids, and author of the acclaimed The Explosive Child comes a groundbreaking approach for understanding and helping these kids and transforming school discipline.

Frequent visits to the principal's office. Detentions. Suspensions. Expulsions. These are the established tools of school discipline
Hardcover, 303 pages
Published October 21st 2008 by Scribner (first published 2008)
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Having (fairly recently) completed my bachelor's degree in education, and remembering how little anyone can tell you about classroom management/behavioural issues, I think this text should be mandatory reading for all who want to teach. (big statement eh?? Let me try to back that up.)

Dr. Greene's main idea is that kids do well if they can. It's hard to believe that so many adults don't agree. When a child is misbehaving (for the 2nd or 22nd time) it can be difficult to remember that he/she is no
I liked the author's focus on how acting-out kids are lacking the cognitive skills they need to behave appropriately (there's a useful list of what skills kids may be struggling with). I liked his proposal of using collaborative problem-solving (CPS) to address kids' behaviors. Even though CPS is mostly common sense, I thought he did a nice job of spelling out how to make it work.

I was not convinced that "CPS" is the panacea he implies. Also, he didn't really address how to teach lacking skills
I skimmed through parts of this book because it repeated itself, but I have been using Ross Greene's Plan B in my classroom and have seen the changes in my students. I love the empathy step, where you really dive in to see what is troubling the student. I've found that most of the time my thinking was incorrect. You cannot just assume you know what the student's "issue" is. THEN, and only then, can you begin to problem solve together. This gives the child the ultimate buy-in. They are helping to ...more
Like many would be reformers, Greene starts off on the wrong foot by making (some) educators the villains of the parable (a format which is much better used in the Arbinger Institute's Leadership and Self Deception: Getting Out of the Box and The Anatomy of Peace: Resolving the Heart of Conflict). If I wanted to reform any institution from within, I would NOT start off with a hearty "you guys suck" position--a bit too much the stereotypical male coach. The author should revise this and allow the ...more
Although I am only at page 60 presently, I am finding many of the ideas present in this book interesting however at this point in the book I am having trouble trying to formulate HOW I would actually effectively go about implementing some of these ideas in a classroom setting. As well as implementing them in coordination with other colleagues.

I am finding yet again another book written about a topic I am very much passionate about yet mostly written for a non-Secondary audience.

At points I am ve
Dr. Greene’s approach is a humane, respectful and practical alternative to the ineffective discipline strategies we have been using in our schools for decades. Dr. Greene offers a new conceptual framework based on research for understanding the difficulties of kids with behavioral challenges and explains why traditional discipline is not effective in addressing these difficulties. His work is based on the simple and positive notion that kids do well if they can. Many kids just lack the skills to ...more
A good strategy to implement but I felt it could have been covered in one chapter or a short article....lots of common sense stuff that many good teachers do.
Alyssa Archambo
Do you believe that kids do as well as they are able or as well as they want to? Dr. Ross Greene believes that kids do as well as they are able and oftentimes, adults treat the problem as if the kids are wanting to misbehave. The truth is that kids who have the most behavioral challenges do so because they lack the skills necessary to behave appropriately and the disciplinary actions most often taken -- suspension or detention for school, or grounding, loss of privileges, etc. for home -- don't ...more
I was given this book to read as summer homework by our school principal. Obviously, the book resonated with our principal but it does not "speak" to me. Especially, since it resulted in taking yet more time out of my precious time off (1.5 weeks to read the book + 2.5 weeks of other summer training). As a result, I have a very negative attitude about this book.

