CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT PLAN
(by Jenny Kapoh. Reusing any of the text from this CMP is Plagiarism)
A. Theoretical Introduction
My philosophy of classroom management is that the management of elementary classrooms require several things. Among patience, determination and motivation are: flexibility, careful planning and consistency. A well-managed classroom did not get well-managed without a teacher who planned, had a flexible vision and was determined. Any new teacher, who is asked, will say they want a classroom with as few behavioral problems as possible as well as one that is easily manageable. But any experienced teacher, who is asked, will tell those new teachers that classrooms do not come "well managed". They have to be made into well-managed classrooms. These experienced teachers would also encourage by saying that it is not easy, but that it is not impossible to have a manageable classrooms. On the other hand, they would be quick to add that all classrooms will have behavioral problems at some point or another. This is proven to be true to anyone who has been in an elementary classroom, whether they were a teacher, observer or a student themselves. But what teachers can take to comfort is that they can prepare themselves. The first thing that is needed is flexibility. Being able to evolve with changing needs is something teachers need to acquire quickly. Adaptability can make or break classroom climate. A teacher who is not flexible and wants things one way, will find themselves in a power struggle that will be hard to reverse. Also, the negativity will build up and make teaching unpleasant for the teacher and learning unpleasant for the students. Being able to "go with the flow" will help teachers tremendously. The second thing needed for classroom management is careful planning. Now this does not mean having everything planned to the last detail, but instead, it means having at least a vision of what you, as a teacher, want your classroom to be like. This would include everything from the way desks should be arranged and the order subjects are taught, to the type of activities given to enhance a lesson. Planning of these things will help classroom management run much more smoothly. Finally, classroom management requires consistency, particularly with discipline. Inconsistent teachers who discipline only half of the time it is needed, send mixed messages to that child as well as to his/her classmates. Teachers need to remember that following through with what they said helps the child remember that their undesirable behavior will not be tolerated and that there are consequences for their actions. Consistency is a skill that teachers should make sure they have when they step into a classroom. Flexibility, careful planning and consistency are key components, I think, that teachers would find helpful when dealing with classroom management.
I feel children need guidance and support from the world around them. That is why they have parents, family and teachers. I believe, like Barbara Coloroso and others, that children are worth all the work teachers put into their job. Children are not only worth it, but they deserve our very best. Even the "troublesome" kid in the class, deserves to get an education and learn how to read so he/she can fill out a job application when he/she is eighteen. As adults, who have gone through most of our schooling, we owe it to children to teach them how to survive. This means teaching them the difference between proper and common nouns. This means teaching them the Pythagorean Theorem. This means teaching them the names of the seven continents. It is all worth the effort, stress, anxiety, late nights and money.
Like Haim Ginott, I feel children need help in being understood and respected. For children in abusive homes, respect may not be something they are used to. When they step into my classroom, I do not want to be another figure in their lives that disrespects them. Instead, I want them to feel empowered and to take responsibilities into their own hands. I feel like children want to please adults and are looking for that pat on the back, smile or nod of the head. But instead of just doing those things teachers should give approval by giving them opportunities to take responsibility. The students could be given jobs around the classroom, for example. Also, they can be given choices in certain areas instead of orders. For instance, instead of giving a page of math problems they may find dull and repetitive, let them choose the ten they like best. Things like this can be done to help the children feel they have some power in their learning.
Finally, I plan to implement Glasser's Reality Therapy when dealing with behavioral problems. The entire theory attracts me, but two parts in particular does. Glasser believes that students must accept responsibility for their action and make commitment to alter their behavior. I think that this goes hand in hand with giving children responsibility. Responsibility does not just mean that children have jobs around the classroom. It also means they need to take responsibility for their actions. They need to own up to their behavior and come up with their own plan of committing to change their behavior. I think this is important for children to grasp because they learn that in the real world, people need to take responsibility for things they do wrong.
Expectations of students:
· I expect my students to be respectful (of me, as well as of themselves and their classmates)
· I expect them to learn. Although learning is up to them, I expect they will do their utmost to perform to their potential.
· I expect them to be a team. There is no "I" in "team" or in "Ms. Kapoh's class" so they will work together to solve problems, do group projects and help each other out when it's needed.
· I expect them to come prepared in mind, body and spirit. This means having the right supplies, being ready to sit and learn for an undetermined amount of time and giving full attention to the speaker.
· Finally, I expect my students to have bad days. We are all human and life happens, but I hope they do their best to keep up with the learning done that day.
