Posts Tagged new school year

I need a letter to send home to parents about Discipline without Stress.


Does anyone have a letter communicate to parents about Discipline without Stress?


Here is one letter that was shared by a Kindergarten teacher in Memphis and is based on the outline Dr. Marshall provides in his book.  It may provide a starting point for your own letter.

Dear Parents,

Our classroom is a small community where teamwork and good relationships are expected. Since Kindergarten is a new experience for most students, we will spend a lot of time learning class procedures/routines and practicing them.  Each student is expected to act within our standards of behavior.

The following are the standards for our class:

1.  Be kind and nice.

2.  Be safe.

3.  Be a good listener.

4.  Take … >>>


An online explanation of Discipline without Stress

Dr. Marshall recently brought teacher attention to a youtube lecture highlighting the third part of his Discipline without Stress Teaching ModelThe Raise Responsibility System.

As many university instructors do these days, Joe Jerles posted this classroom management lecture online so that his own students could access his teaching easily and repeatedly for study purposes.

Jerles is teaching from the textbook, Effective Classroom Management by Carlette Jackson Hardin.  Chapter 9 of the book deals specifically with Dr. Marshall’s Discipline without Stress approach.

Joe Jerles’ youtube presentation may be of interest to anyone wanting to learn more about the Discipline without Stress approach.

Dr. Marshall points out a few things to notice while viewing the video:

  • Even kindergarten students
>>> READ MORE >>>

Start-of-School “Procedures Tour”

For the past three years my elementary school has conducted a “School Procedures Tour.”  In the first year we conducted it in the spring––as a response to what teachers felt was some poor behaviour around the school at that time.  Following that, we became more proactive;  we started our school year with our tour.  By planning ahead like this we were able to anticipate possible problems before they happened and then simply created procedures that would avoid the problems altogether.

On the Procedures Tour ,students are introduced to, or reminded of, school procedures and expectations that all teachers hold for all students in four shared areas in the school.  We have about 250 students in our school of … >>>


Picture book for all grade levels – “So Close”

Here’s a very simple picture book with a poignant message that can be appreciated by readers of any age.  It’s brilliant!

Told in just 7 sentences it is the quintessential story of  “what might have been.”  It will touch your heart and inspire you to reach out to others!

Cover Illustration

Mr. Duck and Mr. Rabbit are neighbors.

Every day they pass––yet never once does either of them notice the other, let alone smile or say hello.

Day after day, season after season, good weather or bad, happy mood or sad, the two pass without so much as a word or a glance; each lost in his own thoughts.

We witness them…

rushing by,

strolling by,

biking by,

always … >>>


Important information to consider when planning/teaching procedures.

In his book, The First Days of School; How to Be an Effective Teacher, classroom management guru, Harry Wong, quotes research conducted by Madeline Hunter.  He asks us to consider the following information:

  • For a child to learn something new, you need to repeat it on the average 8 times.
  • For a child to unlearn an old behavior and replace it with a new behavior, you need to repeat the new behavior on the average  28 times.
  • 20 of those times are used to eliminate the old behavior and 8 of the times are used to learn the new behavior.

The implication of this information is enormous:

There is great value in thinking out your classroom procedures carefully before … >>>


Help! I’m expected to post rules, consequences and rewards!


I have a problem.  My entire school district has been requested to update our classroom discipline plans for review by the new superintendent before the end of August.  My principal knows how I feel about the punitive discipline approach used across our district.  Last year he allowed me leeway––I didn’t have to post rules, consequences, rewards. However, with this latest pressure, he told me that I will have to comply with the new superintendent’s wishes.  I am wondering if there’s any way of making DWS “look” like a conventional discipline plan without “being” a conventional plan!


Well, it’s tough to take two opposite approaches and make one look like the other, BUT––survival seems key … >>>


The most effective procedures are those that are carefully planned and explicitly taught.

Recently, the following post was shared on the Kinderkorner mailring by Marybeth Quig-Hartman, who generously allowed me to reprint her ideas here. Note the amount of “teacher thinking” that Marybeth puts into developing her routines and the amount of class time she devotes to the teaching of procedures in the beginning of the school year.

Such diligence pays off! Not only does Marybeth ensure that every child in the class has the opportunity to be successful in learning how to work independently with the various art materials and tools available in the classroom, but by being proactive, she avoids many unnecessary problems for herself, as teacher.

Marybeth explains:

“I find that many “problems” with kids are actually the result >>>


I’ve come up with my own names for the levels of development


Although I use Marshall’s Levels of Development, I’m a bit put off by 
the “reverse A-D system,” with D being the best. It goes opposite to how we typically think of grades or levels.

I’ve finally come up with my own labels. I think they have the
same meaning but in reverse order.
 Any comments?

Lowest Level D = Deliberate misbehavior
Level C = Can’t control self
Level B = Behaves for rewards
Highest Level A = Automatic self-control


As you implied, the key to success with this approach lies in conveying the understandings of the concepts at each level. The specific name attached to each level is not as important as the concepts that describe and … >>>


Should I start introducing the Levels of Development from A or D?

First Question:

When introducing the Levels of Development, I assume that I should focus on one level at a time. Do I start with Level A or Level D?


To me, it makes sense to begin with Level A and end with D; I want to end on a positive and inspiring note!

