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Uncategorized   |   Aug 16, 2012

Giveaway: 5 copies of The Cornerstone!

By Angela Watson

Founder and Writer

Giveaway: 5 copies of The Cornerstone!

By Angela Watson


I’ve got lots of amazing book give-aways scheduled for the coming months, but since everyone’s thinking about classroom management right now, I thought August’s feature should be The Cornerstone: Classroom Management That Makes Teaching More Effective, Efficient, and Enjoyable. And since it’s my own book, I can give away multiple copies!

This book was born out of the need for PRACTICAL information for teachers.  So many educators are drowning in paperwork and overwhelmed 
by student behaviors, but don’t have a sufficient support system within their school district. These teachers spend their ‘spare time’ scouring 
for resources on the Internet and in bookstores, hoping for solutions from someone who can relate to their struggles and offer guidance. And 
unfortunately, most of the resources they find focus on WHAT to do and not HOW to do it.

The good news is that these dilemmas are very normal for teachers–every single one of us can relate at one time or another in our careers! And the even better news? There are solutions which get results quickly. You can easily gain, regain, or maintain control of your classroom once you understand the keys to strong classroom management. Once you’ve 
developed the right mindset and created a realistic vision for your classroom, you can teach for it! The Cornerstoneuses actual 
classroom photographs, forms, and dialogue examples to show you how to create procedures and routines that facilitate learning. It will guide 
you through every step of reinforcing your expectations.

The Cornerstone is an expansion of the ideas presented on my website, and provides a more comprehensive resource for teachers to 
keep and reference in the classroom. In The Cornerstone, you’ll learn how a positive teaching philosophy plays out practically in the 
classroom to create a calm, supportive environment that balances predictable routines with unpredictable teaching strategies and lessons. It is 
a comprehensive guide to making this school year the very best possible, whether it’s your first or your thirty-first.

This book will guide you to 
reflect on why you teach, what type of students you want to produce, and ways to run your classroom that fit well with your personal teaching 
style…all within the context of planning for specific procedures and routines. From the first minute you spend with your students in August to 
the final hectic week in June, The Cornerstone will show you how to stay focused on what’s really important, maintain your enthusiasm, and 
utilize all the resources you have available:

* Turn needy, disorganized children into self-reliant, responsible students
* Develop and teach ANY classroom procedure
* Train the class to follow along, stay on-task, and work together
* Use fun teaching techniques that help you assess student learning
* Eliminate homework hassles and parent miscommunications
* Prevent burnout by enjoying and growing with students
* Construct a self-running classroom that frees you to teach

To get this book in the hands of more teachers, I’m giving away eBook copies of The Cornerstone to FIVE readers! The book is available in Kindle, ePUB, and PDF formats (so even if you don’t have an eReader, you can still win a PDF version to read on your computer.)

Just leave a comment on this post telling us one tip you’ve learned that makes your teaching more effective, efficient, and enjoyable. The contest will close on Thursday, August 23, at midnight EST. I’ll choose 5 winners randomly and post their names at the bottom of this blog post.

You can also use the discount code SUMMER2012 to buy The Cornerstone eBook at 20% off–that’s just $11.99! If you order multiple eBooks, the 20% discount applies for your entire purchase. And if you buy the eBook now and then win a copy through this give-away, I’ll refund your money.

I hope that The Cornerstone gives you practical suggestions that leave you feeling inspired, rejuvenated, and full of 
confidence that you can handle every task that’s set before you. And be sure to read through the comments below, because I know the teachers who read this blog, and they have some AMAZING ideas! Enjoy the start to your school year!


Thank you, everyone, for sharing your great suggestions! I’m sorry for the delay in selecting the winners. I subtracted the “reply” comments (when one commenter is replying to another commenter) from the total comment count so there were a total of 134 entries. Here are winners:


#15 Shanna D: “The best advice is to get to know your students. What do they like to do, what music or other media do they enjoy, what sports do they play, etc? Getting to know them on a personal level helps prevent behaviour problems!”

#33 Diane Bode: “I have learned to take it slow the first few weeks. I’m looking forward to having the kiddos visit the classroom (preschool) before the first day. Hopefully, they will feel more better on the first day!”

#41 Tammy Skiles: “Teaching procedures at the beginning of the year…making kids actually do them with you”

#55 Tammi Pittaro: “My best tip, in a nutshell, is say what you mean and mean what you say. Set the bar hhigh and practice, practice, practice!” 

#59 Megan: “Do what is best for your students, which may not always be what is easiest for you, but it will feel good in your heart!!”

Angela Watson

Founder and Writer

Angela created the first version of this site in 2003, when she was a classroom teacher herself. With 11 years of teaching experience and more than a decade of experience as an instructional coach, Angela oversees and contributes regularly to...
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  1. My favorite intervention of all time has to be the “bounce”, errand, or whatever else you want to call it. When a situation or a child is becoming frustrated or you know the potential for high levels of frustration are likely – send the kid on an errand. Get them out of the situation. A clear purpose and some time away can give them back the control they need and lead to a higher level of productivity.

    I live doing this as it allows me to differentiate the level of concern for my more easily triggered students. A little stress and discomfort can be a great learning situation but too much and they just shut down. Usually I work something out with a school secretary or librarian ahead of time so they know to pretend the errand was important and then the kids never feels targeted either. In fact a couple kids became regulars for my errands which allowed me to develop some interesting year-long jokes and I never ran short of pencils or needed to collect specific library books myself.

    1. Just a comment on the “bounce”: if you are going to do this make sure the errand is legitimate. In other, words, rather than “pretending” that it’s important make it important. And if you don’t have an “important errad” that needs to be done at the moment your student needs it, then simply allow your student to take a cool down walk or to go to a place where they feel safe (a place in another classroom or in the office that you’ve worked out beforehand) so that they can shift their attention enough to be able to come back when they’re ready to rejoin the classroom. I believe it’s important that we maintain respectful relationships with our students and I respectfully submit that this idea seems dishonest (and disrespectful) for the sake of expediency.

  2. Rituals and routines! My students have a defined set of tasks that they must do when they come in. They may be high schoolers, but they still depend on that routine.

  3. As simple as it is, hand signals have made a huge difference. 🙂 They show me three fingers for water, they cross their fingers if they need to go to the bathroom, and a hand on their chest if they want to answer the question. (It’s less distracting than putting their hand straight up.) It just makes life so much easier! 🙂

    1. I do this as well. It really does cut down on unnecessary distractions. Except I use actual American Sign Language signs.

  4. I have directions for tasks/tests/etc. in multiple formats – written on their exams, posted on the LCD screen, and I read the directions orally as well. I’ve found that presenting directions in this fashion REALLY cuts down on such questions as “Miss, what are we doing?”.

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