Statement of Management:
I believe that each and every student has the capacity to succeed and it is my job as a teacher to help them gain that success through classroom activities that foster participation and learning through interesting and engaging lessons and clear and concise rules and procedures. My management beliefs align with most of the techniques and beliefs of Alfie Kohn and Linda Albert. My philosophy of management incorporates how the teacher and the students should interact with one another in order to create a calm and comfortable learning environment in which students feel free to share and participate.
My philosophy of management stems from a deeply rooted belief that all students have the ability to succeed. As a future educator, I believe that I should do everything in my power to help students learn and participate in the classroom. There are many types of management strategies that must be in place in a classroom in order for my goals for learning to be met.
In my opinion, the most important part of classroom is establishing an open environment so students feel free to share and participate. Linda Albert wrote about the Three C’s, a strategy used to help students feel valued in the classroom: “To ensure that students [truly feel they belong to and in the class], [Albert] gives heavy attention to what she calls the Three C’s—helping all students feel capable, helping them connect with others, and helping them make contributions to the class and elsewhere” (Albert 68). In the beginning of the school year, I will voice these goals to my students so that they know they are valued in the classroom.
One obstacle that I may face is that some students feel shy and do not want to participate for a fear of making a mistake. In my classroom, students should feel free to share their answers and ideas without the fear of failure. “Many students have an intense dread of failure. […] Albert advises teachers not to allow students to withdraw. She says instead to alter assignment and provide plentiful encouragement” (Albert 71). Some teachers believe that there can only be one correct response to a question. I believe in challenging my students to create various responses that create new ideas and meanings. In Debbie Miller’s book, Reading with Meaning, she describes an interaction that she had with a student. The student answered a question but her response was not what Miller was looking for. Miller; however, hesitated and allowed the student to continue. When the student explained her answer, Miller understood the student’s thinking and realized that her answer was actually correct. Miller wrote, “Wow, I think, she’s right! And I wonder: How many times have I missed opportunities like this one? How many times have I not pursued a child’s thinking simply because it didn’t fit with mine?” (Miller 82). This passage really struck me after I read it so I decided to incorporate this strategy into my future classroom. I want to grant my students time to explain themselves. Even if I believe an answer is incorrect, I may be surprised; if after explaining himself or herself, a student still has an “incorrect” answer, I can guide the student to the correct answer because I understand his or her thinking.
Another aspect of classroom management that is important to me involves creating a community in the classroom. By developing a sense of community in the classroom, students have the ability to work collaboratively to create meaningful discussions of lesson content. In order to develop this community, I will encourage my students to participation in not only discussions, but the creation of a code of conduct. According to Alfie Kohn, teachers should work “towards developing a sense of community in their classes, where students feel safe and are continually brought into making judgments, expressing their opinions, and working cooperatively towards solutions that affect themselves and the class” (Charles 190). By incorporating my students into the creation of a code of conduct, I am showing my students that their opinions are valued in the classroom. Instead of imposing harsh rules on the students, they are invited to help develop the code of conduct including consequences associated. According to Linda Albert, “when students participate in developing consequences, they are more likely to accept them as fair and reasonable” (Albert 69).
In my opinion, the term “code of conduct” creates less pressure on the students because the term is written in a positive manner. I also believe that the term “consequences” should be used for both positive and negative consequences; the term “punishment” should have no place in my classroom. I believe in logical consequences. Everyone makes mistakes sometimes and students should work to rectify those mistakes when necessary, but they should not be harshly punished for misbehavior. For example, if a student were to drop pencil shavings all over the floor, a logical consequence would be for the student to pick up the pencil shaves. This action should not be punished by having a student miss out on recess.
When setting up the code of conduct, I want grant my students some flexibility in what may constitute misbehavior. For example, some students have difficulty sitting still for long periods of time. In my classroom, the desks will be arranged in a “U” shape with a carpet area in the middle of the U. Students will be able to raise their hand and make a “C” symbol in order to nonverbally ask if they may move to the carpet during a lesson. When establishing the procedures in my classroom, I will inform the students that only a limited number of students can sit at the carpet during instruction; when students are given permission to go to the carpet, they must do so without interrupting the learning process or instruction. By doing this, I hope to give my students chances for “brain breaks,” or time to move around the classroom in order to stimulate their brains so they can focus better. In my opinion, moving around in this type of manner would not be considered misbehavior. Even if a student wanted to stand instead of sitting at his or her desk, the student will be permitted to do so as long as he or she does not block the view of another student.
