Category: Resources for Educators

Looking for Reader Contributions!

For our December newsletter we would like to publish your stories.  We are looking for short pieces that are uplifting and/or extremely hilarious.  Teachers, of course, are intended to be inspiring to their students, but often it is students who are inspiring to their teachers.  We would like to hear from those of you who have been inspired by one or more of your students.  Students are often incredibly funny, whether intentionally or not.  We would like to publish these stories as well.  We are looking only for stories where the student herself or himself found the situation funny and no one’s feelings were hurt.  Let’s keep it comical and not cruel!

Send your contributions to  Teachers whose submissions are chosen for publication will each receive a certificate entitling them to take any one course at no charge (Winners cannot be a prepaid or NY ASPDP Client.  Course coverage fees does not include any university credit fees if university credits were desired upon completion of the course. )

An Introduction to Choice Theory

Choice Theory teaches that all behavior is creatively generated from our behavioral system, which is comprised of both organized and creative behaviors.  We make behavior choices based on what we perceive will best satisfy our needs and lead to meaningful experiences.  All people have the same basic needs, but the strength of their needs varies individually.  We each have personal ideas of what holds meaning for us and what we want to experience.  Choice theory challenges us to understand ourselves and the nature of our choices while allowing others to do the same without interference.


Choice theory proposes that all human beings are genetically endowed with five basic needs – the need for survival, the need for love and belonging, the need for power, the need for freedom and the need for fun.

5 Basic Needs of Choice Theory – Potential Feelings Associated with Satisfied or Unmet Needs

View or print “5 Basic Needs of Choice Theory”

Physiological Need

Psychological Needs


Love & Belonging

Power (Intrinsic)



Satisfied Need

  • Fed
  • Quenched
  • Rested
  • Sheltered
  • Healthy
  • Comfortable temperature
  • Safe (not in danger)

Satisfied Need

  • Connected
  • Secure
  • Engaged
  • Validated
  • Good self-esteem and self-worth
  • Agreeable
  • Trusting
  • Happy

Satisfied Need

  • Competent
  • Confident
  • Energetic
  • Capable
  • Influential
  • Authoritative
  • Experienced
  • Effective
  • Productive

Satisfied Need

  • Self-determining
  • Autonomous
  • Independent
  • Free to choice
  • Individuality
  • Self-sufficient
  • In charge
  • Open minded

Satisfied Need

  • Enjoyment
  • Pleasure
  • Entertained
  • Excited
  • Amused/good humored
  • Playful
  • Variety of Interests
  • Involved in hobbies
  • Creative
  • Spontaneous

Unmet Need

  • Hungry
  • Thirsty
  • Tired
  • Inadequate shelter
  • Sick
  • Too hot/too cold
  • Unsafe (in danger)
  • Abused
  • Neglected

Unmet Need

  • Diminished self-worth and  self-esteem
  • Disconnected
  • Lonely
  • Disagreeable
  • Mistrusting
  • Disengaged
  • Withdrawn/Depressed
  • Indifferent
  • Angry

Unmet Need

  • Bossing/Bullying
  • Low self-worth
  • Angry
  • Poor self-regulation
  • Domineering
  • Know-it-all approach
  • Controlling

Unmet Need

  • Rebellious
  • Dependent
  • Frustrated/angry
  • Trapped
  • Inadequate
  • No choices
  • Imprisoned
  • Restricted
  • Disrespected
  • Mistrust

Unmet Need

  • Bored
  • Distracted
  • Disruptive
  • Annoyed
  • Disinterested
  • Restless
  • Disappointed

 View or print “5 Basic Needs of Choice Theory”


From Choice Theory: How to Implement Into Your Classroom – Two Part Behavioral System – Organized and Reorganizing Behaviors

The human behavioral system is a two-part system. One part contains the familiar, organized total behaviors that we do habitually.  The other part is our reorganizing creative system.  The creative system is like a cooking pot that contains the building blocks of behavior that are in a constant state of fluctuation and reorganization. There is no limit to the number of combinations of these building blocks, and no limit to the creative behavioral options at our disposal.


