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Syracuse University

Johnstown High School Classroom Management Plan

Sarah Arnold and Elizabeth Griffin


IST 661: Managing a School Library
Professor Renee Hill
April 10th, 2016
Johnstown High School Classroom Management Plan

Context
Johnstown Senior High School is located in Johnstown, New York. There is a student population
of approximately 600 students in grades 9-12. These students have varying needs and abilities.
The school media center is located at the center of the school and is widely viewed as an integral
resource in helping students achieve their educational and personal goals. The school media
center promotes a positive environment based on respect. The following strategies respect this
belief.

Establishing Positive Rapport with Students


The Johnstown High School Media Center (JHS Media Center) believes that the first step
towards successful classroom management is to develop a positive relationship between the
students and the librarian. Developing and fostering positive, mutually respectful relationships
early on can lead to more effective management strategies down the line.
The first method of developing positive relationships with students starts with respect. In order to
be treated with respect, one must give respect. As Johnstown High School serves students
between the ages of 14 and 21, they will be treated like adults. That means students will be held
to higher expectations and will be spoken to like adults. It is especially important that students do
not feel as if they are being spoken down to and that language used by the staff of the school
media center is not condescending in nature.
The second method for developing a positive rapport is to ask questions and take a genuine
interest in students responses. Getting to know your students and show you care is a simple way
of further fostering a relationship. Asking about upcoming sporting events, school projects, and
attending student focused events (i.e. school plays, competitions, or award ceremonies) can also
further show students the school media specialist is someone who supports them and their
interests.
Lastly, the library will be open to student suggestions and will make every effort to see that
appropriate feedback leads to change. Allowing students to have the opportunity to take
ownership of the library can be very beneficial as students who feel a connection typically
respect the environment more. As the JHS Media Center seeks to develop an environment that is
welcoming to all students, it is important that the library, and the resources within it, be respected
as well.

Reinforcing Positive Behavior


When managing classrooms and environments, it is very important to acknowledge proper
behavior. This is essential for many reasons, such as keeping the atmosphere of the library
positive and reinforcing positive actions. The media center seeks to show students that good
behavior is acknowledged and appreciated. A variety of methods will be used in ensuring that
students understand that their good behavior is recognized just as any negative behavior will not
be tolerated.
The first method that will be used is praise. Praise is a simple method as the school media
specialist simply points out good behavior and uses encouraging language in the hopes that the
behavior will continue. When using this method, it is important the that emphasis be placed on
praising the behavior and that the thoughts and opinions of the librarian be left unsaid. By
praising acceptable behavior, it is more likely it will be repeated. Praising actions that the
librarian likes is less important than praising actions that align with the community guidelines,
rules, and expectations.
Another method that will be used is a reward method. As students perform well, respect the
library, and accomplish their goals and tasks, they can earn points. All points earned by students
are added up so that a reward can be earned for the entire community. This incentive method
creates a community atmosphere where students need to work together to earn the reward.
Lastly, in collaboration with the content teachers in Johnstown High School, positive behaviors
displayed in the media center can lead to extra credit in their classes. Students who display a
respect for the library, their fellow students, and the librarian have the opportunity to earn extra
credit in classes with participating teachers at the teachers discretion. This can be extra points on
a test or quiz, a free pass on a homework assignment, or first pick on a project topic.

Handling Disruptive Behavior


The librarian at the JHS Media Center understands that disruptive behavior will happen on
occasion and as such, is prepared to handle it. One of the most important strategic points is that
disruptive behavior will be addressed in a timely fashion and not ignored (Alber, R., 2012).
Students will know, either through direct or indirect means, if their behavior violates library
rules, guidelines, or expectations. A variety of methods will be used in order to address and
correct inappropriate behavior.
One method will be to remind the class collectively if rules are being broken. Often, having a
verbal reminder that does not directly confront any particular student is enough to end the
behavior without having to draw attention to a single person. This method is intended to be used
as a warning and is the first response to negative behavior (Sayeski & Brown, 2011, pg. 13).
The second method is an individualized conversation. If negative and disruptive behavior
continues, the student will be pulled aside so that the librarian can address it privately. The
student will be spoken to with respect and it will be explained why that behavior is inappropriate
and why it needs to end. Students will be given the chance to explain and defend themselves so
that the librarian can determine if the problem is larger than they know. This allows for the
opportunity to find a root cause of an issue and not just assume the guilt of the student in
question (Hester, T., 2013).
Additionally, students risk losing community points depending on the type of negative behavior
displayed. For example, if students are using disrespectful language or making the library unsafe
to other students, they will lose community points in addition to other forms of disciplinary
action. As students realize what types of behaviors lose these points, they will be more likely to
use preventative measures to stop themselves or classmates from taking that risk.
The last course of action, and one that should only be used on rare occasions, is to remove the
student from the library. As the library is a welcoming environment, removing students from that
space is not to be taken lightly. If the student is showing behavior that violates school polices and
is not being receptive to earlier intervention methods, the student will likely need to be sent to
the administrative office for discipline. Before returning to the library, the librarian and student
will conference so that rules and expectations can be reviewed and reestablished.

