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Classroom Environment Philosophy

Christy MacLaren

My 3rd grade class will be a place that children will be excited to come to in the mornings. My
classroom will have a few advanced students, a few IEP students, and a lot of typical learners. I believe
that all of my students have bright futures and it is my job to unlock their full potential. Despite the level
of students, I want all my students to learn the required material while enjoying the learning process. I
want to make my english, math, science, and social studies classes help end the stigma that school is not a
fun place. My philosophy is that students will learn the material better if they enjoy the process. I will
connect the NC standards to curriculum that relates to their lives. In other words, I will make sure to
cover all of the broccoli in chocolate before giving it to the students. Therefore, my class will have active
participation because the students are excited about learning. The active participation should help the
students retain the material as well as create a community within the classroom. I will strive for my
classroom to be safe place for students to express their thoughts and ideas. I will make sure the class is a
nurturing or homey environment so learning can easily take place. In addition, I will recognize diversity
in the classroom. The recognition will range from learning about historical events to individual students.
It will also be my mission for students to be friends with one another to help create an atmosphere
students want to visit. In terms of disruptive behavior, I will treat it case by case. I do believe the more
unique the punishment the more it sticks--the first time. I need to instill in my students the different in
between wrong and right. But after that is established, I need to let them know that disruptive behavior
will not be a way to seek attention.
My Classroom Environment Philosophy (CEP) has changed so much throughout this course, I
had to almost completely erase everything and start from scratch. In particular, three course
readings/topics influenced my plan the most. These three include pedagogical content knowledge (PCK),
Davis (chapter 6), and Blooms Taxonomy. PCK taught me that a teachers set of specialized knowledge
should lie in between content knowledge and teaching practices. Ive learned that in order to teach the
material, I should combine the information with pedagogical practices. Originally, I thought I should
introduce the material then incorporate a hands-on activity. Now I know that learning works best when
pedagogy and content knowledge co-mingle. This is because just introducing facts and concepts will not
even be retained in the students minds long enough to use hands-on methods and discussions. Material
needs original purpose in students lives for them to encode the information. For example, Ive seen a
penny thousands of times. However, I could not draw an accurate replica of a penny to save my life. This
is because I never found a reason to encode the details of a penny. This example helps me further
understand that I can talk about specific content for an hour without one kid encoding the information. I
need to have specific pedagogy practices in place to prevent this catastrophe. Using PCK, I can use
effective techniques for particular concepts (i.e. analogies, illustrations, mnemonics.) This relevance in
students lives will help them encode material the first time so students can participate in pedagogical
practices. The use of PCK can also help gauge student difficulties, identify the best assessments for
particular concepts, and make the most meaningful curricula connections. One influential course reading
came from Davis (chapter 6). This excerpt taught me how to connect to a diverse group of students
competently. The flowchart in the reading sums up the main idea the best. Teachers should familiarize
themselves with the school's culture, establish a strong teacher-student relationship with each student,
develop strategies to bridge the students home and school culture, figure out what contributes to students
exclusion, develop instructional strategies to develop competence, and then reflect on each relationship.
This reading in particular has influenced the way I take into account discourse of meritocracy. In other
words, I need to take into account my status-quo may be different than theirs. I never thought the statusquo could be different until reading this chapter. This not only influenced this draft but also the way that I
think. Another influential topic includes Blooms Taxonomy. I had no idea there was more than one
cognitive level of student learning until examining this theory. Blooms Taxonomy has influenced the way
I would design the curriculum. I now know the importance of going beyond the memorization of solid
facts. In order for students to apply knowledge to the next step, they need to understand the process and
skill--not a memorization of a fact.

