Thursday, August 4, 2011

Classroom Management Plan

Classroom Management Plan

Michael Smith
Lewis County High School
August 4, 2011

Classroom Plan
To create a classroom management plan I think that teachers need to know about the culture they are dealing with. To do this, teachers need to communicate with the students and the parents of the students to understand the world that they are coming from.  I believe that the classroom must a safe environment define by respect that will allow learning to take place in.  It is my goal to prevent disciplinary issues before they arise by using bell to bell teaching and engaging instructional curriculum that includes all the students.  If a problem arises then rules set-up by the teacher and the students will be used to correct the student’s behavior.  If the behavior of the student is detrimental to the others in the class then referral to the principle will be made.  I am not just a disciplinary teacher; I am an open teacher that is there to listen to personal problems and help guide each student onto a road to success. I believe in working in groups in the classroom to promote social skills of working together and to the understanding of each culture to accomplish a common goal.  The students will also have input into the class as to what they liked and disliked about each of the lesson, which will allow me to assess the ongoing needs of the students. 
Philosophical Statement
              By far my biggest commitment is to the student’s culture and education. I believe that the student and the teachers should be able to have a one on one interaction that brings about meaningful conversations.  In turn these conversations will allow us to be able to discuss how their cultures play a role in biology and the environment.  The classroom should allow the students to work in small groups and discuss the discipline of science in an inquiry approach.  Each of the students will be allow too learn from one another to which I will make sure that each and every student participates in the class discussion.  The classroom should be a democratic and fair so that each child is in a safe and respectful learning environment.
My attitude towards the students will be fair and just with a high expectation for all my students.  I will engage in asking about their outside lives and make the classroom open to the students so that they may make a relationship between the world they live in and the information that they are learning.   I will shy away for the authoritative teaching style and move toward a student centered teaching style that allows all students to be engaged in the curriculum and also be motivated in learning the information.
Room Arrangement
My classroom is a science classroom and lab. I cannot rearrange the desk in the classroom but I can arrange the students so that there is diversity. For example, the students can be put into cooperative learning groups at the tables to complete labs and have discussions.    These groups can be diversified by grouping students together that are from different races, genders, socioeconomic statuses, and sexuality.  In fact, research has shown that “Cooperative learning leads to more positive racial attitudes for all students, more interracial friendship choices, and academic gains for students of color (especially Hispanics and African-Americans). Cooperative, cross racial learning also increases student instruction, self-esteem, and ability to empathize. (Gay, Geneva.,2010)

 My desk is located at the front of the room for there is no other place for it.  Under ideal circumstance, I would have the teacher’s desk placed in the middle of the classroom with the student desk arranged in a circle or “u” shape around it.  This would help promote democratic equality amongst the students when having whole class discussions.  For each of the students would be able to see the facial expressions and make eye to eye contact when having discussions.  Students can "create knowledge, not simply absorb it from higher authorities," (p. 439, Bigelow) in the classroom where personal experiences are shared and learned. I believe the circle of tables encourages discussion and in turn, students learn from each other. ( Haysman,2005)

On the right side of the classroom are trays for the students to put completed work as well as a locked cabinet for their journals to which they record today’s lesson and any personal thoughts about the lesson.  I believe that it is important for the students to have the opportunity to write down their thoughts about what they are struggling with and what they enjoyed about the lesson that day.  This allows me to assess what the student’s progress with the information in class and if I need to have an informal or formal one on one discussion, about the material or the personal needs of the students.

The classroom has a plethora of articles and poster on the bulletin boards in front and in the back of the room depicting accomplishments of all genders and nationalities.  There are also plants and animals, which have been approved by the school, placed in the classroom to provide added color and additional conversation about plants and animals of the region.  These plants and animals will also be used in the future to conduct experiments and promote discussions about topic in the class.

I have supplemental material on shelves on the right side of the room.  These include things such as books and other forms of publications to allow students to research the topics we are covering in this classroom or any other.  I also have a class set of laptop computers and iPads which are located in the front of the room opposite of the entrance, this is to reduce theft, which the students can used for inactive lessons, PowerPoint’s, or editing video projects for the class.  This use of technology will help the students make the connection between science and technology.

