As I have not had any experience working in my own classroom many of the following procedures are based on research I have done as well as what I can picture working. Of course I am fully expecting to re-evaluate these procedures and rules at regular time intervals throughout my teaching career as they might not work at all, or what works with one class might be horrible for another.
Standards and Rules:
I really like the idea presented by McLeod, Fisher and Hoover (81-82) about working with your students to come up with a set of Rules and Standards for the classroom. I plan on doing this the first day of school with my future classes. I will ask the students to come up with rules that they think will help contribute to a safe and productive learning environment for everyone. Depending on the age of my students we will either work together to group the similar ones together, or I will do it myself and then we will evaluate those groups and come up with phrases the represent all of them; I will limit these to about 5. We will also work as a group to be sure these are phrased in a positive tone, avoid using words like "can't" and "won't" This ensures that we come up with general standards that will apply to a multitude of situations in the classroom. It will also create a structure in which the students will be more motivated to follow these rules and standards because they played a crucial role in creating them. It empowers them, instead of always being told what to do. Of course I will also introduce the school rules and rules for general safety while at school.
Marzano (124) listed out categories teachers should be prepared to have procedures for in order to run a successful classroom. I have listed these categories below.
- General Classroom Behavior
- Beginning and Ending of the School Day or the Period
- Transitions and Interruptions
- Use of Materials and Equipment
- Group Work
- Seatwork and Teacher-Led Activities
I know that I will want to incorporate the following procedures into my classroom routine:
Entering the Classroom:
- I will greet my students at the door each morning.
- As students enter the classroom they will say good morning and then walk slowly while in the classroom.
- They will place their backpacks and coats on the hooks below their cubbies, or wherever the designated areas for those are in the classroom.
- They will then proceed to their mailbox and collect anything that has been returned to them.
- They will then go to their assigned seat and being the morning work that is on the board.
- If they finish their work before class begins they will be able to take out their assigned reading and read quietly at their desks.
Leaving the Classroom:
- The routine will be that my students are not dismissed by the bell, but by me.
- I would like to do the same activity at the end of everyday like recognizing exception students or some sort of wrap up activity that has a social focus to bring us closer as a group.
- Once this activity is completed students will be dismissed by group to go collect their backpacks.
- They will bring their backpacks back to their tables and pack up the thing they will need to go home.
- They will then be dismissed by group again to line up at the door
- I will wait by the door to say goodbye to each student as they leave the classroom.
Using the Restroom
- I would like to have an open policy for using the restroom, but also include a way to track which kids have gone and when.
- I will teach the students a hand signal, like a raised hand with their fingers crossed.
- I will acknowledge them at which point they will go over to the bathroom clipboard and place a check next to their name.
- I will have a policy that if it is an emergency they will be allowed to get up and go without asking, but of course if this begins to be abused we will need to reevaluate.
- I will monitor the clipboard to determine if anyone is going excessively, or if it is even necessary to keep the clipboard as the year goes on.
It is difficult for me to say that any of these are non-negotiable because I do not feel that I have enough experience to know for sure. I think I have more of the teacher style of starting out the year with an idea of what I like, but really molding those ideas to fit in with the students in my class. I would rather not spend my school year trying to fit square pegs into round holes. I would like to be flexible in the sense that things can change and evolve, but I will still maintain a very structured classroom with procedures and rules for everything necessary.
Marzano, R.J. (2007). The Art and Science of Teaching. Retrieved from http://www.teachnowprogram.com/get_help_resources/activity_resources/module4/The_Art_and_Science_of_Teaching.pdf
McLeod, Joyce, Jan Fisher, and Ginny Hoover. The Key Elements of Classroom Management: Managing Time and Space, Student Behavior, and Instructional Strategies. Alexandria, VA: Association For Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2003. Retrieved from http://www.teachnowprogram.com/get_help_resources/activity_resources/module4/The_Key_Elements_of_Classroom_Management.pdf