TABLE OF CONTENTS
CURRENT SETTING††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 2 & 3††
Class, Activities, Location/ Desks,
PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 3 & 4
Seating Arrangement, Office,
RELATIONSHIPS††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 4 & 5†
GUIDELINES AND CONSEQUENCES†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 6 & 7
Guidelines, Rules, Consequences,
Goals and Expectations
ROUTINES††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 7 Ė 11
Roll/ Seating Chart/ Beg. of Class, Absences, Tardies,
Passes, Missed Work, Late Work, Messy/ Incomplete Work
Paperwork, Instructional Activities Preparedness/ Calendar,
Grading, Leeway, Policies, Dismissal/ Clean-Up
INCLUDING/INVOLVING PARENTS/GUARDIANS†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††††† 11 & 12
Letter, Newsletter, Open House,
Internet, Social Functions
CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT BELIEFS††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 13 - 16
∑ Mrs. Smith teaches a 7th grade ďSkillsĒ block of language arts and social studies.
∑ ďSkillsĒ block is for students who have some catching up to do.† They are all working on improving their reading/ writing or related skills so that they can rejoin the regular block in 8th grade.† If not, there is another Skills class in 8th grade too.
∑ I plan to move the rolling desk often but I will keep the other desk in back of the room.† I want to keep the kids guessing.
∑ I feel like I am aware of teacher movement and I donít want to get too comfortable teaching from any one part of the room.
∑ My first day at Judson Jayne asked me to decorate a bulletin board in the back of the classroom and I did an ďOh, the places you can goĒ world map with corresponding National Geographic pictures.
∑ The room could definitely use more ďlifeĒ such as posters, plants and simply putting color backgrounds behind some of the existing ďpropsĒ.† I know that Jayne would be thrilled if I took on that project and I plan to do so before second semester.
∑ There are good style posters that you can get for helping students with writing as well as great grammar tips that help students remember some of the tricky rules that they are supposed to follow.
∑ I plan to have lots of maps and I would like to rotate the maps according to what we are studying.† I donít want to get too complicated but National Geographic has so many great resources and they have a lot of cultural maps that could help the students reiterate what they are learning in their books and other resources/ study guides.
∑ To me, this really grabs on to the idea of recognizing each student as an individual.
∑ Teachers donít always have time to talk to each student, every day.† If you take roll this way, you are automatically guaranteed a connection with each student and everyone is able to start out on the same footing.
∑ I learned about a good technique to continue to get to know the students, to get the kids to learn more about each other as well as the students being able to learn more about the teacher.† A teacher brought in two decks of cards.† One deck was for herself and she passed the rest of the cards out to the students.† She would leave the first five minutes for ďget to know usĒ time.† She put a question on the board that in some way or another had relevance to one of the themes or topics they were studying.† Say they were getting ready to do outlines on animals and the question was, ďWhatís your favorite animal and why?Ē† The teacher starts and when she is finished, she pulled a card and whomever had the corresponding card had to answer the same question.† They would do this for the first five minutes of every day until the question was answered by every single student.†
∑ This would work well if you had breakfast first thing in the morning and needed to give the kids time to eat.† Mrs. Hill always gives five minutes to the kids at the beginning and I find that it just makes it that much more difficult to get things started.† If you had an activity going on, at least you would be working towards the goal of improving classroom community.
∑ It could be something that you did once a month or when you are kicking off a new lesson.
∑ Another way of improving the relationship between the teacher and the students is to really listen to your students, to try and figure out what they are interested in and to let them know that you care about them.† A supportive climate can really enhance classroom management.
∑ I plan to use name cards with my own students.† They will get cards on the first days that they can fold over and decorate and the cards will sit on their desks until I learn their names.†
∑ This technique will also help the students learn their classmates names. I think itís equally as important for students to know their fellow studentsí names.† They will be working in groups and if they are using ďhey youĒ to get their partnerís attention, that will work to the detriment of the classroom community.
∑ I would like my classroom to be a partnership.† I want my students to know what I expect of them and I want them to have buy in.† If you let them know your expectations, if you are consistent, if you challenge them and care about them as individuals, I think you will have a good relationship with them and they will feel safe in your classroom.† They will feel like they can take chances and go out on a limb to try and learn.
GUIDELINES & CONSEQUENCES
∑ Be Kind, Respect Others, Stay on Task and Participate Actively
∑ I will have the students help me come up with examples and non-examples of these- what each of these individual guidelines would or would not† look like in our classroom.
