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Classroom Management Plan

Andy Mickunas

Welcome to Mr. Mickunas 5th grade learning

habitat! This habitat offers everything your
student needs for success!

Table of Contents
The Classroom 3
Physical Classroom Organization: Our Habitat 4
Classroom Operationspg. 6
Teaching Record Keeping Procedurepg. 6
Flexible Groupingpg. 7
New Studentspg. 7
Classroom 7
Displaying Student Workpg. 8
Portfolios and Project 8
and 9

Discipline and Professional Ethics .pg. 9

Social 9
Whole Class Behavioral 9
Individual Student 11
Acquisition of Preferred Activity Time (PAT) 12 13
Professionalism and 13
Classroom Routines and Procedures 14
Morning 14 15
Acceptable Volume in the 15
Room 15
Brain 16
Homework and In-class 16
Finishing Work Earlypg. 17
Passing Out Papers and Classroom 17
Classroom Library 17
Getting a Drink and Bathroom 18
Pencil Protocolpg. 18
Dismissalspg. 18
Specialspg. 19
Field 19
Substitute 19
Differentiation: Helping All Students Achieve 20
Supporting All 21
Challenging High Ability 21
English Language 22

Parental Involvementpg. 22

Student Led Parent 22

Communication and Volunteerism 23 24

The Classroom Habitat

According to Wong (2009), classroom management is the most important factor
governing student learning. Because I know this, I have put a lot of thought into my
classroom management. Classroom management refers to all the things a teacher does to
organize students, space, time, and materials so student learning can take place (Wong,
2009). The management plan contained within this document describes just this. In order
understand how my classroom environment is part of classroom management, I have
decided to compare the learning environment to the habitat that an animal lives in. This
idea is a metaphor, but it communicates my thought process.
A habitat is an environment that provides a living thing what it needs to live. For
example, in a livable habitat exists food and water. These are things that we need to
survive. This classroom is like a habitat for your students because it provides them
everything they need to successfully learn. This idea is not just a metaphor, though. This
year the students and I will be describing our classroom as a learning habitat. To recreate
this habitat environment, your children will be helping me create a large tree that will be
near the large group area in our room. Also, our classroom will be organized into
ecosystems. Each table that students sit at will be named after a certain type of
ecosystem. Students will get to pick a certain animal from their habitat and name their
table after it. To facilitate a sense of community, your student can select this animals
name as a nickname. Of course, if your student would prefer to not have a nickname, they
can certainly going by their given name exclusively.
This learning environment offers your 5th grade students the experiences they need to
flourish. This classroom is physically designed to promote learning. The operations in
this room maintain cleanliness, safety, and support. This habitat instills positive behaviors
and reduces negative behaviors. This environment provides your students the policies and
procedures that will help them make good use of their time during these experiences.
These qualities are all required to optimize learning. This management plan will further
explain how this will happen.

Physical Classroom Organization


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I designed my 5th grade classroom with many goals in mind. Literature, mathematics,
science, and social studies are all represented in this classroom. First, I decided to include
inquiry centers to facilitate growth in mathematics and science. Clearly, students need
space to explore and discover with independence. This classroom will also have a reptile
that the class will study and take care of; this will help students understand what an
organism needs to survive. Additionally, the theme of the classroom is habitats and the
animals that live in them, so the room is decorated with pictures of various animals.
These pictures will provide a starting point for certain science lessons. There will be
living plants in the room and a collection of rocks. Social studies and literacy will be part
of daily life in this classroom.
Students also have access to
maps for social studies and a
large collection of appropriate
fiction and non-fiction
literature. Although not
indicated on my map, a wall of
words and our daily schedule is
also located near our large
group area. Because students
thrive with structure, this daily
schedule will be predictable.
Again, every content area is
given real estate in this
My classroom allows students to learn through the arts. My classroom includes spaces to
learn through the visual arts, music, and dance. This is a classroom where music will be
valued and regularly played. Music can strengthen learning and provides an additional
avenue for students to demonstrate their knowledge. Although dance will be used for
learning specifically, brain breaks will offer students a chance to dance in a less structure
form. Students will also show their learning through visual arts. Student created art will
be exhibited everywhere in this classroom. The walls will be covered with it!
Additionally, with digital literacy and 21st century skills becoming more and more
essential for success, this classroom includes a space where students can work with
computers and tablets to develop those skills.
Furthermore, I designed the seating arrangement of my classroom with purpose. Each
table in our room represents a different ecosystem and will be decorated in a way that
demonstrates this. For example, those students at the prairie grassland table will have a
table with different types of grass displayed. This classroom includes tables that vary in
size. This flexibility allows the classroom organization to evolve depending on what is
being studied and how learning is happening. This flexibility also facilitates classroom
management. Some tables fit one or two students, whereas other tables can be occupied
by as many as four students. The goal is to facilitate learning by keeping students
productive and engaged. If a student is being too social, that student can work

individually at a table. However, this seating arrangement changes regularly, so that

