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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

Addressing Classroom Management Through Literature
Charlene Davis

As a Reading Specialist, I live, breathe and love literature!  As a result, I sought to find books that lent themselves to discussion about characters who exhibit behaviors that are desirable in the classroom, as well as behaviors that are not. There are a gazillion books out there that speak to this topic; I find it’s a matter of taking the time to sit down with books to seek out plots that deal with behavioral issues. Once you have a few books in hand, you’re equipped to address a range of topics and coach your students how to express their thinking and reactions about characters. The beauty of using a few books is that you can repeatedly return to the characters you’ve analyzed as issues come up, during the year. As new books are read, you can challenge students to continually be on the lookout for new characters to add to the list. These new characters can be compared to the former ones. After approximately two hours in the public library, here are some gems I found. I will present more in upcoming articles!

I Can Hear the Sun by Patricia Polacco. This story is categorized as a modern myth, yet it contains enough elements of realism to be useful for our purposes. We would zoom in on how Stephanie Michele, a worker in the park, unofficially adopts a troubled boy named Fondo who is, at first, unresponsive. Her loving, gentle, accepting treatment of Fondo coaxes him to open up and to become hopeful again. It also coaxes other homeless park residents to open up and to express love and concern. This text lends itself to discussion about how to treat newcomers; how to treat others having less than we do; how to treat people who may look different; and how to make new friends

Jamela’s Dress by Niki Daly. This is a story about a delightful little girl named Jamela who has to learn a tough lesson!  Her mother has worked hard to buy new material to make a dress to wear to a family wedding. She washes the fabric and hangs it on the line to dry and instructs Jamela to watch over it. Jamela is so entranced by its beauty that she takes the material down and struts into town wrapped in it. Consequently, the fabric gets soiled as it drags along the ground. When Jamela is spotted, she is in big trouble!  This text lends itself to discussion about the importance of obedience; the consequences of disobedience; and the blessing of forgiveness!

The Dove by Dianne Stewart. In this story, floodwaters strip away Grandmother Maloko’s and Lindi’s soil. Now, they will not be able to rely on crops for income, and must depend on sales from beaded necklaces and key-rings. However, there is no demand for their products. Because Lindi is inspired by a dove she fed that came to visit for three days after the flood, she desires to make one. She asks her grandmother to help her, and her grandmother consents. She and grandmother work together to make the dove. Something wildly unexpected happens as a result!  This text lends itself to discussion about maintaining a positive attitude-- even when things become difficult; being supportive of others’ ideas; working cooperatively; and being giving (the Law of Reciprocity happens with the dove).

Try using these books in your classroom; I'd love to hear about your results.

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


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