You are on page 1of 20

Candace Williams

Classroom Management Plan

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
Mahatma Gandhi
Part 1: Ideology

Why teach?

Long story short, I teach because there are children. Children are society’s
precious gems. In them, we see reflections of the past as they internalize the goals of
our civilization, and take on our traditions. We see flashes of the future. In time, their
curiosity and ambition will rearrange the building blocks of our civilization. I believe all
children deserve to have a stake in this decision-making process. People must have the
freedom to choose elected leaders, career paths, where we live, and who we associate
with, without undue influence from socioeconomic issues of birth. In our society, this
freedom is not free for all. The culture of power has many gatekeepers. Lisa Delpit says
there are many codes of power, from ways of talking, to how one dresses. These codes
are a reflection of the middle and upper class because they define economic, political,
and social success in our society.
I believe all members of society, regardless of class or culture, should have the
chance to redefine these codes as time progresses. As Delpit says in Other People’s
Children, “ I also do not believe we should teach students to passively adopt an alternate
code. They must be encouraged to understand the value of the code they already
possess as well as to understand the power realities in this country. Otherwise they will
be unable to work to change these realities” (40). Giving students access to the culture of
power is not my primary goal. The word “access” seems too passive. I want my
students to take a leadership role in redefining the culture of power. Freire says “The
more people become themselves, the better the democracy” (145). I want to help create a
world where people see themselves reflected in institutions of power.

If I could see them in 15 years....

“Ability to redefine the culture of power” is not an assessment criteria found on


tests, rubrics, content standards, or curricula. It would be too easy for me to say “I want
students to be critical thinkers”. Critical thinking has become a meaningless catch-all
phrase for all productive behaviors. If I saw my students 15 years after I met them, I
would want them to:
2

1. Be curious: To have a genuine interest in learning about the world. Not immobilized
by fear of what they do not know or the hubris of thinking they know everything.
2. Develop their own process of research and investigation: To be confident in their
ability to use their skills to investigate the world and figure things out.
3. Solve problems: To make value judgments using evidence and use these value
judgements to solve intra- and interpersonal problems.
4. Work in a diverse community: To feel like valued members of a community and use
interdependence to meet community goals.
5. To persevere: To set goals for themselves and have strategies for when they do not
meet their goals on the first try.

These five traits are a combination of content knowledge, metacognitive strategies, and
social skills. State and district content standards, school goals, and the goals of parents
are important. I will help students devise their own standards of success while meeting
the goals others have for them.

How do students learn?

I believe knowledge is constructed from experience rather than passively


received from teachers. In order for students to construct understandings from
experience, the experiences must:

- Be developmentally appropriate: students need experiences that build upon


understandings they already have while challenging them to formulate new
understandings. Vygotski used the term “Zone of Proximal Development”. Learning
requires a delicate mix of challenge, conflict, safety, and familiarity. There is not a
single linear progression that fits the learning trajectories of all students.
- Stay rooted in students’ curiosities and experiences: If students are not curious about
the topics, they will not engage in the material. In my experience, students tend to be
curious about topics that relate to their experience in the world. Students have to make
the choice to engage in the process and integrate new understandings into their lives.
Freire says “When students come, of course, they bring with them, inside of them, in
their bodies, in their lives, they bring their hopes, despair, expectations, knowledge,
which they got by living, by fighting, by becoming frustrated” (156).
- Honor multiple intelligences: Students show strengths across multiple intelligences.
There are many literacies students need to access information in our society - from
numeracy and technological literacy to verbal literacy. Classroom environments must
give students experience working in their preferred modalities as well as give students
a chance to build skills in other intelligence areas.
3

- Focus on building relationships and bridging communities: Students are building their
self-identities in school and figuring out how they fit into different communities.
Students must have experiences at school that affirm the codes they have learned in
their homes and communities. Families are the first source of student learning and
students want to be active members in their home communities as well as their school
communities. Schools should focus on the idea of community membership and
validate the many communities students serve. Students must have the experience of
working within a learning community. In school, students should have the
opportunity to ponder social issues, talk about solutions, and begin to enact these
solutions.

What is my role in the learning community?