students experience various social situations. This also prevents individual students from
being isolated at a table for an extended period of time. Also, although students will have
a seating chart during independent work, this organization is flexible; often during the
day students can learn in a social manner despite sitting alone. This classroom
arrangement will also offer students choice. During independent reading students will
have the privilege to select their own reading spot in the room.
The large group area of the classroom will be
used numerous times each day. This is where all
large group instruction takes place. It is a place
where it is most obvious that our class is a
community. This area has great access to both
the CD player and the smart board. Thus, all use
of the smart board happens from this location.
Using music as a catalyst, this spot in the room
is also where students and their teacher dance
and sing while learning. This is also a spot
where the tree that we design will be located.
See the attached photograph to see what our tree
has looked like in the past.
This classroom will be positive, accepting, and a lot of fun. This is a classroom where
students will learn through guided discovery and through challenge. Independent problem
solving and the scientific investigation will be advocated. This is a classroom where
students will develop critical thinking skills. These are my goals. I believe that my
classroom design reflects these goals through what is present in the class and by how it is
structured. The next section will describe operations that occur within this space.

Classroom Operations
Record Keeping Procedures
In my classroom I choose to use Microsoft excel and the
online interface used by Des Moines Public Schools for
record keeping. The online interface that is used by the
Des Moines Public Schools includes a parent portal that
you can login to. This parent portal allows you to access
your childs grades. This login information will be
provided to you at Get To Know The Teacher Night. In
Microsoft excel I use a color-coded system to keep track
of whether or not students scores are above or below
criterion. Additionally, when students turn in assignments
I have a record sheet that I use to determine who has
turned in assignments. Assignments are turned in at a designated spot in the room. When
students turn in an assignment the student crosses off their name. Additionally, I often
record anecdotal information on all of my students. This information is not used for

formal assessments, but guides instruction on an individual basis. I use a grid to maintain
this form of record keeping.
Flexible Grouping
I am a strong believer in flexible grouping (Tomlinson, 2001). This means that in my
classroom students are grouped in many different ways and also work independently.
This varied way of grouping students is ultimately to facilitate success for all students. I
also use this approach to facilitate a culture of equality and community in my classroom.
I want all of my students to feel that they are equally respected and valued. I dont
believe that students should be consistently grouped by ability or in any other predictable
hierarchy. In contrast, depending on the task, I group my students by readiness, interest,
and learning style (Tomlinson, 2001). Students will also occasionally be grouped by
their ecosystem, which is determined by seating arrangement. Because I group in many
different ways, groups are often heterogeneous with respect to readiness. However, there
are occasions where I group my students by ability level if I believe that it will benefit the
growth of students.
New Students
When new students join my class it is an event that is
celebrated! Students are welcomed with positivity and
inclusiveness. I want each student to feel welcomed to
my class, so I have a welcome card that each new
student gets from the class. Every student will have to
sign this card. The student will get this card at end of
their first day. Also, the morning that they join our class
they are introduced to every student in the class. The
student shares which school they used to go to, what
they like to do for fun, and their favorite subject in
school. Additionally, the student will be assigned to a specific ecosystem desk in the
class. The student will be given a list of animals from that ecosystem that they will get to
choose to represent them. Along with their name, a picture of that animal will be added to
their desk with some facts about the animal. The student will then be asked to add a
picture of their animal and their name to the class social contract. Lastly, the student will
be given a buddy that will show them around their new classroom.
Classroom Cleanliness
Classroom cleanliness is an essential part of maintaining our classroom. Although I will
be enforcing the cleanliness of this classroom, the onus of this task will truly be on the
students. The students will know that the classroom space belongs to all of us and thus is
a reflection of our class. If our classroom looks sloppy, our class looks sloppy to those
people that enter it. As a result, it is our responsibility to make sure it is clean before we
transition to new lessons and before we leave the classroom. Students will not be
dismissed at the end of the day until the classroom is clean. Cleaning our room is a task

that will always be completed as a large group. However, there will be students
designated in the classroom that will be responsible for making sure everyone is cleaning
during this time; these students will be called the motivators. If students are told to clean
and refuse or decide not to, they will have to pick up the room during preferred activity
time (PAT). This is how cleaning will be accomplished. A clean classroom will part of
the culture of the classroom. Also, cleanliness will be talked about on the first day of
school. Students will understand expectations.
Displaying Student Work
All students will be encouraged to share! Displaying
student work, in particular, will be a huge part of our
classroom environment. One large wall in the room will be
always designated for exhibiting student work. The art on
this wall will be given the respect that work is given in
museums. Students will select only their best work to be
shown on this wall. For ease of use, our work will be
hanging here using clothespins. Above the student work the
wall will state Our Hard Work On Display. This is part of
our classroom that represents the communal nature of the room. Also, this is a space in
the classroom where respect will be emphasized. Any disrespect expressed towards other
students will not be tolerated at all. Students will feel safe when presenting their work on
this wall. The importance of taking pride in ones work will be encouraged! Negative
comments about ones own work on this wall will be discouraged.
Portfolios and Project Learning
As you may have heard, my classroom is slightly different for a number of reasons. First
off, this year students will be developing a portfolio of their strongest work. These are
assignments that your student is especially proud of; their portfolio is reflective of their
hardest work. Throughout the school year I will ask my students to select their strongest
work to place in their portfolio. Each students final portfolio will represent a summative
assessment. This portfolio will be shared with you at conferences. At the end of the
school year each student will take their portfolio home to share with their parents.
Additionally, my classroom also uses project-based learning. This means that in my
classroom students engage with a single question, problem, or challenge for an extended
period of time. This investigation allows for sustained inquiry, problem solving, authentic
value, student choice, and the creation of a public product that displays their work (What
is Project Based Learning (PBL)?). These projects also allow a seamless integration of
the arts, mathematics, literacy, and science. To introduce the format to students, our very
first project will be habitats. For more information about project-based learning, please
explore Also, if you have any additional questions, you can
certainly email me.