Expectations of Classroom Climate:
My classroom will be a positive environment where children will come to learn. I will be strict and expect them to adhere to my expectations. At the same time I will be as flexible as I can to promote a positive environment.
- I will not talk while others are talking
- I will raise my hand and wait to be called on
- Don't get up, sharpen pencils, get paper, etc while someone else is talking
1. I have the right to be in a safe, supportive environment, means that we will not fight or threaten to solve problems
2. I have the right to learn, means do not disrupt your classmates byt alking to them or bothering them while they are learning
3. I have the right to be respected, means that we will not dislike/favor someone because they are black/white, boy/girl, fat/thin, tall short. We will also keep our hands and belongings to ourselves and not use them against each other.
4. I have the right to be heard, means we will not interrupt others while they are thinking or blurt out things just to get our opinion heard.
C. Instructional and Assessment Strategies that Promote Management Goals
I want to meet students' academic needs by first meeting their basic needs. This means I will love them unconditionally. I will empower them by giving them responsibilities as well as by giving them choices. I will make them feel competent by expressing high expectations and by not focusing on the products, but instead on the process. I will make them feel autonomous by supporting their creative minds and again, by giving them choices. Finally, I want my students to have fun. I will try to achieve this by making learning interesting and by fostering creativity as much as possible.
To prevent students' need to act out I will try to give children the proper attention they are requesting, when possible. Generally speaking, I will try to adhere to Kounin's strategies of preventing misbehavior - withitness and overlapping. I am aware, though, that these concepts are only mastered with experience. Withitness refers to the way a teacher handles misbehavior before it escalates into a bigger problem. A "with it" teacher can be described by their targeting the right student when misbehavior occurs, as well as by their promptness at reacting. Overlapping refers to a teacher's ability to handle two situations at once, thereby minimizing the likelihood of the class getting distracted from the lesson. Withitness and overlapping are two skills I hope to acquire, with experience, during my teaching career.
Another way I plan to prevent student misbehavior is to keep movement flowing. This idea comes, again, from Kounin's skills of maintaining activity flow. He calls them momentum and smoothness. I plan to keep momentum or in other words, keep the lesson moving briskly along. If I see too much time is being spent on a minor aspect of the lesson and distracting from the main lesson, I will move the discussion along. The other thing that opens up opportunity for children to misbehave is the transition between activities. If transitions are choppy or too long, children see it as a time to talk and get off task. My transitions will try to be smooth. I will do this by giving warnings that activities will change in fifteen minutes and at five minutes, I will warn that they should be writing their last thoughts, cleaning up, putting down their final answers, etc. Also, I will cut transitions down by timing them. For example, "Okay, when I say go I want you to put your OCR books away and get ready for math in one minute. All I want to see is your math books, pencil and eraser. Go!" (set timer) This gives them no time to doddle or talk to their neighbor. Finally, I plan to give the children a list of things to do when they are done with their seatwork. As teachers know, when children have down time they tend to get social. To avoid this, I want to have a board posted that states: When you are done . . . This list will be posted where the children can clearly see it and will become normal routine after a few weeks. Through withitness, smoothness, momentum and overlapping and having lists of things for the children to do when they have down time, I hope to prevent students' need to misbehave.
My assessment promotes my management goals because it requires the teacher to be on top of things and to be aware of things taking place in the classroom at all times. If things are not being managed properly, it will be made obvious and the teacher will know that they will need to change their management goals.
I will allow for different styles of learning, cultures and circumstances by being flexible and open to change. I will try to adapt lessons to accommodate different learning styles and personalities. This means having variety. For example, I will have visuals and hands-on aids for visual learners. Independent work will be an option for those less eager to work in cooperative groups and for those natural leaders, group projects will be assigned occasionally. I think another thing that the teacher can do is "expect the unexpected", meaning that there is an awareness that nothing will ever go as planned. Finally, having a multi-cultural perspective is important, especially in Southern California. It should be something that is regularly part of a teacher's curriculum and something that they should keep in the back of their head at all times.
I think that students want to learn about things that they are interested in. If they truly are fascinated with astronomy, they will watch movies about space, check out library books about the nine planets, etc. In the short term, they are motivated strictly by what they are interested in. In elementary school, they do not have the maturity or discipline to tell themselves, "Okay, I don't like science, but this is for my future so I have to do my best. I'll do just enough to get me through this class." How many of us have told that to ourselves in college? Children in elementary school do the opposite. They simply turn off and tune out. If it does not interest them, they will not study, do their homework, or anything else to help them through the subject. On the other hand, in the long term, I think students, as they grow up, are motivated by an ultimate goal - to get that grade, win that scholarship or get acceptance into that college or program. At such young ages, children are not aware of the big picture and therefore, are only motivated by the here and now. I hope that my students will become motivated to learn in my class because they want to learn. I think that curiosity motivates students to a large extent and that it can take them far. I hope in my class that that is what motivates students and that my class is not one of those "Oh, just let me get through this" classes. I want my classes to be one in which stimulates students' minds so that they want to come to school and have fun doing it.