Freire sums up the primary concern of my professional practice: “but the


question is how to take advantage of the reading of reality, which the people are doing,
in order to make it possible for students to make a different and much deeper reading of
reality” (158). I believe the best way I can help students “make a deeper reading of
reality” is to lead a democratic learning community. The learning community is
democratic in the sense that there are structures built-in for students to take charge of
the decision-making behind rituals and assignments. Myles Horton says “You
experiment with people not on people. There’s a big difference. They’re in on the
experiment. They’re in on the process” (148). Students learn when they have the self-
determined goal of engaging in the learning community. In the end, I cannot control
students, or make them learn. I can be a leader. I believe that given a structured
democratic community, students can build upon their understandings of the world, and
learn from their mistakes over time. It is my job to uncover the understandings students
have and expose them to challenging experiences that help them grow. In Rethinking
Classroom Management, Belvel and Jordan contrast lead teachers with authoritarian and
rescuer/enabler teachers. They say lead teachers must help students process their own
mistakes, interpret the behavior of others, and facilitate decision-making with
appropriate questions. Lead teachers question and model rather than preach. We
support students as they experience natural consequences. The focus is on relationships
and decision-making rather than control and compliance.
4

Part 2: Specific Applications

Community-Building and Academic Activities

Community-building goes through phases. I use the word phase rather than
stage because students will not progress in concrete steps. They will phase in and out of
behaviors at different rates and with differing levels of consistency. Although I put a
time period estimation on each phase, the behaviors of my students will be the gauge of
which leadership strategies I use, responsibilities my students have, and social goals. I
highlight the community-building mechanisms of each phase in the following tables. I
follow the advice of Gibbs’ Reaching All by Creating Tribes Learning Communities,
Charney’s Teaching Children to Care, Kagan et al’s Win-Win Discipline, and other sources.
The year begins with a high level of teacher-control and students take
responsibility as the year progresses. Instructional strategies are increasingly student-
driven as I learn about students, and the students feel safe in the community. We will
transition from lecture and whole class learning, to cooperative learning, and finally, to
discovery learning activities. I direct lecture and whole class learning. Cooperative
learning features students working in groups based on topics and strategies I initiate. In
discovery learning, I select the topic and students choose how they are going to explore
the topic, share their knowledge, and evaluate themselves. I facilitate problem-solving,
use questions to alert students of new opportunities, and make sure students have the
resources to complete their project. The following tables show which instructional
strategies I will use as the year progresses.
5

Activity Level of Direction When is it used?

Lecture/Direct instruction High. To scaffold concepts before student


practice.

Drill/worksheets Medium to high. To make algorithms second-nature


after number sense and other
concepts are established. Some
worksheets are fun.

Journaling (as a part of readers’ and Low to high. For example, in the To organize information, reflect,
writers’ work shop as well as first weeks of school when students form relationships with other
science, math, and other domains) are learning how to keep math and students and the teacher, and
science notebooks, I might give practice communication in all
them a format for organizing their subject domains.
information. In readers’ and writers’
workshop, I will give them advice
for strategies but will not make them
use strategies.

Investigation and case study Low to medium. As students learn Math talks and science
(students are presented with a strategies for conducting investigations. Most domains will
question or problem and have to investigations, they will need less have investigation activities.
work through possible solutions prompting.
with their peers or individually)

Debate, mock trial, role-playing, Low to medium. When students need to internalize
and readers’ theater type activities meanings and see things from a
new perspective.

Readers’ and Writers’ Workshop Low to high. I model strategies for Language arts
students, they practice the strategies
as a whole class, then write or read
on their own.

Classroom book and poster-making Low to high. All domains


(jigsaw, think/pair/share, sharing
investigation/project information,
etc)

Dialogical discussion groups Low. Using text from all domains,


students lead discussions with
peers. I help students clarify their
own understandings by asking
authentic questions and guiding
their responses to peers.

