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Running Head: CLASSROOM ENVIRONMENT PLAN

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Classroom Environment Plan

Brooke Meyer

EDI 638

3 November 2016

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Creating an Environment of Respect and Rapport Establishing a Culture for Learning

When thinking about setting up my future classroom, a few things have become very

clear to me. Creating a classroom environment where the students feel safe, respected, and loved

is something that is very important to me. The students will always have my respect, and I return

I would expect to have their respect. What is sometimes harder is building the mutual respect

among the students in the classroom. A lot of my ideas for creating a positive classroom

environment come from the Capturing Kids Hearts program. Capturing Kids Hearts, and

specifically Flip Flippen, believes that “if you have a child’s heart, you have his head” (2007). A

few big ideas behind Capturing Kids Hearts are building meaningful relationships and teaching

the students conflict management (Flippen, 2007). These are two things that I find to be very

important in having a successful classroom. Teaching students conflict management is

something that is a useful tool for all students and will continue to help them as they get older.

Another main goal I will have in the beginning of the school year will be to help the

students realize that they are in the classroom to learn. One thing that happens a lot when you

are learning is that you will make mistakes. I want mistakes to be celebrated in my classroom,

because that means learning is taking place.

Having a classroom environment where students

feel safe and respected will allow them to feel okay to take “risks” and be okay with failing

sometimes. The most important part of making a mistake or experiencing failure is that you do

not give up you figure out what went wrong and you give it another shot. Something that

could be implemented in my classroom that would support this idea is a social contract. A social

contract is also a part of Capturing Kids Hearts. Working as a class to create a social contract

will allow the students to become better learners, because they know what is expected of them

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(Flippen, 2007). It is important that the social contract is created as a class, because it will then

include everything that is important to the students to help them feel included and respected.

Managing Classroom Procedures

I do not believe a teacher can facilitate a successful classroom without a set of

procedures to make that classroom run smoothly. In the beginning of the school year, I would

establish and walk the students through day-to-day classroom procedures. I would set up

procedures for bathroom breaks, snack time, sharpening pencils, getting drinks, voice levels for

classroom work time, how we walk in the hallway, and what procedures they would follow each

morning and during transitions. For bathroom breaks, drinks, and sharpening pencils the

students will be allowed to go if it does not interrupt instructional time. That means they should

get in the routine of coming in each morning and making sure they have a sharp pencil ready to

go. For voice levels, I want to have posters of the different voice levels for work times in my

classroom. Level 0 voice would be times when there needs to be no talking; Level 1 voice

would be a whisper; Level 2 voice is a good partner work voice; Level 3 is a teacher talking

voice or presentation voice; Level 4 voice is an outdoor recess volume level. Having

expectations for voice levels will allow the students to be set up for success during different

work times.

Another section of managing classroom procedures would be the class jobs that the

students would have. It is appropriate in all grade levels to have a few classroom jobs. The

students would be responsible for things such as: sharpening pencils in the dull pencil bin

(depending on grade level), line leader, caboose and/or door holder, classroom cleaning crew,

paper passers, lunch count/lunch menu leader, Pledge leader, etc. The classroom jobs would

vary depending on the grade, but I having the students be responsible for different parts of their

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classroom will help them to have a say in the successfulness of their classroom. I believe this

will be especially successful if the students can have a say in their classroom jobs. According to

Harry Wong, setting up these classroom procedures right away in the school year will allow the

students to be successful because they know exactly how the classroom is run and what is

expected of them (2008).

Managing Student Behavior Models that Support my Beliefs

I have attended a professional development for a classroom management program that a

lot of teachers in Grandville Public Schools use. It is called Whole Brain Teaching. I have seen

some of the basic concepts of the program and I love how the students respond to them. Using

that program along with some of the strategies we learned in class would create what I would

call an optimal classroom environment. Whole Brain Teaching teaches five main rules for

everyday classroom use. They are as follows: follow directions quickly, raise your hand for

permission to speak, raise your hand for permission to leave your seat, make smart choices, and

keep your dear teacher happy. They all revolve around teaching your students how to make

respectful, responsible decisions, and are basic enough to use with the very young students all

the way on up to the upper elementary students. Using those rules, along with the class-created

social contract, will allow the students to have a tangible amount of rules to follow and help the

classroom run smoothly.

I have witnessed these being used in a Kindergarten classroom up to

4 th grade, and the students seemed to respond to it very well.

