editing disabled

Classroom Management

To be an effective teacher, content expertise is not enough. Even the most meticulously planned lessons can be foiled by an inability to manage students. Good teachers establish and maintain safe, positive learning environments that are conducive to learning. Through my coursework at William & Mary and also through my practicum/student teaching experience at Greenwood Elementary School, I have developed effective classroom management skills.

I have learned how important a steady routine and clear classroom rules are for student success, and how vital it is to go over classroom rules and procedures with students in detail at the beginning of the school year in order to set a positive tone for the rest of the year. (Having students help to create the list of classroom rules can be particularly effective since it encourages buy-in from the students.) I have learned how to encourage intrinsic motivation in students by encouraging independence and inquiry, and how to use extrinsic motivation, such as praise or stickers, to help motivate students who are not yet intrinsically motivated. Another important component of classroom management involves appropriate responses to different levels of student misbehavior -- sometimes all it takes is subtle redirection or the "teacher look" to get a student back on track; other times the student must be spoken to directly (though preferably in private in order to prevent humiliation in front of his or her peers); and still other times a more serious response is required, such as time out, a think sheet, or a call home. I've also found that positive relationships with students and a warm classroom environment are key to effective classroom management -- if students feel that I care about them and that the classroom is a warm, inviting place that is free from bullying, they will be much more likely to buy into the classroom rules and routines. Going around the room at the beginning of each week and having students briefly share something special that happened to them over the weekend or that they are looking forward to in the coming weeks is one activity I like to use to build a sense of community in the classroom.

The following artifacts from my coursework, practicum, and student teaching experiences reveal my classroom management philosophy and skills:

  • This behavior management plan details my philosophy on behavior management, describes the routines and rules I would implement in the classroom, and provides specific examples of how I would respond to different forms of misbehavior.
  • This classroom map shows how I would like to set up my classroom. It includes clusters of seats to encourage cooperative learning activities and small group work, a semicircular table for small reading groups, a classroom library with comfortable chairs and stuffed animals that students can "read to," and student artwork and assignments decorating the walls.
  • This picture shows how I ran the classroom during small group reading lessons. One group of students was brought up to the round table at a time for a targeted, differentiated lesson, and the other students rotated around literacy stations that were set up at different clusters of tables around the room. As student teacher, I led each of the five small reading groups one at a time, meanwhile monitoring the rest of the students as they worked at literacy stations set up at tables around the classroom. In the photograph below, I am giving a picture walk of a new book for six students at the semicircular reading table. Students who are not part of that reading group are working independently at literacy stations.
At the buddy reading center, students read a book to three peers and then an adult, and each listener signs the students' notebook after reading.
At the computer station, students play "Earobics" games that target phonemic awareness skills.
At the reading and writing stations, students draw and write about books that they read independently or heard read aloud.
Students work together at the puzzle station.
This wheel informs students which center they will start at during reading groups.

  • My cooperating teacher has a very effective system for classroom rules and consequences that I enforced as a student teacher and that I plan to emulate when I have my own classroom. She uses a "ticket system" in which green tickets are warnings, blue tickets are time-outs, yellow tickets are think sheets, orange tickets are calls home, and red tickets are trips to the office. This system has proven very effective; only a few students receive tickets on a given day, and the tickets rarely increase in severity beyond time-outs.

* * * * *
The following photographs and captions show other ways that I implemented classroom management:

Instead of spelling words for students during their written assignments, I either direct them to the Word Wall or have them sound out the word.

In order to avoid calling on the same students over and over, I sometimes drew popsicle sticks with students' names on them out of a cup to determine who to call on next.

Each morning after putting their backpacks away, students completed board work independently as part of their morning routine. Kindergarteners completed the "Beginner" problems and first graders completed the "Experienced" problems.