In brief

6th January 2006 at 00:00
You Can Create a Calm Classroom for Ages 4-7 You Can Create a Calm Classroom for Ages 7-11 By Sue Cowley Scholastic pound;15 each

One of the easiest things to achieve in the primary school is an air of frantic disorder. Sometimes it's fun to do that - when you're preparing for a school play, for example - but even then there has to be an underlying sense that teacher knows what she's doing. Most teachers really admire the colleague whose room is an oasis of quiet industry.

These two books - in an A4 format, well laid out with bullet points, boxes and "thinking points" - share chapter headings such as "Keep it Calm on the First Day", but the content is well differentiated, and the advice is realistic and based on experience. (Sue Cowley is, again, a former teacher who has written widely on behaviour.)

Like so much guidance for primary teachers, it is really advice about good organisation. A chapter in the first book about making use of classroom space is a reminder that young children need to be shown how to move around the classroom and the school: "Watch out for bottlenecks, and think about how you are going to overcome them. For example, use the corridor if there is not sufficient space in your room to line the children up." So much chaos and confusion arises from forgetting such simple rules.

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