Part of Whole Brain Teaching strategy is the attention getter. I like this attention getter

because it is simple, and you can vary it in many ways. It is called “Class, yes.” The teacher

says “Class, class” or another variation of that sentence, and the students respond with “Yes,

yes” and turn their voices off and attention towards the teacher. It can be varied in many ways,

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so the students do not tire of it or so it becomes so routine that the students start to ignore it. An

example would be the teacher saying “Ooooh class, class, class” and the students responding the

same way with “Ooooh yes, yes, yes.” Another part of the attention getter – if the teacher has

important instructions to give is following Class, yes with “hands and eyes.” When the teacher

says “class, class” (yes, yes) “hands and eyes,” the students will turn their bodies toward the

teacher, put their hands in their lap, and give the teacher their full attention. This is good when

working with students in something with many steps, when you do not want the students

working before they hear the whole set of instructions.

Along with “Capturing Kids Hearts,” another theorist I would like to use in my

classroom is William Glasser with Choice Theory. Choice theory teaches students to “make

mentally healthy choices rather than harmful” (Glasser, 1997). Glasser says that the only person

whose behavior we can control is our own. Giving my students choices throughout the day,

according to Glasser, will help to support behavior management and an effective classroom.

Glasser says this can be accomplished through lead teaching rather than boss teaching. Lead

teaching encourages students while giving them choices and uses the seven healthy habits, such

as encouraging, listening, accepting, supporting, and respecting (2012). I believe that using

choice theory, having a positive and supportive classroom environment, and using techniques

from Whole Brain Teaching will allow for successful classroom behavior management.

Organizing a Physical Space

I created a floorplan of a mockup of the type of classroom setup I would like to have on

floorplanner.com. For student seating, I would arrange the desks or tables into groupings, so the

students have a good collaboration space for group work. I have also had the opportunity to

implement flexible seating into my placement classroom over this year, and my students

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responded to the change in an extremely positive way. They began making great choices for

themselves in regards to where they learn best. I do not like the way certain classrooms are set

up with 30 desks, separated and all facing forward. I believe some of the best classroom learning

can happen in a group work or collaboration setting and a learning area set up in this way would

support that. Ideally, students would have seating (or standing) options to help them choose a

place that is ideal for them during instruction time and work time. In the floorplanner, I also set

up a lot of areas for storage, where students can have easy access to classroom materials and

books. I love books, and I have already collected a lot of them for my future classroom. The

rest of the space was set up to have plenty of space for students to meet with each other or for the

teacher to meet with students.

space was set up to have plenty of space for students to meet with each other

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Organizing an Online Environment

Depending on the grade level I end up teaching, I would like to have a class website

similar to a Weebly or Google Sites. Both sites are easy to set up and edit. I like using Weebly,

because it is easy to use and you can make it look colorful and inviting. On my website, I would

like to have a school calendar through google, but merged with our classroom calendar. I would

be able to put homework and other important dates on the calendar to have an easy-access place

for my students and their families. My website will also have my contact information on it,

along with any other important parent-teacher communication. Other resources that the website

will have are websites that the students can use at school and at home to further their in-class

learning.

The Effects of Technology on School Environment

Technology is something I believe should be used frequently and be used well in

classroom environments. Most classrooms that I have been a guest teacher in or have been in for

observations have had a document camera of some sort, a projector and screen, and quite a few

have had a smart board and access to at least 6 computers or iPads many have had classroom

sets. There are so many opportunities to use technology in a way that enhances students

learning. If utilized correctly, technology can help create a positive classroom environment.

Technology can be used to expand lessons learned in class, allow opportunities for students to

learn more at home, and can be a good support when using inquiry in the classroom.

It also

allows the students expand their technology skills by learning how to collaborate through

technology, expand their search skills, and build virtual presentations or other projects.

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References

Biffle, C. (2013). Whole Brain Teaching for Challenging Kids: (and the rest of your class, too!).

N.p.: Whole Brain Teaching LLC.

Flippen, F. (2007). Capturing kids hearts. College Station, TX: The Flippen Group.

Glasser, W. (1997). "Choice theory" and student success. The Education Digest, 63 (3), 16-21.

Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.gvsu.edu/

docview/218173649?accountid=39473

Glasser, W. (2010). William Glasser Institute. Retrieved from http://www.wglasser.com/

the-glasser-approach

Wong, H. K., & Wong, R. T. (2009). The first days of school (4th ed.). Mountain View, CA:

Wong, Harry K. Publications.