Another action that is typically associated with misbehavior is talking. I understand the need for socialization at a young age and so I will encourage my students to talk to one another during free time. For example, after students have finished getting ready for the day, (i.e. completing their morning duties), they should feel free to quietly speak amongst themselves. By providing students with this free time, I am allowing them to build up their community and participate in the classroom. As students get to know one another, they will most likely work better during group work because they feel comfortable sharing their ideas.
My philosophy of management is based on the idea that all students should be valued in the classroom because each student has the capacity of success. I believe that I can help my students succeed by creating a community in the classroom that encourages participation; even if a student responds with an “incorrect” answer, I want the student to know he or she is brave for taking a chance. I want my students to be encouraged in the creation of a code of conduct because I believe they will be more likely to follow the “rules” they created and see the consequences as fair and just. I believe that misbehavior is a relative term and I will allow my students to engage in various actions that could be viewed as misbehaviors as long as the learning process is not interrupted.
The students of my classroom are very diverse. I have 16 third grade students in my classroom—9 boys and 7 girls. My classroom has a variety of cultures, which include African-American students, Hispanic students and Caucasian students. These students vary in their academic levels; there are five gifted students in my classroom and another student is currently being screened for enrichment. There is currently one English Language Learner (ELL) in my classroom; however, a student who had previously tested out of the ELL program is being placed back in the program. The majority of my students are on-level students. I try to divert my attention equally among all students so that each person receives the help they need.
The social relationships in my group have been formed based on the students that sit with one another. I noticed; however, that some students prefer to work with students of the same gender. There were no assigned seats in the classroom and students were encouraged to sit wherever they want and the students grouped themselves based on gender.
There are currently no students in my classroom who have major behavioral issues. There are typically very few issues in my classroom in terms of misbehavior. The majority of misbehavior stems from students who have missing or incomplete homework. Some students also struggle to pay attention to the lesson throughout the day, which is why I would like to implement various “brain breaks” in the classroom to help my students stay focused.
As always, I believe that any of the academic or behavioral issues in the classroom can be solved with the help of others in the community created in the classroom.
Beliefs (Letter to Parents):
Please note these are UNOFFICIAL letters that have not been sent home to parents. These are examples that I have created.
A few weeks before the school year begins, I would send home a letter to parents that gives a brief explanation of my goals for the classroom, and school supplies that the students will be using in my classroom. I will address my letters to the students in order to avoid confusion. I understand that students have various types of living situations and so I would like to avoid upsetting or offending anyone by referring to parents or guardians by the wrong name.
Letter Sent Home to Parents One Month before School Begins:
Please note this is an UNOFFICIAL letter that has not been sent home to parents. I wrote this as an example letter.
One week before school begins, I would send home another letter to parents. This would be a more in depth letter that would explain a bit more about my classroom and my expectations. Attached to this letter would be a student interest inventory survey, which the students and their parents or guardians would be encouraged to return on the first day of school. As mentioned in the letter, the survey will help me guide my lesson plans towards topics that interest students. I will also be able to use these surveys to learn more about my students and their goals.
Letter Sent Home to Parents One Week before School Begins
Dear Third Grade Parents and Guardians,
School will be starting on August 26th, 2015, which is less than a week away! I am very excited to have your student in my third grade classroom.
This is my first year as a teacher. I earned my degree at the University of South Florida. I was a member of a special program called the Teacher Residency Partnership Program (TRPP). While in this program, I worked as an intern in elementary school classrooms for two years, which equals to about two thousand hours worth of experience in the classroom. I have interned in a 3rd grade classroom in the past and I feel very prepared for this upcoming school year.
One of the most important aspects of my classroom is that all students feel comfortable in the classroom community. I believe participation is important and each student has something special to add to the conversation. I continuously have high expectations of my students because I believe each and every one of my students can succeed.
I encourage the students to share some personal information about big events in their lives, including birthdays, vacations, new siblings or pets, etc. I understand that some students’ birthdays do not take place during the school year. The students can choose another day of the year to celebrate their birthday so that each and every child can have a special day.