Classroom Rules

 It my goal to make the classroom a safe and respectful environment in which students may be able to lean in.  When it comes to classroom rules I believe that the word respect can go along ways.  I believe that students should be able to go into a classroom where name calling, put downs and acts of violence are not tolerated.  I also think that if you respect a student they will also respect you and the other students in the class and if they do not repercussion will occur.

Setting up the rules of the classroom should be done by both by the students and the teacher.   The first thing that I would do at the being of the year is go over a few of my rules in the classroom and then have the students come up with their own rules for the classroom.   My rules include thing such as classroom preparation, homework, attendance, disruptive behavior and consequences, plagiarism or cheating with consequence, and respectful behavior. The rules are then gone over and discussed with the students allowing them to have a say in the matter.  The rules are then finalized when both the students and I ; then sent home to parents or guardians for approval.  I would then have the students post the rule on the front bulletin board in the room. 

In the terms of safety I want all the students in my classroom to feel safe enough to be able to express their ideas about topics in class no matter what their socioeconomic status, race, gender, or intellectual status is.  It is my goal as a teacher to rid the classroom of the bias that inadequacy and promote the communication of learning about science, culture and the relationship that is has with their real lives.  I want an environment that a "teachers accept them [students] as individuals with unique and cultural difference; to respect, relate and like them; to listen and communicate openly; and the understand and honor their family, culture, language, and race." (Sheets and Gay, 1996) To do this I must make the interpersonal relationships with the student and the family necessary to promote the success they deserve in future.

To keep the class rules just, I believe that I must keep in contact with the parents or guardians of the students. To do this, I will call or email the student’s parents or guardians a least once a month to give positive and negative feedback about their progress.  The parents can be my biggest help when it comes to enforcing classroom rules and understanding a student’s behavior.  It is my belief that parents and guardians want to be involved in their children’s education but they often do not know how to get involved or the time schedules are conflicting for both the parent/guardians and the teacher.   So by opening this line of communication it will allow me to further that interpersonal relationship needed to educate the student for success.

Classroom Procedure

When it comes to classroom procedure I believe that the biggest thing I can do is be consistent and fair.  A routine and structure is something that students seek in their lives especially when it is missing.  Classroom routines can positively affect students’ academic performance as well as their behavior (Cheney, 1989; Vallecorsa, deBettencourt, & Zigmond, 2000); as a result, one practical strategy is for teachers to adopt a consistent classroom routine. A routine is simply a set of procedures for handling both daily occurrences (e.g., taking attendance, starting a class period, or turning in assignments), and minor interruptions of instruction, such as a student’s broken pencil or the arrival of a note from the main office (Kosier, 1998; Savage, 1999).  Once taught, routines are daily activities that students are able to complete with little or no teacher assistance, which accomplishes two objectives (a) students have more opportunity to learn and (b) teachers can devote more time to instruction (Colvin & Lazar, 1995).

I will have a set class agenda on the board everyday with a question of the day.  These will be put into a class notebook and checked at the end of the week for completion.  During this time I will be taking role and getting organized for that class. In part of the student being organized for the class I believe that the teacher must also be organized in the class in order to teach from bell to bell.  The students are also expected to keep their notes in a 3 inch three ring binder so that when the time comes for a test they will have all their notes and papers together.  The binders will be check every three to four weeks to ensure that students are keeping up with notes. In the instance of a student being ESL I will allow that students to take notes in their primary language and as the year goes on help promote them to use the English language.  If writing is an issue I will let them us a multimedia device, such as a recorder, to help express the information that is being learned. 

As far as homework I have two thoughts on it.  On one hand I believe that students need to do homework to practice the problems and think about the topics they are being worked on in class. It is that extra time that allows the students to process and retain the information that they learned that day.  On the other hand I know that students I have in the classroom work and most of them cannot complete the homework due to exhaustion of working late. Therefore, I will make a compromise between the two by making the students only do one to two assignments in a week to which they will be posted well in advanced.  The assignments will be meaningful to the information being taught and not just a busy work assignment.

The closure of the class must also be constant.  During the last 15 minutes of the class information must be gone over or re-taught in order to understand students understanding.  To do this at the end of each class I will ask the students to write in their journal what they have learned that day and what problems they are having with the information.   I will call upon students and ask them to express to the class what they have learned or what problems they are having. This I hope will help tear down the walls so that all students will feel comfortable talking in class about worries or understandings that are going on.

