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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.

How to Home
NYC Helpline: Manage Your Classroom
NYC Helpline: How To Get Started
Inspiration in Writing
by Charlene Davis

I have seen how choice in writing can greatly motivate young writers. I’ve observed students who offer the most difficult behavior challenges change behaviors after gaining confidence through the expression that writing offers. Watching youngsters present their writing during publishing celebrations provides irrefutable proof of this newfound confidence—seen in students’ smiles and in their individual senses of accomplishment.  Consequently, I am offering the following nuggets for guiding students to discover, and develop their talent in writing.

  1. Study mentor writers who play with words! Writers such as Dr. Seuss, Shel Silverstein, Dr. Lindamichellebaron, and e.e.cummings do just that. Go deep in this study by examining several pieces of an author’s work; and by noting how they use quirky devices in their writing. Next, get students to develop some of their own quirkiness, to be used in their own pieces. Be sure to grant plenty of time to share—this is where the confidence boosting lies. Share in-between writing sessions, and, of course, for a larger audience, after publishing. “Teachers need to be active in encouraging individuality and in pointing out the risks and the new approaches each child explores,” writesDonald H. Graves, A Fresh Look at Writing, Heinemann, xvii.

  2. Have some fun with free-writing prompts! Decide on an age-appropriate amount of time to devote to this activity. Next, devise a few prompts, to be administered, one at a time. The trick is that, you will only offer a few minutes to respond to each prompt, with each prompt following the one before it! The rule is that students must switch to the new response when it’s announced. Examples could be: I like to play…, When no one is looking…, I daydream of…, I love to go…, Yesterday, I learned…, I wish…, and so on. You will probably find your classroom very quiet as you do this activity; and you will likely find that students don’t want to stop when the new prompt is announced. I would also suggest that you have your students submit prompts to be used in this activity, after they get comfortable with this! “Even though I couldn’t spell and wrote so poorly that I was the only one who could read my writing, I loved to write poetry and I wrote it everywhere—on the walls, on my desk, on paper bags, on toilet paper, and on my hands,” Mychal Wynn, Follow Your Dreams, p. 48.


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


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