I hope that learning and knowledge will motivate my students. I want to be the teacher that people remember when they are twenty as the teacher who taught them and made it fun. I think that if a lesson is interesting and fun enough, the students will enjoy it and remember it. While this is nice, reality says that students will need other incentives occasionally, such as rewards. I plan to use incentives such as sticker charts to graph how the class is doing on a certain activity such as times tables or homework completion. A popular trend in elementary classrooms that I may implement is the point system, where the students are given points for anything from participating in class to getting ready quietly for recess. Another incentive, for instance, can be a game of multiplication baseball, where the winning team receives a prize, in exchange for the students mastering their times tables. Incentives like these, I hope, will help the children and add to their reason for learning.
I would not characterize my approach to incentives as any one way. I think of it more eclectic than anything else. I will rely on the reward system somewhat, but I will also use learning /knowledge as a motivator.
If I were teaching one year from now, my "dream class" will be one of few behavioral/managerial problems, one that is visually stimulating, one in which there is camaraderie between the students and myself and one that the students remember as their favorite J.
A teacher friend told me that in the first month with a new class, you have to hit them hard and stay on them until they master the classroom routine. After a month of pounding the routine into their heads and making sure they understand rules/expectations I do plan to lighten up. I certainly do not want to be a policeman monitoring everything they do. That will make my job a job and not a joy. I would rather get paid to be an encourager or coach, than a policeman. By the second half of the year I want to be able to give the responsibility to the students and let them be accountable to each other. This is an ultimate dream - that the students keep each other in line. On the rare occasion that there are behavioral problems, I want to hear, "Juan, the rule is that we come in from recess quietly, without talking and get ready to learn. What did you do? Did you do that? No, then come in and try it again". I want to hear other students watching each other's actions and pointing out unacceptable behaviors. Once the children are able to do this, without being demeaning or belittling, behavioral problems and managerial problems will be few and far between. When they are able to line up without any talking, walk themselves to recess and come back and sit quietly, then I will know I have created a part of my "dream class".
I also picture my "dream class" having a visually pleasant atmosphere. Alongside the door I want to display the Students' Rights (discussed earlier), which is signed by all the students. I would like to also have classroom rules displayed at the front of the room where they can see them all the time. I want student work displayed from wall to wall with a title of what they were learning at the time of the assignment. This all will be arranged with vibrant colors and themes that go along with the time of year. I want the classroom to be very warm and inviting to anyone who walks in. Some classrooms that I have worked in are very obvious in their need for change. You can tell by the faded construction paper backgrounds and die cuts that the bulletin boards are not changed very often. In my class, I want my students to use all the areas of the room. Some classrooms have corners that are dusty because there is such little traffic in them. Especially with the library, I want children to utilize it consistently. I would like to make my library area to be very home-like. Maybe with a couch or cushioned chairs to help it feel inviting, the children may use it more often. Even if they do not look at my books, but do homework, or quiz each other on their times tables in that area would be great. Generally, I would like my "dream class" to be welcoming and it to be the students' classroom.
Finally, I want my "dream class" to have camaraderie, or a team feeling. I really want my students to feel like a class and not just call themselves that because that is what they are. I want them to look after each other and help each other solve problems as a community. Granted, they will all not get along right away and there may some students that just never get along with everyone, but on the whole, I would like to see my students become a team, to the truest meaning of the word.
Going along with that, I want to be considered their favorite elementary teacher, or at least one they remember fondly. I still remember my 1st/2nd grade teacher, Miss Dalberg. She was the one that planted the idea of becoming a teacher into my head. Back then, I wanted to be a teacher because it simply looked fun. Decorating the classroom, grading papers and getting candy from every student on every holiday did it for me. I was going to become a teacher! Of course, that delirious point of view was from an eight-year-old perspective and eventually wore off. Miss Dalberg was my favorite teacher of elementary school. At the very least she made learning fun and instilled in me the interest to be a teacher.
In essence, I would like my classroom reality consisting of responsible students that feel they are a team and who work together to reach their potential and goals.