Classroom Environment Philosophy

Christy MacLaren

My belief statements.
1) I believe that students should grow a passion for learning. I dont just want my
students to learn all the required material and ace the end of year testing. My goal is to instill a
lifelong passion for learning in each and every one of my students. In order to carry out my goal,
I will start by making learning as fun, interesting, and rewarding as possible. This includes a lot
of hands-on activities and active participation. For the rewarding aspect, I will make sure their
hard work has a combination of quick and long pay offs. With a quick pay off, this will provide
the students motivation and a purpose to learn the material. The long pay off will teach the
students that sometimes a lot of work is required to meet a goal. This will remind them not to give
up when learning gets hard. I want to make it my mission to make the children WANT to learn
and not want to give up.
2) I believe that all children can use another role model. I plan on being a person that the
children can look up to and trust. I want to have an individual relationship with everyone of my
students to make sure they know someone is rooting for them as well as believes in them. In
addition, my classroom rules will be very clear and concise so they always know how to treat
others and what is expected from them. These rules will give them stability which some kids
need. It will also hold all of them accountable to standards that I will too follow. Even if these
rule are broken, Ill remind them that theyre a good person. I will tell them that they made a
mistake and can fix it so it doesnt happen again. Then, Ill always remind them that I believe in
them.
3) Stupid actions deserve stupid punishments. I honestly have no idea how much of this
will be allowed in a classroom setting, but at camp this worked wonders. From experience in my
elementary school, after 3rd grade if you did not complete your homework on time you had silent
lunch. Instead of handing out this punishment like candy on halloween, I will come up with a
more unique punishment. For example, if the cliche The dog ate my homework phrase is used
on me, I will make the student sit down for the first few minutes of lunch to write a list of things
he/she can do to ensure his/her dog will not eat his/her homework ever again. This may even be
accompanied by a letter written by the child that will need to be signed by the parents about how
to stop the dog from eating homework. Of course, these unique alternatives to punishments will
be tailored to each individual child based on their needs. I believe this way of discipline will have
much more of an impact than just sitting out. However, this method will not always be used. I
will take into account each child while creating the punishment. For example, the punishments
will very child to child. It is not my job to potentially humiliate a child for doing the wrong thing.
If a shy child misbehaves, he/she will not have a public punishment. He/she would be assigned to
write a letter or something of that nature. However, even though I believe actions deserve stupid
punishments, I do not believe this works for repeat offenders. This is because repeat offenders
could find this as a way to seek attention. This is why I will make it clear what will happen the
next time they act out.
4) I believe that in order for a child to learn, they need to have a safe environment.
Even though I cannot control the environment at their home, I can control the environment in the
classroom. I will make sure each individual child feels safe and secure. I will do this by making
rules that everyone treats each other nicely with respect. Also, I will make sure to do everything
possible so that there is a sense of community among the students.
5) I believe that all children have bright futures. My job as a teacher would be to help
them unlock their potential. This means showing them that even though they said they cant do
this that they actually could the entire time. I will do this by fostering a growth mindset for each
of my students. I will get the students to believe they can do this and all it takes is a good
mindset, hard work, and dedication. I will get them to believe that they have what it takes by
praising their efforts instead of overall performance. This means praising incremental progress

Classroom Environment Philosophy

Christy MacLaren

and hard work over long term success. When students leave my class, I want them to know that
they do indeed have a bright future because I helped unlock their potential.
6) I believe that diversity should celebrated and not ignored. In my classroom, we will
do more than celebrate specific holidays. We will learn about major events through different
lenses. If I have to teach my class about WW2, I would get the students to read American
literature about the war and compare and contrast it with German literature about the war. I will
get the students thinking about how everyone is similar, and how everyone is different. I will also
get the students thinking about how important it is to see things from more than one perspective
or lense. Incorporating these various cultural references into the curriculum will help show
cultural diversity and proficiency is actually an academic advantage.
7) Treat others as you would want to be treated. Students should treat their peers,
teachers, and other faculty members with the utmost respect. In addition, teachers and other
faculty members should treat students with the same level of respect. While the use of please,
and thank you, and Mrs., Ms., Mr., are important, the principles of respect go far beyond.
Students should not just interrupt other peers or teachers when they talk, but they should also
listen. Even if they dont agree, it is important for students to listen to others arguments and
beliefs. Therefore, it is also important the teacher treats the students with the same respect. This
mutual respect will make a life lasting impression on the student's behavior. However, the
students need to take listening one step further. If the teacher asks them to do something within
reason, the students need to comply without an objection. This particularly will set them up for
the real world.
8) I believe facts and concepts have the potential to be useless without PCK practices. I
have seen a penny thousands of times yet I could not draw an accurate replica to save my life.
Perhaps I have not encoded the details of a penny because I had no need. Knowing the ins and
outs of the U.S.s lowest currency has no meaning in my life. This example can be directly
applied to teaching. A student can hear the same information thousands of times without encoding
a single thing. Perhaps this is also because the material has no meaning in the students life. Using
PCK framework, I can use effective techniques for particular concepts to give curriculum
relevance in their lives. Some of these techniques include the use of analogies, illustrations, and
mnemonics.