Literature circles Medium to high. Language arts


6

Phase Time Period Student Needs My Needs Leadership Evidence of


Strategies and Growth
Activities

Inclusion (Gibbs) First weeks of the - Time to meet I have the same - Building and Students:
year (September - peers, learn needs as the practicing - Call peers by their
Whole Class late October). names, and start students, plus: classroom names
Learning (Charney) making personal - To get to know agreements and - Can locate
connections parents’ hopes, procedures classroom
- A forum to expectations, and - Discuss I- materials
express hopes, goals Messages, conflict - Cleanup after
expectations, - To start learning resolution, and themselves
strengths, and about students’ reconciliation - Can listen to each
needs academic strengths procedures other at meetings
- Acknowledgemen and curiosities - Personalizing the and make
t from peers and - To begin to learn classroom space comments directed
the teacher small-group and (ex: making to the class rather
- To deliberate whole class laminated than the teacher
about and create dynamics placemats with - Have had social
classroom - To start to learn drawings and and academic
agreements about the school pictures from success in whole
- To know parents culture home; a self and group and
are a part of the family portrait temporary group
decision-making activity instruction
process and there - Whole-class
is a home school instruction and
connection work in temporary I:
- To feel successful small groups - Know student
- To feel a personal - Establish safety names
connection to the signals - Can identify
curriculum - Guided discovery leaders, less
of objects and popular students,
classroom spaces friends, and
- Instructional students who have
objectives include lapses of
scaffolding work judgement more
students will do in often than their
small-groups later peers
in the year - Have made at least
- Establishing one meaningful
connections with positive phone-call
parents and the home
community - Know guardians
- Build relationships by first name
with my students - Help parents
by participating in explain the
whole class academic and
discussions and social goals they
doing interactive have for their
journaling children
- Have class - Spend time in the
experiences like staff room, at
gardening district functions,
- Guardians, and at professional
students, and I development
craft social goals activities
- Assign classroom
jobs
- Use “mouths,
bodies,
materials” (MBM)
to direct students
7

Phase Time Period Student Needs My Needs Leadership Evidence of Growth


Strategies and
Activities

Influence (Gibbs) From early - To feel safe I have the same - Introduce Students:
November until the expressing diverse needs as the permanent tribes - Choose tasks and
Paradoxical Groups start of winter opinions, working students, plus: and cooperative workspaces when
(Charney) (Called break. on areas of - Keep parents learning given choices
paradoxical groups improvement, and informed about - “Freeze” situations (individual or
because you teach asking questions student progress and help students small-group)
pretend to teach the - To have - To continue to use I-messages and - Cooperate during
small group while challenging trust my students problem-solve in teacher-led and
actually teaching the academic and even when periods groups peer-led groups
whole class) social experiences of restlessness and - Create - Moderate volume
where they can try conflict arise (and opportunities for and physical
out strategies to see these students to share movement
- To respect conflicts as a their heritage and - Stay on-task most
differences positive sign discuss differences of the time and
- Begin to share students feel safe - Guardians, engage in
leadership enough show students, and I problem-solving
responsibility frustration) craft academic when they are not
- To start keeping - To collaborate with goals on-task
track of progress colleagues and - Start class, tribe,
- To have experience pull together and individual
working through school resources to reflection and I:
conflict in whole help students progress tracking - Assign successful
class, tribe, and - To begin to systems that heterogenous
individual settings transfer include writing, groups
- To reach out to responsibility and graphical - Use classroom
other classrooms decrease my representations, activities, PTA
and the control and portfolios groups, and other
community - To involve myself - Help students experiences to build
- To show their in positive aspects practice and rotate a parent community
heritage of the school group roles -Invite the principal,
- To deepen culture - Start small group my colleagues, and
relationships work and try to parents to observe
use heterogenous my classroom
groups when - Acknowledge and
possible solicit constructive
- Go on field trips criticism from
- Craft individual students, colleagues,
and tribal contracts and parents
including self- - Can identify
monitoring, self- “funds of
instruction, and knowledge”
self-reinforcement students bring from
- Use the heritage home
board and other
activities to help
students
understand when
culture of power
and heritage
language and/or
norms apply
- Instructional
objectives shifts to
strategies (ex: how
to choose a ‘just
right’ book and
choose a place to
read)
8

