Classroom Management Observation
Dr. Bump TCED 4738
By Shannon Mayville
My PDS classroom has the provisions and procedures necessary to create and maintain a classroom community in which teaching and learning can occur. My PDS mentor teacher team teaches and she focuses on the math while the other teacher focuses on the reading lesson. One teacher teaches math lesson first thing in the morning while the other teacher teaches reading, then the classes switch and the teachers teach math and reading again to the other class. My homeroom class has 15 students, 7 boys and 8 girls and the second class has 17 students, 8 boys and 9 girls. Two students in the home room class go to another teacher during our math lesson and receive further help in reading, then they return and do the math lesson with the second class. The classroom is very colorful and inviting with samples of the students work, bright posters of positive behavior and content material, and a touch of the teacher’s personal life as well. The desks are in groups of four and each group is labeled with a day of the week. For that day, that particular table has privileges over the other students, like lining up first. Each student has his/her own cabinet for his/her belongings that is labeled with a picture of himself/herself that they drew. There are also four computers available to the students and they usually work on them everyday. My mentor teacher stays on a schedule that is posted on the chalkboard; the students have a definite routine. The class begins by turning in their homework folder in the basket. Each student has the same identical folder which makes it easier for the teacher to recognize. Every morning the assignments for the day are posted on the chalkboard. After turning in the homework folder they immediately begin copying the assignments for the day in their assignment notebook which looks like a daily planner. Throughout the day if there is homework, the students go back in the notebook and circle the subject. They then get out their morning folder and begin the warm-up in math for the day. The variety of folders used in this class is what has helped it become so organized. While they are working on the warm-up, the teacher will go through their homework folder and check for completeness and for items to be signed. If both of these are completed the student gets a ticket; once a week the teacher pulls three tickets from the basket that they were collected in, and the three tickets with the students name on them receive a prize. If the homework folder is not completed, the teacher calls the student to her desk and talks to them about why they didn’t receive a ticket. Next the teacher goes over the warm-up with the students on the overhead projector, and the students receive feedback of what they have done, right then and there. Bad sentence – needs revision – Now starts the math lesson, the content area that they are working on for the time is posted on the chalkboard with the steps to take in solving the problems. For example, we are working on rounding and the teacher has steps like: underline the place value you are rounding to, circle the number behind it. Sometimes when the students are having difficulty with the content she will copy these steps and post them on their desk so they can refer back to them personally if need be. The teacher continuously walks around observing the students work and making sure they are on task. After the math lesson the students gather their reading materials and head to the other teacher’s classroom. The same routine, except for the homework folder, is followed with the next group of students; they do their warm-up, the teacher goes over the warm-up and then they start the math lesson. Both classes are on the same lessons; which helps with consistency for the teacher. Next the students return to their homeroom and go to lunch. After lunch they begin working in their handwriting notebook independently while some of the students go to the restroom. Lastly the students flow through a language arts lesson and a science or social studies lesson. The very last hour the students go to gym and the library. I noticed in both the classes that every chance the student has to read they do, which gives them the opportunity to take an AR test on the computer when time allows. The discipline plan the teacher uses is new to me. She uses index cards of different colors that are held in pockets. Everyone starts off with white each day which stands for good behavior. The other colors mean: green – warning, yellow – note home, blue – phone call, and red – office. This is set up on a display that is a race track that is titled On Track with Good Behavior; there are small sayings like ‘make repairs and get back on track’. A weekly report goes home which tell the parents what color the student was on for each day of the week.
The size difference in the two classes is small, but does make a difference. Referring back to The Act of Teaching, the statement that says having fewer learners and teaching in a less complex environment permit more teacher-student interaction, I have noticed this to be true even on a small level. The teacher does have more time with the individual students more in the smaller class that in the larger one and the smaller class has seemed to grasp concepts for efficiently also. An inviting classroom has a positive tone. According to Maslow, students are most able to learn and to behave appropriately when they feel safe, secure, and accepted. Cruickshank, Jenkins, and Metcalf in The Act of Teaching state that effective teachers use color, light, temperature, and displays to create an attractive classroom tone where students feel safe and comfortable. My mentor’s classroom demonstrates both of these statements; through her bright colorful walls creating warmth, the cabinets that each child has and the birthday display creates a sense of belonging, and her organized supplies, materials, and paperwork keeps her class free of clutter. The routines and procedures that my mentor teacher has established for her class are aligned very well with the UHCL standard four, Learning Environment and Classroom Management. She maintains a productive learning environment that consistently implements rules and procedures for the effective management of time, materials, personnel and technology to maximize learning for the students, which matches standard 4.2. By maintaining the same schedule everyday she has kept the students on a routine so consistent that they make a smooth transition from one subject to another. This alone, helps her maximize her time and creates a predictable environment. With the desks grouped together the children often ask each other questions if they are unsure, which encourages cooperative learning, this meets standard 4.5: create a stimulating learning environment that promotes independent and cooperative learners who are self disciplines and motivated. The students’ ability and motivation to pick up a book and read it whenever they have time shows an excellent example of standard 4.5 as well. The discipline they have to use their time wisely and the motivation they have to want to read more to take an AR test is absolutely amazing in this classroom. Through her “On Track to Good Behavior” chart, it is related clearly to students and parents how she generates corrective measures, which aligns with standard 4.6. The tickets given out for a job well done, or a signature, or good behavior fosters a positive climate of equity and excellence, as stated in standard 4.1.
In planning for my future classroom I would like to start with the “On the Right Track to Good Behavior” chart. What struck me the most was that this chart didn’t just say who is behaving and who is not, it gave encouraging remarks like ‘make repairs and get back on track’. To me this is not stating that the child is being bad, but more like I know you can be good you just kind of veered off in the wrong direction, which is more encouraging. I could possibly use this idea by using a hot air balloon. Good choices make it go up and bad choices bring the balloon down. Not only would I state what happens at each level as the balloon falls down, but also what choices can be made to bring the balloon back up to a higher level of good behavior. I am a firm believer that organization and routine makes the day run so much more smoothly, and fortunate enough to have a mentor teacher that not only agrees but demonstrates it as well. The colorful and inviting classroom is also one I would definitely like to follow through with. I might try having a focus for each day that sparks the students’ immediate attention as they walk in the door. For example, I could dress up for the book being read, I could be a big plus sign for addition, or I could bring in a new animal. Each of these would spark their interests and have them wondering what tomorrow will bring. I would possibly encourage more cooperative learning by doing more group activities or challenges between tables on solving problems. In order for me to maintain a good classroom management plan and more of an effective teacher I must continue educating my self through different resources for different ideas. Some places I could acquire more knowledge would be: fellow colleagues, workshops, seminars, and books. You could find information on workshops or seminars through a professional organization or your local university. Teacher supply stores have several varieties of books with an amazing amount of information to gather and research more on. By following some of the examples I have seen with my mentor teacher and reading more on effective teaching I know I can create a classroom management plan that will meet my needs as well as the needs of my diverse learners.