I would also have the students create a portfolio of all the work that they have accomplished in the class and every 4 weeks take it home to their parents/guardian to get signed.  This ensures that the parents/guardian is seeing all the work the students are doing.  I will also include in the portfolio a section that allows me to write comments as well as the parents/guardian to respond regarding the student’s progress.

Grading in the class will be base on a point system that will include homework, test, labs, quizzes, and class participation.   There will also be grades taken on group work that is done on lab projects and in classroom activities.  These grades will be done on a rubric that will include a section on how the group worked together as a team.  I believe that students need to be able to work together in the classroom just as they would in the real world and for that they need to be grade on it. 

Encouraging all Students

To bring meaning to a student’s life a purpose for learning must be set-up in a safe and inviting classroom.  This classroom should promote the student to have a purpose in life and move to the point of self actualization.  Self actualization “is a person's need to do that which he or she feels they are meant to do.” (Maslow's Hierarchy - Online Leadership Training)  When talking democratic classroom each student must have a purpose of being there and what to be there, and if other levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy are not meet then the learning process is not really occurring.   Take for instance this scenario.  If Billy, is being bullied and is hungry before he comes to school.  Billy is not going to care about what is being taught.  He is more concerned with where and when he is going to eat (Biological) and why he does not fit into the group (Safety, Loved, and Belonging).  So, how can we expect a student to perform in the classroom if they are not feed, feeling safe, being respected, loved, and have high self esteem.
How can the cycles be broken and each and every student encourage to learn?  I believe just as above I must assure the students from the first day of school that my classroom is safe, secure and they will be treated with dignity.    I must explain to them what respect exactly is, and how they need to respect the other students in the class, the classroom and me.  I will explain to them that name calling, put downs and unequally treatment of others will not be tolerated in my classroom.  For this is a place that each of use my express ourselves as long as we do not offend another in the classroom.  It is this type of preventive measures that I can take at the beginning of the school year to stop students from acting out and hurting others in the classroom.
Being consistent from everything from rules to procedures in the classroom will also help establish a safe learning environment.  When teachers let the rules bend for one group of students or one student in the classroom, the rest of the students in the class now feel isolated.  This type of discrimination only bring about division in the classroom and when this happens students stop learning about the subject matter and focus on the unfairness of the classroom.  Being consistent in all aspect of the classroom is my goal as a teacher in order to promote fairness and equality.
The last way I will encourage students is to have a positive attitude towards what I teach and the students that I teach.  If we are not excited about being in school and our jobs how can students also be excited?  When a person has a positive attitude then it often spreads from person to person.  If I go into school everyday ready for my students to learn, by being prepared and organized, then my students will feed of that.  There is a lot to say about smiling and saying something kind to a person.  
I believe that in a democratic classroom the teacher must give up the authority figure and start to facilitate the classroom in a secure and accepting manner that realizes the potential in every student.  I also believe that the classroom is a place that must take consideration of the opinions of all students, no matter what their race, gender, sexuality, or socioeconomic status is, and compromise on best solutions to problems that may arise.  Just like a democratic society all ideas and beliefs must be taken in consideration when decisions are made. 


Campbell, D. E.  (2010). Choosing democracy: A practical guide to multicultural education. Boston,
 MA: Allyn & Bacon.
Cheney, C. O. (1989, April). Preventive discipline through effective classroom management.
Paper presented at the Preconvention Training Program “Exploring the Theory/Practice Link in Special Education” at the Annual Convention of the Council for Exceptional Children. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 304 869)
Colvin, G., & Lazar, M. (1995). Establishing classroom routines. In A. Deffenbaugh, G. Sugai,
G. Tindal (Eds.), The Oregon Conference Monograph 1995, Vol. 7 (pp. 209-212). Eugene, OR: University of Oregon.

Gay, Geneva. At the Essence of Learning: Multicultural Education. West Lafayette, IN: Kappa Delta Pi, 1994, p. 2.