Second Question:

Would it be best to introduce one new level each week, or one new level each  day, while revisiting the previous levels?


There are many ways to introduce the Levels of Development. The number of lessons used for introducing the four levels would depend on your own preference and might vary with the age of your students. High school teachers typically … >>>


Are the level letters confusing to students?


I was wondering if the behavior standards listed by Marshall (A = anarchy, etc.) are confusing 
to students. When we give them behavior grades, we say “A” is the best. I want to put up 
the Hierarchy chart as described in the book, but I wondered if it was going to confuse the kids.


The symbols “ABCD” have no particular meaning in and of themselves, it’s only in context that these symbols hold particular meanings.

For example, in a multiple choice question, A,B,C,D identify four possible answers.

In First Aid situations, ABC refers to Check AIRWAYS, Check BREATHING, Check CIRCULATION.

When discussing “patterning” as a concept in math, ABCD might refer to a pattern of four repeating shapes … >>>


Can the levels be renamed in opposite order?


Just wondering–could the levels be renamed to go in the opposite order? The younger kiddies have been so programmed to think that A is the best and what they should be striving for. To them, D means needing improvement. I’m afraid my kids will get confused when I tell them Level A is the worst level.


From a primary teacher on the Disicpline without Stress mailring:

I thought the same thing until I taught it to my children. My second grade class learned the terms the first day of school. I had a harder time with getting my mind around it than they did! Their minds are remarkably resilient and flexible.

As a reminder for me, … >>>


How can I explain “anarchy?” in the context of this discipline approach?

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. This will 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 “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 … >>>


I have some parents who don’t like that “D” behavior is better than “A.”

I have some parents who don’t like that “D” behavior is better behavior than “A” when it comes to talking about discipline.  My students get letter grades for conduct and a few parents have a difficult time with D being good in the classroom but not on the report card. Can you help me with this?

This is a common question and a natural assumption, yet the assumption that students get confused is very often not an accurate one. The proof would be to ask the students.

Much of our language–and much of what we do in life–depends on context. Here are some examples:

• When do we use “to” or “too” or “two”? It … >>>


Can you give me an overview of how this discipline approach works?

Can you give me an overview of how The Raise Responsibility System is implemented in a classroom? I understand that it is part of the Discipline without Stress Teaching Model and that a teacher uses it to guide themselves through a discipline situation.

As you mentioned, The Raise Responsibility System is the third part of the Teaching Model in this discipline approach. The first two parts of the Model which are critical to the success of the program are Classroom Management and the using the Three Principles (Positivity, Choice and Reflection.)

The Raise Responsibility System has three phases:

1. Teaching the Hierarchy,
2. Checking for Understanding, and;
3. Guided Choices.

Dr. Marshall … >>>


Teaching Levels of Development

What are the most important things I need to understand before I teach the Levels of Development?

Keeping the four-part Discipline without Stress Teaching Model in mind, here are some critical understandings with regard to the Levels of Development:

• Levels A and B are always unacceptable. Choosing to act (either consciously or non-consciously) at these levels will result in the use of authority by the teacher.

• Don’t quibble with a student over determining whether a certain unacceptable action was at Level B or Level A. It doesn’t matter–both levels are unacceptable.

• Don’t get derailed trying to figure out WHY a student chose to do something that was unacceptable. Harsh as this may sound, … >>>


I need help with positivity.

I’m having a hard time with the first principle of Discipline without Stress–the Principle of POSITIVITY. I’m not sure how I can say something positive in a discipline situation–when a student is doing something that he/she shouldn’t be doing! I need some examples.

Dr. Marshall encourages teachers to think, speak and act with positivity in order to be most effective when they implement DISCIPLINE without STRESS system. Even when a situation might be perceived as negative, as in a case where discipline is necessary, he points out that it is possible to phrase communications with students in positive, rather than negative ways.

He points out that people do best when they feel better about themselves–as opposed to when … >>>


In just two weeks, I’m completely overwhelmed with discipline problems!

QUESTION: School has been in session for just two weeks. This is my first year of using the Discipline without Stress approach. Already I find myself completely overwhelmed with discipline and behavior issues. I’m actually feeling quite a bit of stress about discipline! What should I do? DR. MARSHALL’S RESPONSE: Revisit the four-part Discipline without Stress Teaching Model. Many so-called “discipline problems” can be avoided altogether by proactively teaching classroom procedures. Go back and pretend it’s the first day of school. Start teaching procedures for everything–don’t assume students know how to do anything. Process precedes product. Teaching procedures comes before attempting to teach anything else. Teach an attention management signal: Raise a hand, count, give me five, clap … >>>


Any suggestions for getting started with this discipline approach in a school library?

I’m the librarian in a K-8 school. I have been looking for a good discipline program and am really interested in DWS. Any tips or suggestions for successfully getting started in this type of teaching situation?

In any teaching situation, good classroom management lays the foundation for effective discipline. Leave nothing to chance. Carefully create procedures and then proactively teach your students how to behave at Level C in the library. Teach students procedures for every single thing they will need to do while in the library. (See Part I of the Discipline without Stress Teaching Model.)

For example, you might teach procedures for:

• entering and exiting the library
• signing out and returning books
• … >>>