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Classroom Management Plan

Classroom Management Plan

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Published by Lindsey Marie

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Published by: Lindsey Marie on Feb 19, 2013
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01/23/2014

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ClassroomManagementPlanInthepastfewyears,ourcountryhasmadegreatstridesintroducingtheCOREcurriculumtooureducationsystem,butwhatisequallyimportantisoftenover-looked:classroommanagementisnecessaryforcurriculumtotransfertostudents.HarryandRosemaryWong,authorsof
TheFirstDaysofSchool 
(2009),defineclassroommanagementas,“allofthethingsthatateacherdoestoorganizestudents,space,time,andmaterialssothatinstructionincontentandstudentlearningcantakeplace.”Classroommanagementcoversmuchmorethanstudentdiscipline,andasaresult,teachersshouldplantocovereachofitscomponents.Whenmakingdecisionsabouthowtoplanforclassroommanagement,
TheUltimateStudentteachingGuide
(2010)byK.N.Daniels,offersmanydifferentperspectivesandexplorationsintothevarietyofclassroommanagementplans.HarryandRosemaryWong’sbookisnotedinthearticle,itstatesthattheybelievestronglyinimplementingstrategiesimmediately,startingofftheyearwithaplanandthenbeingconsistentinproceduresandroutines.Theyalsowanteverythingtobeaccessiblebyhavingschedulesandassignmentspostedontheboardandamorestructuredclassroom.Thebookalsonotedspecificexamplesofhowtobesuccessful,suchasgreetingyourstudentsatthedooreveryday,seatingcharts,andothergo-toanswersforclassroommanagement.Thisletsthestudentknowexactlywhatisexpectedofthem,butoftendoesn’tgiveroomforflexibilityorunusualcircumstances.Anotherresourceforsettingaplanis,
TeachingWithLoveandLogic
(1995),abookonclassroommanagementbyJimFayandDavidFunk.ThisbookhadamuchlooserapproachthanWong’sideasandothermorespecificclassroommanagementplans.FayandFunkthinkinbroaderidealsofstudentchoice,sharingthecontrolandthinking,andbalancingconsequenceswithempathy.Studentswereabletopickfromaselectionofconsequencesandalwaysreceiveatoneofunderstandingfromtheirteacher.Agoodmiddle-groundbetweentheseideasandspeculationsfromauthorsliketheWongs,wasthebook,
DisciplinewithDignity 
(2008),byAllenandBrianMendlerandRichardCurwin.Thisbookstressedtheideaofstudentempathy,likein
LoveandLogic
,butthroughadignifiedwayinwhichtheteacherstillassumesapositionofhavingthefinalsay.Thebookadvisedthatstudentswereabletohelpmakeclassroomrulestogivethemthefeelingofresponsibility,independence,andchoice,butthattheteacherstillhadcontroltovetostudentsifneeded.Mostimportantly,thebookaddressedtheideaofjudgment;nomatterhowspecifictheclassroommanagementplanwas,theteachershouldalwayslookattheproblemmorecloselythanjusttheprescribedconsequence.AsIplanformyownclassroom,Idoagreeinsomewayswithalltheperspectivesmentioned;Iwanttofocusonthestudentandstudentchoice.Eventhewaythatmyroomissetupwillreinforcethis.Iwillnothavedesksinmyclassroom,butratherlargebutcher-blocktablesthatwillaccommodatelargerartprojects.Thesetableswillbearrangedsothateverystudenthasroomfortheiractivities,andcanbothhearandseeanymodelingorinstructionthatIprovide.Iwillallowkidstochoosetheirownseating,butifstudentscannotseemtostayontask,Iwillmove
 
studentstolocationswheretheycanworkbest.Myonlyexceptiontothisruleisthatthereareonlyfourstudentspertable,allowingthemtoparticipateingroupactivities,butstillhaveroomtofocusontheirownart.Forgradeskindergartenthroughsecond,Iwillstartoffeachlessonbyhavingthestudentsjoinmeatthefrontoftheroomtogiveinstruction,sotheyarenotdistractedbymaterialsfortheactivity,andcanbemorecloselymonitored.AsIwillbeintheartclassroom,artisaverypersonalexperienceformostkids,andIbelievetheyshouldhaveasmuchchoiceinwhattheymake(withintheassignedmedium)aspossible,tofosterindependence,decision-making,andapassionforthesubject.Inordertosupportthesebeliefs,Idoagreewithhavingthestudentscreatetheirownfourtosevencoreclassroomrulesandcorrespondingconsequences,asalmosteveryclassroommanagementdoctrinesuggests.However,inanartclassroom,thestudentswillbeworkingwithuniquematerialsandmachinery,whichoftenhavespecificsafetyrequirements,soIwillneedtohavethefinalsayonpassingthestudent-maderulestomakesuretheirsafetyispriority(similarlytotheperspectiveofferedin
DisciplinewithDignity 
).Ialsowantstudentstobeequallyresponsibleformonitoringtheirownbehavior.Todothis,afewtimesthroughoutthecourse,Iwouldaskstudentstoleadadiscussiononhowtheythinktherulesmadeareworking,andifthereshouldbeanyalternationstothem.Despitetheclass-decidedconsequences,Iwillalwaysmeetwiththestudentswhoarehavingproblemsprivately,beforeorafterclass,todiscusswhattheproblemathandwas,andwhattheproperconsequenceswillbe.Ifeelitisalwaysessentialforthestudenttosharetheirsideofthestorybeforewejumptoconclusions.Ateachercanneverassumeallstudentsarethesame,andeachkidisdealingwiththeirownhome-life,self-image,andbaggage,ontopoftheclassroomruleslaidbeforethem.Additionally,simplybywalkinguptothemandlettingthemknowquietlythatweneedtotalkduringafreetimeinthedaycanoftencorrectthebehaviorofthestudentinthemoment.Italsogivesthemsometimetoreflectontheiractions–butmostimportantly–givethestudentandtheteachersometimetocooloff.Handlingdisruptionsandpossibleconsequencesprivatelyalsokeepsfromembarrassingthekid,orlettingastudenttakecontroloftheclassroominfrontoftheirpeers.Like
DisciplinewithDignity 
suggests,IwantanyconsequencesIdogivetobelearning-based,sothatthestudentcangainresponsibilitythroughthem–notjusthavetoperformachore.Thismeansconsequencesmaychangefromstudenttostudent,tobestfitwhattheindividualneeds.Anexampleofthiswouldbehavingastudentwhoisstrugglingwithdrawingcreateacomicstripofhowtheymisbehavedinclass.Thisnotonlymakesthestudentreflectontheiractions,butalsoimprovesoneoftheirskillsfortheclass,ratherthanhavingthemdoanarbitrarytask.InthesamewaythatIwanttogiveeachstudentavoiceintheirconsequences,Iwantthemalsotoeachfindtheirplaceofbelonginginmyclass.Ifoundtheconceptsofwhystudentsmisbehavein
DisciplinewithDignity 
tobenoteworthy.Itisimportanttoknowwhereyourstudentsarecomingfromandwhatcausestheproblemtoknowhowitcanbeproperlyhandled.Thebookstatesthattherearethreemaincauses:thestudentdoesn’tfeelconnectedtotheclass,thestudentdoesn’tfeeltheyhavecontrolovertheirdailylife,orthestudentdoesn’tfeel
 
