Classroom Management Plan

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Overview

Strong classroom management and discipline are the cornerstones in creating a positive, successful school year for children. A clearly defined management plan needs to provide the necessary structure and rules for a classroom to function smoothly, productively and safely. As teachers, we have the responsibility in deciding how we will manage our classroom and what discipline strategies we will employ. I have chosen to embody a variety of management techniques and discipline methods, which are to be used when creating a caring, safe, welcoming and, above all, encouraging classroom-learning climate for students. My classroom management plan stems from Jane Nelson’s Positive Discipline model.  Charles (2002) summarizes that Positive Discipline is rooted in teaching children how to respect themselves and others, behave responsibly, and contribute to the positive growth of groups in which they are members. Positive Discipline also emphasizes the need for teaching students the necessary tools to control themselves, cooperate, take on responsibility, and behave in a dignified manner (Charles, 2002). 

By combining the Positive Discipline model and CHAMPs, I have developed a solid, successful plan for my first year of teaching.  My classroom management vision involves consistently identifying my long-range classroom goals and focusing on setting high, positive expectations for all my students at all times. Applying explicit standards for student behavior and providing constant interaction and positive feedback are essential. I plan to send a clear message about what expectations and behaviors are required of students at all times on a daily basis. I will also establish efficient daily classroom routines and if necessary provide incentives to increase motivation and promote student success. Through implementing my management plan, I will ultimately teach my students the importance and value of having structure in the classroom and that my management strategies are always used to achieve student’s social and academic excellence.

 Classroom Management Plan Components

Guidelines for success:

There are several guidelines I will implement to help my students achieve success in our class and in the outside community. These guidelines will teach my students what attitudes, traits and behaviors I expect to see on a daily basis. My own classroom guidelines for success will be modeled after the school-wide plan; this will help to establish continuity for the students.  Through this connection, students can have a clear understanding of the expected behaviors and social interactions when working with any specialist, parent volunteer or fellow student at all times during the school day.  The four main guidelines for success I will teach are as follows:

  • Respect yourself and others

  • Be safe at all times

  • Be helpful, positive and community minded

  • Always try to do your best 

These guidelines for success will be explicitly taught through modeling during the first weeks. A poster stating the guidelines will also be placed in two prominent places within the classroom.  Families will be notified about these guidelines in a letter home during the first week of school. I believe these guidelines are important not only in the classroom but also in all aspects of my students’ lives. To explicitly make this connection for the students the guidelines will be integrated into classroom discussions about local current events that reflect positive people exhibiting respect, safety, kindness and helpfulness. These guidelines for success will also be referenced frequently as a means of positive and corrective feedback to students by acknowledging when they are, or are not, being displayed.

Teaching Expectations and Rules:

As a classroom, we will also develop a list of expectations and rules our learning community will follow.  These rules will define the expected behavior of students at all times.  As a class, we will generate three to five rules during the first week of school at our classroom meetings. I will take suggestions from the students on rules needed to create a safe, productive, and respect classroom.  The rules will be written in a positive way and refer to specific, observable behaviors.  Some examples of classroom rules are as follows: 

  • Always follow the teacher’s directions

  • Arrive to class on time with all necessary materials and assignments

  • Keep a clean, safe workspace

  • Keep hands, feet and other objects to yourself

  • Listen carefully when others are talking   

Each student will get a printed copy of the rules for their three-ring binder and they will be posted in two places within the classroom.  This will help communicate and reinforce to students our classroom expectations.  To remember our rules in a fun and exciting manner, we will develop a “classroom rules” chant.  This chant can be used intermittently, but especially before we engage in a complicated class projects where high management structure will be necessary for student success.  All of these rules will also need to be explicitly modeled to the students by demonstrating what each behavior looks like during transitions, group work, teacher directed instruction and independent work time. When communicating my expectations to the students I will teach my expectations before the activity begins, monitor student behavior by visually scanning and circulating in unpredictable patterns and provide feedback throughout and at the conclusion of the activity.  During this process I will be sure to give specific, immediate, and accurate feedback for positive and corrective behaviors.  When practicing desired behaviors, students will repeat the process until the behavior is appropriately displayed.

