Classroom Management Knowledge and Skills

It is essential in any classroom setting to have a management plan in place so that effective instruction and learning can occur. Throughout my experiences in working with students, I have developed my own personal management plans, for both in the classroom and out of the classroom. I have found that it is the little things that often go unnoticed that help keeps things running smoothly the most. These strategies should, however, be reflected upon regularly for effectiveness depending on the class and age of the students. Classroom management plans are also refined over time as a teacher gains more experience, allowing them to learn from both colleagues and students what really works. My current classroom management plan was developed during a Classroom Management course. I am sure that it will change frequently based on my own personal experiences in my classroom as well as my observations of other teachers.

There are many routines and procedures implemented in a classroom environment that ensure the day can run smoothly. Creating a lunch count board has aided with the morning procedure greatly in my student teaching experience. It provides the teacher with an opportunity to take care of more administrative business instead of having to take five minutes to ask each student what he/she would like to order for lunch. The students can simply come into the classroom and while unpacking and copying homework, order his/her lunch choice for the day. It always provides a reward for students because if the teacher notices a student working especially hard and efficiently, he/she is chosen to record the lunch count and take it to the cafeteria that day. There are also many procedures I would consider implementing within the first three days of school in a typical classroom. These can be viewed along with a photo of the lunch count board used in the classroom.

Lunch Count Chart

The physical arrangement of the classroom is vital to the success of each individual student. While the seats can be moved and are often flexible in my student teaching placement in first grade, there are some students who thrive in certain seats or placement in the classroom and do not need to be moved regularly. My first grade classroom has four tables that can comfortably seat up to six students; however, there are no more than five students ever at a table due to the current class size of eighteen. This provides for centers to be implemented easily in the classroom, which are common in first grade so that the teacher can optimize his/her time with each student. An example of the classroom seating chart can be viewed here. These seats, however, have no correlation to the various groups the students rotate in regularly. The reading groups are based on ability level and math groups change from week to week. This provides opportunities for all students to interact no matter what his/her ability level. These groupings can be viewed below.

Reading Centers
Math Centers

The overall layout of the classroom is also important. The layout should provide students with an environment in which they can be comfortable and access any and all materials easily. Teachers should also have his/her own personal space without feeling confined from the students. It is also important to have a focal or front point in the classroom for instruction where students. In my first grade classroom, there is also a group reading table and three computers that students utilize daily. The room should not feel like an obstacle course to the students or the teacher. Teachers should be able to move efficiently and easily throughout his/her classroom so that constant monitoring of students can occur. The accessibility to materials for students is critical so that students can gain some independence in the classroom. For example, having a homework and/or classwork turn-in basket that is located in an open space is vital so that students do not interrupt one another when they complete an assignment or activity. There should also be a significant location in the classroom for students work to be displayed where each individual can see and be proud of him/herself. The current classroom layout in my first grade class can be viewed through the pictures on the following link.

The behavior plan in my classroom is very effective in keeping things positive in every way possible. Students have a clothespin with his/her name on it that begins in the 'blue' everyday. If a student is given a warning, he/she must move his/her clothespin to the green circle where a nickel is located. If a student has to be spoken to again, he/she moves his/her clothespin to the yellow circle where a penny is located. If a student has to be spoken to a final time, he/she moves his/her clothespin to the red circle where no money is located. Students can move back up from red to yellow, yellow to green, and green to blue throughout the day if behavior improvement occurs. At the end of the day, if a student is in the blue or green zone, he/she receives a nickel. If he/she is in the yellow zone, he/she receives a penny. If he/she is in the red zone, he/she receives no money. This money is collected and saved up for a monthly visit to the classroom store. Students also receive a smiley face if a nickel is received. Once a student receives ten smiley faces, he/she gets to visit the classroom treasure chest. This allows each student to visit the treasure chest no matter what his/her behavioral situation. Finally, tickets are given out throughout the day by the teacher if a student is caught doing a good job on an activity, walking quietly through the hall, being a good friend, etc. Two tickets are pulled at the end of each day and those individuals get to visit the classroom treasure chest. By having such a positive behavior plan, students are more inclined to behavior throughout the day because they are aware of the many rewards in place. Visuals of the clothespin system, behavior chart, and treasure chest can be viewed.

Behavior Clothespins
Behavior Chart

'Happy Pumpkin' - October treasure chest