The Classroom Management Book
nce upon a time, in the not too distant past, Bel Kaufman, a New York City high school teacher, wrote the novel Up the Down Staircase. The book was on The New York Times Best Sellers List for 64 weeks and was made into a movie in 1967.
When asked how she wrote the book, she said it was her collection of memos, letters, and notes kept during her time of teaching. It seems her school had procedure problems with kids going up the wrong staircase. The problem was so bad that the administration had to issue a memo to teachers asking them to remind the students not to go up the down staircase.
That was almost 60 years ago. And students are still going up the down staircase and Bel Kaufman is still teaching! She will be 103 years old on May 11 and is teaching at Hunter College in New York.
How to Write a Book
When people ask our assistance on how to write a book on education, we share this advice with them. Keep a diary or journal of every experience and a file of every note and letter from which to fashion a book or memoir—someday.
When people ask how The First Days of School was written, we tell them that’s exactly what we did. During the early years when Harry was speaking, people would ask, “Who’s Harry Wong?” They would not bring anything to take notes figuring it was another boring in-service speaker. Harry relates that within 10 minutes, teachers would start bringing out paper and pencils to take notes (pre-electronic devices days), and those who could not, would ask him after the presentation if he had a cassette tape (the media buzzword of the time) of his talk, then, a video, and finally a book.
So, we took all of Harry’s notes and slides and created The First Days of School.
Through the years, people have communicated with us their techniques at meetings, by phone, letters, and email. For these people we are most appreciative of your sharing with the profession. This article is #137 since we wrote our first one for this website. Without your contributions, many of the articles would not have been possible.
Because of these articles and the many other stories that did not make it into the columns, we were able to write THE Classroom Management Book. (For our readers who are familiar with The First Days of School, THE Classroom Management Book is an extension of Unit C, not a sequel to it.)
The Impact of Procedures
Sarah Jondahl is one of the co-authors to THE Classroom Management Book and her classroom organization is remarkable. We have been in her classroom on multiple occasions through the years and always leave with profound respect for how she operates her classroom for student success. Being a good classroom manager is one of the three characteristics of an effective teacher.
Please read these articles to find out what makes Sarah the effective teacher that she is.
September 2001, “How a Good University Can Help You”
September 2005, “A Successful First Day Is No Secret”
September 2013, “Prevention: The Key to Solving Discipline Problems”
My classroom management plan is shared with my students on the first day of school, and I refer to this plan consistently. The students know what to do in the classroom, as well as how I expect them to act and to treat one another. They know how things work in our classroom because of the procedures and the management plan that are in place right at the beginning of the school year. I do not have any major behavior problems with my students. Most importantly, I have high academic results from my students.
Applicable to All Grade Levels
The 13+ years of articles we have written for this column have spanned all grade levels, most subject areas, and a myriad of types of schools. Nonetheless, the information can be applied to every grade level, every subject, and every demographic student group from preschool special education to high school.
Robin Barlak is a special education teacher and has been featured in our columns. THE Classroom Management Book has an entire section on the special needs classroom and features her classroom management plan. Click here to see the Contents page for the book.
In my special education classrooms there are consistent procedures and a daily schedule that ensures the adults and children are on the same page.
As the same procedures are reinforced, this means I do not have to waste time repeating myself.
Please read this article to find out what makes Robin the effective teacher that she is.
October 2004, “The Saints of Education”
Even Applicable to High School
Sally Lutz is a high school teacher in Florida. While she has not been featured in one of our past articles, she has been inspired by the many effective teachers we talk about. She has contributed her First-Day Script Checklist to our classroom management book. Click here to see the two pages as featured in our new book.
Lots of Love
We wrote about Melissa Dunbar in our August 2009 article, “Teachers Are the Difference.” During our speeches we talk about the classroom management PowerPoint presentation Melissa uses to teach the organization of her classroom to her students. It is a very popular revisited column as we share Melissa’s “I Believe” poem she reads every year to her students. (See page 226 in THE Classroom Management Book.)
Recently, Melissa shared the following:
This year we had three seniors who are English Language Learners that were having difficulties passing their final Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) English exam. (For two of the students, this is only their third year to be in the U.S.!) This was hindering them from graduating. I had the honor of tutoring these students in my new educational role, and I want to share with you that all three have passed and will graduate on time! I have such pride in watching these students, day in and day out, dedicate themselves to their education and future!
Unfortunately, it seems like children in this generation are spoken about in negative tones regarding their behavior, attitudes, and lack of determination. I am here with proof that they are well-behaved, positive, and determined to be successful! My heart is racing and tears of joy have welled up in my eyes as I reflect on each of these young adults who have hurdled walls, fought the odds, and found success!
So how is Melissa able to produce these results with children? In her own words,
I have no behavior issues.
My class is organized, and
there is learning—and love.
Melissa says, “When we love them, they know it and feel it, and the atmosphere blossoms into a beautiful learning environment. I truly believe this with all my heart.”
Melissa’s classroom has “lots of love” because it is made possible when the class is well organized!
She says, “Thank you so much for this wonderful opportunity to help others.”
We thank you, too, the many who have shared with us and because of that, we are happy to help others in return.
More to Learn
What we love about receiving all of your letters, PowerPoint presentations, thoughts, and ideas is—we are always learning. We are awed by the creativity and nuances you have used to put the research on effective teaching, especially classroom management, into practice in your classrooms and in your schools.
Education is not a product:
mark, diploma, job, money in that order;
it is a process, a never ending one.
These wise words are from Bel Kaufman, author of Up the Down Staircase. And, at more than 100 years old she is still delivering sage advice. Watch this You Tube video of an interview she did at 102 and the optimism she reveals when asked what to bring for her 103rd birthday.
How will you live your professional life? Will it be one of complacency or one of an endless journey to grow and learn? Our new classroom management book will inspire you to improve your skills for the next school year. Or come to one of our conferences in June hosted by Louisiana State University (see our website www.EffectiveTeaching.com for details) and hear from us directly and network with colleagues from around the country.
Be a new you for your students this next school year, and the next, and the next. And at 103 years old, reflect on your amazing journey.
For a printable version of this article click here.