Kosier, K. (1998). The discipline checklist: Advice from 60 successful elementary teachers.
Annapolis Junction: National Education Association of the United States.
Savage, T. (1999). Teaching self-control through management and discipline. Boston: Allyn
& Bacon.
Media to teach and learn with, recommended by professors everywhere.. Web. 7 Jul 2011., . "" Using Maslow’s Hierarchy Building a happier, more satisfied team. © Mind Tools Ltd, 2011. Web. 7 Jul 2011. <>.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Gender in the Classroom

To create a more equitable classroom I think that the teacher must become more aware of their behaviors in the classroom and find non-bias materials to teach with.   According to Amanda Chapman’s paper entitled Gender Bias in Education,” Curriculum researchers have established six attributes that need to be considered when trying to establish a gender-equitable curriculum. Gender-fair materials need to acknowledge and affirm variation. They need to be inclusive, accurate, affirmative, representative, and integrated, weaving together the experiences, needs, and interests of both males and females. (Bailey, 1992) "We need to look at the stories we are telling our students and children. Far too many of our classroom examples, storybooks, and texts describe a world in which boys and men are bright, curious, brave, inventive, and powerful, but girls and women are silent, passive, and invisible." (McCormick, 1995) Furthermore, teachers can help students identify gender-bias in texts and facilitate critical discussions as to why that bias exists.”( Chapman 2011)
The first thing that I will try to do as a teacher is make my material more varied in as far a gender is concerned.  In West Virginia we are limited to state approved text books but I could choose a textbook that address the content in a non bias way and gives both genders accomplishments in science.  If the textbook does not accomplish this I could assign various journal articles address gender roles in science.  I also found a great PBS series called Secret Lives of Scientist that talks about what various types of scientist and what they do.  The great thing about the series is that they have both male and female scientist and how they deal with everyday life as a scientist. 
As a teacher I would also have to be aware of the amount of time I spend helping both genders.  Both genders must be allotted equal amounts of time and energy to learning.  According to Spencer, "Over the course of years the uneven distribution of teacher time, energy, attention, and talent, with boys getting the lion's share, takes its toll on girls." (Sadker, 1994)  As a male teacher I will have to make sure that the majority of my time is not towards the male gender in my classroom but equally divided between the two.  This includes thing such as examples used in class and the way questions are stated in a test. 

Bailey, S. (1992) How Schools Shortchange Girls: The AAUW Report. New York, NY: Marlowe & Company.
Sadker, D., Sadker, M. (1994) Failing at Fairness: How Our Schools Cheat Girls. Toronto, ON: Simon & Schuster Inc.
Jones, K., Evans, C., Byrd, R., Campbell, K. (2000) Gender equity training and teaching behavior. Journal of Instructional Psychology, 27 (3), 173-178.
Chapman, Amanda. "Gender Bias in Education." Gender Bias in Education (2011): n. pag. Web. 30 Jul 2011. <>.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Low SES Schools

As a single parent with two children living on 1000 dollars a month it would be difficult to say the least.  They biggest cost would probably go to rent and utilities.  The apartment would be HUD approved and would constitute about 400 dollars of the budget.  Utilities would be about 200 dollars a month.  This would include electric, gas, and phone.  Cable and internet would not be an option for the cost would be too much to put into the budget.  This although would not matter, for the family could not afford a computer.  Food and gas would constitute the rest of budget and a little, about 100 dollars, would be set aside to pay for things like clothing, medical bills, automotive repairs and special occasion items.   The kids in the family would have to rely on the school for two of the three meals in the day, and they would qualify for free meals. They third meal of the day would not be from a fast for restaurant, it would be meals that are either frozen or from a can.  Nutritional value would poor most of the time.  Throughout the year the kids would rely on the school to provide transportation, to school and home.  This includes during the summer time in which that kids would go to a program that provided breakfast and lunch. The parent would also rely on the school to develop those characteristics that are lost in their parenting.  For example, if it is a single mother then the role of the father may have to be play out by a male teacher in the school or vice versa.  The school may also be relied on with things such as sex education and helping the children deal with personal hygiene issues.
The kids would be more than likely be latch key kids; because the parent would be working long hours at a minimum wage job.  The older of the two kids would watch over the youngest most of the time right after school.  Due to exhaustion the parent would not spend a lot of time working with the children on things like homework.  They would probably spend most of the time just trying to recoup from the day’s work.   Parent teacher conferences would probably not be of priority for the fact that most working poor do not see education as means of getting out of a situation.
As an educator I would make sure that every student had the same supplies need for classroom.  This would include things such as pencil, pens, markers, and notebooks.  I would also make sure that the students in my class were not prejudice towards each other.  Mean that no matter what the socioeconomic background was they were all treated equally.  I would have cooperative learning groups that were diversified to allow student of different economic backgrounds work together. As a teacher, I would also promote I would also allow all the students to have a voice in the classroom by engaging them in inquiry activities and discussions.  The use of the 5 step model would be a great idea.  Robert Moses (1989) describes his five step teaching and learning process. These five steps are: a physical event (mathematical project), a picture or model of the event, intuitive language description of this event, and symbolic representation of the event (Moses, Kamii, Swap, & Howard, 1989).  This model would allow the teacher to bring real world problems to the students with inquiry based solutions.  I believe that having high expectation and connecting with all the cultural and economic backgrounds that will allow the students to succeed in society today. 

