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Keep CALM and Teach

Keep CALM and Teach
Empowering K-12 Learners With Positive Classroom Management Routines

First Edition

A Joint Publication With AMLE

September 2018 | 240 pages | Corwin

What do you say when . . .

More than ever before, students are coming to school with social, emotional, and behavioral issues that could have a negative impact on their learning. What’s more, the pressure on teachers for their students to perform well on high-stakes testing can take the focus away from addressing behavioral issues. Luckily, there’s a practical solution for managing behavior in the classroom. Get to know the CALM method—an actionable, clear, and easy to remember framework for redirecting student behavior.

CALM stands for Communication, Accountability, Leadership, and Motivation. It is an inclusive approach to behavior focused on building relationships, community, behavior skills, and academic achievement. The CALM framework provides teachers with successful behavior strategies that will create a comfortable, safe, respectful, and encouraging learning environment for students and teachers alike. Whether you’re new to teaching, working with at-risk students, or you’ve been working in the profession for years but want a fresh approach, this book will provide you with

  • Strategies to inspire a CALM classroom
  • Positive ways to redirect inappropriate behavior
  • Practical scripts to answer the question "What do I say when _______ happens?"
  • Step-by-step guides, checklists, and templates for ensuring a productive, engaging classroom community 

Developing classroom management skills and techniques that work can be extremely challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. Keep CALM with proactive strategies for creating a culture of respect, accountability, and a strong sense of community!

About the Author
Chapter 1: The CALM Management Program
How I Got From There to Here

Teach Content and Behavior

CALM Management





Proactive Measures

Positive Reinforcements


Learning Goals

Behavior Goals


Reflection Questions

Quick Wins

Part I: CALM Communication
Chapter 2: Positive Behavior Expectations
Explicit Expectations Lead to Positive Results

In the Research

Beginning the CALM Classroom Process


Special Situations


Reflection Questions

Quick Wins

Chapter 3: Redirect Behavior Model
Redirect Behavior Model Defined

Empower Students

Framework of the Redirect Behavior Model

Implementing the Phases of the Redirect Behavior Model

Phase I: Explain Student Behavior Expectations

Phase I: Noncompliance—What to Do if a Student Does Not Accept the Redirection

Phase II: Encourage Student Ownership

Phase III: Problem-Solve With the Noncompliant Student

Delivering the Redirect Behavior Model

Say It and Move On

Make It Conversational

Be Prepared for Students to Feel Uncomfortable

Remain Calm

Redirect Behavior Model for Instruction


Reflection Questions

Quick Wins

Chapter 4: Voice-Movement-Task Model
Voice-Movement-Task Model Defined


When to Use






Reflection Questions

Quick Wins

Part II: CALM Accountability
Chapter 5: Accountability—Collaborative Work Groups
Think Beyond the Four Walls . . .

Small-Group Interaction Model

Prior to Activity (Standard Procedures for All Activities)

Peer Feedback

How to Teach Students to Provide Academic Feedback

Positive Behavior Expectations for Feedback

Role-Play Scenarios


Reflection Questions

Quick Wins

Chapter 6: Accountability—Conversations, Consequences, and Follow Through
Student Choices

Consequences to Promote Growth

Conversations to Promote Growth

Relying on Positive Consequences May Require a Change in Mindset

Positive Consequences

Consequences That Address Negative Behavior

Inappropriate Responses to Negative Behavior

Consequence Progression

Follow Through


Reflection Questions

Quick Wins

Part III: CALM Leadership
Chapter 7: Teacher as a Leader
Five Effective Practices for a Teacher Leader

Reflective Practice


Teacher Presence

Positive Mindset



Reflection Questions

Quick Wins

Chapter 8: Student as a Leader
The Student Communication Model

Community Council

Purpose of the Community Council

Appointing the Council Leader

When the Council Convenes

Community Council Whole-Class Meeting Protocol

Teacher Role



Reflection Questions

Quick Wins

Part IV: CALM Motivation
Chapter 9: Motivation Plan
Motivation Plan—Whole Class

Disengaged Student—Work for Wins

Disengaged Student—Mentor Tutoring


Reflection Questions

Quick Wins

Chapter 10: Final Thoughts
Key Takeaways

One Last Collaborative Group Activity

Where Do We Go From Here?


