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Classroom Discipline and Management Tips

Deliberate Technique vs. Natural Talent

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Growth in states investment in corrections
has outpaced P-12 over the last three decades.

Dept. of Ed Resources that help schools implement positive behavioral interventions and supports and change how they respond to misbehavior with a School Discipline Guidance Package, that includes best practices and action steps schools and districts can take to improve climate and discipline.


Who Will Benefit from Expulsion, Suspension and Retention?

OSERS released two resource documents: assisting teachers with classroom management strategies and assisting schools in implementing school-wide behavioral strategies. Supporting and Responding to Behavior: Evidence-Based Classroom Strategies for Teachers

Stand still when you're giving directions.
It is the tiniest decision, but what was teaching if not a series of bite-size moves just like that? Students pay attention not because of some inborn charisma but simply by being direct and specific.
Children often fail to follow directions because they really don't know what they are supposed to do. Students can't learn unless the teacher succeeds in capturing their attention and getting them to follow instructions.
Point our the Positive. Correct misbehavior not by chiding students for what they're doing wrong but by acknowledging the students who are doing it right and thanking them. Managing your classroom is for the purpose of learning not to show off your power.

#classroom management, #discipline problems,
#discipline solutions, #angry teacher


  1. The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires. ~ William A. Ward
  2. A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops. ~ Henry Adams
  3. Teaching should be such that what is offered is perceived as a valuable gift and not as a hard duty. ~ Albert Einstein



College Cell Phone Interruption

Classroom Management Tips

Teachers @ Risk 13-year old students posted classroom video taken with a cellphone of their teacher yelling at a fellow student on YouTube.

Grade 10
CAUTION: Lower the volume before starting this video,
it is disturbing.

Teachers left crying by cyber abuse
Cyber bullying has been perceived for some time as a growing problem in British classrooms. An increasingly tech-savvy yoof generation are using the web to ridicule and harass their hapless victims. Self-esteem is being crushed, once confident personalities left tearful in the lavs. The human cost is high. But it's no use the sufferers taking their problems to the teacher. They are the teachers, according to the BBC. And they aren't happy.

Middle School

NYT: Middle School Series
The Education Trust, a Washington-based advocacy group, has asserted that a scandalously high number of middle school classes are taught by teachers lacking even a college minor in their assigned subjects.Around the country, middle school teachers are often trained as elementary school generalists or as high school subject specialists, with little understanding of young adolescent psychology. In grade-by-grade testing conducted across New York State for the first time last year, reading scores plunged from fifth to sixth grade, when most students move to middle school, and continued to slide through eighth grade.
The most recent results of math and reading tests given to students in all 50 states showed that between 1999 and 2004, elementary school students made solid gains in reading and math, while middle school students made smaller gains in math and stagnated in reading. Teach for America. Twenty-one of his teachers, nearly a third, are part of the program, which recruits recent college graduates. While such teachers are often well-educated and energetic, many leave after their two-year commitments.
One of Mr. Levys most popular teachers is Leila Siddiky, 23, a Teach for America participant who was told during her training that she should work hard not to come across as a friend to her students, or let details of her personal life seep into lessons. It was advice she never took seriously. I would let it go in one ear and out the other, she said. I was like, thats not going to work with me. Instead, she has brought her students leftover cake from her birthday party and spiced up lessons on immigration with tales of her own familys journey from Bangladesh, on the theory that the key is to get the kids to like you. A colleague, Eli Savit, 23, took his training to heart, starting last year off being very strict. Its basically this broken windows theory that if you let things slide, theres going to be complete chaos, he said. But it just falls flat. Later, Mr. Savit let down his guard and started playing basketball with some of his more problematic students. After that, he noticed, they softened.
The Critical Years: Trying to Find Solutions in Chaotic Middle Schools January 3, 2007
Taking Middle Schoolers Out of the Middle January 22, 2007
A Test of Wills March 17th