Phase Time Period Student Needs My Needs Leadership Evidence of Growth


Strategies and
Activities

Community (Gibbs) From the middle of - To share I have the same - Discovery-based Students:
January until the responsibility for needs as the learning activities - Identify problems
Independence and end of the year. tribe and class students, plus: - For some projects, and solution
Responsibility outcomes - To feel comfortable all members of the strategies without
(Charney) - To acknowledge letting students group receive the teacher
success in others have a higher same grade intervention - call
- To give and receive degree of choice in - Groups collaborate for problem-
constructive the academic with me to design solving class
criticism from curriculum and rubrics, projects, meetings,
peers classroom and timelines reconciliation, and
- To celebrate management - Students have conflict resolution
accomplishments strategies experiences where on their own
- To choose activities - To celebrate they choose - Set-up and care for
with an increasing growth from all individual, group, materials and
degree of challenge members of our and class problem- spaces
- To take control of community solving strategies - Choose strategies,
classroom (including myself) - Students lead make a plan for
management - To assume a higher student-parent- work time, and
structures degree of teacher conferences stick to the plan
leadership in the - Some classroom - Choose rewards
school community assignments have a and logical
- To facilitate parent community impact consequences
interaction with - Help students
other members of identify growth I:
the school over the whole - Make a
community year and think professional
optimistically development plan
about the next year with input from
my colleagues
- Look for
opportunities to
raise concerns at
staff, district, or
union meetings
- Join professional
organizations
9

Prevention, Moment of Disruption, and Reparation Structures



Prevention

The foundation of my classroom management plan is community-building and


engaging learning experiences. In his theory of Cooperative Discipline, Albert says
students have a genuine goal of belonging. When they do not gain acceptance they
pursue the mistaken goals of attention, power, revenge, and withdrawal. Glasser says
quality curriculum, supportive climates, lead teaching, and encouragement help
students have a quality existence in school. As I learn more about the students, activities
will bridge their curiosity with my instructional goals and content standards. Students
and I will create our classroom discussions after small group and whole class
discussions. After group brainstorming, we will synthesize statements into five
agreements. Four of them will closely resemble the Tribes agreements: Attentive
listening, Appreciation/No put-downs, Right to Pass and Participate, and Mutual
Respect. Everyday, we will meet as a community circle in our morning meeting. The
main goals of morning meeting are to make connections between home and school;
teach the agreements, procedures, and problem-solving strategies; learn about each-
other; and have fun. Problem-solving meetings will be called as the need arises.
Agreements and procedures will be modeled by students and posters will be hung
around the room. Morning meetings, community-building activities, democratic
decision-making, and chores have the aim of giving students a personal stake in the
classroom. Although I will draft
procedures (routine steps
Should I use the pencil sharpener?
students follow to complete
tasks) before the school year The pencil sharpener is noisy....
begins, I will not present these
step-by-step in a Wong-style Should I use it after school? YES

boot-camp. The guided Should I use it before school? YES


discovery (Charney) process is
used in phase one of the school Should I use it during recess? YES
year. It is a process for
What about during reading and work time? NO
“introducing materials, opening
areas in the classroom, and If I cannot use the pencil sharpener, I should put my
preparing children for different unsharpened pencil in the cup and grab a new pencil from the
aspects of the curriculum” (48). I pencil chest.
will post procedures around the
room in ways that scaffold
student decision-making. The community-building and right to pass create a “brain-
based” low stress environment.
10

In terms of my day to day interactions with students, I plan on using Win-Win


Discipline and question-based teacher-talk without a focus on traditional praise. As
Alfie Kohn says in Why Self-Discipline is Overrated, genuine displays of enthusiasm are
great, while praise with the aim of manipulating future behavior is questionable.
Charney says teacher comments should come in the form of acknowledgement that
reinforces efforts, reminds students of agreements, and redirects student behavior.
When students need guidance, I will take Jones’ advice to contact (have the student
explain the problem), prompt (point student to scaffolds or instructions, ask students a
question, or tell them to consult their group), and leave (exit the situation quickly and
keep an eye on the student from a distance). After students form tribes, they can follow
the “ask three before me” rule.

Words of Acknowledgement:

“You remembered to carry the scissors point down.”

“I notice lots of different ideas and ways to draw trees. It’s cool that people have different
ways to do things.”

“You worked hard to solve that problem on your own!”

“Before we use the computers, remind me, what are the three things you need to do?”

“Who remembers where to find a dictionary? Show us.”

“Remind us of what happens in our class if someone makes a mistake.”

“I see you wandering around the room, remind me, what’s your job right now?”

“This mountain is huge! You sure used a lot of colors!”

“Look at Abigail’s face! She seems pretty happy you complemented her work!”

“Are you proud of your work? What’s your favorite part?”

