Classroom Management Plan
At the core of my philosophy of education, is the basic notion that as a teacher, I will endeavor to communicate my message to all people. In fact, if I’m to be a teacher, I must find a way to share concepts with people at that are like me in some ways, but different in many others. To me, this desire to reach all people is at the core of what makes us “teachers” and makes us able to transcend the boundaries that language, culture, ethnicity, and race seem to erect. The “message” that I am trying to relate is twofold. The first part is to convey factual information. The second part is to teach cognitive and social skills that allow students to evaluate, accept or reject, and apply the factual information in ways that are relevant to them. The first part is based on the classical concept of education, i.e., that information must be learned in order to perform certain functions in society. The second is based on the constructivist notion that we build or “construct” our own understanding of the world (Brooks, pg. 4). Thus, instruction must include both rigorous academic standards, and, lessons that are relevant, thought provoking, and promote independent thought. It must also be based on the assumption that given enough time and the proper instruction, most students can master any learning objective.
Routines and Procedures
Routines and procedures are structured so as to encourage student autonomy, independence, and responsibility. The following are some examples of classroom procedures.
Students are reminded that according to the school rules, the restroom should be used primarily between classes. However, due to the occasional necessity during class, students are given three bathroom passes at the beginning of each semester. The passes can be used at any time. The teacher maintains records of usage in the rollbook and unused passes can be traded in for extra credit at the end of the semester. If all three passes are used, then passes will be granted only in extreme emergencies. The goal of this policy is to deter overuse (Evertson, pg. 27) and promote student responsibility.
At the beginning of the semester, students will be given assigned tasks in the classroom. Among these tasks will be completing supply orders and going to supply room, collecting student work, distributing instructional materials, maintaining bulletin boards, preparing materials for laboratories, and making copies. According to the Jones’s Positive Classroom Discipline Model (Charles, pgs. 55-9), this practices encourages student “buy-in” into the instructional program, autonomy, and individual responsibility.
3.Grading of Student Notebooks
Students are required to keep all work in a bound notebook. At the end of each unit (usually a two week period), the students are asked to total the points they earned for each unit on the first blank page in their notebook. The notebooks are then turned in for recording of the results. This process requires that students be honest and frank in evaluating their own work. Along with evaluations of quiz and project grades, this gives students an on-going record of the points earned in the class.
Discipline and Rules
At the beginning of each semester, students are given a copy of the class rules and procedures and are asked for input on any rules they think should be added or deleted. This discussion is to promote student ownership of the rules and personal responsibility (Evertson, pg. 23). After considering student input, students are then asked to agree to follow the rules by signing and returning a copy of the rules. Basically, the rules are structured after the four “P’s:”
1. Be Polite
Examples of this rule are: keep hands, feet, and objects to yourself; use appropriate school language, raise your hand to be recognized; do not engage in personal conversations when the teacher is talking or during group discussions; respect the property of others; and, follow all school-wide rules.
2. Be Prepared
Examples of this rule are: bring your book, notebook, and a pencil or pen to class everyday; and, do your homework and other assignments before they are due.
3. Be Prompt
Examples of this rule are: be in your seat when the bell rings or you will be marked tardy; bring all materials with you at the beginning of class.
4. Be Productive
Examples of this rule are: follow directions; stay in your assigned seat; raise your hand to ask for permission to sharpen a pencil, throw away trash, or to leave your seat for any other reason.
By presenting the rules in this manner, it is hoped that students will see rules as more about developing personal skills, responsibility, and character than about compliance with authority.
In spite of this hope, consequences are necessary for inappropriate behavior. These consequences are progressive and based on the frequency and severity of the rules broken. Initially, a verbal warning is given. If the behavior persists, then a change of seat, assignment of ten minute teacher detention, parent contact, and/or referral to the tardy/time out room will follow. Students with severe, repeated inappropriate behavior and/or failure to report to teacher imposed ten minute detention or tardy/time-out room, are referred to the Dean.
At the beginning of each semester, students will be asked to set goals for the class. The goals will be recorded on the first page of the student notebook. Periodically (usually every four weeks), progress toward these goals will be assessed and reassessed.
To encourage student autonomy and ownership of the education process, students are offered the opportunity to complete alternative assessments. In addition to the option of quizzes and tests for the demonstration of competencies, students are given the option of completing alternative assessment projects. These options may include constructing a poster or a model, writing a poem or a song, filming a video, oral examination by the instructor, or a project of the student's own design. Students choosing alternative assessment will be required to present their project to the class. Students may also work in pair and groups as long as the project requires cooperative learning and the contribution of all members for the project group. A portion of the grade for the project will be based on the input of a panel of peers who will assess both the project and the student's presentation of their project.