***Parent letter is on the next page

Dear Parents and Guardians,


Welcome to my 3rd grade English language arts, social studies, math, and science classes! I hope
all of you had a fantastic summer and are excited to start the 2017-2018 school year. We will have a very

Classroom Environment Philosophy

Christy MacLaren

interactive experience together this year and I look forward to meeting you and your child. My personal
mission is to get to know your child so I can best relate to them on an academic level. Together your child
and I will create a plethora of analogies, illustrations, mnemonics, and activities. I am a firm believer a
student can hear a lesson hundreds of times and take away nothing if it has no relevance to their life. With
that said, I will do my best to provide applications to their personal interests and daily lives. My
interactive lessons will also be culturally responsive. I will incorporate various cultural reference into my
curriculum to promote inclusion and show how including diversity is an academic advantage. If you're
curious in what your child is learning in class, I encourage you to check out the class website! Classroom
activities, guided notes, and homework will be listed under every school day. I also encourage you to ask
your child what they learned in class! If you have any additional questions, would like to schedule a
meeting, or volunteer the best way to contact me is over email at camaclar@ncsu.edu.
My biggest philosophy I foster in my classroom can be summed up in the quote by Tim Notke
Hard work beats talent when talent doesnt work hard. I believe your child has a bright future despite
his/her race, economic status, or previous school history. My job as an educator is to unlock all of your
childs potential. When student comes across a subject or concept they do not automatically understand, I
do not want them to think that they are not good at a particular subject or they cant do it. In order to let
your child live up to their full potential, I will develop a growth mindset in my classroom. I will get your
student to believe they indeed can do this and all it takes is a good mindset, hard work, and dedication.
Instead of praising your child for being smart I praise him/her on their incremental progress and hard
work instead of solely overall performance. With that said, I am aware each individual child has complex
identities in which advantages and disadvantages may appear in contextually-dependent ways. This is
another reason why I want to get to know your child on a personal level. I want all of my students to
succeed so if need be I will differentiate the lesson plan or come up with an alternative plan for your child
to complete the same work on a different schedule. However, I will make sure each lesson plan is
culturally responsive. I incorporate various cultural references into my lessons as often as possible and
promote inclusion. I strive for my classroom to be a nurturing environment for all types of students. I
believe that in order for academic learning to take place, your child needs to feel understood, protected,
and accepted by his/her peers.
I look forward to meeting you at or before back to school night! In the meantime, the school supply list is
attached below. Happy shopping!

Sincerely,
Christy MacLaren
Reflection:
In conclusion, my philosophy is to create a nurturing environment where hard work is the highest
form of praise. My plan in doing this involves getting to know every student as a child. I will make sure
everyone of my students feels understood and welcomed despite their ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or

Classroom Environment Philosophy

Christy MacLaren

religion. I will develop a personal relationship so I can see what is holding them back academically and
what inspires them to grow. I will also be able to include their personal interests into my lesson plans. I
will take the NC State standards and apply them to curriculum that sparks the students interest. I will do
my best to relate every standard to their lives and accompany that with activities. My philosophy/plan will
definitely help benefit me as an emerging professional. I know to take each individual students
background and needs into consideration. I believe it will benefit my career recognizing that not to
students are the same and they need to be treated differently case by case.
This current plan will benefit me as an emerging professional light years ahead of my original
plan. I have changed over this course tremendously. I had no idea teachers differentiated instructions for
students in their class or tried to constantly invoke a higher level of thinking. I also had no idea that the
value of hard work should be praised compared to overall performance. After completing this class and
ECI 204, I now understand that teachers have the potential to severely alter a students life for the best.
Over this semester, I have learned just how much teachers affect the future of America. It takes teachers
to encourage students not to give up even when times are tough. It takes teachers to help level the playing
field for students who may be disadvantaged compared to others. It takes teachers to help every student
reach their full potential. With that said, I have definitely changed over the course of this semester. I
always knew a teacher had an important job, but I had no idea just how important.
References:
None :)