“Let’s take a few minutes to complement each-other on our work today.”

Examples Taken from Charney, Kohn (Five Reasons to Stop Saying “Good Job!”), and Blevel
and Jordan.
11

Moment of Disruption

In her Inner-Discipline approach, Coloroso makes the distinction between


punishment and discipline. She says punishment is psychologically harmful treatment
that provokes the three F’s: fear, fighting back, or fleeing. Discipline leads students to
understand what they have done wrong, give them ownership of problems, provides
strategies for solving problems, and preserves their dignity. Kagan et al’s Win-Win
Discipline approach uses moment of disruption structures where students and teachers
are on the same side, collaborate to find solutions, and learn responsibility over time. It
is important that all responses are “same-side chats”: students and I need to understand
we are all working together and that there are solutions to problems that benefit all
parties. Responses to inappropriate behaviors differ from responses to unacceptable
behaviors. As Jones and Blevel and Jordan point out, my body language, tone, and facial
expressions carry 80% of my intervention message. I must make sure intervention
strategies are used consistently without disproportionate use by gender, race, ethnicity,
English language learner, or other group status.

Response Example Source

Acknowledge Student Position “Is it hard for you to concentrate? Kagan et al


That makes sense - I have problems
concentrating too. Would it help if
we took a stretch break/if you
moved to a different seat/if you
focused on a more hands-on part of
your project?”

Time Out, Bargaining Meeting, There is a familiar, predictable, and Charney, Gibbs, Blevel and Jordan
Centering Time (also a logical consistent procedure for students.
consequence) Some students need to take a break
to cool down while others can use
the “centering time” approach to
think through better choices. At the
end of the time out, a bargaining
meeting can be used to negotiate re-
entry into the activity.

Reinforce/Remind/Redirect, Hints See words of acknowledgement box Charney, Blevel and Jordan

Thumbs up/Thumbs Down “Are we thumbs up, thumbs Personal experience


middle, or thumbs down? Raise
your hand and tell your classmates
why. Don’t name-names.”

Freeze, Run the Movie Backward, “Freeze! Rewind the video tape - Gibbs
What’s Happening?, Picture it Right what do you see? What do you
hear? How should it look?”
12

Response Example Source

I-Messages “I feel confused when people shout Gibbs, Nelsen and Lott, Gordon,
at me.” Blevel and Jordan

Proximity Moving close to students who need Blevel and Jordan, Jones
to make better choices. Making
physical contact (hand on the
shoulder).

Silence, Selective Listening This is usually for attention-seeking Blevel and Jordan
behavior. I do not focus on
inappropriate student behaviors.
Instead, I go about my business or
focus on students who are on-task.

“The Look” Use nonverbal facial cues to convey Personal experience


surprise, acknowledgement, etc.

Broken Record I do not respond to the content of Blevel and Jordan


what students are saying. In a
neutral tone, I repeat the same
intervention over and over again
until the student changes their
behavior.

Altering the Setting If students are bored by whole class Blevel and Jordan
activities, break them into groups
and use jigsaw, think/pair/share,
etc.

Removal Removal of the person or materials. Charney, Blevel and Jordan


“Pencils are for writing, Stephen...
[Take pencil away]. When you are
ready to use the pencil
appropriately, tell me and I’ll give it
back.”

After the Moment of Disruption: Contracts, Consequences, and Reparation

These structures are used to enhance social learning. I will use some of these at
the the moment of disruption or use them after the moment has passed. I emphasize
reflection, individual or group problem-solving, self-monitoring, listening to others,
goal-setting, and optimism. Charney says logical consequences must respond to choices
and actions rather than character, address of the demands of the situation rather than
authority, be applied with structure and empathy, and cannot be applied until after the
teacher assesses the situation. As the year progresses, students can call problem-solving
meetings to order, decide which logical consequences to apply to a situation, and lead
conflict resolution sessions. Crisis management involves using a combination of
moment of disruption structures, goal-setting, progress-monitoring, and community
13

problem-solving activities. I want negative phone-calls home and trips to the principal’s
office to be the last line of intervention rather than the first.

Response Example Source

Let’s Talk, Client-Consultant, Tribal These are Tribes strategies where Charney, Gibbs
Agreements, Problem-Solving Class students talk through problems.
Meetings, Behavior Baskets Over time, students lead these
strategies. Parents, specialists, and
other community members can also
be involved.