Use of Time
Use of instructional time will be maximized so that most of the time is spent on academic learning time (Woolfolk, pg. 397). First, the assignment of student chores minimizes time spent on the distribution and collection of instructional materials. Second, the sequence of instruction is logically planned in order to minimize transition time. Third, the use of clear procedures, and time spent at the beginning of the semester teaching those procedures, ensures that individual needs can be met without disrupting the flow of instruction.
Several accommodations are used to aid in the instruction of English Language learners, the gifted, and disabled students. The first among these is the seating arrangement in the room. The classroom tables (which seat two students), will be arranged in two semicircles as show in Figure 1.
Figure 1 – Seating Arrangement
Students with special needs are seated in “clusters” of about five students. Each cluster is composed of a demographically diverse group of students. The clusters are situated so that students in the first row of tables will simply turn around and face the back row in order to form the cluster. Students will also be “paired” at each table for other assignments. Students with IEPs without IEPs and English Language learners will be paired with students who are bilingual in the English Language leaner’s language.
This seating arrangement also allows the teacher to both teach from a central area of instruction and to circulate among students, the latter in order to monitor individual and group progress, give students differentiated assignments, and provide individual feedback.
In order to aid students with ADHD and other learning disabilities, efforts are made to use simple routines and clear rules and guidelines (Woolfolk, pg. 372). The students' parents and previous teachers are consulted for guidance on what works best for that student. Efforts are made to make directions clear and brief and to have the students' attention when giving oral instructions. Instructions are also provided in writing when a series of steps are involved. Accuracy is encouraged over speed and students are reminded to error check before turning in work.
In addition to pairing with bilingual students, the high percentage of students with Limited English Proficiency requires modification of the curriculum to accommodate their needs. Vocabulary is stressed, both in the use of terms from the field of study as well as general terms such as “determine,” “classify,” and “evaluate.” Visual aids and multimedia presentations are used to enhance learning. Even students who appear fairly proficient in day-to-day English may not be able to pick up the nuances of the language easily, therefore, after-school help and peer tutoring are offered, when available.
Both formal and informal Cooperative Learning lessons will be included and students with special needs will be purposely partnered with diverse groups of students that reflect a wide range of social skills and academic achievement. Students choosing alternative assessment must present their projects to the class and be evaluated by other class members. This time is a form of peer instruction, questioning and evaluation. Students will also be asked to volunteer time as peer tutors to aid students with special needs.
Fairness, Equity, and Respect
Efforts are made at all time to try to understand student’s points of view regarding all aspects of the educational process including demonstration of competency, discipline, and content of curriculum. To help ensure equity, students are offered the opportunity to complete alternative demonstrations of mastery and to have a portion of their grade evaluated by their peers. Rules and procedures are enforced consistently and without prejudice except for the accommodation of certain special needs. Respect is first modeled by the teacher and then learned by students through the teaching of personal responsibility and teamwork.
Parent Communication and Involvement
1.Letter of Introduction
At the beginning of each semester, a letter of introduction is sent home either with student or mailed to the student’s home. Among other things, the letter will communicate to the parents the teacher’s philosophy of education, certain rules and procedures, and how to contact the teacher. A “tear-off” portion at the bottom can be returned by the parents, allowing them to give the teacher their optimum contact information and email address if applicable. Parents are also asked to be involved in the Advisory Committee of the Small Learning Community that the student is enrolled in, both on these forms and during face to face parent conferences.
The web site www.hpscience.org, is used to post assignments, special news, and all course documents including syllabi, rules, procedures, homework assignment, and, at times, grades. The address is given to parents in the letter of introduction. The site is updated daily and is therefore a tool by which students who are absent may keep abreast of standards to be covered and assignments to be completed.
3.Posting of Office Hours and Phone Numbers
The teacher maintains hours outside of course instruction in which they are available to parents and students on a regular basis. These hours are posted on the class door and sent out periodically in other correspondence like quarterly class reports and emails along with the most up-to-date contact information for the teacher.
The teacher uses www.teleparent.net to keep parents aware of assignments, relevant news, disciplinary problems, and student progress. Teleparent allows the teacher to use point and click computer menus to set-up automated phone calls to parents.
5.Quarterly Class Reports.
Approximately every four weeks, a general class progress report and newsletter is either sent home with students or mailed to the student’s home.
6.Small Learning Community
Parent advisory committees will be formed for the small learning community in which the class is enrolled. Parents are asked to be involved decision making regarding of all facets of their child’s educational experience.
Evertson, Emmer, and Worsham, Classroom Management for Middle and High School Teachers, Pearson Education, NY, NY, 2006.
Charles, Building Classroom Discipline,, Eight Edition, Pearson Education, NY, NY, 2005.
Brooks and Brooks, The Case for Constructivist Classrooms, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Develoment, Alexandria, VA, 1999.
Woolfolk, Educational Psychology, Ninth Edition, Pearson Education, NY, NY, 2004.