Building your Classroom Management Plan
Philosophical Beliefs – What you believe in how to manage a class, your life, or a situation in the grocery store will ultimately influence and direct your decision-making in how you view classroom management. Before you can gather the other components for the model kit, you have to philosophically decide whether you have the belief and the fortitude to build a plan that sinks or soars. What is your belief in how students should behave in a classroom, now more specifically your classroom? What are the necessary components needed to direct and inform student misbehavior or off-task behavior in your classes?
Celebrate Students – Provide weekly or monthly “Student of the Month” celebrations to showcase student’s academic, social and behavioral contributions in creating an effective learning environment. Ask the Principal or your Department Chair to present the award and a token of appreciation (i.e. a notebook with the school logo; a sweatshirt with the school logo or Principal for a day award). The bottom line is to have fun in constructing a plan that celebrates your students, their good behavior, and all of the learning that’s taking place in your classroom.
Choosing a Philosophy of Management
Your classroom management philosophy must be student centered and focused on providing an effective system that is historically inclusive of all students. Check out the steps below in creating the best management plan for your class.
- Philosophy– Are you collaborative, high control or laid back in how you manage your classroom? Your answer to the question will determine the classroom model that will work for both your and students.
- Classroom Environment – If you have more of an interactive style of instruction, your physical environment might have desks or tables arranged in group settings in order to provide more collaborative opportunities for students to do group work, peer review or academic processing of subject content.
- Relationships and Management – The teacher/student teamwork in developing the plan must include rules and consequences for breaking the rules. Accountability for expected behavior must be the outcome of any plan that provides effective classroom management.
- Classroom Safety – Teachers and students must be safe in the classroom. The classroom should be a place of wellness, caring, student engagement and trust. Everyone must be committed to maintaining the emotional and physical stability of the classroom at all times and have emergency protocol in place in case of a classroom emergency.
Communication Artifacts and the Classroom Arrangment
There are many types of communication artifacts needed to bridge the two-way gap between parents and the school community. The classroom arrangement must be conducive to learning and student engagement.
Letter – The parent welcome letter starts with the usual "Dear Parents/Guardians/Caretakers" and will include the learning objectives for students and the class rules, along with teacher contact information and a signature and contact return part of the letter for parents/guardians and caregivers.
Classroom Rules and Consequences – Classroom rules should incorporate the school rules and outcomes. The focus should be on creating on task student behavior and creating student expectations that are positive and proactive. Include celebrations and external rewards for weekly or monthly positive classroom engagement. A wall chart with stars or facial expressions with student created name tags can provide a visual of where each student is in being on task in the classroom.
Telephone Script – Think, write it out before you make that phone call to parents. A good script can create a welcoming first contact with parents or a conflictive one. Ask questions that promote resolution in a student issue or ask those that provide positive teacher/parent teamwork in preventing future issues. In addition, have a script that’s called the "good news" script where parents are called with good news and celebrations of a students academic and behavioral performance in the classroom.
Classroom Arrangement – Remember to include students with IEPs and disabilities in creating classroom arrangements that provide visuals of the board and that have working space beyond the student’s desk for those group projects and presentations. Supplies should be readily available along with reading nooks and quiet spaces for students who may need a break from the group arrangement.
By incorporating all of the above categories in your classroom management plan, you can create a final product that says win-win for both teacher and students.
Positive Behavioral Intervention
Classroom management plans are designed to create the best possible learning environment for students and the best instructional classroom for teachers. When discipline issues are the norm in a classroom, both learning and instruction are marginalized and students can become the victims of learning deficiencies and achievement gaps.
With PBI (Positive Behavioral Intervention), teachers can provide active classroom management support every day and create a culture of learning where students are engaged and achieving. The tips below include positive interventions and strategies that will support any teacher and any classroom of learners.
- Create Lesson Plans that Engage Students – When teachers create lesson plans that are relevant, rigorous and reinforce the learning, students are provided with an optimal learning environment. For example, if you are teaching the math concept of percentages, bring in the Sunday newspaper ads and have students choose a sales’ item and then calculate 10%, 20%, 35% of the sale’s price for real-life application of learning.
- Build Relationships and They will Come – Students are no different than anyone else in life who seek a sense of belonging and a sense of community. Develop lesson plans that promote collaborative learning and work activities that are engaging and structured to last during the entire class. Students on task from the time they enter the classroom until the time they leave are least likely to engage in discipline issues.
- Post a Classroom Management Plan in Your Classroom – When students can see the rules and consequences for misbehaviour, they are empowered to make good decisions in how they act in the classroom. In addition, when students are a part of the rule-making and outcomes in creating the plan, their level of accountability and ownership will rise accordingly.
- Develop a Communication Line – In order to provide PBI support, a teacher must be able to communicate with the student and the parents. The parent welcome letter will provide a synopsis of the expected classroom behavior and the academic accountability for students. However, the first parent phone call can create a bridge of partnership that will contribute to active classroom management support for year long student engagement in the classroom.
- Celebrate, Celebrate, and Celebrate your Students – Set up a rewards systems in celebrating student academic achievement and behavioral on task engagement. The PTSA (Parents,TeachersStudents Association) can help you set up a student store to reimburse the weekly tokens, stars or whatever artifact is used to allow students to cash in for supplies, fun items, each week, each month or quarterly.
Always remember that teachers, students and parents are the key factors to active classroom management and behavioral interventions. When teachers create a learning environment of success for students, they will rise to the level that the bar is set.