At the end of the school year, the students will be taking the FCAT which may seem scary for some of the children. The best way to help your child is to read with your child as much as possible. Each student will have a reading log to complete every night alongside other homework assignments. For the reading log, students must read at least 20 minutes a day at home. As the school year progresses, the amount of time that students must read at home will increase. This will help the students build stamina so they can work well while taking the FCAT, which has two sections, each of which is 120 minutes, or 2 hours long. By preparing the students to read for long periods of time, they will be ready to take the FCAT. If you have any questions about the FCAT, please see the FAQ about the FCAT at http://fcat.fldoe.org/pdf/fcatfaq1.pdf.
I appreciate any and all parental involvement in my classroom. If you would like to volunteer in the classroom or donate supplies, please contact me by email at (insert email address here). If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me by email. I will also be available by phone before school from 7:50am to 8:10am. Attached to this letter is a student interest inventory survey. I would greatly appreciate it if you could please complete this with your student for the first day of class. This information will inform me of your student’s interests and goals, which will help me gear my lessons towards your student. The students will have time to work on this survey in class, but any of the questions that can be answered before school begins will be helpful.
I am very excited to meet you and my future student. I hope that you have had a great summer break.
Please note that this is an UNOFFICIAL letter that has not been sent home to parents. This is an example letter that I wrote.
Student Interest Inventory Survey
Please fill out your interests on the lines below.
1. In school, the thing I like to do best is _______________________________________
2. Outside of school, the thing I like to do best is ________________________________
3. If I had a million dollars, I would __________________________________________
4. When I grow up I will ___________________________________________________.
5. I dislike ______________________________________________________________.
6. My favorite animal is ____________________________________________________.
7. The best sport is ________________________________________________________.
8. The person I like best is __________________________________________________.
9. Over the summer I ______________________________________________________
10. Next summer I hope to __________________________________________________.
11. I like to collect ________________________________________________________.
12. My favorite place to be is ________________________________________________.
13 If I could travel anywhere in the world, I would like to go to ____________________ because _________________________________________________________________.
14. I like to make _________________________________________________________.
15. My favorite kind of food is ______________________________________________.
16. The best book I ever read was ____________________________________________.
17. The best TV show is ___________________________________________________.
18. When I finish 3rd grade, I want to be able to _________________________________
19. Three words to describe me are ___________________________________________
20. I live with ____________________________________________________________
21. The one thing I really want my teacher to know about me is ____________________
22. What I like most about school is __________________________________________
23. What I like least about school is __________________________________________
24. I am really good at _____________________________________________________.
If students do not complete their surveys or return them by the first day of class, I will give the students some time in class to work on the worksheets. After all of the students complete their worksheets, I will collect them and review the responses. Then I will create another worksheet for the students to fill in class. For this assignment, the students will have their surveys returned and they must fill out the questions on their worksheet by talking to each other. Some of the questions could be: “Who has (a) new sibling(s)?”, “Whose favorite color is orange?”, “Who wants to be a doctor when he or she grows up?” etc.
Below is a top-down view of the classroom. The U shape of desks is facing the front of the classroom. The blue bulletin board and cubbies are the back of the classroom.
Close Up of Top Right Corner:
Close Up of Bottom Right Corner:
Close Up of Bottom Left Corner:
Rationale of the Physical Environment:
Door: I placed the door in the back left corner of the room behind all of the desks because I do not want my students to be interrupted or distracted if someone comes to the door. I plan on being in the front of the room most of the time or at the table so the door will always be in my line of sight.
Cubbies: I think it is very important to have a storage space for students’ belongings. I think that by having backpacks near the door and away from the students, students will not be distracted by rummaging through their backpacks throughout the day. The cubbies are in an area in which students can go at any point during the day if necessary.
Computers on Back Table: I think it is important to have technology in the classroom that students can access. Students typically use computers to take AR tests but there are a variety of methods for using these computers in the classroom. I would love to have computers for every student in my classroom but I think this is an unrealistic view, so I tried to limit myself to a realistic number of computers.
Bulletin Board of Student Work and Announcements: I think it is extremely important to display student work in the classroom. Students can see their progress and achievements; however, the board is in the back of the room so it will not be distracting the students throughout the day. I will also use this bulletin board for announcements for upcoming events or assignments.