Family Contact:

Building positive relationships with my students’ families or caregivers is key in creating effective classroom management. These relationships will be developed by making contact with every family at the beginning of the year and maintaining contact throughout the year by newsletters, emails and phone calls to share feedback about the student. As Sprick, Garrison and Howard (1998) state, “There is no question that when school personnel and families work together to help meet the educational needs of students, the probability of effectively educating those students increases tremendously” (Sprick, Garrison, Howard, 1998, p.19).  My initial contact with the parents will be made during the first week of school.  I will use this opportunity to introduce myself, share my enthusiasm for the school year, explain my major goals/expectations for the year, answer any questions and give them my contact info.  This information will also be sent home in the form of a letter on the first day of school.  The letter will include a copy of our Guidelines for Success and classroom rules to be signed and discussed with the student.  Ongoing contact will be made throughout the year at school events, on our classroom website and weekly newsletters updating families on activities and student requirements.  By establishing positive relationships with the family members I will have a better idea of how to meet the behavior and emotional needs of each student. 

Attention Getting Signal:

I have chosen to implement a variety of signals to gain and maintain students undivided attention. The purpose of each is to focus the attention of the students so that I can give directions and provide instruction. The variety of signals will help accommodate for the different learning styles of each student since some students will be strong auditory learners and others more visual. Certain signals will also be more appropriate than others depending on the current activity/instruction.  Like the classroom rules, these attention-getting signals will need to be teacher modeled and student practiced. All verbal signals will be said in a low, consistent voice to avoid yelling over my students’ voices. My list of attention signals will be as follows:

  • 1-2-3: Teacher: “1-2-3 eyes on me.” Students: “1-2 eyes on you.”

  • Clapping a Pattern: I clap a pattern and students repeat.

  • Rain stick: Shake rainstick and students will begin to tune in.

  • Give me 5: Teacher raises hand and says, “Give me five.” Students: 1) Empty hands 2) Eyes on teacher 3) Mouths closed 4) Ears listening 5) Brains turned on

  • Freeze: Teacher: “Freeze!” Students: Freeze and listen.

Daily Morning Routines and Classroom Meetings:

A well structured, effective and efficient classroom morning routine is essential for student success. Procedures for the beginning of the day will help establish an inviting atmosphere and will communicate to the students that classroom time is very valuable (Sprick et. al., 1998). Each morning I will happily greet the students at the door and remind them to mark their attendance, turn in homework or other papers, quietly find their seat and begin the morning assignment.  An attendance chart will be placed near the door where each student will move their name into the correct color spot depending on their lunch choice. There will also be two paper bins on my desk; one bin for completed homework and the other for various teacher notes. A morning assignment focusing on grammar or penmanship will be on the overhead for students to complete in their personal journals.  Students that finish this assignment early will silently read until the rest of the class is ready. When I have finished taking attendance and lunch count, we will go over the morning task as an entire class. Three times a week my class will then transition from morning work into our classroom meetings.  At classroom meetings, students will gather in a circle on the carpet to participate in discussions about classroom and current events, as well as choose weekly classroom helpers. Weekly student helper names will be pulled from my teacher bag and the student will be assigned a weekly job: Line leader, recycler, cleaner, computer editor, or lunch box carriers. These classroom meetings will loosely follow the Positive Discipline model. Nelsen (1996) suggests that this sharing time also helps develop students’ self-esteem and sense of place in the social setting; ultimately, giving them a more positive outlook on peer relationships and diminishing their need to act out by misbehaving (Nelsen, 1996).