Conflict Resolution (teacher and A third-party (can be a teacher or Charney, Gibbs


student-lead) another student) helps students
work through a conflict.
Participants agree to ground rules
and agree to solutions.

Caring Menu, Reparation, Students design a list of ways to Coloroso, Charney, Blevel and
Restitution/Resolution/ repair damage from poor choices. Jordan
Reconciliation, Apology of Action Choices often include: making a
card, writing a letter, greeting a
person in morning meeting, helping
someone go to the nurse, and
helping clean up a spill.

Self-Monitoring, Self-Instruction, Students and I design goals. I IRIS Module, Charney


Goal-Setting, Self-Reinforcement; scaffold a process for students to
Contracts monitor their behavior, choose
appropriate strategies, reflect, and
reward themselves. These goals can
be academic or social.

Losing a Privilege When students are not responsible Charney


they lose a privilege. There are
ways to earn the privilege back.

“You ignore me when I speak to


you, which tells me you don’t care
to be in my group. You are welcome
to return when you are ready to
show respect”.

Modeling Social Behaviors (also This strategy is very important - Charney


preventative) especially for students who are
delayed in learning social skills.
This includes breaking down larger
behaviors into smaller ones
(teaching students how to tuck in
chairs, walk to the carpet, and
choose a space) and making the
implicit explicit.
14

Response Example Source

Students write a letter home I want students to communicate Personal experience


their in-school behaviors with their
parents. This could be a daily
activity for some students - they can
talk about positive and negative
things that happen during the
school day.

The Physical Environment

When my students walk into the room, there are five things I would like them to
notice:

1. Their progress and life connections. I want the work of the students to dominate the
space. I will work with students to display work in stimulating ways and show work
in all stages of completion. During the first days of school, students will start the
process of personalizing the space. One of the first lesson plans I have thought about
is having students bring in photos, draw pictures, and use collage methods to create
placemats that I will laminate and use for table spaces. There is a dedicated
unfinished work display space in the corner of the room. By the end of the year, I
want students to make choices about which projects we display and how they want
15

to display their own work. A prominent display in my classroom will be a Heritage


Board (explained in Delpit). For example, I might show clips from published work or
student writing that uses the students’ heritage languages. I will build on these
examples to talk about the difference between our heritage cultures and the elements
of the formal culture we are learning (standardized language, art techniques, etc).
There will be a classroom calendar with student birthdays and other information. The
class will publish books from week one and we will display those throughout the
classroom. Students will keep track of their progress using spreadsheet/graphing
software or handmade graphs. These will go in binders and we will create class and
small group progress displays using this information.
2. Stimulating investigation spaces. I would like my room to have bright and inviting
colors. Supplies will be easily accessible to students. Over the course of the year, the
class will develop norms and routines for how to pass out materials, handle spills,
and treat materials. I will set-up dedicated investigation spaces on the tops of low
supply tables. Students will choose the topics of the tables after the first few months
of school. For example, students could create a sketching table and bring in objects for
other students to sketch, check out sketch technique books from the library, and have
the supplies out so students could explore this during the day.
3. Community, small group, and individual work spaces. Although the focus of my
room will be cooperative group work, I want my students to figure out which spaces
and situations help them engage in the material. By the middle of the year, I hope
students can choose appropriate work spaces depending on the project (for example,
one group may choose to work with clipboards in the library because they need
books while another group might prefer the round tables because they need to have a
meeting). The tables are round because round tables invite participation and
engagement of all members of a group. There is a “cool down zone” surrounded by
low supply tables so students can take a break and refocus.
4. The open and comfortable space. There is a comfortable chair next to the library. My
desk is in the middle of the room (I contemplated making my desk part of the student
circle of desks but decided against it). There are no barriers in the classroom that
prevent students or I from seeing other parts of the room. I hope my classroom has
windows so students do not feel suffocated and we get natural light. We could grow a
few plants inside if there is enough light. Over time, I might try to acquire soft
lighting sources, bean bag chairs, and other pieces of furniture that make spaces
appealing and comfortable.
5. Scaffolding. There will be a designated space on the board for example work and
steps to completing projects. Depending on the grade, I will buy appropriate name
tags. For example, third graders are transitioning from D’Nealian to cursive. I would
purchase nametags that feature the alphabet in cursive, a number line, a ruler, and
other tools that the students can use to help them complete work. After students
16

make decisions that influence the classroom (agreements, steps to reconciliation, etc),
I will have students put this information into a book or posters we can display in the
room. This way, when students break classroom agreements, we can reference these
items.

