Classroom Management Books Worth Reading

With All Due Respect: Keys for Building Effective School Discipline by Ronald G. Morrish

This book has some great advice for both beginning and experienced teachers.

Here are some of the key passages I highlighted and notes I took as I read these two books.

Shared Rewards

“Whenever possible, use ‘shared’ rewards. Rather than giving a student some popcorn as a reward, have the student select several other students who will also receive the award. Sometime provide the reward to the entire class. Not only does this avoid selfishness, but it also serves to raise the social status of the student who earned the reward. This has far greater benefits in the long run than could be accomplished by providing popcorn as an individual reward.”

‘If you get a sticker from me, you must also take one for someone else.’ This simple act supports the goal of helping them ‘think about others’

5 Way to Improve Behaviour in the Classroom

  1. Compensation – Have the student do something positive to make up for doing something negative. This would apply to making his victim feel better, making the school look better, organizing an activity for others, and so on.
  2. Letter-writing – Have a misbehaving student write a letter to the victim(s) of his actions. Insist that any apologies be sincere. Have the student include a commitment regarding future actions, provided that the commitment is genuine.
  3. Improvement Plans – Have a student create a plan for how he will handle a situation better in the future. Keep the plan and follow up with it at a specified interval. Mark the follow up date on a calendar. If the plan has been implemented successfully, celebrate. If not, then it needs to be refined.
  4. Research – Have a student research the issue which is at the forefront of his behavioural difficulties. Include interviews with other students and adults.
  5. Teach Younger Students – Have a student write and illustrate a book which can then be read to students in lower grades. The story should indicate what the student has learned about his specific issue.

We don’t have the same picture in our heads!

“When you tell your children to clean a room, they don’t have the same picture in their brains. Hence, it is impossible for them to do the job exactly the way you wanted it done. They also don;t have the same labels. To you, an empty Coca-Cola can is ‘garbage’; to your children it’s ‘decoration’. If you really need to to get the job done properly, help the clean the room once and then take a photograph of the room. When it is time to clean it again, just say, “Make it look like this.”

Student Training Camp

“Professional sports teams start each season with a training camp. Every day, the coaches make the players practise various skills which will be essential for success during the season. They also run drills which are designed to train players to respond automatically in various situations. In addition players learn to respond to instructions from coaches without arguing. During the season, if the team goes into a slump, they get back to the ‘fundamentals’ by having a mini-training camp. By doing this, coaches re-establish routines that have been lost over time.

If training camps are important for highly paid athletes who are at the peak of professional abilities, then then are certainly important for students.”

How to Treat Supply Teachers

Split you class into groups and train the groups to do various jobs. One group takes on the responsibility for welcoming a substitute, getting any materials required, and showing them where things are located. This group also takes charge of opening exercises.

Assign each group s specific subject or period of the day. Their job is to ensure that everything runs smoothly. Instead of doing the work themselves, they are responsible for taking charge of groups, working with students who need extra help. Handing outr and collecting materials, explaining directions, and doing peer tutoring.

After the training is completed, arrange a practice session. Trade places with another teacher, one your students rarely deal with, and instruct your students to act as if the teacher were a substitute.

Your substitute teachers will be overjoyed at receiving such a high level of support. The number of incidents will plummet, and your students will have learned a host of great leadership skills along the way.

Don’t Give Them the Choice

This is an ‘If…then…’ statement. It’s a choice, not a limit.

Some choices are not for students to make, even if they are willing to live with the consequences.

For instance, some students don’t care about their marks. So, when a student tries to submit work which is below standards, use discipline rather than management. Hand it right back and say, ‘I’m not accepting this. You can do better. Take it back and do it again. I’m not marking it at all until it is done properly.’

Then do this for all student behaviour. Don’t accept underachievement in any form. Send the student back to do it again. This applies to the way they speak to you or to other students, how they handle frustration and anger, how they deal with substitute teachers – everything. Remember, real discipline gives the message that the only way you will behave is the right way, so get used to it.”

The Cost of Education 

It costs approximately $35.00 a day for a student to go to school, whether they are in attendance or not. Double that for most special education students and triple it for those in very special programs where extra staff is required, including behavioural programs. That’s a lot of money, so make sure you get your money’s worth every single day.

Three Types of Teasing 

Friendly Teasing, which is good natured and should be laughed at by both the giver and the receiver. If a child overreacts to this type of teasing, help him or her recognize that no spite was intended. It’s important for children to learn to laugh at themselves.

Incidental teasing, which may have gone a little too far but wasn’t intended to hurt. Teach the child to ignore this type of teasing or make a statement such as, ‘Please stop teasing me.” If the teasing continues, teach the first child that he or she has gone too far. You may need to teach this many times, since each situation is different. Remember that the limits on teasing are very abstract and difficult to learn. Children need to receive many teaching messages in many different situations.

Hurtful teasing is intended to hurt the other person and should be dealt with as a verbal ‘hit.” Respond with the clear statement of limits that you use for physical hits. Consider having a ‘No out-downs’ rule. Use this phrase whenever you hear the kind of aggressive teasing that is supposed to make someone feel small. Be prepared to enforce your rules. No means no!



Differentiate between positive and negative leadership
Comply without excessive supervision
Handle rules applied flexibly
Consideration for others applied to rules


Develop and present informed opinions
Back up belief statements
Question personal beliefs


Be empathetic
Appreciate others
Be sympathetic to others
Rally around
Solve problems of others and world problems


Move away from traditional groups
Don’t just work with friends
Pick people for a specific purpose
Groupings change as tasks change
Insist that everyone contributes
Recognize need and delegatee tasks
Evaluate others in the group.


Continue without the need for reminders
Track personal responsibilities and tasks
Prepare for the school day and individual classes
Be oragnized

Conflict Management

Know when to seek support from peers or teachers
Seek out ways to resolve conflict
Develop strategies to reduce stress
Be assertive rather than aggressive
Identify problems and feelings


Work until task is complete
Take personal short breaks as required without interfering with other students
Do not disrupt other people who are on task

Secrets of Discipline: 12 Keys for Raising Responsible Children by Ronald G. Morrish

I also read this book by the same author. Interesting stuff for all teachers in both of these books.