Policies and Procedures

Discipline and Professional Ethics
Social Contract: Behavior To Thrive In This Classroom Habitat.
A large part of the discipline that occurs in
my classroom is a result of our social
contract. A social contract is an agreement
that each student makes with themselves
and the class as a whole; it reflects what
students feel is going to make our class
successful academically and behaviorally.
I advocate for a social contract that the
students help construct. The social
contract is gradually created over the first
couple days of school. With teacher
prompts, students help write the rules of
our classroom. Ultimately, though, the
rules must cover certain areas. These are
the following areas that must be covered
by the social contract:

Students must be responsible.

Students must be respectful to everyone.
Students must do their best.
Students must be kind and helpful.
We are all part of the same team.

Ultimately, using the ideas that students suggest, the social contract will be distilled into a
set of rules that resemble these five. After the social contract is created, all students will
sign our social contact and it will hang near our large group area. This social contract will
be referenced on a daily basis. When students are having trouble controlling their
behavior, they will be asked to closed their eyes and re-sign their social contract. Because
the theme of this management plan is habitats, the social contract will be titled How to
Thrive in this Classroom Habitat.
Whole Class Behavioral System
On top of using a social contract to guide behavior in this classroom, there are additional
approaches and techniques that I use. I teach students specific rules in the classroom
through the democratic approach that is championed by R.J. Mackenzie and L. Stanzione
(2010) in Setting Limits in the Classroom. According to these authors, with the respect to
enforcing rules, the ideal teacher maintains a respectful attitude, holds their ground
firmly, states the rules and expectations clearly, and follows through with consequences

(Mackenzie & Stanzione). Thus, the students learn specific rules when experiencing what
happens when a rule is broken.
Additionally, I am strong believer in the power of positive relationships. If you have
established rapport with your students and they know that you care about them, they are
much more likely to comply with your rules and respond to your requests. Thus, I make it
a priority to establish and maintain a positive relationship with all my students. Every one
of my students knows that I care for them greatly and believe in their future. They know
that is my goal to facilitate their success. In line with this thinking, then, I am much more
inclined to praise positive behavior than shame negative behavior. In fact, I dont shame
students at all. In order to guide behavior, I publically praise those students that are
following directions and adhering to classroom procedures. These praises are a cue to
other students that they need to be doing the same.
Similarly, I make it a goal of mine to project positive expectations towards my students. I
believe that students success is limited by teacher expectations, but can also be
facilitated by it. Simply put, if a teacher is anticipating failure and misbehavior out of a
student, it is more likely that that student will fail and misbehave. Conversely, if a teacher
expects all of his or her students to achieve and be behaviorally angelic, students will be
more likely to reach toward those expectations. The research of Rosenthal (1968)
supports this reality. Knowing this, every day I will express these positive expectations to
my students.
I am also concerned with any way that I can promote motivation in the classroom. I do
this by making my lessons as fun as possible and my providing students choice when
applicable. I use many strategies to engage my students and make them an active
participant in the learning process. I want my students to fall in love with learning!
Although my students must follow directions and be part of the class, I want my students
to participate because they want to and not because I am forcing them to do so. Again, I
also believe that students motivation is promoted by the positive student/teacher
relationship that we share. It is also promoted by the communal quality of our classroom.
Also, brain breaks and preferred activity time will be used to reinvigorate motivation. I
will discuss brain breaks and preferred activity time later on in this document.
Integrated into my instruction are many attention getters to redirect student focus. For
example, I will often do a 3-2-1 countdown. Students must be quiet and attentive before I
get to the number one. If they dont, the class suffers a consequence. I will explain this
consequence during the section on Acquisition of Preferred Activity Time (PAT).
Similarly, I often use clapping rhythms to get attention and make my students mentally
sign their social contract to reorient their attention. If the whole class is exceptionally
loud, I will turn off the lights to cue to my students that they need to focus their attention
on me. Depending on the situation, being forced to turn off the lights might warrant a
large class discussion and loss of PAT time (See subsequent section).