Redirecting Inattentive Students


There are many methods that are useful in regaining student attention once it has been lost. The
JHS Media Center will use a variety of methods in order to achieve this goal at the discretion of
the librarian. As each situation is inherently different, these decisions will be based on what the
librarian deems fit and appropriate at the time. As such, these are the methods that come highly
recommended to be the first course of action.
One way to regain student attention is to shift the topic or lesson towards their interests or to ask
for student involvement (Sayeski & Brown, 2011, pg. 13). While many students do not like being
called on, it can be just what they need in order to get them to focus on the lesson. Additionally,
shaping lessons around student interests can help engage them from the beginning and, again,
help develop that positive rapport. Asking for student opinion or connecting the subject to their
lives can keep them interested and help make the lesson easier to follow and understand.
When working in collaboration with teachers, it can often be helpful to adopt their methods for
regaining student attention. If the teacher uses call and response, humor, or sounds techniques in
their classroom, students will be accustomed to that and the expectations that come with it.
Holding a conversation with the teacher at the start of a collaborative lesson and finding out this
information can be crucial as it allows for consistency (25 Attention-Grabbing Tips for the
Classroom, 2016).
Another method that is highly recommended is regrouping (Sayeski & Brown, 2011, pg. 13). As
the JHS Media Center has an open floor concept, students often sit in groups they are
comfortable and familiar with. If, during a lesson, these groups seem to become a distraction, it
is wise to separate the students. This can be done preemptively through a conversation with the
classroom teacher and assigning seats or during the lesson if other methods seem to not be
working. By separating students, the goal is that they will refocus on the lesson as the main
source of their distraction has been removed.

Educating Students on Monitoring Their Own Behavior


Having reached this point in their education, students are expected to have an understanding of
respect and self-control, but the lesson will continue here. Students will be encouraged to follow
all rules, guidelines, and expectations laid out by the school, the school media staff, and their
classroom teacher while using the facility.
One method for self-regulation is student input. The JHS Media Center encourages students to
take ownership of the library and this includes their input in formulating some of the rules,
guidelines, and expectations for all to follow. However, it is important to remember that it is the
librarians responsibility to ultimately determine and establish the appropriate direction and
purpose of the library.
Another method that will be useful in reinforcing self-regulation is modeling. Modeling is used
when the librarian, teacher, or facilitator set the example on proper behavior by following the
rules, guidelines and expectations set out themselves. Please and thank-you, a calm yet firm tone,
consistency, and non-argumentative responses all illustrate to the student the appropriate
behavior in the library.

Conclusion
The library is the center for all student learning, and as such, must represent to the students a user
friendly, welcoming, and safe environment. The librarian must be knowledgeable not only about
available resources and research strategies, but must also be cognizant in reaching a wide, multi-
aged population with varying degrees of maturity and ability. Management as well as behavioral
strategies utilized in the library must ultimately focus on maximizing the learning for all
students.
Works Cited
25 Attention-Grabbing Tips for the Classroom. (2016). Edutopia. Retrieved from
http://www.edutopia.org/groups/classroom-management/737576

Alber, R. (2012). 5 Quick Classroom-Management Tips for Novice Teachers. Edutopia.


Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/classroom-management-tips-novice-
teachers-rebecca-alber

Hester, T. (2013). 7 Tips for Better Classroom Management. Edutopia. Retrieved from
http://www.edutopia.org/blog/7-tips-better-classroom-management-tyler-hester

Sayeski, K. L. and Brown, M. R. (2011). Developing a Classroom Management


Plan(1).pdf . Teaching Exception Children, 44 (1), 8-17.