∑ Be Kind might look like someone helping another student find his or her place in a book we are reading together.
∑ Respect Others would not look like someone talking when another student was presenting something to the class.† A reminder of the Golden Rule of respect- ďDo unto others as you will have them do unto youĒ.
∑ Stay on Task would be groups working together and not getting off topic and talking about the limo-lunch for magazine sale.
∑ Participate Actively doesnít look like somebody sleeping at their desk.†
∑ When we have enough examples and non-examples in the classroom, I will make up a little bulletin board that we can point to when someone is experiencing some confusion in the classroom.
∑ I also plan to spend some time going through this, as I would teaching any new concept.† I might include an activity or a role play to drive some of the points home.
∑ I will tolerate a little bit of noise but if a student is deliberately disobeying our class expectations or guidelines and acting out to disrupt the class, I will take steps to remedy the situation.†††
∑ I would start out making eye contact with that particular student and/or moving closer to that student to let them know that Iím onto them.†
∑ If that doesnít work, I will move that particular student to a different seat.†
∑ If that still isnít helping the situation, I will have the student meet me after class or after school so that we can come up with a plan about how to solve their behavioral problems.† This is my interpretation of Glasserís Reality Therapy.† In the plan, we would identify what the problem is, why the problem is occurring and the steps we will take to try and solve the situation.† We will also have to include what will occur if they donít change their behavior.† I will be an active listener in this process, but I would like the student, him or herself, to accept responsibility and to take ownership of the fact that they need to change their behavior.† If this plan of action fails, I will take the problem outside my classroom and get the disciplinary figure of the school involved until we can get a handle on the situation.
∑ As our class begins the year, I will go through these consequences along with the guidelines with heavy emphasis on the fact that we are a team that wants to spend time on actively learning and expanding our horizons.† We donít want to waste our time on consequences.† Nevertheless, some time needs to be spent going over the consequences so that the class is clear about the expectations.† Again, I think a role play would be helpful or an anecdote.
Goals and Expectations
∑ If you are able to be clear about your expectations on every front, kids know where they stand and they seem like that in middle school. Without this clarity, they are going to push until they discover your boundaries so the hope is that time spent on guidelines and consequences will be a preventative measure.
∑ My biggest goal is to have good, solid curriculum that is relevant and applicable to the students.† I think that this is the most solid foundation to keep students motivated and engaged.† If they are interested in the curriculum, disciplinary measures wonít come up as often.††
∑ By including the students in helping me guide some of the curriculum, I will be able to find out what is meaningful to them and include some of their input in the lessons.
Roll/ Seating Chart/ Beginning of Class
∑ When the student comes back, I expect them to ask me what they missed and then I will turn to my lesson plan book and give them what they need and let them know when the items are due.† They will have the same number of days that they were absent to get the missed work in. For example, if a student misses one day, the work would be due the next day, two days, two days, etc.
∑ Kids will be expected to be prepared for class so the only reason that they will need the pass is if they go to the bathroom, if they need to get something from the nurseís office or if they have permission to do something out of the ordinary.† We have a water fountain in our class and they may use that when itís appropriate.
Messy/ Incomplete Work
∑ From there, the papers will be graded and I will file them.† They can come at their leisure (before class, after class, when they have a spare minute) and check out their work but I will try to post their grades with all of their homework scores included every two weeks (by # and not in alphabetical order) so they know where they stand.† If they are missing an assignment on the grade sheet that they thought they turned in or the grade seems incorrect, they can go back to the file, check out the homework thatís in there and either prove me wrong or suck it up.
∑ Tests will be treated differently and after I hand them back personally, I would like the students to file their tests unless they donít feel comfortable.† The files are supposed to be confidential but I canít always watch them.† If they are concerned about certain papers in there and they want to accept responsibility for them, they can hold on to them but they need to keep them as long as the file is full.
