Posts Tagged primary grades

My students are messy. How can I get them to clean up?


My class is so messy!  They leave trash everywhere and it takes them forever to clean up after centers, or art time or snack!  How do you get kids to clean up?   They will eventually clean it up because I keep telling them over and over, but I need some ideas!!


I try to approach it in this way in my primary class…

When I ring our chimes to get their attention at a clean up time, I typically make some positive reference to the activity which will directly follow. For instance, I might say….

  • Who’s interested to see what’s been brought for Show and Tell today?
  • Here’s the book we’re going to read today.  I can’t wait
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Sharing the Visual Schedule in my primary classroom

The very first step outlined in Dr. Marshall’s Discipline without Stress Teaching Model is classroom management.  He explains on p. 205 of his book, “Students need to be inducted into the organization of the classroom.  The way to do this is to teach procedures.”

Further down on the same page, he continues:

Procedure gives structure, which is especially important for at-risk students.  The label “at-risk” has nothing to do with intelligence.  It simply means that these students are in danger of failing or dropping out of school.  Often the lives of at-risk students are chaotic, and the only part of their lives that is stable is school.  The reason they are in danger is simply because they don’t do … >>>


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 … >>>


Are young kids developmentally ready to operate on Level D?


As a first grade teacher, I totally agree with DWS being the best way to go.  However, I have some concerns about the developmental readiness of young children to operate on the level of Democracy on the Hierarchy.  I seem to recall from my Ed. Psych. class that this level of behavior was ‘normally’ expected around the teenage years––if at all.


I’ve heard this concern raised before and although I haven’t taken psychology courses for many years now, I’m happy to give an opinion based purely on personal experience in the classroom. I teach Grade One too!

Firstly, I feel it’s important to review the definition of what it means to be operating on Level … >>>


Welcoming a new student

One day last February we learned that a new boy would be joining our grade one class.  In an effort to be proactive, my teaching partner, Darlene, planned a class meeting the day before he arrived.  She wanted to encourage the students to welcome the new child and she also hoped to avoid a situation with which we’ve had some difficulty in the past.

In previous years when we’ve had a new addition to our class, we’ve sometimes experienced the following problem:  If the new youngster starts to feel anxious and begins to cling to Mom when it’s time for her to leave, we’ve been surprised to see that there have always been one or two other kids in the … >>>


Books (picture) to introduce the Levels of Development


Here is a list of picture books to introduce the four levels of the Hierarchy of Social Development.
The bold books with the asterisk (*) are the ones I used when I developed and taught the levels.

Level A Books – Anarchy (not acceptable level)
*Miss Nelson Is Missing
by Harry Allard and James Marshall
Mean Soup, by Betsy Everitt
Roses Are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink, by Diane deGroat
Miss Nelson is Missing, by Harry Allard
We Share Everything, by Robert Munsch
Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse, by Kevin Henkes
When Sophie Gets Angry Really Really Angry, by Molly G. Bang

Level B Books – Bullying and Bothering (not acceptable level)
*The Three Little Pigs
by James Marshall… >>>


An example of developing procedures proactively to avoid discipline problems.

The more I use the Discipline without Stress approach, the more I appreciate that Step One of Dr. Marshall’s Teaching Model is key to the whole plan.

We’ve just started a series of swimming lessons at our local Community Center for all the primary students in our school. This year I decided to be more proactive than in previous years. Instead of just talking for a couple of minutes–just prior to getting on the bus on the first day–about what behavior is expected at the swimming pool, I decided to plan for a time to discuss it the day before.

As soon as I really started thinking to myself in an organized way about what procedures we would need … >>>


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 >>>


Primary Book – “Hooway for Wodney Wat”

Cover Illustration

Hooway for Wodney Rat by Helen Lester is a great read-aloud, especially if you like taking on different voices!!

Camilla Capybara is a perfect character for introducing the concept of Level B of the DWS Hierarchy.  Once the kids have correctly identified Camilla’s level of operation, the illustrations really lend themselves to discussing the outcomes and natural consequences of operating on Level B.

  • Look at the picture where Camilla is screaming out the answers.  How are the others reacting?
  • Discuss the picture where she runs out over top of everyone to get to recess first.  How do the others feel about Camilla?  Will they be seeking her out to play on the playground?  Not likely!  They’re scared of her!
>>> READ MORE >>>

Can Discipline without Stress be used with young children?

Can this discipline system really be used with young children in Kindergarten and First Grade? It seems as if it would be above their heads.

I’ve met a number of people, both in person and on the Internet, who express concern that the concepts of Discipline without Stress are too sophisticated to be of value to young children. Today, on the second day of a new school year, I had an interesting discussion with a six-year-old that proves to me once again that even young children can benefit greatly from exposure to the thinking of this discipline approach. The basic understandings are accessible to students of all ages.

Most years, by the second day of school we’re … >>>