"Victoria Lentfer is the 21st century Madeline Hunter!  Dr. Lentfer's CALM approach makes so much sense. This book should be required reading for all first year teachers who often struggle with classroom management.  Finally a step-by-step approach that helps to diffuse classroom disruptions while allowing teachers to teach and students to learn. Classrooms can become kind and caring learning environments that have high expectations and respect all students."

Pamela J. Cohn, Executive Director Secondary School Support & Supervision
Omaha Public Schools

“CALM Classroom Management is critical to teaching success. The author has ‘been there, done that’ when it comes to learning from mistakes, digging into the research, engaging in reflection and becoming a continuous learner in the area of classroom management. This book applies a practical, no-nonsense and experience based approach which includes research-based case-studies and activities to help teachers and administrators be successful.”

Nancy A. Edick, Lois G. Roskens Dean, College of Education
University of Nebraska at Omaha

“Dr. Lentfer's book on classroom management reaches a broad audience.  Her philosophy of CALM (Communication, Accountability, Leadership and Motivation) allows educators to see and relate practical strategies teachers can implement tomorrow.”


Kim Campbell, Proud Middle School Teacher/AMLE Consultant/SOAR Coordinator/Dean of Students
Hopkins School District

“CALM management is a simple, yet effective way for teachers to establish a positive learning environment.  Teachers are able to establish a respectful classroom by using the proactive methods in the CALM management program.  This step-by-step approach empowers students through choices and accountability.  This a must read for new teachers!”

Jim Sutfin, Ed.D, Superintendent
Millard Public Schools

“Dr. Lentfer’s CALM Management Program is the answer to every teacher’s biggest wish; to have a classroom environment where every single student can experience success. She provides simple, clear, and proven techniques for classroom management, with examples from real classrooms, at every level of schooling. Every teacher needs a copy of this book, new and veteran alike!”

Dr. Ferial Pearson, College of Education
University of Nebraska at Omaha

“Everyone is seeking the one answer regarding classroom management, the truth is, there is no one perfect answer.  However, staying CALM, building relationships, using humor, and setting realistic expectations can help you as an educator.  This book explores how critical it is to be proactive and thoughtful in your classroom management.  Next time things get so crazy in your classroom that you want to set your hair on fire- remember stay calm, wigs are expensive!”

Jack Berckemeyer, Presenter and Author of Taming of the Team
Berkemeyer Consulting Group

“Filled with actionable and adaptable strategies for all grade levels, this text is a comprehensive guide for establishing a classroom environment where all students can thrive. ?A valuable and explicit resource for teachers new to the profession; as well as, career educators wishing to reset their classroom management process and procedures.”

Melissa Chalupnik, Director of Professional Learning
Council Bluffs Community School

“This is a great how-to book that provides excellent strategies and tools to create a smooth functioning classroom leading to increased instructional time and student learning.  For the novice teacher, it offers many procedures that can be easily implemented into a classroom management framework.  For the experienced teacher, it provides ideas that can be applied, adapted, and integrated into their existing classroom management model.  This is a valuable resource for all teachers in PreK- 12 school settings.”

Dr. Janice Garnett, University of Nebraska Omaha, Assistant Professor
Assistant Superintendent Emeritus, Omaha Public Schools

“Vicki has outlined a logical roadmap to not only address behavior, but change the narrative regarding classroom management to reflect a shift in mindset that replaces irrational responses with positive choices that are effective in keeping the focus on student learning.”

Marlena Gross-Taylor, Founder of #EduGladiators
District EdLeader for Maury County Schools, Tennessee

“If I had this book my first year of teaching, I would have floundered less and my students would have learned more! Dr. Lentfer does a thorough job of breaking down classroom management. The book is full of concrete examples for elementary, middle school, and high school teachers, thoroughly explaining the steps to establishing the learning environment that typically takes teachers years to achieve.”

Tony Vincent
Key features
New teachers, teachers with at-risk students, and all teachers will find:
  • Strategies to inspire a CALM classroom
  • Positive ways to redirect inappropriate behavior
  • Practical scripts to answer the question: "What do I say when _______ happens?"
  • Practical guides, checklists, and templates for ensuring a productive, engaging classroom community

Sample Materials & Chapters

Table of Contents


Chapter 1

For instructors

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