10 Free Lesson Plans for Mental Health

After the 22nd school shooting in just the first 20 weeks of 2018, we decided we had to do something. In a team meeting,…

It is Time to Play

I was reading the headlines on the front page of my web browser and they were alternating between tragedy, calamity and…

Summer: The Happiest Season of All

There aren’t many sensory reminders that rush you back to your childhood days quite like the smell of fresh cut grass. I…

Back to Basics: Teaching the Important Lessons

Jason is a sophomore and has been known to get into trouble. He has been in In-School Suspension more than once. He has a…

SEL = Behavior | Connecting the Dots

SEL = Behaviors | Connecting the Dots. For some reason when people talk about behaviors and behavior programming at school…

Changing Behaviors | Easy As A-B-C

Over the last several weeks we have spent a lot of time describing and defining behaviors. After all, our words and…

Reclaiming Our Classrooms

By: Jay Burcham How do we combat a pop-culture that is predicated on an immediacy of gratification and an assignment of…

Ho..Ho..Oh..No – Sometimes the Holidays Hurt

I was walking through the supermarket this past weekend when the old familiar Christmas songs began blaring through the…

The Focus of Pre-K: Are They Ready to Learn?

One of the real issues facing schools today is the readiness of kids to begin. Are little ones ready for Kindergarten? If…

A Student Success Testimonial: Bullying

Watch as Tammy Geiger, a long time Leaps user and hard-working educator, describes the phenomenal transformation of one of…

Today's Social and Emotional Health Epidemic

Poliomyelitis is a disease that held a reign of terror over this nation for many years. An American president was crippled…

Thankful for Thanksgiving: A Humble Top 10

It is so hard to believe that Thanksgiving is upon us. Even though the weather turned cold and the days have definitely…

Finding That Spark

As I smiled and said, “Great!” to my little girl, the voice inside my head responded with a resounding, “Ugh!!” It is…

The Quiet Ones

Randy walks the hall with a chip on his shoulder. He is a big guy yet it seems like his shoulder width expands even more…

Take the Time

It is time for Halloween so obviously we need to talk about little ones and safety and costumes and the parent’s duties…

Profoundly Simple

I grew up in West Texas in the 70s and early 80s. West Texas is comprised of long stretches of desert broken only by oil…

Needing to Be Heard

Have you ever had the nightmare where someone is chasing you... ...and you are running and running and trying to scream for…

Common Sense Isn't Always Common

Have you ever had your own personal V8 moment? You know what I am talking about – those V-8 commercials where someone…

Biebers, Kardashians & Miley... Oh My.

When Dorothy was told to “follow the yellow brick road” it was a very intentional set of instructions. Sure it was also a…

News and Today's Kids

When my oldest daughter was little, she didn’t like it when I watched the news because she thought it was boring. The 24…

Missing the Point on Domestic Violence

The day a baby is born is one of the happiest days of most people’s lives. Months of anticipation and hope coupled with…

Calming Down That ONE Student

Why is it harder to calm one student down than to calm down an entire class? Why does it seem there is a butting of heads…

Calming Them Down: Transitions

Do you dread the moments after the bell rings and you know you are going to have to calm down a room full of kids? Whether…

Our Experiment

  Jay's nephew and his new best buddy in Pre-K. 27 years ago my family adopted my youngest sister. She came to us 3…

Social Emotional Learning with Leaps: Competencies

Competency, in its simplest form, means suitability. In its most aggressive form it means to do something successfully and…

It's Your Classroom: Own It.

About half of our nation’s schools are back in session and the rest will be joining in the next week or so. It is time for…

Bright Light, Dark Heart: Robin Williams

[caption id="attachment_1204" align="alignleft" width="405"] Courtesy of chicagoreader.com[/caption] It is hard to be…

5 Simple Things for Educators

There aren’t many jobs that can match that of an educator for sheer workload. Whether an administrator, teacher, clinician,…

The First Day of School: "Etch-A-Sketch" Your Year

Do you remember your first day of school? It has been nearly 40 years for me, but I still remember my mom walking me to…

Rebuilding the Bullied: Cyber Bullying

It is scary that bullying has become so much more difficult to find and control. When I was a child and you heard the…

Rebuilding the Bullied, Part 1

As a parent, one of my great fears is of someone being mean to one of my kids and me not knowing about it. I grew up in a…

Good Parents Make Hard Calls

If you have read many of my postings then you probably already know that I have been blessed with 3 of the best kids you…

How Can Pre-K Really Help?