Individual Student Infractions

Of course, if individual students engage in negative
behaviors, there will be consistent consequences.
Also, supported by Mackenzie and Stanzione
(2010), I utilize firm limits in my classroom.
Messages provided to students will be direct and
specific; when I give students behavioral directions,
I used my normal voice and will not show
threatening body language. (Mackenzie &
Stanzione, 2010). I certainly do not believe in
shaming children or scaring them into submission.
Students will be told a logical consequence for
noncompliance and, if they do not comply, they will receive that consequence. Logical
consequences are a learning opportunity for the child. The logical consequences that I use
have also been adapted from the work of Mackenzie and Stanzione (2010):
Examples of Logical Consequences:
Abuse It, Lose It

Wasting Instructional Time

Talking During Instruction

Disrespectful Behavior

Failure to Master Classroom

(Mackenzie & Stanzione, 2010)

Temporary Loss of Privileges, Equipment,

Items, and Activities
Make Up Time the next time the rest of the
class has Preferred Activity Time
Separation from Group (Stage One Time
Separation from Group (Stage One Time
Students will practice procedure during
Preferred Activity Time

Cheating is a behavior that tells me that a child is not confident about their own work.
Thus, when cheating occurs, building up their confidence is my primary and immediate
goal. If cheating does happen, I will talk to that student down the hall about why we dont
cheat and work with that student to create a plan so that it does not happen again. That
child will be told to redo the assignment. If they are caught cheating again, they will lose
all potential credit for the assignment. However, I also stress to the whole class that they
must do their own work and use privacy folders when completing assessments.
The following two scenarios may require the involvement of my principal. Any physical
infractions (i.e., shoving, hitting, kicking, etc.) necessitates that the principal be notified.
These types of infractions are formally documented with a written form. Lesser
infractions are recorded anecdotally. Similarly, if physical altercations occur on the
playground while I am not present, assuming I learn of the event, the principal will be
informed. This type of infraction will be handled by the principal with the help of any


administrator that was present for the incident. This intervention occurs as soon after the
event as possible.
Potentially, a student may suffer a consequence due to their misbehavior, but refuse to
comply. This child will be told that, if they do not comply with the consequence, an
administrator will be called. The child will be given 2 minutes to think about this reality.
They will be given the choice to comply with the consequence or be removed from the
classroom. If the principal is called and becomes involved, a consequence will be
determined by the principal. I respect my principals authority and trust his or her
judgment. However, in this situation I am supportive of my students not spending time in
the office. Instead, I believe that the child should be placed in another classroom with a
younger grade level for a period of time to cool down. It is my belief that having a
student spend time in the office should be treated as final alternative. Taking my students
away from learning is never my goal!
Of course, regardless of the severity of the misbehavior, after a child experiences a
logical consequence, this child is again in good standing with me. I dont believe that
misbehavior should in any way influence in a negative way the relationship that I have
with my students. Despite negative behavior, I seek to maintain a positive relationship
with all of my students.
Acquisition of Preferred Activity Time (PAT)
As a means to promote positive behavior
and student motivation, I am also a
believer in Preferred Activity Time. This
means that, depending on class behavior,
students can earn and lose time that is used
for a preferred activity. These activities are
educational or benefit the student in some
way, but are not directly curricular. The
process of acquiring Preferred Activity
Time begins with me (the teacher) gifting
the students 5-10 minutes of PAT time.
Then, depending on student behavior,
students can earn bonus time by being responsible and on task or they can lose time by
being off task. For example, if the class is able to get through independent reading time
without any students causing a distraction, the class could potentially earn 2 minutes of
PAT. Conversely, if the class is told to transition to reading within two minutes and takes
two minutes and seventeen seconds, the class loses seventeen seconds of PAT. PAT is
also deducted when the whole class goes beyond my 3-2-1 count down during large
group or when I am forced to turn off the lights off because of student volume.


