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Happy Kids Don't Punch You in the Face

Happy Kids Don't Punch You in the Face
A Guide to Eliminating Aggressive Behavior in School

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March 2018 | 200 pages | Corwin

Take a positive approach to behavior intervention for results that work—and last!  

When there’s a nuclear meltdown happening in your classroom, you don’t have a second to think. This book is your trusted guide on what to do in the heat of the moment, and how you can decrease the chances of incidents happening in the first place. Its field-tested strategies integrate principles of behavioral intervention with the best practices of positive psychology—a fresh, effective response that respects the tough realities you face every day.  

Happy Kids takes a student-centered approach to behavior, emphasizing optimism and student happiness without sugarcoating the realities of managing your students. Inside you’ll find:  

  • Ready-to-use tools and guidelines 
  • Practical guidance developed from the author’s extensive experience training educators 
  • Solutions that work now and support each student’s future well-being 
  • A deliberate focus at the classroom, building, and system level   

Whether you’re a teacher, school counselor, psychologist, or administrator, Happy Kids has the guidance you need to manage behavior, ensure safety for all, and bring peace back to the classroom and school.


Overview: What This Book Will Do for You
About the Author
Introduction: The Lentil Incident
1. The Roots of Aggression and the Coercive Cycle
2. What Does Not Work
3. The Triangle of Power: Systems of Prevention and You
4. Happy Kids Don’t Punch You in the Face
5. Principles of Applied Behavior Analysis
6. Optimistic Teaming
7. Bringing It All Together: The Step-by-Step “Happy Kids Don’t Punch You in the Face” Process
Conclusion: Where Are They Now? Student Snapshots!
Appendix A: The Coercive Cycle and How to Break It!

Appendix B: RIP Catharsis

Appendix C: RIP Corporal Punishment

Appendix D: The Better Reprimand

Appendix E: Differential Reinforcement of Incompatible Behavior (DRI)

Appendix F: Identifying Core Beliefs When Considering Discipline

Appendix G: List of Evidence-Based Screening Tools

Appendix H: Steps to Conduct a Basic Pilot (Feasibility) Study in Your District to Screen for Behavioral Problems in Students

Appendix I: Influence Tips From Robert Cialdini

Appendix J: Applications of RICH Theory to IEP Goals and BIP Goals

Appendix K: The Replacement Behavior Race

Appendix L: Reinforcement Checklist

Appendix M: Functional Behavioral Assessment Form

Appendix N: Sample Behavior Intervention Plan Write-Up

Appendix O: Behavior Data Infographic

Appendix P: “Hello There, Elephant” Worksheet

Appendix Q: Thought Replacement Exercises

Appendix R: Emergency Contact Information Form (Template)



"Happy Kids gives much needed advice for educators in the trenches who are dealing with aggressive and disturbed students on a daily basis. This book has relevant examples, vignettes, cases, background information concerning behavior analysis and much more. The beauty of this book is that it explains the need, the goal, the desired outcome, and goes back to give the step by step to use these techniques in the classroom. Moreover, Ben Springer's use of humorous personal anecdotes and organization make this a breeze to read and understand."

Vikki Kelly, Teacher, Caroll Independent School District
Caroll Middle School

In Happy Kids, Dr. Springer draws from his years of experience working with students with challenging behaviours to help teachers and school leaders understand how they can do just that. Rooted in the principles of applied behavioral analysis (ABA) and the RICH theory of happiness, the happy kids formula is a tool that reminds us that when students have access to resources and intimacy, feel competent about themselves, and are healthy, they are more likely to be happy, which will drastically decrease their levels of aggression. I literally loved everything about this book and cannot stop talking about whenever I overhear a conversation about a challenging student.

Alex T. Valencic, Curriculum Coordinator for 21st Century Learning
Freeport School District, IL
Key features
  • Contains nine chapters, including an introductory chapter, seven core chapters consisting of the ASPEN approach, and a final concluding chapter emphasizing implementation and applicability.
  • The approach and style of ASPEN has deliberate classroom level, building level, and system-levels focus.
  • Includes ready-to-use tools and guidelines designed for immediate implementation.
  • Has been developed from extensive training experiences, thus offers the most practical material that meets educators' needs and requests.
  • Sample Materials & Chapters

    The Coercion Cycle

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