Middle level education / early adolescence Assigned seating and taking roll

I've developed a great seating pattern for my gr. 7 social studies class--30 desks. I'll never go back to any standard pattern again. This is one that allows group work, video viewing, quiet tests, and hearable discussions. I assign places, but because of the variety, I've had very few complaints.
Mode 1: The Center Aisle -- for discussion or book work As I look at the class, I see a large aisle from front to back of room (in fact, there are two "fronts" to the room, and I stalk between them) with kids seated facing the aisle in five short rows of 3 seats each on my right and my left. I can easily minister to any kid in the room by walking only 3 seats back in the row, tops. I walk back and forth, tapping on any desk of an inattentive kid or helping anyone who's lost. No one hides!
In the center aisle seating plan, I set it up so that buddies can't see one another across the aisle. Put one in back corner, the other in front row on the aisle, both on same side.
To correct papers in class, just swap paper with "someone you trust" in your 3-person row. Works well. Kids get used to one another, become accepting.
Overhead projector stand can be quickly whipped into the aisle without asking anyone to move a desk. Kids have to look to right or left to see screen, but it's not terribly inconvenient.
Mode 2: Five groups, quick! The three-desk groups quickly pull together into two sets of six desks on each side of the aisle, with the two leftover 3-desk sets from the two sides forming the fifth group in center back (this group requires more towing of desk than the others).
I assign my seating so that no group has a singleton scholar--I put at least two top achievers in any group that has one top achiever in it. This keeps kids from feeling ill-used when group work occurs, and sometimes I get fabulous work because the group reaches critical mass.
Desks can be arranged so the kids face a center, or just informally make a six-desks-face-same-way quickie pod. Depends on activity.
When I take attendance in group, I just ask any group that doesn't have 6 kids, "Who's absent in this group?" The kids tell me. It's faster than messing with seating charts.
Mode 3: Facing Front for tests, lectures, etc. All desks are turned 90 degrees left or right so they face front. Voila! Six rows of 5 desks are facing front. Now all the kids who were on the aisle are in the center two rows. Most of the kids who were forced to be in "front seats" are now redefined. It's a break for them and for me.
Taking attendance, I don't even change my seating chart on the SASI computer screen--I already know the kids in this format. Even a substitute teacher can figure this one out.
Mode 4: Facing Sort of Front for video tapes Because I have a ceiling mounted monitor in one front corner, I use a hybrid viewing mode: The desks on the left side of the room face the center aisle, those on right face front of room. Looks odd, but it's easier on kids' necks and we don't have to move as many desks back afterwards.
If I have more than 30 kids, I add one more 3-desk row on one side of room.

Linda Bryan
Maplewood Middle School
Maplewood, MN

IMichael M. Yell
National Board Certified Teacher (
Hudson Middle School (
Vice President, National Council for the Social Studies (

'll start by being ironic. If you WANT to have classroom discipline problems put your students in straight rows and keep them there, use a textbook as often as possible, show videos/DVDs from start to finish, make certain to crank out those worksheets, do not challenge your students intellectually, and by all means never give them variety. You'll soon have more discipline problems than you can imagine.
The most important classroom management tool, in my experience, is to engage your students. When your lessons are creative, challenging for your students, and offer variety, you'll have few discipline problems. When students come into your class every day not knowing exactly what to expect but knowing it will be different and interesting, you'll have developed the best classroom management tool there is.
Will you still have discipline problems occuring from time to time? Of course you will, but not often. When there is a problem, keep in mind the "guick, quiet, certain" approach. Deal with the problem quickly, do not make it public, and know what you're going to do before hand.
Remember, teaching is about relationships. Know your kids, have fun with them, respect them and engage them; you will not have to worry about discipline problems.