Bullying can negatively affect the classroom in many ways. Students physical and
emotional well being can be damaged; students ability to concentrate and ability to learn
can be reduced. Clearly, bullying is an issue that will be addressed immediately in my
classroom. Also, as students get older, cyber bullying also becomes more and more of a
concern. Prior to using computers in my class, students will have to understand rules and
digital literacy before use. Clearly, cyber bullying will also be addressed during this time.
Bullying will not be tolerated in my classroom. Although each case of bullying will be
assessed, any case of observed bullying will result in immediate separation from the
group for the bully; a discussion with that student will then happen to determine the next
step. Also, in my classroom students will be part of the anti-bullying effort. As a result,
our classroom will be community where all students possess an anti-bullying stance.
Using their own experiences as a starting point, students in my classroom will create an
anti-bullying service learning project to combat bullying in our school. This projects
goal will be to promote inclusion and respect and to develop rules and policies to assist
the schools mission. As a teacher, with this project, my goal is to instill an anti-bullying
stance into my students. For more information on bullying, see
Professionalism and Ethics
As a teacher, it is my responsibility to teach my students to
respect education. In order for my students to respect
education, I must be a symbol that shows them the success
and value that learning can provide a person. One way that I
accomplish this as a teacher is through professionalism.
Modeling professionalism to my students means many things
for me. Clearly, professionalism means dressing in a way
that demonstrates self-respect; I will always dress in a fashion
in the classroom that is clean and appropriate. My
professional attire communicates to my students that I expect
respect. The clothing that I wear shows my students the respect that I expect them to
show education. Lastly, my professional attire conveys that I respect my students. Dress
is just one of the many statements that I make as a teacher. According to Wong (2009),
Every time you act, you validate who you are. Dress is one opportunity to act. Thus, I
opt to dress for respect.
However, my professionalism extends far beyond appearance. My professionalism is
demonstrated by my attitudes and in the way that I interact with students, teachers,
parents, and other staff within the school. I certainly seek to maintain a positive
relationship with everyone, but I am also going to bring my professionalism to these
relationships. Within these relationships it is possible that I will encounter a conversation
that is gossip, inappropriate, or extremely negative. I will not engage in these
conversations. I do not see them as part of my professional role. To me, professionalism


and ethics are intertwined and part of the same larger goal. Thus, my professionalism will
be demonstrated through my ethics. Of course, there will be times where I disagree with
colleagues. If the disagreement is due to my opinion, I am certainly flexible and can
adapt to change my perspective. I seek to maintain a harmonious relationship with all of
my fellow teachers. However, if I experience something that I believe is damaging
students, I will voice this to my Principal, so that it can be handled appropriately.
Furthermore, as part of my professionalism, I will always maintain confidentiality when
working with student information. I have a strong sense of ethics and would never do
something knowingly that could hurt students. Similarly, I maintain high expectations for
all of my students and treat every student as equally as is possible. I am a teacher because
I care about students and want to see them successful. I believe my professionalism and
ethics reflect this.

Classroom Routines and Procedures:

How To Navigate this Classroom Habitat
I also strongly believe that classroom procedures are a necessity for an effective learning
environment. Procedures make the classroom predictable and organized for students.
These procedures allow the day to operate smoothly, because students know how to
navigate transitions and the numerous situations that occur in a classroom. In other
words, students know what to do (Wong, 2009). Let me explain the various procedures
that will occur in our learning habitat.
Morning Meetings
Morning meetings will be a daily occurrence in my classroom. Daily meetings will be
used to start the day with positivity, facilitate our classroom community, and provide a
way for each student to start the day with success academically and behaviorally.
Morning meeting is a time where my goal is to make everyone feel welcome, so I greet
every student. This is also when I tell my students that I care about every one of them. I
tell them that I know that they will all be successful today and I believe in them. After
greeting my students, three students will be allowed to share something that they did for
fun recently. Who gets to share will be determined randomly, but all students will get a
chance eventually. After sharing, we will do some quick work with place value, graphing
todays temperature, and a conversion of metric units. These three math practices will be
daily and will be gradually added to morning meetings. Also, each morning meeting will
include an activity that focuses on teamwork. This activity may involve work that
students were engaged with prior to morning meeting. Morning meetings will be used to
bring attention to any class-wide behavioral issues that have been occurring that need to
end. Related to this, morning meeting will be a time when classroom procedures are
established and practiced. Morning meeting is a very important time of the day.


Attendance is also something that I will record each morning. Attendance is recorded
every morning when students decide their lunch for the day. Students will be offered two
options for hot lunch or a cold lunch option when they enter the room. The student will
indicate their choice by placing a popsicle stick with their name on it into one of three
cups. Immediately before class starts I will check to see which students did not place their
stick in one of the three cups. I will double check to make sure these students are actually
absent. If the student is, in fact, not in the classroom, they will be marked as absent. If the
student is just late, they will need to sign in at the office. Parents that have a student that
is absent will receive a call by the office secretary.
Acceptable Volume in the Classroom
Students in my classroom will be
taught a system to understand the
type of volume that is acceptable in
our class and when outside of the
classroom. The system to the right
will be taught to all students.
These voice levels will be used
during classroom management. If
students do not adhere to these
levels, they will get warning. If they
again have trouble, they will have to
move their seat. Not adhering to
these levels will also be grounds to lose PAT time
Room Helpers
In my classroom students will have the opportunity to take on additional responsibility as
the teachers assistant. To simplify this process, one student will responsible for every job
on a single day. The student that is responsible will be determined by a random cycle.
This student is responsible as the paper passer, line leader, pencil sharpener, and errand
runner. This student will be required to water the plant if it needs to be watered and feed
the class animal on certain days. This responsibility is a privilege. Thus, if a child does
not want to participate as part of the class in this way, this privilege will be offered to the
next student in line. How to complete these tasks effectively will be modeled to the whole
class and I will definitely continue to offer students guidance.


