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NYC Helpline: How To: Manage Your Classroom
View Instructional Videos for Teachers about Classroom Management

Classroom Management (Secondary)

A high school science teacher demonstrates how her structured and routine-based classroom environment is the key to success.

Classroom Management (Elementary)

An elementary school teacher guides us through her daily classroom routines and shows how consistency and structure are essential.

Classroom Management through Cooperative Groups

View two elementary school teachers demonstrate how they engage their students through group work to help them learn.


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NYC Helpline: Manage Your Classroom
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Character Education through Lessons in Etiquette
Charlene Davis

In my beginning years of teaching, my students’ basal anthology featured a cute poem by Gelett Burgess about creatures called “goops” (click here to read two Goops poems). These odd-looking creatures were lampooned in the poem for their poor table manners. Of course, the creatures had no remorse about their behavior—after all, they were goops!  My students and I loved the poem for different reasons: while I saw an opportunity to address etiquette in the student cafeteria, the students found the goops’ dining habits to be utterly outrageous!  This little poem sparked much laughter, as well as insightful conversation in our classroom about proper table etiquette. It got the students to give more consideration to their own table habits.

To capitalize on this focus, our grade took an annual trip to a sit-down restaurant. This permitted the youngsters to put their manners into action. We practiced using a napkin, using tableware, passing requested food or table items, ordering from the menu, and so on. I suggest doing this type of activity with your students and believe it has great value across the K-12 spectrum. I know of middle school personnel who even conduct “rites of passage” luncheons to prepare students for the adolescent experience. It is a great avenue for instilling positive truths and values into youngsters.

Possible vocabulary related to this activity:

conduct

civilization

procedure

protocol

etiquette

expectations

impressions

decorum

attitude

courtesy

consideration

hospitality

community

cooperation

order

kindness

sharing

manners

behavior

neatness

reputation

 

 

 

After Googling the phrase “children’s dining etiquette,” I found www.tadpoledreams.org which offers some free lessons (the rest are for purchase). The site also offers a comprehensive list of lessons which cover much territory regarding manner-able behavior; following are some topics (emphasis added are my own):

  • Introductions and conversations (Dovetails nicely with accountable talk, huh?)
  • Table manners (One sample lesson focuses on making a classroom table cloth, followed by making individual ones, time permitting.)
  • Telephone (Some teachers train students to answer the classroom telephone.)
  • Thank you/acknowledgment (Is this vanishing—even among adults?)
  • How to talk to adults and other authority figures (Especially necessary in big cities where children encounter police officers regularly.)
  • Job and school interviews (Important preparation at any age.)
  • Host and guest skills (Can segue into discussion of travel and hospitality careers.)

Do you see the overlap? Character education crosses over into the territory of citizenship.  Have fun!!

As always, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to e-mail me.

 

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