Discipline Without Stress Newsletter – January 2006

Volume 6 Number 1 


 1. Welcome

 2. Promoting Responsibility

 3. Increasing Effectiveness

 4. Improving Relationships
 5. Promoting Learning

 6. The Raise Responsibility System

 7. What People Say


It’s customary at this time of the year to create
resolutions for one’s self-improvement. I share with you one
of mine.

In order to retain good posture and build strength in my
arms and shoulders, I plan to increase my exercise by
holding a 5-pound potato sack in each hand, extend my arms
out from my sides, and hold them for one minute.

After a few weeks, my plan is to increase to 10-pound sacks.
The goal is to work to 50-pound sacks.

When I can do each successfully for one minute, I then plan
to put a potato in each of the sacks.


Learn to laugh at your troubles and you’ll never run out of
things to laugh at. –Lyn Karol


Tip to quickly change the type size for viewing a web page:

On a Windows PC, press “Control” and “+” to increase the
size. Use “Control” and “-” to reduce the size. On a
Macintosh, use the “Command” key rather than the “Control”
key with the “+” and “-” keys.


Unique qualities of DISCIPLINE WITHOUT STRESS has been
posted and can be viewed at

The details of the entire teaching model is now in a
printable version at

The In-House Staff Development for schools to conduct their
own staff development also is now in a printable version at


I have never been a fan of the self-esteem movement because
I have always thought that a person’s self-esteem comes from
one’s own self-talk. This self-talk emanates primarily from
a person’s nature and experiences, rather than from some
external agent(s). I have never bought into the idea that
people who bully or who do not do well academically in
school have low self-esteem. I have personally known people
who bully and have high self-esteem, and I have known people
who have done very well academically but who have low

The “SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN MIND”–volume 16, number 4 (on
display in newsstands until February 6, 2006)–contains an
interesting article entitled, “EXPLODING THE SELF-ESTEEM
MYTH,” with the subtitle:”BOOSTING PEOPLE’S SENSE OF

One study cited eludes to responsibility as a prime factor
in self-esteem:

“. . .students who take responsibility for their grades
not only get better grades but they also learn that
they, personally, can control the grades they get.

“In fact, in one study researchers had students write
down what went through their minds when they were
trying to get better grades. Students who improved with
each test were thinking:

“I need to work harder.
“I can learn this material if I apply myself.
“I can control what happens to me in this class.
“I have what it takes to do this.

“Students who did not improve were thinking:
“It’s not my fault.
“This test was too hard.
“I’m not good at this.”

The authors conclude the article by stating:

“We have found little to indicate that indiscriminately
promoting self-esteem in today’s children or adults,
just for being themselves, offers society any
compensatory benefits beyond the seductive pleasure it
brings to those engaged in the exercise.”

The study reinforces the opening paragraph of the book,
which the first few sentences are:

“Life is a conversation. Interestingly, the most
influential person we talk with all day is ourself, and
what we tell ourself has a direct bearing on our
behavior, our performance, and our influence on others.
In fact, a good case can be made that our self-talk
creates our reality.” (page 1)

May your self-talk in this new year be of positivity; of
consistently prompting the realization that you can always
choose your response to any situation, stimulation, or urge;
and may your reflection bring you gratefulness. If so, 2006
will bring you both increased happiness and beneficial


A friend of ours recently had surgery and expressed her
concern about the procedure–even though it was a minor one.

My wife counseled her with the following message:

When I was pregnant, I never worried about the baby. I
simply remembered my mother’s self-talk when she was
pregnant: “I will only think beautiful thoughts so that
I will have a beautiful baby.”

If you have trouble creating self-talk that enhances your
life, here is another approach: Redirect or detour your
thinking onto another subject. Do this each time you begin
to worry or are creating negative self-talk about yourself
or others.
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If you want to marry me, here’s what you have to do:
You must learn how to make a perfect chicken-dumpling stew.
And you must sew my holey socks,
And soothe my troubled mind,
And develop the knack for scratching my back,
And keep my shoes spotlessly shined.
And while I rest you must rake up the leaves,
And when it is hailing and snowing
You must shovel the walk. . . and be still when I talk.
And–hey–where are you going?

“My Rules” from WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS by Shel Silverstein.
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Emotions drive attention.
Attention drives learning.