Brain Breaks
Brain breaks are an
essential part of my
classroom. I strongly
believe that breaks
involving movement
especially benefit learning.
According to the work of
John J. Ratey and Eric
Hagerman (2008), there is
evidence that exercise can
actually promote brain
growth and increase
academic performance.
Thus, I utilize brain breaks
for this purpose and try to keep my students moving during class, too. My students get
one brain break in the middle of the morning and one in the middle of the afternoon.
Depending on students behavior, I use brain breaks to raise the classroom energy and
lower it. In other words, if my students are acting out of control, I use a brain break that I
will calm them down (i.e., a yoga exercise). Conversely, if my students are acting tired, I
use a brain break that will energize them (i.e., dancing video). Additionally, brain breaks
are one reward that students can receive when they have preferred activity time. Simply
put, brain breaks are part of my management plan. On top of being rewards, they also are
used to affect the energy and motivation of the class. I opt to use the following websites
during brain breaks:
Homework and In-class Assignments
As implied in my record keeping section, homework and in-class assignments will have a
formal procedure that students must follow when they turn assignments in. Students will
turn their homework in at a designated bin. Next to that bin will be a sheet that has their
name on it. When the student turns in their assignment, they must place a checkmark next
to their name under the assignment that they are turning in. This allows me to easily
determine who has and who has not turned in their assignments. This also allows me to
provide reminders to students and easily monitor students over the long term.


Finishing Work Early

If students finish work early, there are a number of things
that they can always do in this classroom. They are always
welcome to independently read any book of their choice.
Also, students that finish work early can play educational
math games on our tablets and laptops if they are not in use.
If there are students that are consistently finishing their work
early, I will definitely work with that student to develop an
independent project related to that students personal
interest. This project can also be focused on a problem that
the child would like to spend time solving. This project will culminate with the creation
of a product that demonstrates the students learning. Ultimately, I want those students
that finish work early to be rewarded for their effort and be provided an alternative that
facilitates motivation. See more on differentiation in the section titled Differentiation:
Helping All Students Achieve Success.
Passing Out Papers and Classroom Announcements
As said previously, there will be one designated student that passes out papers each day.
This does not mean that a student will be passing out the graded work of other students.
This student will be passing out papers that the students will be using for an assignment
or that need to go home for parents. This student will just walk from table to table and
provide enough paper for everyone. Of course, I will hand back any graded work directly
to the student that it belongs to. Grades can be a very private manner. I would never do
anything to break disrupt a students privacy.
Essential classroom announcements will
be provided at morning meeting or when
the whole class is at the carpet. It is a
students responsibility to be listening
during these announcements. These
announcements will not be given until
the entire class is quiet. An attention
getter will be used to quiet the class, and
then it will be the responsibility of the
class to listen.
Classroom Library Use
As can be seen in my classrooms
design, the classroom contains shelves
with many books. The students in my
class are welcome to use any of the
books from my library at any time.
However, there is a procedure for


checking out books from my library. This procedure will be taught to students at morning
meeting. This procedure requires that, when a student checks out a book, that student
write their name and the name of their book on a sheet that is next to the library. Then,
after the student is finished with the book, they just need to place a second check mark in
the third column on the sheet. This indicates that it has been returned. A student can keep
a book as long as someone else does not need it. This procedure allows me to confirm
that all of the classrooms books get returned. Additionally, it allows me to monitor
which books are most and least popular with my students. Above is an example of the
sheet that my students must complete.
Bathroom Use and Getting a Drink
Anytime that it is an emergency your student has
the right to use the restroom without my approval.
However, if students need to use the restroom and it
is not an emergency, they must first walk over to
me for approval. The students will show me that
they need to use the rest room by crossing their
fingers. I will give them approval. However, before
they leave the room they must sign out on a
clipboard by the door. Similarly, if a student needs
to get a drink of water, I have a non-verbal hand
signal for that request also. The student can walk up
to me and show me three fingers. Assuming there is
no reason why the kid should not be getting a drink of water, I will give that student
approval. Because there is a drinking fountain in our classroom, that student does not
need to sign out.
Pencil Protocol
Similarly, there is a specific hand signal and
procedure for when a student needs to get a sharp
pencil. When the student needs to get a newly
sharpened pencil, that student can walk over to me
and show me a fist. I will tell the student to go get
a new pencil. In a designated spot there will a cup
with sharp pencils and a place to put their old
unsharpened pencil. The classrooms daily helper
sharpens dull pencils daily. To the right is a
picture of what our cups look like.
Prior to dismissal each day, the classroom must be clean. Students will be given 3-4
minutes before dismissal to make the room look as clean as it looked in the morning. This
means that all tables are clean and the floors are free of litter; it also means that all