Technology

I will use technology in my classroom when there are relevant academic


challenges for students. Digital storytelling, research, and display of quantitative
information are areas my class will explore. I hope my classroom has 1 - 2 computers or
access to a computer cart/lab. Over time, I would like to acquire a digital camera,
camcorder, and a computer projector. Agreements for computer use will be discussed
along with other agreements in the beginning of the year. I will make sure work with
technology is done in the classroom so students without access to technology are not
disadvantaged.

Assessment and Grading

Assessment is an ongoing process of gathering information about my students.


Turned-in work, personal reflections, verbal responses, and observed attitudes while
working with peers are examples of evidence I can use form hypothesis about my
students’ strengths and curiosities. The primary use for rubrics is to link observed
behaviors to learning outcomes. It is my job to reconcile student needs, interests, and
strengths to content standards, goals of parents, and my personal goals for students.
Although most assessment in my class will be criterion-referenced, I will conduct
standardized tests on behalf of the school, district, or state. I will encourage students to
do their best on these tests, and give them strategies for success, but I will not pass on
my professional anxiety about test scores to my students.
The school will determine how I report progress to parents. I will remain
transparent in my grading. When assignments require grades, there will be
opportunities for students to discuss their grades. As the year progresses, they may
even choose the criteria for how their work is graded. Regardless of school standards,
students will make portfolios and learn how to lead student-parent-teacher conferences.
I will make sure students receive feedback on most of their assignments. This feedback
will focus on strengths and give advice for how to improve the next time.
17

Homework

I agree with Alfie Kohn when he says we need to rethink homework. It is my job
to help students develop healthy study habits at home. If assigned thoughtfully,
homework can build home-school connections, serve as a running assessment, and give
students time to reflect on their school activities. I will assign 15 minutes of reading six
nights per week and have a reading log for parents to sign. This can be silent reading,
reading to a family member, helping a parent read a recipe or directions, or listening to
a read aloud. Three - four nights per week I will assign math, science, or social studies
homework. I will make sure students do not spend longer than 20 minutes on these
assignments. If I assign math homework, it will take the form of data collection from
home, one required problem and an optional challenge problem (both will require
students to show written work), playing math games, or doing practical math using
recipes, newspaper advertisements, and other sources. Science homework might take
the form of open-ended probes, data collection, and scientific sketching. Social studies
homework might include polling family and friends, reacting to news or historic events
we covered in class, bringing in items that reflect their heritage, and working with
newspapers. Whenever I assign homework, I will preview it in class and brainstorm
strategies with students. In the second phase of the year, I will have discussions with
students about which homework assignments are helpful, how long it takes them to
complete their homework, and the system we should use for grading homework.

Parent and Community Partnership



Parents are already involved in the education of their children - they choose
which schools to send them to, help them thrive in their home and neighborhood
communities, pass down heritage and morals, expose them to problem-solving
situations, and expose them to “funds of knowledge” at home. It is my job to connect
the learning the learning that happens at home and in the community to our classroom
community. Many parents are nervous about coming into the classroom. Some cultures
see teachers as professionals who are in charge of the school domain. Parents may also
feel like they do not fit in with other parents or the culture of power at school. There are
also practical concerns including care of young siblings and grandparents, busy work
schedules, and lack of access to transportation.
As I learn more about students’ communities and school culture, I can take more
leadership in giving parents opportunities to engage in our classroom community. I
want to start the year with meaningful positive phone calls home. I will provide
translated documents in students’ home language (by school and district translators,
other parents, or community centers). I can try to hold events like back to school night
and conferences at a variety of times (in the morning, evenings, and on the weekends),
18

have the school provide childcare or allow other children and family members to attend
meetings, and host events in convenient community locations. I will give parents many
ways to contact me: phone, email, blog, and office hours. Parents will be invited to
volunteer in the classroom and learn with children during bi-weekly brunch,
community reading, and board game events. Other ideas include include themed
workshops for families (example: math night), giving parents volunteer opportunities at
home (sending scissors and papers to be cut out for class), and developing parent tribes.
Many of these ideas require collaboration with other teachers, school leadership, and
community leaders.