Emotionally blocked, learning stopped.


Spence Rogers of Peak Learning Systems is recognized for
being one of the top experts in effective instruction and

Last month he shared with me an e-mail he received from a
counselor with whom he shared the information from my
book. The counselor intervenes with kids who are sent to the
office for misbehaving.

“I try and intercept as many as I can before
the principal visits with them. I work with them with
ideas from Dr. Marshall’s book. After coaching four
students (all boys) from one first grade class, they
wanted to share what they learned from Dr. Marshall’s
work with their teacher. The teacher decided to let the
boys share with the whole class. She told me they got
very excited about it. She suggested they make T shirts
depicting what they learned. Her last name is Peterson so
they came up with, “Mrs. P’s D’s,” for level D of the
behavior hierarchy. Way cool! Thank you for suggesting
the book!” WH


The entire TEACHING MODEL, of which the RRSystem is a part,
is outlined at
is described at


I share with you a communication I recently received from
Mary Cebula, a principal in Warren, New Jersey:

Subject: The Perfect Gift
Date: Wed, 4 Jan 2006

Hi Marv,

I just had to share this experience with you. Right before
the winter break, a second grade class invited me to their
room. When I arrived, there was a special chair placed on
the edge of the carpet. The students were seated on the
carpet with their teacher, Mrs. Buckley. They asked me to
sit in the chair. Mrs. Buckley explained that the children
had participated in a writing activity called, “The Perfect
Gift”. They had to select a member of their family and
decide what would be the perfect gift for that person. The
student then wrote a letter to the person presenting the
gift. The class decided they wanted to do a perfect gift for
me as a model for the assignment. They wrote me a letter in
their best handwriting and decorated the letter with a fancy
cover. It is hanging on the bulletin board of my office and
I told them it WAS the perfect gift and I would treasure it
always. On December 23rd, we had a whole school assembly
“Sing Along”. At the beginning of the assembly, I invited
the class and Mrs. Buckley up to the microphone and asked
them to share the perfect gift with all the students, staff
and parents. I wish you had been here to see it as well.

Here is their letter:

“The Perfect Gift for Dr. Cebula”

The perfect gift for Dr. Cebula is showing her C and D
behavior. We want to give you this gift so you will not have
to raise your voice at lunch or recess. You won’t have to
have children in your office or call any parents with bad
When the students at Central School are on level C and
D, they will be talking quietly in the lunchroom and
silently in the hallways. During recess everyone will play
nicely together. When you come into the classrooms, you will
see students being respectful.
We know you will love this gift because it will make
your job much easier. You will feel really good inside to
see all your students at C and D behavior. You will want to
celebrate with us!

Mrs. Buckley’s Class


You can read Dr. Cebula’s experiences with the three
principles to practice at


The following is a recent question and post by Kerry Weisner


Some of my youngsters are struggling with the word,
“anarchy.” How can I explain what it means in a simple way?


Remember that young people’s brains are like sponges. They
can absorb anything. The trick is to make meaning of what is
absorbed to enhance learning and memory.

For older children:

Break “an/archy” up by teaching that the prefix “an” means
“not,” “without,” or “lacking”–in this case, “without
rule.” Compare this with other prefixes such as “mono,”
which means “one,” and Ê”olig” which means “a few.”

Explain that:
–Monarchy is rule by one person (like a king).
–Oligarchy means rule by a few people.
–Anarchy means that there is no leader, so people do
anything they want, often without any regard for others.

For younger children:

Go to the gym. Tell your students that for the next two
minutes they may act wildly–doing anything they want, but
that as soon as you say, “FREEZE,” they must immediately
stop. Before beginning, ask them if they would agree to this
and have them nod their heads up and down (in the usual
affirmative manner). Don’t begin until every head is

Then say, “Go!” The youngsters will do all kinds of things,
including teasing, bullying, punching, and generally being

After a full two minutes, command: “FREEZE!”

After this exercise, have the students congregate to
describe the activity and how they behaved.

Conclude the lesson by announcing, “That was anarchy!”.
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7. What People Say

“We especially liked the fact that the teachers were no
longer punishing students but guiding them to self-analyze.
We have begun using authority in a non-adversarial manner in
order to establish and maintain a caring classroom

Pamela Marton, Principal
Community School, Los Angeles Unified School District, CA