As a pre-service teacher I am SO excited even thinking of the prospect of setting up a future classroom. That being said, there is so much that goes in to creating a functioning classroom setting for a future room of students. I thought I would share some of my current ideas here as I come across them. Any advice or suggestions from current teachers would be highly appreciated!
First and foremost I would like to start with classroom management. Through my CT’s classroom I have seen what works for her and a 2nd grade setting. Through subbing throughout the week in many different grades I have seen what absolutely doesn’t work.
To begin with, I think I will have some sort of clip chart for behavior. I have seen this in so many classrooms and feel that it is very helpful in getting students back on track who are misbehaving. They can physically see where they are at throughout the day and make moves to improve with behavior changes. I don’t feel that the clips need to have names on them, but maybe something like a number system or letters. Students could even have the opportunity to decorate their clips at the beginning of the year to mark them.
Some that I have found:
Something I have really loved from my CT’s classroom is that she uses “J-Dollars” (her name is Julie too!) for good behavior and participation. Students earn the dollars and save them up for auction at the end of the week. I would like to implement something like this as well but not for physical items. I think this would work well with activities or free passes.
Now when it comes to consequences, I definitely feel like the consequence should fit the crime. A punishment decision should be made on a case-to-case basis. More generally though, some options I liked include:
Using logic in consequences makes sense and will hopefully make a student feel that you are with them and not against them as a teacher. I especially agree with practicing a certain skill (such as walking in line) if a student is struggling with staying quiet and in place while walking. Instead of placing the student in a “time out”, this is relevant and helps them to hopefully gain muscle memory in doing it the correct way.
By having this sort of system in place, I feel that a teacher would build a healthy relationship with his or her students. They would know what they need to do in order to earn rewards, but also would learn that they will be practicing correct behavior if they have problems with it instead of immediately being sent out of the classroom. This is also a system that would not pit students against each other as if they were working towards a whole-class reward. One student could potentially ruin that for the whole class where this system is on an individual basis.
When it comes to rules, I feel that I will probably have some in place to begin with but then also have my students help me create more. I especially like classrooms where once the rules are written, all students and the teacher sign the document as a sort of contract to be posted on the wall all year. This is something the teacher can refer to if a rule is broken to show the student they not only agreed to the rules but helped write them as well.
When it comes to choosing the rules I begin with, I don’t think I should have more than three or so as we will be adding the the list. These should be non-negotiable and rules that I need to have on the list for the upcoming school year. Some that I have been thinking about include: be leaders, work as a team, be respectful of others and materials, and follow directions. I also feel that I would want to have a separate voice levels chart posted on the wall that I would teach and then have my students practice multiple times at the beginning of the year.
By creating and signing these rules together, it creates a bond from the very beginning and will help me to learn the needs of my students. Different things are going to be important to different students.
If a rule is broken, I will reference that rule, which was signed by the perpetrator, and then have them practice showing the proper behavior several times. By having the rules on the wall they will be easily referenced and in constant site of my students throughout the year. Practice makes perfect and sometimes students need that reminder. If it has to do with being disrespectful, I would have the student write an apology to the person they disrespected.