The ongoing debate over the need for pre-k tends to take a “baby and the bathwater” tone which has proponents on one side…

Getting in Shape for School

Summer is second only to Christmas for kids. Long days coupled with no homework make for a recipe for fun. Whether swimming…

Why Pre-K?

There is a lot of discussion on the news and online, in schools and homes across the country about whether or not having a…

One Great Nation

This is one of my favorite times of the year. The week surrounding the 4th of July is a time when families are planning for…

The Green Monster

∞ ∞ ∞ Jolie wants to dress like Kyla and Erin, but her folks just don’t have the money to spend on fancy designer clothes.…

Rules are Rules.

Parents and teachers alike understand that kids will misbehave. The best kid in the world will do something at some time…

Our Greatest Treasure

Is there anything better than summer vacation? No hard bedtime for the kids and great movies at the theater and, best of…

What is Leaps?

Get to know what Leaps can do for your school, classroom and community!

The Greatest Pain: Loss

In my last entry I wrote about pain being a fact of life. Everyone has pain from injuries or illnesses or just the process…

Pain is a Fact of Life

Very few people enjoy pain, and those that do are likely not reading a blog about social and emotional well-being. From an…

His First Date | Part Two.

Continued from His First Date | Part One... The days between the invite and the movie were filled with fear and the nights…

His First Date | Part One.

This past week my son went on his first "date". I call it a "date", quotation marks and all, because his "friend"…

Face to Face: Anger

Anger is one of the most readily identifiable and easy to discern emotions we deal with each day. From being cut off in…

I Believe in Competition!

There are few places that bring about the smile of a child faster than Disney World. Just the thought of riding the spinning…

Today Will Be Great

In a couple of days I am going to have the honor of standing in front of a graduating class of seniors, accepting their…

Thank You for Remembering

“Greater love has no one that this; to lay down one’s life for a one’s friends” John 15:13 Each day brings its own set of…

Finals Week -- Help!

It is that time of the year again for our middle and high school students. It is the time when a year’s worth of facts and…

Ladies and Gentlemen

Sylvia and I were married for 9 years before we had our first child. Megan was the answer to many of our prayers. She came…

Spring: The Perfect Time to Teach

I have the very distinct blessing of living in one of the most beautiful cities in this incredible country. Spring in Austin…

Who is Teaching the Parents?

It is easy to write about the people who are neglectful parents. You know who they are. In my former company I had two…

Our Firm Foundation in Faith

I work with educators. I spend my time helping educators deal with student behaviors and attitudes. We work together to…

Kids Having Kids

I sat with a high level administrator of a state agency recently and listened to her explain why she thinks we are losing…

If You Can Read This...

Over the last three weeks I have had the incredible opportunity of visiting with educators, administrators, and…

Give Kids a Chance with Social and Emotional Skills

Last week we talked about the method, or pedagogy, for teaching social and emotional skills. After all, you can’t just start…

I Work, Therefore I Am.

Every time I open my web browser, I see something about a diet or a savings plan or a self-improvement program. We are…

Teaching Social Skills | The Pedagogical Quandary

How do you teach social skills to a group of students lacking the basic social skills to sit, listen, participate, and learn…

Today, Let's Laugh

This afternoon I was watching my son Hunter crush the baseball at batting practice. As I watched him, I was amazed at how…

The Key to Changing Behaviors

Some kids have good days and bad days. Chad seems to have good days and mad days. He has days when he wakes up on the…

When I Hurt

As a psychologist, I am often asked how to help little ones understand and deal with loss. How do you help your child,…