Moses, R. P., Kamii, M., Swap, S. M., & Howard, J. (1989). The Algebra Project:
organizing in the spirit of Ella. Harvard Educational Review, 59, 423-443

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Language differences and perspectives of ethnic groups in the classroom

To implement various teaching strategies into the classroom I think that teachers need to know about the culture they are dealing with. To do this, teachers need to communicate with the students and the parents of the students to understand the world that they are coming from.  I know that the place I grow up in is total different from the place to which I teach and in order to be able to connect with the students I must to learn and understand their environment. It all comes back to that first word of discussion we had RESPECT.  We as teacher must remember that we are stepping into their world as much as they are stepping in ours. Communicating about each other’s cultures and views seems like the logical place to start. 

Now how do we get our student’s to communicate with each other?  Cooperative learning groups are a great way for students to interact together and share ideas.  In fact, research has shown that “Cooperative learning leads to more positive racial attitudes for all students, more interracial friendship choices, and academic gains for students of color (especially Hispanics and African-Americans).. Cooperative, crossracial learning also increases student instruction, self-esteem, and ability to empathize. (Gay, Geneva.,2010)

After surfing the internet for some teaching strategies I discover an article called “Strategies for Reducing Racial and Ethnic Prejudice: Essential Principles for Program Design.”  The article summarized the works of several great research projects and came up with 13 principles in which teachers could reduce ethnic and racial prejudice.  The principles can be found at the following web-site,, but I would like to elaborate on a few that I found interesting and applicable to my teaching. 

The principles that I found interesting are principles four and ten. Principle four states, “Strategies should include participants who reflect the racial, ethnic, and linguistic diversity of the context and should be structured in such a way as to ensure cooperative, equal-status roles for persons from different groups,” and principle ten states” Strategies should expose the ino.ccuro.cies of myths that sustain stereotypes and prejudices.” ( Willis D. Hawley, James A. Banks, Amado M. Padillo, Donald B. Pope-Davis, Janet Schofield, 2011) These two principles guide me to try to make the students overlook the myths about different ethnic groups and learn that the differences between them should be embraced.  In order to accomplish these principles, I would strategically put students in cooperative learning groups during lab and project time.  The students would be matched up with different races, ethnicities, socioeconomic status or learning styles on a rotating base. For example, if there are 6 groups 4. After the 4 projects or labs, new groups would be formed allowing the further mixing of students. The students would also be allowed to assign each other roles for the labs or projects being done. This would also be done on a rotation bases.  For example, in a lab situation each student would have a responsibility for completing a task of getting the lab completed. At the end of the lab it would be the responsibility of the leader, of that lab, to get all members working on the discussion and final presentation.

As an educator I would explain that each of us is from a different part of the country or world and we have different dialects and languages that are all unique.  I would also explain to them that it is important for their success in the United States that they learn to speak English in the classroom so they may be able to communicate outside their community.  I would however explain to them that their home language is important and that it is imperative that they keep their home language. For this language is their connection to their culture and past and with it traditions and root to that past maybe lost. Now, if a student is not comfortable yet with English it would only make sense try to teach that student in their native language until the student is comfortable with English. To do this I would have to ask for help for a translator and use material to help the ESL student.



Gay, Geneva. At the Essence of Learning: Multicultural Education. West Lafayette, IN: Kappa Delta Pi, 1994, p. 2.

Hawley, Willis, James Banks, Amado Padillo, Donald Davis, and Janet Schofield. "Strategies for Reducing Racial and Ethnic Prejudice: Essential Principles for Program Design." (1995): 2. Web. 16 Jul 2011. <>.