classroom environment plan

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You’re Welcome: A Classroom Management Plan Caitlin Benson Grand Valley State University The first few days of school are extremely important (​Wong & Wong, 2009)​. These days can set the tone for the following weeks, and by extension, the entire year. In the beginning it is vital to convey to students that their classroom is a special place of learning, fun, and safety. In order to do this, on the first day of school the professionally-dressed teache
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   You’re Welcome: A Classroom Management Plan Caitlin Benson Grand Valley State University  The first few days of school are extremely important (Wong & Wong, 2009)   . These days can set the tone for the following weeks, and by extension, the entire year. In the beginning it is vital to convey to students that their classroom is a special place of learning, fun, and safety. In order to do this, on the first day of school the professionally-dressed teacher should greet all students with a high-five or a handshake, and a proper introduction (if they have not met already). The room should be bare of wall decorations because these will be created by students as the year progresses. The day should start with a meeting on a large rug near the front of the room. This meeting rug will play a major role throughout the year, and students should be made aware of this. The first day of school can bring about a wide range of emotions for everyone. To quell any feelings of fear or anxiety, the teacher should lead the students in a fun ice-breaker activity so that everyone learns one another’s name and so everyone has a chance to speak. Depending on the age of students, an ice breaker should be used every day for the first week of school (fewer if the students are older and likely already know one another). The first day should be the easiest--share your name and favorite “something.” Perhaps students then find someone with whom they share a favorite and the pair may ask each other additional questions about pets, siblings, etc. After the ice breaker I think it is a good idea to give students a tour of the room. I would show them the various stations and where supplies are located. I would let them know what areas are off-limits (such as the teacher’s desk and closet), and where they may go without permission (such as the bathroom). I may also show them how the books are organized, how to turn on the computers, where to dispose of waste and recycling, and where they may go to sharpen their   pencils. By doing this, the I am conveying to the students that this is not simply my classroom  but also theirs. If they had not asked already, I would inform students that the walls are bare  because it will be up to them as a class to fill them full of infographics and well-done work throughout the year. This is a good segue to the introduction of the first poster to be hung on the wall: the classroom contract! The classroom contract is an important foundation in the building of classroom expectations and norms. It is a method supported by many professionals and theorists because it holds students accountable for their behavior in a nonthreatening manner. Students of all ages are able to participate in this discussion, and by implementing their opinions and ideas into the classroom contract it allows students to have a personal stake and a sense of control over their classroom and learning. Once the classroom contract has been created students should sign it and it should be posted in a highly visible area of the classroom. Later, the teacher may type up a copy to distribute to students and families so that everyone is on the same page. A copy should  be saved onto the classroom website for parents and students as well. Making students feel welcome during the first few weeks sets the tone for the rest of the year. After learning each other’s names, receiving a tour of the room, and signing the classroom contract, students will feel a sense of ownership over their classroom. Combine this with an effective classroom layout, and you will have a more successful year. In my classroom I would prefer to have a large meeting rug--large enough to fit each student while maintaining personal space. The size is very important. If the rug is too small then students will be cramped and this leads to conflict. At my current placement this is the case. Students naturally gravitate toward sitting on the rug, but to be in a circle there is not enough  room for everyone to sit on the rug and they must move to the cold linoleum. It results in daily nagging because students are reluctant to scoot off of the rug to accommodate their classmates. This whole problem could be solved with a bigger rug. However, if the rug is too big then it is not much of a meeting rug at all but rather just a carpet in the room. It should be such a size so that each student may have a “personal bubble” so they are not too distracted by each other and can focus on the task at hand. This rug would be the focal point of the room and near the whiteboard and document cam. This is where we will hold our classroom meetings and group lessons. Since we will be holding so many meetings here, each student will have their own clipboard or whiteboard to use as a writing surface which they will bring with them if necessary during these meetings. The desks in which my students sit depends on what is provided by the school. Ideally, the desk has some sort of storage for students and are in good condition (not wobbly, battered looking, etc.) These desks will be arranged so that students are in groups (which are switched monthly) to facilitate collaboration. The groups should be switched on a monthly basis to dissuade cliques from forming and to encourage social diversity. Collaboration between students and teacher is extremely important for students to feel a sense of control over their education. Collaboration between peers is even more important so that students learn how to cooperate with others and effectively navigate conflict (which will inevitably arise in a collaborative classroom). This not only prepares students for most aspects of life, but also helps increase learning in the classroom (   Laal & Ghodsi, 2012). Collaborative learning does not just happen overnight, however. Students must be taught how to be a part of a group and how to communicate effectively with group members. It is
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