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Running head: CLASSROOM ENVIRONMENT PLAN

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Classroom Environment Plan
Melissa D. Gilman Fall 2013

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One thing I have learned through my experience during my teacher education is that a quality classroom management system is one of the most important parts of any classroom. When you walk into a classroom that is well managed it is clear that both students and teacher are engaged in learning, working as a team, and making the most of the instructional time throughout the day. The atmosphere in this type of classroom welcomes students individuality, fosters self-discipline, and prepares students for life after school. In order to establish the most well rounded classroom management I believe you must take an eclectic approach that encompasses many philosophies working together to create a unique system that resonates with you as an individual. I have done this by utilizing the strategies taught by Wong & Wong, Glasser, Jim Fay, Coloroso, and Flip Flippin in my own personal way. No one strategy is a complete set of guidelines that will work for every teacher, just as no one way of learning works for every child. It is with this in mind that I have chosen to establish my classroom management plan as detailed in this paper. The first few days of school are some of the most important as far as establishing a classroom culture for learning, respect, and expectations (Wong, 2009). Based on the experience in my placement classroom this year I have seen first hand the power of establishing routines right from the start of the school year. When consistent classroom routines are established students are able to know what is expected of them. They are more able to engage, and precious classroom time is not wasted dealing with managerial tasks (Wong, 2009). I was surprised at how much time my mentor teacher spent in the first couple weeks of school establishing routines, but now that these routines have become second nature for the students I am amazed at how

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seamlessly the classroom functions. I strongly believe in the power of routines and will strive to have students take on this responsibility for themselves. Establishing routines helps to create an environment that is safe and welcoming for the students, however routines cannot function alone. A teacher needs to make the conscious effort to connect with each and every student in a personal way if they wish all their students to succeed in their classroom. Through programs like Capturing Kids Hearts created by Flip Flippen teachers build these precious personal connections that allow students to know that they are cared for and loved by their teachers no matter what background, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or religion they come from. Flip Flippen also introduced the OPC (Overcoming Personal Constraints) program that takes Capturing Kids Hearts one step further by really challenging yourself as a teacher and to look for your own personal constraints and find the best ways to overcome them (Flippen, 2007). This self-reflection will not only make your a better teacher but allow you to help students in new ways. This is so important in the classroom where students who may struggle in specific areas can be given that extra boost they need by a caring teacher who helps them to recognize and overcome the areas they find difficult. This type of program can only be implemented in a classroom where trust and community have been established. A teacher needs to truly care about his/her students to be the most effective version of themselves. This starts by greeting the students the moment they walk in the door to launching them with positivity at the end of each day (Flippen, 2007). In my current placement we end each day by reminding students they are smart, they are special, and they are loved. When a teacher makes those one-on-one connections with the students they are then able to use empathy as a powerful tool which gives students the ability to think through problem

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situations knowing that the teacher is on their side as support rather than someone simply there to punish them for making mistakes (Fay, 1995). When difficult situations arise in my classroom I will implement strategies from Love and Logic, where students will experience natural consequences to learn their are consequences for their actions that happen based on the decisions they make. I will provide guidance when necessary and give students the responsibility of managing their own classroom behavior. There will be a set of logical classroom principles known to all students that implement natural consequences for student behavior (Fay, 1995). Through these natural consequences students will learn self-discipline and gain the ability to solve their own problems, invaluable life skills, while becoming active members in their classroom community. Direct instruction in problem management is essential when creating a classroom environment where students are ultimately responsible for their own behavior. Using the six steps to problem management taught by Barbara Coloroso I will educate students on how to solve their own problems (Coloroso, 1994). This is a straightforward next step from logical consequences because students have already begun to relate their actions to specific and predictable consequences. This also develops respect for their fellow students as they think through possible actions and the effect they will have on themselves and others. Learning to solve conflicts independently is a critical part of working in small groups and gaining autonomy from the teacher. When procedures have become routine and a caring community has been established students are then able to take on more of the classroom responsibility themselves rather than having a teacher who dictates their every decision. By discussing student behavior contracts,

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creating classroom jobs, and providing students with choices in educational topics I will create an environment where students are responsible members of their community. When students are able to self-regulate their behavior and function well as members of the classroom community it becomes possible to give them more autonomy in their selection of activities. I believe in giving choice to students while still maintaining accountability and teaching the needed standards. When students are giving the opportunity to chose their own topics they become more engaged and less likely to have behavior problems due to boredom or disinterest (Glasser, 1992). When a person walks into my classroom they will see some students working independently, some working in small groups, and all working in different areas of the classroom to best fit their needs. What they will not see is me lecturing to the students from the front of the room for anything more than a short mini-lesson. A person walking into my room will not see students working quietly but rather they would see students discussing the topics they have chosen, because the best work comes from collaboration. Through the use of these strategies cobbled together by me from each of these five theorists I have developed my own sense of what my classroom management plan will look like. By choosing essential strategies that fit best with my own personality and teaching philosophy I have created a plan that will be both effective and natural to implement. Each of my chosen strategies revolves around a central theme of classroom community and fostering independent students who are developing real world skills. Most of all I believe that my classroom management style will be something that continues to grow and change with each new year, new experience, and especially each unique classroom of students because no two students are alike and no one management plan will work as effectively each and every year.

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References
Coloroso, B. (1994). Kids are worth it!. New York, NY: Avon Books

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Fay, J. & Funk, D. (1995). Teaching with love and logic: Taking control of the classroom. Golden, CO: Love and Logic Press. Flippin, F. & White, C. (2007). The flip side: Break free of the behaviors that hold you back. New York, NY: Springboard Press.

! Glasser,W.(1992).The quality school.NewYork:HarperPerennial. !

Wong, H. & Wong, R. (2009). The first days of school how to be an effective teacher. Mountain View, CA: Harry K. Wong Publications, Inc.