students chairs are stacked on the tables. Also, prior to dismissal, students must have all
of their things ready to go. This means that they have their backpacks packed and their
coats on if it is cold outside. After students are ready, they must be lined up prior to
dismissal. Students will have a couple minutes to get their things and line up at the door.
Additionally, before the class is dismissed when the bell rings, students must have their
voices off. This is how the class will show me that they are ready to go. Without all of
these requirements, the class will have to wait.
Numerous times during the week our class will go to specials (P.E., Art, and Music).
Because our school has teachers that teach only these subjects, I will not be with the class
during specials. Thus, these teachers are responsible for handling misbehavior when my
students are in their classroom. Of course, my students will know that I expect them to
abide by their social contract even when outside of our classroom and I am not present.
Similar to dismissal time, prior to leaving for specials, our classroom must be clean. I will
provide students a few minutes to clean up before specials. Additionally, students must
be lined up and quiet before I will walk them to specials. Again, this is how my students
show me that they are ready. Regardless of whether or not we are on time, I will wait
until my class is ready to depart.
Field Trips
Field Trips are special days! Prior to your student attending a field trip, I will need a
signed permission slip from you! Without the permission slip, your student will
unfortunately not be able to attend. Students behavior is especially important on
fieldtrips. I believe that all students deserve and need the cultural experience that field
trips offer. However, if a students behavior is significantly inappropriate on a field trip, I
will pull that student away from the group without a warning. This is a consequence that
students will know about prior to going on the field trip.
Of course, if you are willing and able, we would always like to have your presence on
field trips. If you do volunteer to help during a field trip, my primary expectation is that
you keep students safe. You will be responsible and in charge of those students that you
are assigned. The schools office is notified about every field trip before they happen.
Thus, if you need additional information about a field trip, they should be able to provide
you with that information.
Substitute Teachers and Binder
Providing support for substitute teacher is part of my job. Despite not being in the
classroom, I can still do a lot to make sure that my students are successfully learning.
Further, I believe it is my responsibility to ensure that my students are safe while I am
gone. As a result, I will provide each substitute with a binder that contains the following:


1. Understanding the layout of Mr. Mickunas classroom.

This is a section of the binder that describes all of the different areas in my
classroom and how they are used.
2. Emergency Information
This is information that provides my student teacher all the phone numbers that he
or she needs to know. It also includes information about every kind of emergency
situation (tornado, fire, lockdown) that my teacher could possibly encounter.
3. Student information
This section will provide a picture of each student and any pertinent information
about that student that is appropriate for the substitute to know. For instance,
allergies, behavioral issues, emergency contact information, etc. will be included
for the substitute to help the substitute effectively provide instruction and safety.
4. Classroom procedures
A compressed version of routines and procedures contained in this management
plan will be provided to every substitute.
5. Curriculum
Each day that I am gone the substitute will know exactly what I was going to be
teaching that day. Included will be a supply list and curricular notes that will
facilitate instruction.
6. Behavioral Expectations
Additionally, an outline of my behavioral expectations will be given to the
substitute. Included will be our social contract and my belief system regarding
logical consequences.
7. A Thank You Note

Differentiation: Helping All Students Achieve Success

I believe that, whether or not a student is significantly
above grade level or significantly below grade level, all
students should be given the support that they deserve in
order to grow intellectually. A teacher should be able to
provide instruction that maximizes all students capacity
as learners. Consistent intellectual growth keeps students
engaged with education and provides them a bridge to
their dreams. This consistent intellectual growth is aided
by differentiation. Differentiation occurs when a teacher
proactively plans and carries out varied approaches to
content, process, and product in anticipation of and in response to student differences in
readiness, interest, and learning needs (Tomlinson, 2001). Although each student
informs the differentiation that I provide, the following strategies that I use will provide
you a window to see my process. Many of the strategies that I use are applicable to all of
my students. For instance, the flexible grouping that I use allows students to be
challenged by peers at times, but other times challenge them! Furthermore, I vary my
questioning depending on the ability of the student. I may pose difficult questions to the
whole class that may be too difficult for certain students, but I also ask questions that all
students can answer. Likewise, I asked questions that are designed just for those students


that cant successfully answer the more difficult questions. Similarly, I use extended wait
time so that ALL students have an opportunity to process questions and formulate a
response. I acquired the following strategies from the text How To Differentiate
Instruction In Mixed-Ability Classrooms (2nd ed.) by Carol Ann Tomlinson (2001).
Supporting All Learners
This is how I provide support to students that are struggling. For one, when working with
these students, I make sure that these students know that I value them. Because all
students have strengths, I affirm these students whenever possible. Additionally, when
working with these students, I focus their learning on the big ideas (Tomlinson, 2001).
Furthermore, I provide concrete learning opportunities and plenty of repetition when
working with these students. I often use direct questions to guide their thinking. Also, I
let these students know that I believe in their ability to be successful. One way that I
communicate this is through my high expectations and kind words. I firmly believe that
all students can learn and I make this truth a big focus of my teaching. These are some
strategies that I use with these students:
1. Learning Centers: These are stations that promote exploration and skill
development. These stations can be adapted depending on student interest,
readiness, and learning styles. These stations allow matching based on students
ability. For instance, the two tables might have the same focus, but one of the two
tables may be provided a graphic organizer or other supports. Clearly, these
stations can be used to support students throughout the entire spectrum of
2. Tiered Assignments: This is when I create multiple versions of the same activity.
Students are working on the same goals, but at different levels. This is essentially
a scaffold in that it keeps all students working at a level that allows growth. This
strategy can be used to support students that need more support AND those
students that need a greater challenge.
Challenging For High Ability Students
Providing support for these students is just as important as the support I provide
struggling learners. I dont believe that any one student is more important than another. In
order to develop my high ability students, I provide them open-ended projects,
independence, and occasionally extensions. What is important, though, is that these
students be given assignments that are qualitatively different instead of quantitatively
different. High ability students should not be punished for their excellence by receiving
more work. Because these students may finish their work early, it is also important to
encourage these students to develop in the areas that they truly enjoy. This is a good way
to extend their learning because it rewards them. I provide them with an opportunity to
enrich their learning in a direction of their choice. It is essential to challenge these
students because we do not want them to become lazy due to success. According to
Tomlinson (2001), these students can grow into perfectionists and become hooked on
success. Thus, because of this, it is even more important to provide the challenge that


