Classroom Management Plan
While evaluating my philosophy of teaching, I began to seriously consider my values and beliefs about discipline and the style of classroom management style I would utilize. After thoughtful consideration, I have organized the top priorities that I will strive for when shaping an effective, caring and responsive classroom. To have such a dynamic, I have systematized the need for important issues such as classroom environment, rules and routines, discipline and motivation. This written classroom management plan comes from my classroom experience supported by my dimension courses and research.
The classroom environment and physical design would be an essential feature in the management of instruction and learning in which students can participate. I would design a classroom that is conducive to learning, has a positive use of classroom space and invites a positive environment. The walls will be filled with colorful projects, pictures, and lessons that have taken place during the year. It would be clear that in this classroom, the children are highly motivated to learn and are proud of their work. According to Gunning (2004), “motivation has a significant impact on students’ learning because it creates a positive and encouraging but challenging environment” (p.508).
In the words of Gunning (2004), “An essential step in developing literacy is to create an environment that promotes active reading writing, listening and speaking.” (p.89). I would create a classroom environment that is rich with literacy containing many varieties of print, signs, texts and books. I would display a large board containing the day’s schedule as the first thing the students look for when entering the classroom. Adjectives, verbs, and pronouns would hang from the ceiling on strings. High frequency words would hang from other strings to create a sort of raining sentence structure atmosphere. The walls would be filled with student-made poems, pictures and letters. I would create a classroom library, where books are stacked in bins of every color in the rainbow. They are all marked with letters A through Z based on each book’s reading level. The students would look forward to “shopping” for new books each week. They would choose their own reading material from the collection of fiction, nonfiction and poetry books available. When students are given this opportunity, they are more likely to develop deeper connections and have greater enthusiasm when reading (Cunningham, 2005).
I would keep my desk located at the front corner of the classroom to effectively be able to see the students, monitor traffic patterns and move within all areas of the classroom. I would position the students’ desks in planned spaces for learning. All seats would face inward, setting the scene for an interactive learning environment. (Woolfolk, 2011, p. 521). While the students have their assigned seats, they would often rotate to other tables throughout the day while pairing off with different students. This strategy is called “flexible grouping where students are grouped and regrouped based on their learning needs. The seating arrangement would hold many purposes ranging from independent work, to pair and shares, turn and talks, and other socially constructive learning approaches (Woolfolk, 2011, p. 523).
Rules and Routines
The rules and routines in the class are the foundation upon which all behavior is built. These rules not only to serve to protect student safety, but they also empower the students with the ability to make good decisions. On the first day of class, I would openly discuss the needs, rights, and expectations of students and myself as the teacher. As a result, the rules and routines in my classroom would be more like democratically developed social conventions since each of the students will have created and agreed upon during the first day of school (Woolfolk, 2011).
Given that I believe that an effective classroom is a well-organized classroom, my management techniques would include strategically planned and timed activities, clear signals, efficient transitions, prepared materials, clear behavioral expectations, and effective response to misbehaviors. I often prefer the successful management technique called participation structures which are “rules defining who can talk, what they can talk about, and when, to whom, and how long they can talk” (Woolfolk, 2011, p. 513). I would use this technique throughout the day to guide and maintain active class participation with minimal disruptions. I would scaffold routines such as lining up for lunch, dismissal, and morning meeting to ensure successful transitions. I would also introduce rules of engagement such as raising of hands, walking slowly, and keeping hands to oneself.
If the students are empowered to create the rules and routines, it follows that they should be equally empowered to create a discipline plan that includes clear and effective consequences. The consequences will be agreed upon and understood by everyone in the class. The students will understand that when the rules are broken, their self-made consequences will be applied fairly and consistently. After the class has developed a list of rules, I would proudly display a “class constitution” as a reminder of the rights and responsibilities of each member in the class.
When appropriate, I would aim to deal with misbehaviors quickly, consistently and respectfully. More importantly, I would not let the disruptions affect the time spent on teaching, given that the overall objective of the classroom is to be an active and effective place for students. I would use a variety of techniques such as: non-verbal communication, reminders, redirection of behavior, avoiding power struggles, preventing escalation and dealing with students who need attention.
Since students undoubtedly come to school to learn, my greatest efforts would be to make the curriculum relevant, interactive, interesting and enjoyable. With this, I would aim for students to be engaged and active throughout the learning process. Lessons that are engaging to students will keep them on task, thereby reducing misbehavior (Charles, 1999). With this information, I would focus on students’ motivation and satisfaction as a deterrent to misbehavior.
Some students are naturally excited to learn, but many will need their instructor to inspire and challenge them. I plan to motivate my students by stimulating their interest in the subject, perception of its usefulness, self-confidence and desire for achievement. Since not all students have the same needs, wants, desires and values, I would use varied motivational strategies to engage them. Given my belief that students learn by doing, making, writing, designing and creating, I would aim to give frequent and positive feedback that supports the students’ beliefs that they can do well. I would help students to find the real-life meaning in the material they learn. I would create an atmosphere than is open and non-threatening where students can make choices, learn from their mistakes and take responsibility for their learning. Lastly, I would hope to help students feel that they are valued members of the classroom and of the community so as to promote shared learning between all students.
In conclusion, I hope to be constantly evolving my classroom management plan to fit the many needs and interests of my students. While heavily relying on planning, organizing and clear expectations, I also feel that the students should take an active role in running an effective and responsive classroom. My emphasis remains on the needs of my students, however I aim to empower them by providing the ability to self-assess and self-govern.
Possible Classroom Arrangement
Charles, C. (1999). Building Classroom Discipline. New York: Addison Wesley Longman, Inc.
Gunning, T. G. (2004). Creating Literacy Instruction For All Children in Grades Pre-K to 4. Pearson Education, Inc.
Woolfolk, A. (2011). Educational Psychology. Pearson.