Before I began reading the book, I read many of the reviews posted by Goodreads' readers. I found it interesting at the time that the ma
It might not apply to every difficult situation at school, but it still should be required reading for every educator--at the very least, those who are called upon to provide intervention for students with difficult behavior problems. Sometimes, all it takes is to really listen to the student. I had the opportunity to use almost the exact conversation on page 118 with a student who had already exploded and was out of the classroom. I listened to him, reflected, invited to come up with a solution ...more
This is a wonderful book! I read it as a parent, not a teacher, but I still learned a great deal from it. It gave me some wonderful new ideas about how to deal with my son's challenging behaviors. Grounding, time outs, and loss of privileges only get you so far when dealing with a kid with severe adhd and ocd. This book opened my eyes to a whole new form of behavior modification where the focus is on teaching the kid the coping skills he needs to avoid the undesirable behavior, rather than just ...more
I have some questions about some of Greene's ideas, but his central premise is hard to argue with: Kids don't violate the rules because they are broken. They violate them because they don't really know how to follow them. He advocates a structured from of problem-solving with kids that allows them a role in coming up with a plan to teach them lagging skills. I think most teachers would like this book. He writes in clear language, and uses an ongoing narrative to illustrate his ideas.
I think this book is a valuable addition to teachers' knowledge. As a sub, I see that dealing with kids with behavioral challenges is consuming a huge amount of teacher time and resources. Most of the elementary schools I sub in now have not only a counselor, but also a behavior specialist. If this Plan B model can help solve some of these problems, I am all for it. Although, again, as a sub, I don't have much chance to use it, except for the emergency model.
Brian Norman
This book has been both enlightening and reassuring. It confirms what I have always believed, that to teach a child effectively we must listen to them as well. It has also taught me new things and helped me to refine my approach to classroom management. That discipline is only useful if it teaches skills and meets the needs of both parties involved, rather than just the adult's. That empathy is key to classroom management. That finding excuses or causes doesn't define problems or teach us how to ...more
Thorn MotherIssues
Really interesting book about treating children's challenging behaviors like learning disabilities and dealing with them through collaborative problem solving rather than impositions of adult will. It's geared more toward teachers than parents, but applicable for both (and more) and is probably something I'll come back to when actually parenting.
One of the best books I've read on teaching kids with behavioral challenges. Shifting our perspective towards the belief that "Kids do well if they can" changes how the adults in their lives prevent and respond to misbehavior. It left me with some unanswered questions on practical applications, but overall is a great resource.
Garrett Zecker
This book was an exceptional foray into the modern approach to students who are falling through the cracks in today's approaches to traditional discipline and rewards in situations (namely public schools). The issue at hand is not readily apparent unless you read a few chapters in, but the bulk of the thesis is that many young people who are constantly dropping out or doing bad in school academically, behaviorally, et al, are suffering from emotional delays. They are basically behind in some asp ...more
I read this for a book study at work. In response to a world where discipline doesn't necessarily seem to bring about lasting, positive change in children with challenging behaviors, Dr. Greene presents a different conceptual framework for viewing and interacting with those children. The premise is that children will do well if they can. If they aren’t doing well, then that is likely indicative of a skill deficit they have. Not only does Dr. Greene offer a general (for all children and all behav ...more
Excellent book on implementing a conflict resolution style of classroom management in a school. Some of the conversations Greene "records" in this book are trite and too simplistic, but at the heart of this is a different way of dealing with problem kids. Greene's theory is that kids who struggle with behaviour do so because they are lacking fundamental skulls like conflict resolution and task persistence. By teaching these skills to the children, we will then allow them to better integrate into ...more
Allyson Johnson
Lost at School written by Ross W. Greene is about children with behavioral issues. In the book it describes situations in school where children act out. The book reveals ways to handle situations in schools so they do not get out of hand. For example Greene tells a story of a student who acted out in class. The teacher did not handle the situation well and the student responded defensively. Greene makes us aware that not all kids develop at the same rate. When a students responds that they do no ...more
An important book. Essential for educators to read. Greene boils down a therapeutic approach to dealing with challenging students that he calls collaborative problem solving, or Plan B. He models for the reader what this process can look at one-on-one with a student, as a whole class, and as a whole school by constructing an ongoing narrative based on the stories of a couple of fictional challenging students. Given that he's got a point to make, the narrative is somewhat artificial of course, bu ...more
I don't disagree with the premise of the book, that traditional punishments aren't working in a lot of cases and I applaud him for putting the idea out there. However, I found the delivery to be condescending and the situations used for examples to be idealistic. What about the child that says "screw you!" when you introduce the idea and doesn't stop, no matter how persistent you are? Because those children most certainly exist. I also don't believe that all children want to succeed but lack the ...more
This is a very interesting read. The idea that a person will behave if they "can" is a different way to look at a situation. Ross Greene boils takes an approach of collaboration with challenging students using what he calls CPS Plan B (empathy, define the problem, invitation). He models for the reader what this process can look at one-on-one with a student, as a whole class, and as a whole school by constructing an ongoing narrative based on the stories of a couple of fictional challenging stude ...more
p.8 Consequences don't teach kids the thinking skills they lack or solve the problems that set the stage for their challenging behavior.

The strength of the text is the wealth of examples within the CPS model. Only during the first quarter of the material does the author recapitulate his research. Mr. Greene does not present the blow-by-blow of how he has accumulated information for study; thank you Ross Greene.

The CPS model is educational model for dealing effectively with troublesome students.
Cindi Jackson
This book got a bit boring in places but it is an excellent resource for those who want to be very efficient in the model of CPS. I spent a week at an advanced CPS training with Dr. Green this summer and found him to be authentically concerned with the welfare of kids in schools who just don't seem to be getting their needs met in order for them to do well. I work at a therapeutic school where we use this model as our primary treatment modality and although it is time consuming, it works when it ...more
The philosophy written about in this book centers around the idea that students misbehave because they lack the skill set to know how to behave appropriately. Detentions and suspensions are punitive yet do not help the individual overcome the behavior limitations they have. I felt like this book talked a lot about the philosophy but what I wanted were some more practical step-by-step directions as to how to go about figuring out how to help behaviorally-challenged students. There were several sc ...more
Interesting concept for dealing with children who are having behavior problems at school. The main premise is that kids do well if they can, and that challenging behaviors are due to an unsolved problem or lagging skill. The key to changing the bad behavior is to identify the problems or skills needed, then work on them (rather than just giving the kid detention, for example). The solution also comes from both parties (i.e. the kid and the adult), so both have a say in what should be accomplishe ...more
Ross Greene presents these CPS strategies as something novel, but in reality it is something that good educators do regularly. I am an educator and believe that while these strategies work well for the strategic level kid, they do not work well for the intensive level kid. My students are so disregulated so much of the time that hey can't even begin to execute heir plan b when needed. Hey need adults to be in charge and help them feel safe and secure.
Worth the read. Appreciated the case examples w/ real world examples and acknowledgment that there is no quick fix for these students and to really engage in the collaborative problem solving process, you need team work, communication and follow through. Also a challenge to really not revert back to what we've always done...and really listen for the students voice instead of focusing on rewards and "consequences"--it doesn't work if you don't also give them the skills and experience in looking f ...more
Such a powerful model for dealing with kids who need our help the most. I am eager to share it with my colleagues. In many ways, Greene's approach is a more formal version of the way I already choose to deal with kids. It's based on premise that kids would succeed if they could, and when they don't they need us to teach them how. Traditional discipline doesn't work. Punishments just make things worse. Greene outlines a Collaborative Problem Solving model that involves kids and adults working tog ...more
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“A kid shouldn't need a diagnosis to access help.” 7 likes
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