Omega-3, junk food and the link between violence and what we eat. Research with British and US offenders suggests nutritional deficiencies may play a key role in aggressive bevaviour Felicity Lawrence October 17, 2006 FULL TEXT:
"My dome [brain] is working. They gave me some kind of pill and I changed. Me, myself and I, I changed." -- Dwight Demar, serial convict
"Demar has been taking part in a clinical trial at the US government's National Institutes for Health, near Washington. The study is investigating the effects of omega-3 fatty acid supplements on the brain, and the pills that have effected Demar's 'miracle' are doses of fish oil. The results emerging from this study are at the cutting edge of the debate on crime and punishment... The new research calls into question the very basis of criminal justice and the notion of culpability. It suggests that individuals may not always be responsible for their aggression. Taken together with a study in a high-security prison for young offenders in the UK, it shows that violent behaviour may be attributable at least in part to nutritional deficiencies."
"For the clinician in charge of the US study, Joseph Hibbeln, the results of his trial are not a miracle, but simply what you might predict if you understand the biochemistry of the brain and the biophysics of the brain cell membrane. His hypothesis is that modern industrialised diets may be changing the very architecture and functioning of the brain."
The UK prison trial at Aylesbury jail showed that when young men there were fed multivitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids, the number of violent offences they committed in the prison fell by 37%. Although no one is suggesting that poor diet alone can account for complex social problems, the former chief inspector of prisons Lord Ramsbotham says that he is now "absolutely convinced that there is a direct link between diet and antisocial behaviour, both that bad diet causes bad behaviour and that good diet prevents it."
For the clinician in charge of the US study, Joseph Hibbeln, the results of his trial are not a miracle, but simply what you might predict if you understand the biochemistry of the brain and the biophysics of the brain cell membrane. His hypothesis is that modern industrialised diets may be changing the very architecture and functioning of the brain.
We are suffering, he believes, from widespread diseases of deficiency. Just as vitamin C deficiency causes scurvy, deficiency in the essential fats the brain needs and the nutrients needed to metabolise those fats is causing of a host of mental problems from depression to aggression. Not all experts agree, but if he is right, the consequences are as serious as they could be. The pandemic of violence in western societies may be related to what we eat or fail to eat. Junk food may not only be making us sick, but mad and bad too.
Half were randomly assigned to 2 grams per day of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA for three months, and half to placebos of fish-flavoured corn oil.
An earlier pilot study on 30 patients with violent records found that those given omega-3 supplements had their anger reduced by one-third, measured by standard scales of hostility and irritability, regardless of whether they were relapsing and drinking again.
Threat to society
Hibbeln is a psychiatrist and physician, but as an employee of the US government at the NIH he wears the uniform of a commander, with his decorations for service pinned to his chest. As we queued to get past the post-9/11 security checks at the NIH federal base, he explained something of his view of the new threat to society.
Over the last century most western countries have undergone a dramatic shift in the composition of their diets in which the omega-3 fatty acids that are essential to the brain have been flooded out by competing omega-6 fatty acids, mainly from industrial oils such as soya, corn, and sunflower. In the US, for example, soya oil accounted for only 0.02% of all calories available in 1909, but by 2000 it accounted for 20%. Americans have gone from eating a fraction of an ounce of soya oil a year to downing 25lbs (11.3kg) per person per year in that period. In the UK, omega-6 fats from oils such as soya, corn, and sunflower accounted for 1% of energy supply in the early 1960s, but by 2000 they were nearly 5%. These omega-6 fatty acids come mainly from industrial frying for takeaways, ready meals and snack foods such as crisps, chips, biscuits, ice-creams and from margarine. Alcohol, meanwhile, depletes omega-3s from the brain.
As omega-6 goes up, so do homicides in a linear progression. Industrial societies where omega-3 consumption has remained high and omega-6 low because people eat fish, such as Japan, have low rates of murder and depression.
Professor John Stein, of the department of physiology at Oxford University, where much of the UK research on omega-3 fatty acid deficiencies has been based, agrees: "There is only slender evidence that children with no particular problem would benefit from fish oil.
Essential fatty acids are called essential because humans cannot make them but must obtain them from the diet. The brain is a fatty organ - it's 60% fat by dry weight, and the essential fatty acids are what make part of its structure, making up 20% of the nerve cells' membranes. The synapses, or junctions where nerve cells connect with other nerve cells, contain even higher concentrations of essential fatty acids - being made of about 60% of the omega-3 fatty acid DHA.
"The extension of all this is that if children are left with low dopamine as a result of early deficits in their own or their mother's diets, they cannot experience reward in the same way and they cannot learn from reward and punishment. If their serotonin levels are low, they cannot inhibit their impulses or regulate their emotional responses," Hibbeln points out.
Mental health
The results, published in 2002, showed that those receiving the extra nutrients committed 37% fewer serious offences involving violence, and 26% fewer offences overall. Those on the placebos showed no change in their behaviour. Once the trial had finished the number of offences went up by the same amount. The office the researchers had used to administer nutrients was restored to a restraint room after they had left.
For Hibbeln, the changes in our diet in the past century are "a very large uncontrolled experiment that may have contributed to the societal burden of aggression, depression and cardiovascular death". To ask whether we have enough evidence to change diets is to put the question the wrong way round. Whoever said it was safe to change them so radically in the first place?