these students need to occasionally struggle. Struggling or even failing is a powerful life
lesson that, in the long run, may promote ones ability to overcome difficulties in life; a
difficult situation may compel that student to develop better study and coping skills.
These are a few strategies that work well for high ability students and that I use in my
1. Compacting: This is a three-step process where the student first completes a preassessment. Second, after the assessment has been completed, what needs to be
mastered is determined and what already has been mastered is determined. Third,
a plan for using freed-up time is developed. This can either be accelerated work in
a certain content area or a student created project.
2. Mentorships/Apprenticeships: Students can work with a mentor that can guide a
student in a particular area. The mentor can be an older student, a member of the
community, a parent, or an associate. This mentorship may manifest into a
specific project or exploration of a certain profession. Of course, I used this
approach to challenge students at all levels of readiness.

English Language Learners

I am a big supporter of second languages! I believe that
bilingualism should be assessed for its value instead for
the challenges that it brings the educational system.
According to the work of Cummins, there are close to
150 empirical studies carried out during the past 30 or so
years that have reported a positive association between
additive bilingualism and students linguistic, cognitive,
or academic growth (Cummins, 2000). Because of this
value, I am very supportive of a students native language. Although I cant teach ELL
students their native language, I will do everything that I can to support ELL students in
my classroom. Here are some examples of the supports that I will provide these students.
1. If there are other students that speak the same native tongue, these students will
be grouped with each other at times.
2. If students need to use a translation dictionary, it will be available for them.
3. Academic language can be explicitly defined during lessons.

Parental Involvement
Student Led Parent Conferences
Twice a year you are responsible for coming into the school for conferences. The
conferences that I facilitate may be slightly different than what you are used to. Each
conference will be student led! This means that your child will share their portfolio with
you, describe their achievement in each curricular area, and will demonstrate their
reading ability. In other words, your student will read a book to you at their reading level.


Prior to the conference, each child will have practiced this process with another student.
This style of conferences promotes independence in the student and gives the student the
burden of explaining their performance to you. This provides the student ownership of
their success. Of course, after the conference, if you have any additional questions that
your student did not answer, you are welcome to direct those questions to me. Also, if
you have any questions about this process, feel free to send me an email.
Communication and Volunteerism
When needing to communicate with me my preferred mode of communication is email
unless the situation is an emergency. When using email, I will always get back to you
within twenty-four hours. You can email me at If it is an
emergency, you are welcome to call the school during regular hours and they will transfer
you to my classroom line. If it is not during regular hours, you can contact me at 515868-4957, but please dont call after 9:00 PM or before 7:00 AM.
I strongly encourage you to become part of your students educational experience. That
means that you should volunteer in the school! If you would like to volunteer, you are
welcome to spend time in our classroom. There are many things that you could help with.
You could read to students or help me prepare materials. Also, if you know a lot about a
topic that we are learning about, it would be great for you to share your knowledge with
the class! You could provide a demonstration, an activity, or a short talk about your
experience or skill. Sincerely, it benefits your child to see their parent as part of the
academic process. Additionally, being in this classroom will definitely give you a better
understanding of what your student is doing on a daily basis. This will allow you to better
help your student at home. I also encourage you to be part of our parent teacher
association (PTA). If you are interested in any of these experiences, please send me an
email and we can work something out. I see the parent and teacher as part of a teaching
team. If we work together, we will have a lot of success!


Works Cited
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Guide to Effective Classroom Management With a School-wide Discipline Plan
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Ratey, J., & Hagerman, E. (2008). Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise
and the Brain. New York: Little, Brown.
Rosenthal, Robert, and Lenore Jacobson. (1968). Pygmalion in the Classroom. New
York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
Tomlinson, C. (2001). How To Differentiate Instruction In Mixed-Ability
Classrooms (2nd ed.). Alexandria, Va.: Association for Supervision and
Curriculum Development.
Wong, H., & Wong, R. (2009). The First Days of School: How to Be an Effective
Teacher (Second ed.).
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