Professional Development

Principle three of the New York State Code of Ethics for Educators is “Educators
commit to their own learning in order to develop their practice”. The first step of my
professional development is to learn about the culture of my school, students, and
surrounding communities. I must form relationships with my colleagues, students, and
parents so I am aware of strengths and goals. I will eat in the staff lounge, attend
professional development sessions, and find other ways to learn about my colleagues.
Next, I will collaborate with within my
grade level and find mentors. The topics Professional Organizations
of collaboration can range from planning
academic lesson plans, to parent - National Science Teachers Association
partnership events, and field trips. I - National Education Association
would like the opportunity to observe - National Council of Teachers of
classrooms in my school and Mathematics
neighboring schools. After I become a - National Board for Professional Teaching
part of the school community, I will seek Standards
memberships in professional - Teacher Leaders Network
organizations, write grants for my
classroom and school, attend
conferences, and find leadership opportunities. Within the first year, I would like to
fulfill all of the requirements to turn my conditional initial certificate to a regular initial
certificate. After three years, I will become a National Board certification candidate.
Mind Map
Mind Map

“On the other hand,


internalization can take place more “You experiment with people not
authentically, so the behavior is on people. There’s a big difference.
experienced as “volitional or self- They’re in on the experiment.
determined.” It’s been fully They’re in on the process”.
integrated into one’s value structure - Myles Horton, We Make the Road by
and feels chosen”. Walking (page 148)
- Alfie Kohn, Why Self-Discipline is
Overrated
Mission Statement:
I strive to create a classroom culture
that helps students realize their promise
and self-worth, function as members
of diverse learning communities,
and excel in academics.

“...we must take the responsibility to teach, to


provide for students who do not already possess
them, the additional codes of power. But I also do “The primary purpose of this work is to
not believe we should teach students to passively develop innovations in teaching that draw
adopt an alternate code. They must be upon the knowledge and skills found in
encouraged to understand the value of the code local households”.
they already possess as well as to understand the - Moll et al, Funds of Knowledge: Using a
power realities in this country. Otherwise they Qualitative Approach to Connect Homes and
will be unable to work to change these realities. Classrooms
And how does one do that?”
- Lisa Delpit, Other People’s Children (page 40)
19
20

Works Cited

Charney, R. S. (2002). Teaching Children To Care: Classroom Management for Ethical and
Academic Growth, K-8 (2nd ed.). Massachusetts: Northeast Foundation for Children.

Charles, C. M. (2002). Building classroom discipline. Boston : Allyn and Bacon.

Delpit, Lisa D. (2006). Other people's children : cultural conflict in the classroom. New York :
New Press : Distributed by W.W. Norton.

Gibbs, Jeane. (2006). Reaching All by Creating Tribes Learning Communities. Windsor, Ca:
CenterSource.

Horton, Myles and Paulo Freire. (1990). We make the road by walking : conversations on
education and social change. Philadelphia : Temple University Press.

The IRIS Center. "Module: You're in Charge! Developing Your Own Comprehensive
Behavior Management Plan." The IRIS Center. Vanderbilt University. 01 Nov. 2008
<http://iris.peabody.vanderbilt.edu/par2/chalcycle.htm>.

Kohn, Alfie. (2001). "Five Reasons to Stop Saying 'Good Job!'" Young Children. Alfie
Kohn. 01 Nov. 2008 <http://www.alfiekohn.org/articles.htm#null>.

Kohn, Alfie. (2007). "Rethinking Homework." Principal. Alfie Kohn. 01 Nov. 2008
<http://www.alfiekohn.org/articles.htm#null>.

Kohn, Alfie. (2008). "The Risks of Rewards." ERIC Digest. Washington, D.C. 01 Nov.
2008. Path: Http://www.alfiekohn.org/teaching/ror.htm.

Kohn, Alfie. (2008). "Why Self-Discipline is Overrated." Phi Delta Kappan. Alfie Kohn. 1
Nov. 2008 <http://www.alfiekohn.org/articles.htm#null>.