Standard C: Manages Classroom Climate and Operation
Manages Classroom Climate and OperationPhotos of Students Working in Various ArrangementsPhotos of Daily Routines and ProceduresReflective Essay
Students Hard at Work…The students worked in many different arrangements. Sometimes they were at their desks, but other times they worked in small groups at tables, on the floor and even on the windowsill. Letting students work where they feel comfortable creates a positive productive environment.
As students worked in smallgroups on their Pearl Harbor isBurning ABC posters, expectationswere repeatedly said anddisplayed on a chart in the room.Setting clear expectations that aredelivered in various formats is anintegral part of effective classroommanagement to keep students ontask and productive.
Daily Routines Every morning, the students would pass in their homework in one bin and take the morning work to get started on out of the other bin. Students would also pass in any notes from home in the third bin. This table with bins was located right by the classroom door.Students all had a daily job to perform. Whoperformed what job was changed weekly.Jobs included purell patrol for before lunch,paper passers and line leaders. Having jobscreated an environment of ownership overthe classroom and instilled responsibility inthe students. When the students started to lose focus or were sitting for too long, we got up and moved! Students would choose one of the Drive Thru Menu options to perform. This activity helped with getting students energized and paying attention.
At the end of each day, I did read aloud time with the class. Our first book was Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies andhere I am starting the second book, Swindle by Gordon Korman. The read aloud was a great way to build classroomcommunity. The students were always eager for read aloud time. It was also a great way to manage the ten to fifteenminutes after Reading class and before dismissal. It brought a nice sense of closure to the end of the day. As a way to manage class behavior, the class worked towards minutes each week to earn free choice time on Friday.
Reflective Essay: Standard C Throughout my practicum, I learned that effective classroom management needs to happen beforeanything else can. I implemented lessons and activities in the classroom that had students work collaborativelyand allowed them to work in different areas of the room, but this would not have been possible without propermanagement. Proper classroom management includes things such as setting clear expectations, building areward system to motivate students and creating an environment that holds all students responsible. Setting clear expectations was something that I worked on throughout my practicum. At the beginning, Isometimes assumed that just giving directions or expectations aloud was enough. I soon learned that just sayingsomething once is not enough to ensure all students follow what was said. To ensure students workedproductively and cooperatively in situations such as small group work, I began to say, write and displaydirections. For example, the students created ABC Pearl Harbor posters in small groups. If I just told thestudents once what I expected the final product to be and how they were to work together, the room would havebecome chaotic. Instead, before anyone moved into groups I talked about the final product and showedexamples from another class, I fielded questions, I assigned the groups and I wrote the four expectations onchart paper and left the chart displayed in the room. One thing I learned I should have done was designatecertain areas where groups could work and how many groups per area. I found that three groups gravitated tothe rug and tried to morph into one big group. I used this experience to set different spots for literature circlesthat the groups rotated through so everyone got a chance at each location. Building a reward system for the class as a whole is also an effective management technique that Iobserved and used. Miss Chiles set up a system where the students earn minutes for choice time at the end ofthe week. The class needs to get at least ten minutes for choice time to happen. During choice time, the studentscan play a game, color, look at fun 3-D books or play with the various blocks and legos and building sets in theroom. Basically, choice time is ten minutes in the day for indoor recess. To earn the minutes, the class as awhole needs to be following directions, being quiet when it is time to be quiet, staying focused and on task etc.The class can also lose minutes for doing the opposite of what should be happening. This was an effectivetechnique that helped the class as a whole be motivated and work together towards achieving a goal. As I began
to take over, I tried to use the minute system, but I put it to the backburner and did not do a good job offollowing the system. On a particular couple of days, the students kept entering the room loudly and not settlingin to begin morning work or afternoon work after recess. I tried to have a stern discussion with them about itand one student asked why I was not doing minutes anymore. I had no real answer for this student, but I didbegin following the minute system again and I saw the behaviors improve. This was proof for me that having amotivational system in place works. Once I have my own classroom, I will remember to implement a systemsuch as the minutes and follow it consistently. Creating a classroom environment that all students feel responsible for and ownership over is animportant classroom management technique. When I began the practicum and was just observing, one of thefirst things I noticed was how well the students took to having jobs in the classroom. They took pride in theirjobs and ensured they got done so that the classroom would run smoothly. For example, before dismissal time Iobserved students emptying pencil sharpeners, passing out lunch boxes, picking up stray items from the floorand inspecting each other’s desks for neatness. I was impressed by how these small tasks really created a feelingof community where everyone pitches in. The students were proud that they contributed to some aspect ofrunning the classroom. Having jobs in the classroom is something I want to continue with as a way to buildcommunity and promote responsibility. Student seating arrangement is also something I paid particular attention to in terms of classroommanagement. The students’ desks were arranged in groups so that they could easily work with one another andlearn cooperatively. I think grouping desks instead of putting them in rows is a much more effective way toachieve authentic learning. The students do not have to feel like they are alone in the learning process. If theyhave a question, they can easily turn and ask a neighbor for help. I think this is the way learning happens ineveryday life. Having desks in groups does pose some management challenges however. One thing I noticed isthat during quizzes or tests or other work that needs to be completed independently the students have to put up acardboard shield. Having the students get the shields and set them up takes a few minutes and they can bedistracting for some. However, I think the benefits of grouping outweigh the inconveniences of setting upshields. Another challenge to management is the fact that sometimes students take the opportunity to chat with
neighbors about things other than the task at hand. I had to diligently work with Miss Chiles to adjust wheresome students sat if they were getting distracted by friends sitting too closely. Of course, some level of chatterbeyond school work is expected. But, when it begins to take away from school work or distracting otherstudents, seats need to be moved. The teacher has to play an active role in knowing who can handle sittingwhere. Students with IEPs also need to be considered because some IEPs state that students need to sit as closeas possible to the board or to where the teacher spends most of the time. However, it is worth working throughthese few challenges to group students and create a collaborative learning environment.