Whiteboard Behind the Teacher’s Desk (Back Right Corner): I have placed a whiteboard behind my future desk that I can use to organize myself and my plans throughout the week. I can use this whiteboard in many other ways as the need arises throughout the semester.
Work for the Week Storage: This storage box contains a drawer for each day of the week. When I make copies, I will separate them by each day so I can easily find the papers I need and stay organized. If the class ever gets ahead, I will already have plans made for the next day to keep myself prepared. If the class falls behind, then I will have the option of moving around my schedule and rearranging the plans for the week.
Filing Cabinets: I have provided myself with multiple filing cabinets because I believe it is important to keep information organized and readily available. One filing cabinet would be for student work and information related to the students; the other filing cabinet would be for my papers.
Storage Area (to the right of the Teacher’s Desk): This storage area can be used to hold school supplies as well as my books that guide my planning. I am unsure if I will want this storage area to be a bookshelf because I do not know how many books I will have and need in the classroom on a daily basis.
Teacher’s Desks: I think that it is important to have my own personal desk in the classroom to store my personal items and any other supplies I may need on a daily basis. I would like to have two “desks” in the classroom: one in the back of the classroom that is an actual desk and another which is a rolling cart in the front of the classroom. The rolling cart will contain items that I will need for teacher directed instruction such as an ELMO, projector, and a laptop.
ELMO: I really like the idea of having a document reader in my classroom because it will allow me to project items in real time. I think this will be great for taking notes and explaining concepts to students.
Projector: I think some type of projector is essential in the classroom. I want to be able to project items through the ELMO and through my laptop so I can teach my students with a real time document reader and appropriate online sources.
Laptop: I would like to have my laptop on the desk in the front of the room because it will allow me to use a wide range of online sources available to teach my students such as TIME for Kids online magazine, Scholastic, Prezi, Power Point, etc. I think it is important to incorporate technology into the classroom. Students can also use this laptop during independent reading time if students are using the computers in the back of the classroom.
Table: I want to have a table in my classroom so I can work with a group of students while watching over my classroom. This table would also work well for group work. If I am not using the table, I will allow my students to work at the table during independent reading time because I want my students to feel comfortable while they read.
Chairs (by the Bookshelves): I think it is extremely important to provide a variety of seating arrangements in the classroom so students can find a comfortable place to read during independent reading time. I would like to have a variety of chairs including a bean bag chair, a fold-up beach lounge chair, a rocking chair, etc. In order to make sure that all students have access to these chairs, I can set up a chart and check off when a student uses these chairs. I will store the chairs near the bookshelf area but students can move the chairs around the room during independent reading time as long as they do not distract other students or cause harm to another student (by bumping into them). Some chairs will be able to move (e.g. the bean bag chair and the folding chair) while others cannot (e.g. the rocking chair).
Large Storage Area: I plan on using this storage area to store school supplies that students will use on a daily basis such as math manipulatives and textbooks. The school supplies will be easy to access and well organized so either the students or the teacher can find the necessary items with ease.
Bookshelves: I think reading is extremely important and I want my students to value reading; therefore, I want to have a classroom library that has a wide range of books for students to read. My books will include picture books and long chapter books to accommodate for the various interests and reading abilities of my students.
Above the bookshelves, I will have posters that explain the various genres of book as well as how to do a “just right” test on a book. For the “just right” test, students choose a page in a book that contains at least a hundred words. (Some picture books may not have this, so the students should look for a page or pages that contain the most words). The students will then begin reading and hold up a finger every time they make a mistake in pronunciation or do not understand what a word means. If the student holds up 0-1 fingers, the book is too easy. If the student holds up 2-3 fingers, the book is just right. If the student holds up 4 fingers, this book will probably be challenging to read. If the student holds up 5 fingers, he or she must stop reading because the book is too hard.
Students will be encouraged to choose a “just right” book; however, students will be allowed to choose an easy book and/or a challenging book in some circumstances. As a reader, I understand that sometimes students want to read an easy book; the students can read easy books to help them practice their fluency. I also understand that sometimes readers want to read challenging books; the students can read challenging books so long as they monitor their attitude toward the books and stop if and when they get frustrated.
