A classroom and classroom management plan that is conducive to learning fosters discovery, ownership and functionality. I work to foster personal responsibility and group responsibility within my classroom. My students demonstrate personal in relation to behavior management, participation and effort. Group responsibility to their table clusters and their classroom as a whole. I teach them that their behavior is a reflection on our classroom, our school, their home and their individual cultures. I celebrate students as individuals and teach them how to perform in groups. Group work within the classroom functions based on accountability so that each member has a contributing role in the group and it will teach students to be accountable to each other.
I stress good manners and living the golden rule. I forbid use of sarcasm, cruelty and name-calling. I recognize kindness and consideration. I have high expectations for student behavior and I will give second chances to students who genuinely want to improve. I respond to misbehavior with behavior modification and redirection. I recognize that students often act out when they reach frustration levels in learning. When this happens, misbehavior can indicate lack of understanding. Instead of punishing the misbehavior, I guide the student toward understanding and success, which most often eliminates the misbehavior. I monitor student progress and behavior closely. I believe all students want to do well and a teacher must nurture this inner motivation. I don't believe in “bad kids”, just “bad behavior” and bad behavior is a choice that can be redirected.
My classroom management strategy is built on intrinsic motivation. I celebrate students' success and challenge students who are not performing to my expectations and to their own ability. I set students up for success, giving them note-taking and test-taking and strategies and model good study habits. For the students who are misguided, under-motivated or think failing is the easy way out, I want to make failing hard and succeeding look easy. I will encourage the discouraged until they reach success. I believe students should be told “good job,” often yet genuinely.
My classroom's physical environment changes as the year progresses. At the beginning of the year, the walls are not overloaded with visuals. Instead, as we create posters such as a multiplication chart or a KWL chart on Jazz music, the posters decorate our walls. I believe the most meaningful visual additions to the classroom are ones we create together during lessons. These student-made posters give students ownership of the room and the content displayed on them will remind them of lessons learned and become references for future questions. When a student struggles to figure out what the decimal for 5/6 may be, I can tell her to check her work by referring to the Fractions-to-Decimals table we made that now hangs on the math wall. Visuals and student work will be organized by subject.
My desk is situated within the classroom where I am able to see the whole room, but my desk will not overpower the learning environment. I want my desk to be a backdrop of who I am in the classroom and also for who I am outside of school.
An organized classroom empowers learning by making resources accessible. The classroom is organized with mailboxes, folders and labeled boxes. Everything has a place, so that students will know where to find whatever they may need, be it scissors or yesterday's work.
As a finishing touch, on the walls I hang inspirational quotes. My favorite is, “If you don't know what to do, do what you know.” I think that quote is the basis of learning: it activates prior knowledge while scaffolding success, and even though every student may not know everything, all students know something and that knowledge deserves recognition and praise.