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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

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  3,754 ratings  ·  377 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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Meghan Pinson Check out Greene's other books -- The Explosive Child and Raising Human Beings. He has a lot of videos online, too. Anything by him about Collaborativ…moreCheck out Greene's other books -- The Explosive Child and Raising Human Beings. He has a lot of videos online, too. Anything by him about Collaborative Problem Solving is going to be excellent. (less)

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Jul 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: teaching
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
Amazing Informative and I really tried the communication with empathy, getting to the concern (Part B not Part A), asking and coming up with solutions with my kids. It helped right away even though we are all still learning! I’m going to keep reading and rereading and hopefully lots of ppl will read this because I think that kids with behavior and other challenges need help Learning new skills!
Aug 10, 2009 rated it it was ok
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.
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
Jun 04, 2013 rated it did not like it
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
Jan 09, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Alyssa Nelson
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
May 25, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Jan 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 11, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Gerry Durisin
Jun 15, 2019 rated it really liked it

Greene's book is quite readable, and provides a thorough overview of an approach to working with behaviorally challenging kids called Collaborative & Proactive Solutions (CPS). Rather than applying "consequences" as is traditionally the practice in many schools, Greene proposes that adults view challenging behaviors as symptoms (or results) of lagging cognitive (thinking) skills. He provides a framework for identifying and defining problem behaviors and lagging skills (A
Mar 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
May 21, 2012 rated it did not like it
This book was cheesy like an lifetime movie or an after school special.
Leah Larson
Jun 21, 2022 rated it it was amazing
If you work with kids, this book has really great ideas to help with difficult situations. I loved, loved, loved the strategies that are taught in this!! I wish that more people viewed challenging behavior in kids with this kind of insight.
Artemisa Perucho-Green
Some valuable insights into building relationships and opening up honest dialogue for positive change with children and families, but not entirely grounded in reality. I can see why this book is popular with new teachers who are looking for direction, and administrators who wish for 100% of student behaviors to be handled by the teacher in the classroom. Meh. 🤷🏻‍♀️
John Stinebaugh
I have to admit that I begin reading this book with a bit of a chip on my shoulder to start with. I have been confronted online by somebody who had just attended one of Dr. Greene's trainings and she was making some very specific (and what I thought were unfair) comments about other models I had been trained in. Sadly however upon finishing this book the concerns that I had were compounded not allayed. What follows is my criticism of this work for anybody trying to use this for anything beyond a ...more
Apr 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Educators shld read this book!!
Jul 09, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: work
I have mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, I agree that the current system of punishment does not work for most kids. But there are certain situations when it is necessary (student threatens a teacher, brings weapons to school, etc. All things that have happened with my students in these first couple months of school). As a licensed mental health and behavioral counselor in an alternative school, I like the idea of a collaborative relationship with students. When I meet with each of ...more
Jun 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
A fresh perspective on kids with behavioral challenges. For the first time in a long time, it feels like a humane and doable behavior "program" that actually teaches kids something and builds healthy relationships between students, schools, and families. No ticket system, bribes, or detentions that serve to teach kids obedience but not self-control.

To me, it is obvious that Greene has actually worked in schools, has heard conversations at faculty meetings and between teachers and parents becaus
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
"AMAZING BOOK! All teachers should have to read this. This book is perfect for the educator who may have heard or experienced parts of the CPS process but not all. This book is explaining the whys. Now I understand what counselors, admin, eveyone else "in the know" knows but I didn't. I have never had Collaborative Problem Solving explained to me in one setting: Empathy, Define Adult Concerns, and Invitation!"

The scenarios that are included help a teacher prepare a way to respond in different si
Cindi Jackson
Nov 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Jan 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children
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. ...more
Thorn MotherIssues
Feb 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2009
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. ...more
Katie VanderPoel
Quite repetitive and should of taken more into account how trauma affects one’s behavior. I also didn’t like how it minimizes how culture and the environment ( growing up in poverty) plays a role in behavior.
Mar 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: work
I think this is essential reading for all teachers working today's inclusion led education systems. As an SfL/ASN teacher who has worked with ASD (including Asperger's), ADHD, ODD, PDA and PTSD pupils in mainstream schools I wish I had come across this book years ago. Read it and pass it on to your colleagues.

Four quotes from Lost at School:

"The premise of this book is that kids with behavioural challenges lack important thinking skills, an idea supported by research in the neurosciences over t
Kate Philbin
Feb 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
"Kids do well if they can". For this alone, I'd give it 5 stars. The style of writing made for a quick read and provided the reader with an easy way to understand the ideas explored without bogging you down with terminology or jargon. Although I will say there were times that I found myself skimming or skipping over sections due to how repetitive sections could be.

As a special education teacher, I am in a daily battle of, "am I doing enough" for the children, for my colleagues, administration,
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Dr. Ross Greene is the New York Times bestselling author of the influential books The Explosive Child, Lost at School, Raising Human Beings, and Lost & Found. He is the originator of the innovative, evidence-based treatment approach called Collaborative & Proactive Solutions (CPS) described in these books. The CPS model provides a compassionate, accurate understanding of behavioral challenges and ...more

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