Encouragement Procedures:

To assist in implementing an encouraging classroom environment will be to create intrinsic motivation for my students to behave appropriately. This will be done by teaching enthusiastically, involving my students in engaging activities, having clear, focused objectives and providing immediate positive feedback about their behaviors. These motivational encouragement procedures also come in the form of noncontingent attention and contingent feedback. Noncontingent attention will be given with smiles, greetings, showing interest in their through verbal comments, and engaging in casual, positive dialogue with groups of students on the playground or during group work. This attention will be used to establish positive relationships with my students, as well as a way of letting them know that I am proud and interested in their continued success. Contingent feedback will be positive, specific feedback given to students meeting a behavioral or academic goal. This feedback will be included in a hierarchy of positive consequences that will reinforce the desired social behavior. First, students will receive my feedback in the form of a ‘thumbs up’ sign and smile when they are behaving appropriately.  If the behavior is consistent throughout the day, I will quietly verbally acknowledge and complement their efforts. If the student continues to exemplify our classroom expected behaviors they will receive a special certificate recognizing their efforts to take home. My classroom will also have a variety of intermittent classroom community celebrations that acknowledge the entire classes’ successes in meeting our behavioral and academic goals.  

  • E-X-T-R-A R-E-C-E-S-S: The class will earn the individual letters to spell the words ‘extra recess’.  Once the entire words are spelled, the class will get an extra recess. 

  • Free Time Friday: Throughout the week the class will earn minutes toward free time on Friday afternoons. I will establish a tally system in the corner of the white board: One tally equals one minute (maximum 15 minutes).  During FTF, students will be able to read books, work at the art table and on the computers, or play with games.

Correction Procedures:

I will have the following behavioral correction procedures in place at the beginning of the school year. My student correction procedures will be set up to follow a hierarchy of consequences (Sprick et. al., 1996). For example, if a student were talking during silent reading time, I would implement the following procedures.  First, I would quietly assess the situation by increasing my proximity to the student. If the inappropriate behavior continued, I would make eye contact with the student and gently shake my head in disapproval.  Next, I would gently remind the student in a low voice that they were not respecting the classroom rule of following my directions.  If the behavior continues, I would give the student a warning and state that next time they would be moved and placed in time out.  Finally, the student would be moved to the study table and owe me extra time at recess.  For these types of situations, the student would owe recess time equivalent to the time misbehaving.  If misbehaviors develop into chronic problems, I would need to set up an intervention plan involving the student and family.  This initial plan would be implemented for at least two weeks while I monitored the student behavior.  A major component of this plan would be setting up a reward system that reinforced the student’s positive behavior; for example, providing the student with extra computer time if I see the appropriate behavior consistently displayed.

Physical layout of room:

The physical layout of my classroom will maximize positive behavior and learning and deter misbehavior in a variety of ways.  The classroom setup needs to provide easy circulation around the room and among the students, allowing me to monitor student behavior easily. It will also keep high-traffic areas free of congestion that could cause disruptions. The location of the teacher’s desk is critical in allowing me a constant and clear view of all students at all times.  This will discourage misbehavior since students will know I can constantly see their actions.  I will also be sure to put children that need extra behavioral management guidance or academic assistance sitting closer to my desk. A large circle area will be necessary for class meetings and group discussion, helping to reinforce the importance of creating a cooperative classroom community. Desk positions will be placed so all students can be facing the overhead or front of the classroom during direct instruction. With all students’ bodies facing the teacher, there is less potential for distraction. Having students sit in table groups will be conducive to fostering cooperative learning opportunities and tasks.  My classroom layout will need to provide plenty of room for centers, work areas, small group or pair work.  All of which will help me differentiate my instruction methods to meet the learning needs of all students.  Finally, frequently used teaching materials and student supplies will be kept readily accessible to avoid student distractions during instruction.

References

Charles, C.M. (2002). Building Classroom Discipline. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.

Nelsen, J. (1996). Positive Discipline: The classic guide for parents and teachers to help children develop self-discipline, responsibility, cooperation and problem-solving skills. New York: The Random House Publishing Group.

Sprick, R., Garrison, M., & Howard, L. (1996). CHAMPS: A Proactive and Positive Approach to Classroom Management. Eugene, OR: Pacific Northwest Publishing.

 

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