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Removing Labels, Grades K-12 - Book Cover Look Inside

Removing Labels, Grades K-12

40 Techniques to Disrupt Negative Expectations About Students and Schools

By: Dominique Smith, Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey

Disrupt the cycle of implicit bias and stereotype threat with 40 research-based, teacher-tested techniques; individual, classroom-based, and schoolwide actions; printables; and ready-to-go tools for planning and instruction.

Product Details
  • Grade Level: PreK-12
  • ISBN: 9781544398174
  • Published By: Corwin
  • Series: Corwin Literacy
  • Year: 2021
  • Page Count: 240
  • Publication date: February 05, 2021

Price: $26.95

Price: $26.95
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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.



Dominique Smith photo

Dominique Smith

Dominique Smith, Ed.D. is Chief of Educational Services and Teacher Support at Health Sciences High and Middle College in San Diego, CA. He is passionate about creating school cultures that honor students and build their confidence and competence. Smith's major area of research and instruction focuses on restorative practices, classroom management, growth mindset, and the culture of achievement. In addition to his school leadership responsibilities, Smith provides professional learning to K–12 teachers in groups large and small, on many topics that address classroom and school climate and organization. He is a regular presenter at many conferences, including Empower (ASCD's annual conference). Smith holds his doctorate in Educational Leadership from San Diego State University with a focus on equity and a Master's degree in social work from the University of Southern California. He also holds credentials from San Diego State University in administrative services, child welfare, PPS, and attendance. He is the winner of the National School Safety Award from the School Safety Advocacy Council. He delivered a TED Talk in 2018 about building relationships between students and teachers.

Douglas Fisher photo

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 and Middle College. Previously, Doug was an early intervention teacher and elementary school educator. He is the recipient of an International Reading Association William S. Grey citation of merit and an Exemplary Leader award from the Conference on English Leadership of NCTE. He has published numerous articles on teaching and learning as well as books such as The Teacher Clarity Playbook, PLC+, Visible Learning for Literacy, Comprehension: The Skill, Will, and Thrill of Reading, How Tutoring Works, and How Learning Works. Doug loves being an educator and hopes to share that passion with others.

Nancy Frey photo

Nancy Frey

Nancy Frey, Ph.D., is a Professor in Educational Leadership at San Diego State and a teacher leader at Health Sciences High and Middle College. She is a member of the International Literacy Association’s Literacy Research Panel. Her published titles include Visible Learning in Literacy, This Is Balanced Literacy, Removing Labels, and Rebound. Nancy is a credentialed special educator, reading specialist, and administrator in California and learns from teachers and students every day.
Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Publisher’s Acknowledgments

Introduction: Interrupting the Cycle Begins With You

Section 1. Individual Approaches

Technique 1. Learning Names the Right Way

Technique 2. Interest Surveys

Technique 3. Banking Time

Technique 4. 2 × 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

Technique 11. Creating a Welcoming Classroom Climate

Technique 12. Class Meetings

Technique 13. Classroom Sociograms

Technique 14. The Mask Activity

Technique 15. Asset Mapping

Technique 16. Peer Partnerships

Technique 17. Five Different Peer Partnerships

Technique 18. Self-Assessment in Collaborative Learning

Technique 19. Equitable Grouping Strategies

Technique 20. Gradual Release of Responsibility Instructional Framework

Technique 21. Teaching With Relevance in Mind

Technique 22. Jigsaw

Technique 23. Accountable Talk

Technique 24. Making Decisions

Technique 25. Alternatives to Public Humiliation

Technique 26. When Young Children Label Others—The Crumple Doll

Technique 27. When Older Students Label Others—Insults and Epithets

Technique 28. Trauma-Sensitive Classroom Design

Technique 29. The Dot Inventory

Technique 30. Culturally Sustaining Pedagogies

Technique 31. Schoolwide Inclusive Practices

Technique 32. Student Empowerment

Technique 33. Collective Responsibility

Technique 34. Recognizing and Responding to Implicit Bias

Technique 35. Racial Autobiography

Technique 36. Social Capital

Technique 37. A Welcoming Front Office

Technique 38. Community Ambassadors

Technique 39. The Master Schedule

Technique 40. Distributed Leadership