∑ When it comes to assignments, I would like clear headings atop each paper that the†††† students turn in including their full name, a date, the subject and I will encourage them to take time with their writing.† When you are doing grades, these kinds of things are very important.†
INCLUDING/ INVOLVING PARENTS/ GUARDIANS
∑ †This letter would have a place on the bottom for the parent to sign so that I know it made it home and came back in one piece.† I think it would count as the first assignment for the students.†
CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT BELIEFS
Itís your first day of school and you have three blocks of seventh grade language arts and social studies ahead of you.† Are you ready?† You know what your expectations are for your students as well as yourself.† You prepared the room, outlined the curriculum for the year, and you have the first days planned out including community building activities as well as some guidelines that you want the students to expand on.† You are motivated and have a really great feeling about your first year of teaching.† You feel as though you have done as much as you could to prepare and you think to yourself, ďBring it on!Ē† What gives you such confidence?† The fact that you know where you stand with your philosophy and you have taken time to think through as many aspects of it as you could before you actually had your own classroom is the biggest factor in this confidence equation.† You know how important it is to be consistent with your beliefs and actions.† The only way to nurture this consistency is to wholeheartedly trust in your beliefs.† You know that your classroom climate, the class learning goals, and the guidelines and discipline that you will implement are all going to help create a successful year.† Without further ado, I will give you a small peek into where some of those beliefs originated from.
When it comes to classroom climate, I think this† multi-faceted element has one of the biggest impacts on classroom management.† First off, as Alfie Kohn quoted in his book __________, ďLabel a particular child as a troublemaker and watch him become one.† View children in general as self-centered and that is the way they will act.Ē (Watson 1984, p. 42)† In other words, the expectations that you have for your students will emanate from you, the students will pick up on it as soon as you begin to say ďHelloĒ to them for the first time.† I choose to expect a lot because I hope that my students will rise to the occasion.† Dreikurs has a wonderful point about how ineffective it is to hold your students and yourself to different standards.† (C. Mgmt. Ch. 5)† So the high expectations that I have for my students are the same kind of standards that I will hold myself to as well.† Alfie Kohn, as well as many other professionals in the world of education speak highly of modeling.† Having consistently high expectations in your classroom is a good example of that and I do believe that it is quite an effective technique.† At Judson Middle School, the whole school is a ďno gum zoneĒ.† That goes across the board and as much as I despise that rule, I follow it because itís much easier to preach a behavior that you model.†
On a different classroom climate level, I agree with both Vygotsky and Piaget and their beliefs in the importance of social interaction.† Piaget supported social interaction with peers and Vygotsky thought that social interaction with more advanced thinkers such as adults was beneficial to learners (Woolfolk p.45).† Therefore, in my classroom, I will include social opportunities in the everyday classroom as well as through learning activities, guest speakers, etc.† I also believe that you can nurture the social aspect of students by working hard to build community in your classroom.† Both Alfie Kohn and the critical theory philosophy support the idea of creating community in oneís classroom.† This concept is easily incorporated into the beginning of a year when teachers often donít know how to get things rolling and will have a beneficial effect for the rest of the school year.† Simple things like getting to know the names of your students as soon as possible and helping the students learn each otherís names begin to break down those barriers that tend to go up quickly in† the middle school, pre-adolescent years.† Kohn and Glasser both support an environment that includes care and I believe that as you build community, care is inherent.† Another inevitable benefit from working on these bonds is that you are building trust that will help students feel like they can speak freely and both the teacher and the students will have an easier time picking groups because students wonít always be with the same three students.† Dreikurs is a supporter of building trust.
A few other elements of classroom climate that will promote successful classroom management is my belief in classroom democracy.† I think itís important to have a leader/ facilitator in the room and most of the time that would be the teacher.† I also think itís important, especially in a social studies class to involve democracy and to help the students make decisions about what is important to them.† We can implement this concept through making decisions about assignment options, during class meetings and as we decide certain activities that we will undertake as a class.† This approach is supported by constructivists and again by Dreikurs.† They believe in the effectiveness in teaching these valuable societal roles and responsibilities.† We live in a democracy so why should our classrooms neglect to approach some of their classroom procedures in this way?† I also believe, alongside constructivists, that students need some autonomy.† They can be monitored† but they also need to be able to have some freedom.† If you have such high expectations for your students, how will you see if they are meeting those expectations or not if you donít allow them some freedom through autonomy?† I expect some† autonomy as a student so again, I want to hold my students and myself to similar expectations.† Classroom climate sets the tone and if you are willing to let go of some of the control, hopefully your students will rise to meet you.† I find the tone to be one of the most important aspects of classroom management, hand in hand with the next layer of classroom management, the learning.