competentintheclass.Ihopetoparticularlyfocusonbuildingarelationshipwitheachstudent,becauseitmotivatesstudentstoliveuptotheirpotential,feelconnected,andfeelthey’reinasafeenvironmenttosharetheirartwork.Littleactions–likeknowingyourstudentsnames,whattheyareinvolvedin,whattheycareabout–makeallthedifferenceinthesecategories.Regardlessofindividualstudentbehavior,Iwillhaveagesturethatletseveryoneknowtostopwhattheyaredoingandlistenforfurtherinstruction;thiswillbeimplementedandpracticedtheveryfirstfewdaysofschool.Ifthereiseveratimethatthesegesturesloseaffect,thestudentswilltakeafewminutestopracticeusingthem,withanoptionalopportunitytodiscusswhatthesignalsmeanandrefreshtheirmindsofwhatisexpectedintheclassroom.Ifthestudentscontinuetobedisruptive,itisimportanttotakeashortbreakfromtheactivityandremindthestudentsofthecoreruleswemadetogetheratthebeginningoftheyear.Revisitingtheseideasforafewminutesofclasswillbethemostconcretewayforthekidstobeawareoftheirbehaviorandreflectonhowtoimprove,ratherthancontinuingtheactivityandhavingtogivefrequent(anddisruptive)behavioralreminders.Frombothmycourseworkandmyownteachingexperience,Iknowthatkidsworkbestwhentheyaremotivated.Ifeelthebestwaytoaccomplishthisisbymakingthein-classactivitiesinterestingandappropriatelychallenging.Inmystudentteaching,Iusedan“arttrophy”duringclassroomwork:whichevertableisbeinganidealbehaviorexamplefortherestoftheclass,andgetthetrophyattheirtable.Thisworksgreatforkeepingyoungerstudentsontask.Idoalsobelieveinextrinsicmotivation,aslongastherewardsgivenarestilllearningfocused.Forexample,Imayletthebestworkingtablegetfiveminutestoworkonanart-explorationapplicationfortheiPad,orhavetheopportunitytosharetheirworkwiththeclass.Fortheolderstudents,Iwillalsocommunicatethatartisanopportunitybasedonbehavior,iftheyshowtheyarecapableofhandlingspecialmaterials,wewillgettoworkinexciting,new,andmoreadvancedmediums.Classroommanagementisalsoimprovedbybeingintentionalasateacher.IftherearedayswhereIhavenotplannedaheadwiththesuppliesIneed,orfullydevelopedlessonsfortheday,itwillhindermyabilitytokeepmystudentsaccountablefortheiractionsandontask.Ateachershoulduseplanningtimewiselytohavethebestchancesforsuccessduringteaching.Heorsheshouldalsoalwaysincludeacomponentofdifferentiation,sothatevenifkidsneedmoreofachallenge,ormoresupport,theycanstayontaskwiththeirwork.Tohelpwithstudentlearning,Iwouldalsowanttohaveclassroominvolvementwithstudents’parentsandthesurroundingcommunity.Sendinghomealettertoeachstudent’sparentswouldbemyfirstaction;thisletterwouldincludeabriefsummaryoftheactivitieswewouldbedoingthroughoutthesemesteroryear.Iftherewerespecificsafetyrequirementsthatcoincidedwithanyoftheactivities,thosewouldbeincludedaswell.Althoughitisnotguaranteed,Idohopethattheparentsofmystudentswillreinforcethesafetyideasinmyclassroomtostresstheimportanceofthem.Thereareoftenmanyactivities,especiallyinelementaryartclassrooms,thatworkmoresmoothlywithextrahelp,sothisletterwouldaddressopportunitiesforparentstovolunteerinthoseareas.Andlastly,Iwanttheparentstofeelthattheyarewelcomeaspartoftheclassroomcommunity.

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