Bulletin Board of Recommended Books: While reading Classrooms that Work, I came across an idea that I thought would work well in my classrooms. Basically, the idea is to “create a classroom book-board […] and use yarn to divide it into 40 or 50 spaces. [The teacher would then] select 40 or 50 titles from the classroom library, and write each title in one of the spaces” (Cunningham 24). The teacher encourages the students to read as many [books] as possible” and rate the books while explain their reasoning for the rating (Cunningham 24).
Whiteboard (front of room): I really like the versatility of a whiteboard. I think it will work well in my classroom, especially since I can project directly onto the whiteboard.
Calendar: I think it is important to have a calendar in the classroom to emphasize the value special dates in the classroom. For example, student birthdays should be celebrated. Students can also mention important dates to the teacher, for example, vacation days or days when parents go on trips. This idea is borrowed from the book Kindergarten: A Teacher, Her Students, and a Year of Learning by Julie Diamond.
Bathroom/Water Fountain/Sink: I really like the idea of having a bathroom and water fountain in the classroom because it allows me to send students to the bathroom throughout the day with minimal classroom interruptions. Sometimes students need a mini brain break and so by sending them to the bathroom or the water fountain, they are able to focus better on their work afterwards. A sink is important as well because hygiene is important; a sink in the classroom is good for cleaning up messes and washing hands.
Storage Cabinets and Word Wall: I think a Word Wall is important to have in the classroom because it allows students to learn new words and how to spell these words. I think that cabinet space is a great place to put a word wall because each cabinet can hold one or two letters. This location is out of the way so students will not be distracted during a lesson; however, students can easily access it by turning around or getting up to see the Word Wall.
“U” Shape of Desks: I believe that group discussion is an important part of the classroom because it emphasizes socialization and participation; therefore, I have my students situated so they can speak to one or two people at all times. I like the “U” shape because it is easy for students to look to the front of the room. By decreasing the need to move around in a chair in order to get a better view of the front of the room, students will be less distracted in the classroom. If necessary, I can also move the desks into groups before school if a day requires a lot of group work. I also think that students should be allowed to choose their own seats; however, if an issue arises, the students will be moved to another location. For example, if two students continue talking, they will be moved to another part of the room.
Carpet: I understand the need to get up and move around, so I want to include a part of the classroom that students can move to if they need a brain break. I have decided to have a carpet area in the middle of the “U” shape of desks that the students can ask to go to by raising their hand in a “C” shape. If I nod my head or give him or her another form of verbal or nonverbal permission, the student can move to the carpet to work. There will be clipboards in a storage bin that students can pick up and use when they are on the carpet. There will also be a limit on the number of students who can work on the carpet at a certain point in time.
I have not tested this idea out in the classroom; however, I would like to see how it works because I think students will enjoy the freedom to move around and take brain breaks. If a student is being too distracting, then he or she will have to return to his or her desk. If this idea does not work, then I will address the issue with my students because I want to include them in the decision making process. We, as a class, can have a discussion about the rules of the carpet in the beginning of the semester and if necessary, revisit these rules later on. If a compromise cannot be found, then I will still be able to use the carpet for activities such as interactive read alouds.
Community Building Activities:
Community building activities play an important role in the classroom because they create an open and warm classroom environment. These activities allow students to see that they are valued in the classroom, which will make students less anxious and participate more.
Before school begins, the letters to parents and guardians will begin the community building process. The student interest inventory survey allows the students to express themselves and their interests. This worksheet will be discussed on the first day of class so students can see what connections they can make with other students immediately. If students do not complete their surveys or return them by the first day of class, I will give the students some time in class to work on the worksheets. After all of the students complete their worksheets, I will collect them and review the responses. Then I will create another worksheet for the students to fill in class. For this assignment, the students will have their surveys returned and they must fill out the questions on their worksheet by talking to each other. Some of the questions could be: “Who has a new sibling?”, “Whose favorite color is purple?”, “Who wants to be a teacher when he or she grows up?” etc. Students can see that their interests are valued in the classroom and that they as individuals have interesting ideas to bring to the table.
Another community building activity that will be used is the “Connections” activity. For this activity, a person stands up and talks about their interests and their lives until someone else in the room can make a “connection.” That person yells “connection” and then stands up next to the original person. The second person then describes the connection and begins talking about himself or herself. This activity goes on until each and every person has made a connection. This is a great community building activity to do after the interest inventory survey because students will already know the interests of their fellow students which will help students make connections to one another.