As I facilitate and teach my classes, I will always keep in mind a great Alfie Kohn quote, ďWhen students are Ďoff task,í our first response should be to ask, ĎWhatís the task?íĒ (Kohn, pg. 19) I believe that we should share the bigger picture with our students, that we should show them what the whole concept is so that they appreciate what the parts are as we incrementally teach them.† What good is a whole without its parts?† How can you appreciate a part if you donít know what the bigger whole is?† This view falls in line with both the constructivist and the critical theory philosophy and I plan to use it in my classroom.† Constructivists also talk about how errors are critical to learning and how important techniques used in the learning process such as wait time are important. Dialogue and elaboration on the part of the student which support the social classroom are again included in the realm of constructivistsí views.† Humanists along with many other professionals emphasize the importance of including a variety of methods which I canít scream loud enough from the rooftops because the individual learners need to be reached and the only way we can even come close to that is by varying our methods within each lesson.† Motivation for learning comes, in part, through the relevance of the curriculum to the studentís lives as well as making sure that the curriculum is challenging but not out of reach so that students donít feel discouraged. (Woolfolk) Lastly, another way to keep yourself in check as a teacher is to look at the low achievers in your class. Glasser suggests that this low achievement might be because the education is unsatisfying.† Never stop questioning to simply fall in line with how things have always been done.† Continue to think outside of the circle, square and rectangle no matter how many years you find yourself in the classroom.
One last feature of classroom management that Iíd like to expand on is the traditional implementation of guidelines and discipline.† Now would Kohn and the constructivist approach agree with implementing such old school ideas?† To me, that is the beauty of developing your own philosophy, itís up to you and as long as you are consistent about it and it works for you, youíre golden!† Therefore, I am comfortable supporting the above aspects of classroom climate and learning with some basic guidelines and discipline techniques.† Guidelines are a way to let your middle schoolers in on what you expect their behavior to look like.† I donít want too many and I want students to help come up with examples of the few guidelines but I want them to be attainable, realistic and simple.† If students choose to go outside of these fairly easily achieved and reasonable guidelines, I donít want others to suffer and therefore I will work with them to try and figure out what we can do to help them work more effectively with me and their fellow classmates.† I think Glasserís reality therapy theory could be very effective, if it doesnít take too much time.† I would like to have only a few students to ďdisciplineĒ so that I could take time to develop a plan with them.† We could identify what it is that isnít working and try to write down some goals that might help them mesh with the class.† I also think that Dreikurs logical consequences could work for more simplistic discipline issues such as having a student who throws something in class pick up all of the papers on the floor.† I like the fact that the consequences match the behavior so that the students can put the pieces together instead of disciplining with completely unrelated tasks.† Finally, I want to resist the temptation to conform to my natural reactions, the discipline measure that were used on me as a student.† When it comes to your own classroom, you are always working toward the bigger, loftier goal of promoting learning and encouraging students to become life long learners.† Therefore,† we must to not let these little things take time away from that bigger picture, and consequences have a tendency to take more time than they should and I find this unacceptable.†
My classroom management plan was a struggle because I have a hard time dealing with a plan† that I havenít been able to try out yet.† When it comes to such practical things, I like to talk about what I did and how it worked for me as opposed to what I will do.† Aside from that hindrance, I found that consequences were rather challenging to pin down and looking into the theorists was very helpful for me.† I accepted the fact that if you have guidelines, it is compulsory that you will have consequences as well but until I looked into what has worked for others and thought about what I want students to get out of their ďconsequencesĒ it was difficult for me to know how to approach it.† Again, this also comes from the fact that I havenít actually tried the consequences that I included in my plan. Another aspect that I had a difficult time with was thinking about the eight zillion different aspect of ďroutineĒ.† How does one remember it all?† I think that it becomes second nature but writing it all out was time consuming and at times felt rather tedious.† Fortunately, philosophers and theorists donít spend too much time deliberating the different ways one should implement their routine although I do think the never-ending theme of consistency is extremely valuable here.† Lastly I didnít give too much paper and ink to student-student relationships.† Again, I think this is an important aspect but I noticed that I emphasized teacher-student relationships more.† I have a couple of ways Iím going to nurture these relationships but itís obvious that I am more concerned about my relationship with the students.† According to constructivism, learning is social.† On the other hand, being social isnít learning.† That is why I focus more on building community in my class for the benefits of† the group, Iím not overly concerned with nurturing student to student relationships beyond respect, support and† a caring climate.† Nevertheless, these are all included in community building and both Kohn and Critical Theory support this aspect of classroom management.†††
It has been quite illuminating to create such an all-inclusive plan of action.† I know that as I continue to get more involved with my classroom at Judson and my Practicum, my classroom management plan will evolve as well.† I have a good feel for what my expectations are