Discipline vs. Punishment

As we continue our discussion about the process of behavior change it is important to stop every now and then and address…

What a Wonderful World

Louis Armstrong sang “What a Wonderful World” in 1967. In that beautiful song he opines and laments, “I…

Consequences: One Size Does NOT Fit All

Mr. Jerrod’s 3rd grade class is a handful. He has his obviously bright students, his struggling students, and most all of…

I am a Daddy

This morning was bittersweet. My 8th grade son boarded a plane early this morning with most of his fellow 8th graders. They…

Changing Behaviors: Reinforcements | Part 2

In our conversation last week we talked about how reinforcements are often misunderstood in behavior programming. For…

Refocusing on Humanity

I woke this morning to news that Russia and the new Ukraine government are in a political standoff with military options…

Changing Behaviors: Reinforcements | Part 1

Part 4 of 7 in the ABCs of Behavior Everybody likes something. Sounds kinda simple, doesn’t it? But the fact that “…

A Day in the Life of a Teacher

Morning comes way too early. I just closed my eyes and now it is time to start all over again. The morning shower is about…

The Function of Behaviors | Obvious, Right?!

Over the past several weeks we have been discussing what a behavior is and where behaviors come from. We have even talked a…

A REAL Valentine's Day

Over the past week every time I turned on the radio or television I heard about Valentine’s Day. I kept hearing that if…

Organic vs. Acquired Behavioral Problems

We have spent a good deal of our Thursday conversations talking about where behaviors come from, the purpose they serve, how…

The Game of the Week | Sportsmanship

This past week the sports world was in full tilt. We had Super Bowl Sunday plus a full slate of college and professional…

Where Behaviors Begin

In our last behavior conversation we laid out the A-B-C process for changing behaviors. It is a complicated but straight-…

The Teacher Dropout Rate

An interesting study from Alliance for Education Excellence found here provides some interesting findings on why teachers…

A Tragic Indifference to Violence

[caption id="attachment_328" align="alignright" width="410"] We are becoming desensitized to violence as a nation.[/caption…

The Social Funnel

Over the last several weeks we have talked about behavior influencers and social and emotional catalysts and impediments.…

Today I Dream

Today is a day this great nation has set aside to remember the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We know of his unflinching…

Learning IS a Behavior.

In our conversation last week we talked about the fact that experiences matter. They matter from a decision making as well…

A Beautiful Hope

I am not prone to overt sentimentality. In fact, I think about 98% of the tearjerkers that get passed along by e-mail and…

What's Really Changing the World?

In our last behavioral conversation we talked about experiences. We discussed how experiences ranged from those things in…

Our Kids at the Blackboard of Life

I remember standing at the board in 9th grade with a piece of chalk in my hand with the assignment of diagramming a sentence…

Your Experience or Mine?

In our last behavioral conversation we talked about the definition of a behavior. A behavior is the action towards,…

Today Matters

Celebrate TODAY by giving some precious time and attention to your child.[/caption] This is the time of year when we…

A Christmas Smile

As a preteen in Big spring Texas I used to dream about owning a BMX bicycle. In the early 80s if a 12-year-old boy had BMX…

Remembering is Not Enough

The human spirit is remarkably resilient. We can endure and overcome and bear witness to events that should cripple us…

What IS a Behavior?

As we continue our Thursday conversation, a simple question: What is a behavior? I have asked this question in…

Tis the Season... for Stress

  It’s the Most Wonderful...ly Stressful... Time of the Year! There are few things I love more than watching my…

Who has Time for Behaviors?

There aren’t many peophttple busier than teachers. Between a room full of kids, state and federal mandates for learning…

Welcome to the New Leaps Expert Blog!

We are so excited to offer you great words of wisdom from the Leaps expert on social and emotional learning, Jay Burcham.…

What is Leaps?

In many of my blog posts I reference Leaps. Leaps is the outcome of years of research and work with social and emotional…

Jay's Greatest Hits: Volume I

Since we launched this blog last December, Jay has touched on a great breadth of topics-- so we thought it was time to…