One important idea that I want to stress in my classroom is that each of the students learns everyone else’s names and that I learn all of their names. Therefore, I would like to introduce the Name Game activity on the second day. For this game, each person does an activity and an action that has the same first letter as their name. For example, my name is Nicole so I could be “noodle eating Nicole;” as I say this, I would make the motion of eating noodles. Since I would be talking in front of my students, I would use my last name so I would be Ms. Leonick and I would “lick lollipops” or some other interesting activity. One person starts and then each person adds on. The person who adds their name then says the names of all the people before them. As that person says everyone’s names, each person in the room does the action for every name spoken. This really helps students learn each other’s names because they repeat the names and the actions over and over again. This activity can be brought back at the end of the week to see how well the students have learned one another’s names.
One of my favorite community building activities is to do a “me bag.” For this activity, the students and the teacher bring in a bag filled with 3 to 5 items that relate to themselves. Each person then shares their “me bag” to the class and explains each of the items. Some students may be nervous to do this activity in the beginning of the week since they have to speak out loud in front of the entire class; therefore, this activity would be reserved until at least the middle of the week or when the teacher sees that students are comfortable sharing.
It is important that community building activities span throughout the academic year. For example, Four Corners is a great game that can also be used with academics. For this game, students go to the corner based on their response to a question. For example, if the question is, “what type of pet do you have?” the corners could be “dogs/cats” “fish,” “other,” and “none.” The teacher can also ask true or false questions with “true” being one corner, “false” being another, “I don’t know” as the third corner, and “neither” as the last corner. The teacher can ask questions about the interests of the class or academic questions. This type of activity is also called Total Physical Response.
Other methods to create community throughout the year can involve teaching students to respect one another, especially during discussions. Sometimes when students disagree, they argue with one another. I would like to put up a poster in my classroom with phrases that guide students during discussions such as “Why do you think the answer is this …?” or “I agree/disagree with you because …” or “Can you explain that again …?” etc.
I think that maintaining a warm and open classroom environment will also build community in the classroom because it will allow students to feel free to share their ideas and participate even if they are incorrect. I believe it is very important for students to feel comfortable in the classroom, which is why building a classroom community is so important.
Routines and Strategies:
Routine – Reading Log Homework:
I think it is extremely important that students spend some part of their day reading. I understand that students have opportunities to read in the classroom, but I want my students to read as much as possible so my students will have to complete a reading log every day. The reading log is a folder which contains the instructions for a reading log and the method for finding a “just right” book. An example of a reading log can be seen below:
Every weeknight, the students will have to read for at least 20 minutes a day. The students will record the title of the book, the pages they read, and a summary of the book or a reflection on the book. The students will record the number of minutes they read and they should have a parent or guardian sign. I understand that some parents or guardians may be unable to sign every day. I will not penalize students if their parents do not sign the reading log. I also understand that some students may not have books at home to read. Students will be encouraged to check out books from the school media center. Students can also read the captions on a TV show or a movie and write about what they watched if they do not have a book. Students can read magazines or newspapers as well. Basically, I want from students read anything as long as they are practicing reading.
Routine – Getting Ready for the Day:
In the beginning of the year, I want to teach my students that “getting ready for the day” is the phrase that refers to the morning activities the student need to do in order to get ready for the day. The students should come into the classroom, unpack their backpacks. The students should then take out their homework and open it up to the correct page so the teacher can come around and check the work. While the teacher is checking the homework, the students should write down the homework for the current day in their agendas. The students then have the opportunity to sharpen two pencils. If there is bell work on the board, the students should complete the bell work at this time. If there is no bell work, the students should finish any incomplete work or read a book independently. This routine will be listed step by step on the back of the door (the side in the classroom) so students can refer to it at any time. I think this is a good routine for the classroom because it brings order into the beginning of the day.
While students get ready for the day, they have an opportunity to speak quietly with their peers; however, getting ready for the day supersedes socialization. I think it is important to allow students some time to talk to one another because socialization is important. Students will always want to talk and I believe that instead of getting upset or giving out consequences to students for talking, they should be granted that privilege. If; however, students abuse the privilege by not getting ready for the day or speaking too loudly, the privilege will be revoked as part of a logical consequence.
