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Removing Labels, Grades K-12

Removing Labels, Grades K-12
40 Techniques to Disrupt Negative Expectations About Students and Schools

Other Titles in:
Diversity | Social Justice

February 2021 | 184 pages | Corwin
Disrupting the cycle starts with you.

No matter how conscientious we are, we carry implicit bias…which quickly turns into assumptions and then labels. Labels define our interactions with and expectations of students. Labels contribute to student identity and agency. And labels can have a negative effect beyond the classroom.

It’s crucial, then, that teachers remove labels and focus on students’ strengths – but this takes real work at an individual, classroom, and schoolwide scale. 

Removing Labels urges you to take an active approach toward disrupting the negative effects of labels and assumptions that interfere with student learning. This book offers:

40 practical, replicable teaching techniques – all based in research and best practice -- that focus on building relationships, restructuring classroom engagement and management, and understanding the power of social and emotional learning 
Suggestions for actions on an individual, classroom, and schoolwide level
Ready-to-go tools and student-facing printables to use in planning and instruction

Removing Labels is more than a collection of teaching strategies—it’s a commitment to providing truly responsive education that serves all children. When you and your colleagues take action to prevent negative labels from taking hold, the whole community benefits.
Section 1: Individual Approaches
Technique #1: Learning Names the Right Way

Technique #2: Interest Surveys

Technique #3: Banking Time

Technique #4: 2 x 10 Conversations

Technique #5: Affective Statements

Technique #6: Impromptu Conferences

Technique #7: Empathetic Feedback

Technique #8: Reconnecting After an Absence

Technique #9: Labeling Emotions

Technique #10: Solving Problems: Do the Next Right Thing

Section 2: Classroom Approaches
Setting the Stage

Technique #11: Welcoming Environment

Technique #12: Class Meetings

Technique #13: Classroom Sociograms

Technique #14: Mask Activity

Technique #15: Asset Mapping

Grouping to Foster Learning

Technique #16: Grouping to Foster Peer Partnerships

Technique #17: 5 Different Peer Partnerships

Technique #18: Student Self-Assessment of Collaboration

Technique #19: Equitable Grouping Strategies

Instructional Practices

Technique #20: Gradual Release of Responsibility Instructional Framework

Technique #21: Teaching With Relevance in Mind

Technique #22: Jigsaw

Technique #23: Accountable Talk

Responding to Behavior

Technique #24: Making Decisions

Technique #25: Alternatives to Public Humiliation

Technique #26: When Young Children Label Others -- Crumple Doll

Technique #27: When Older Children Label Others -- Insults and Epithets

Technique #28: Trauma-Sensitive Classroom Design

Section 3: School Approaches
A Student-Centered Learning Climate

Technique #29: Dot Inventory

Technique #30: Culturally Sustaining Pedagogies

Technique #31: Schoolwide Inclusive Practices

Technique #32: Student Empowerment

The Professional Capacity of Staff

Technique #33: Collective Responsibility

Technique #34: Understanding Implicit Bias

Technique #35: Racial Autobiography

Ties to Families and Communities

Technique #36: Social Capital

Technique #37: The Front Desk

Technique #38: Community Ambassadors

School Leadership

Technique #39: Master Schedule

Technique #40: Distributed Leadership


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Dominique B. Smith

Dominique Smith is a social worker, school administrator, mentor, national trainer for the International Institute on Restorative Practices, member of ASCD’s FIT Teaching (Framework for Intentional and Targeted Teaching®) Cadre and Corwin’s Visible Learning for Literacy Cadre. He is passionate about creating school cultures that honor students and build their confidence and competence. He is the winner of the National School Safety Award from the School Safety Advocacy Council.Smith's major area of research and instruction focuses on restorative practices, classroom management, growth mindset, and the culture of achievement. In... More About Author

Douglas Fisher

Douglas Fisher, Ph.D., is Professor and Chair of Educational Leadership at San Diego State University and a leader at Health Sciences High & Middle College having been an early intervention teacher and elementary school educator. He is the recipient of an International Reading Association William S. Grey citation of merit, an Exemplary Leader award from the Conference on English Leadership of NCTE, as well as a Christa McAuliffe award for excellence in teacher education. He has published numerous articles on reading and literacy, differentiated instruction, and curriculum design as well as books, such as PLC+: Better Decisions and... More About Author

Nancy Frey

Nancy Frey, Ph.D., is a Professor in Educational Leadership at San Diego State University and a leader at Health Sciences High and Middle College. She has been a special education teacher, reading specialist, and administrator in public schools. Nancy has engaged in Professional Learning Communities as a member and in designing schoolwide systems to improve teaching and learning for all students. She has published numerous books, including The Teacher Clarity Playbook and Rigorous Reading.  More About Author

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