Our existing behavioral system is comprised of complex organized behaviors that we already know how to do, think and feel. We use them day after day to maintain control of our lives.  They include routine actions such as brushing teeth, dressing, driving, preparing meals, doing our jobs, etc. They can be habitual emotional responses such as loving, being happy, being anxious or depressing.  Some organized behaviors have a basis in thinking patterns such as communicating, reading, composing, calculating, and researching.  We also have automatic physiological responses that are organized in our bodies such as breathing, digesting, blood circulating, and sensing.  All of our organized, habitual behaviors belong to a behavioral repertoire from which we always try to select the best possible behavior to satisfy a current need.

The organized behaviors in our behavioral system have either been learned from others or we have created them out of need.  Either way, these organized behaviors are no longer new to us.  They are structured, habitual, and routine.  Creativity may have contributed to their establishment, but it is no longer required for their maintenance. These are our “go to” behaviors.  Most of these behaviors are helpful, but some may be harmful, such as procrastinating, gossiping and abusing substances. Whether helpful or harmful, they are purposeful because we find them to be need-satisfying in our current set of circumstances. Given human nature, we will likely continue these behaviors until they no longer satisfy our needs or until out of dissatisfaction or frustration we create new behaviors.


We have all experienced times when we find ourselves having some unusual thought and ask ourselves, “Where did that come from?”  It’s often possible to back up the links in a thought chain from the unusual thought to its origin and find that the original thought wasn’t so unusual.  At times, our creative system continues offering links to a thought chain until a new thought is so different from our normal thought patterns that it captures our attention.  The more attuned we are to our creative system, the better positioned we are to evaluate these thoughts and respond to them with intention.  The creative system not only generates innovative thoughts for our consideration, but also the other components of total behavior – actions, feelings, and physiological responses.

Unlike machines, living organisms are highly creative and are involved in the process of creating new behaviors. Whether we are in effective control of our lives or not, new behaviors are constantly being made available to us through a remarkable creative process that choice theory calls reorganization.

The sum experiences of our lives as well as their infinite parts churn around inside of us, bubbling and reorganizing arbitrarily.  Imagine a kind of churning pot of randomly occurring feelings, thoughts, and potential actions that are in a constant state of reorganization.  From this concoction of behavioral material, a random stream of mostly minimal but occasionally well-organized new behaviors pop up as thoughts, feelings, and potential actions that we can either accept or reject.

You might think of the creative system as being like a large box of assorted Legos© containing pieces in all shapes, sizes, and colors that can be connected in seemingly countless ways to create innumerable structures.  Pieces can float around individually, a few pieces can be connected to form simple structures, or hundreds, thousands, or hundreds of thousands of pieces can be combined to create increasingly complex structures.  They can then be taken apart and reconstructed – reorganized – into something completely different.


Only living organisms can create new behaviors. The most complex computer imaginable can only produce variations of the organized functions stored in its memory. It may take a long time, but after it has exhausted its capacity to vary its program, it will run dry. A deck of playing cards has 52 units that can be arranged in over a million ways without being repeated to form individual games of solitaire.  This would seem fantastic until a comparison is made with the human behavioral system that has an unlimited number of behavioral building blocks – thoughts, potential actions, feelings, and physiological activity – that can be arranged in an infinite number of combinations to generate new and unique complex behaviors. There is no limit to the number of creative behaviors that can be expressed by one human being!  There is no limit to the creativity that can be unleashed in your students!

Compassionate Schools: The Heart of Learning and Teaching

Compassionate Schools benefit all students who attend the school, but focus on students chronically exposed to stress and trauma in their lives. These schools create compassionate classrooms and foster compassionate attitudes of their school staff. The goal is to keep students engaged and learning by creating and supporting a healthy climate and culture within the school where all students can learn. It is not a program; it is a process and as such is not “one size fits all.” Each school and community will develop their own unique compassionate “personality.”

Ten principles of a Compassionate School

  1. Focus on culture and climate in the school and community.
  2. Train and support all staff regarding trauma and learning.
  3. Encourage and sustain open and regular communication for all.
  4. Develop a strengths based approach in working with students and peers.
  5. Ensure discipline policies are both compassionate and effective (Restorative Practices).
  6. Weave compassionate strategies into school improvement planning.
  7. Provide tiered support for all students based on what they need.
  8. Create flexible accommodations for diverse learners.
  9. Provide access, voice, and ownership for staff, students and community.
  10. Use data to:
  • Identify vulnerable students, and
  • Determine outcomes and strategies for continuous quality improvement.

Free Resource:  View or download “The Heart of Learning and Teaching”