Strategy – Attention Getter – “Give Me ___”:
One attention getter that I enjoy is “Give Me ___!” For this attention getting, the teacher tells the students to give her either five or ten, which means the students raise either five fingers (one hand) or ten fingers (two hands). The teacher typically says “give me five” when the students are in the middle of working and the teacher only needs their attention for a quick announcement. If the teacher says “give me ten,” the students should stop working and look towards the teacher because most likely he or she will be saying many directions.
At the beginning of the year, “Give Me ___!” can be introduced as give me either five or ten. Later on in the year, after the students have learned about multiplication and division, the teacher can ask the students to do multiplication to give him or her the number asked. For example, the teacher can raise two fingers and say “give me ten” and the students would have to raise five fingers (or one hand). This type of attention getter makes the students think before they respond, which allows the teacher to see who is really paying attention. This attention getter also reinforces multiplication and mathematics.
Strategy – Classroom Jobs:
Assigning classroom jobs is an important strategy to implement in the classroom because it allows each and every student to be in charge of a certain area of the classroom, which gives them a sense of control. Many students prefer the jobs such as “line leader,” and “door holder” but by valuing all of the jobs in the classroom, each student feels like he or she belongs. The jobs in the classroom would be assigned through a survey. Each student will list the top five jobs that he or she wants and the teacher will select who has what job. The students will change jobs every other week. The jobs will include “line leader,” two “door holders,” “caboose,” “trash collector,” two “table cleaner,” two “paper collector,” “phone greeter,” “messenger,” “library organizers,” and two “alternates.” The students will be able to decide what other jobs are necessary in the classroom during the first week of school and these jobs will be added to the list.
The jobs will be listed on close pins so they can be easily moved. The jobs list will be posted next to the calendar in the front of the room. Below is an example of a jobs list (please note that students’ names have been removed to protect their rights and privacy).
Strategy – Lining Up Students:
Lining up students can be a difficult task without proper classroom management skills. In order to line students up in a fair manner, the jobs of “line leader,” “door holders” and “caboose” will be decided ahead of time and students will have the ability to change these jobs so everyone in the classroom gets a chance to have at least one of these jobs throughout the year. The students who hold the jobs mentioned above will have permanent positions in the front and back of the line.
In order to make sure there are no disagreements about line placement and unfairness, the order in which students line up will be done through a variety of fun methods. For example, students can be lined up in alphabetical order, reverse alphabetical order and by interests such as favorite color, favorite animal, etc. By doing this, students will be able to spend their time in various spots while in line; this prevents any one student from being stuck at the front of back of the line. Lining students up by their interests shows them that the teacher values them as individuals and remembers important information about them. In the beginning of the year, I can have a few lists of methods to line students up in order to make sure I line up the students correctly but these lists will most likely be unnecessary towards the middle or end of the semester as I get to know my students.
This strategy for lining up students may not apply for dismissal. Dismissal routines will be influenced by the school and their decisions for dismissal.
Strategy – Parking Lot Sticky Notes:
Students usually make connections to a lesson based on their experiences and when they do this, they want to share their connection. This can make it difficult to manage time because many, if not all, of the students want to share and there is not always time for sharing. If a student is unable to share, he or she may react negatively by refusing to participate, crying, or getting upset.
One strategy to prevent these outbursts and manage these situations involves making a “parking lot” with sticky notes. For this strategy, the students write down what they want to share on sticky notes and place the sticky notes on the board, which is the “parking lot.” The teacher has the option to choose which sticky notes he or she reads. The teacher can choose to read a few sticky notes at that moment and read others throughout the day. By having the students write down their ideas, they are able to participate and share. The teacher is then able to manage his or her time efficiently by reading a few sticky notes at that time and then more later on if there is extra time.
- Charles, C. M., & Senter, G.W. Building Classroom Discipline. (7th ed., pp. 191-204).
- Cunningham, P. M., & Allington, R. L. (2011). Classrooms that Work: They Can All Read and Write. (5th ed.).
- Linda Albert’s Cooperative Discipline. (p. 67-84).
- Miller, D. (2013). Reading with Meaning: Teaching Comprehension in the Primary Grades. (2nd ed.).