Lower Elementary Classroom Management Plan
Effective classroom management is crucial to a successful school year. My management plan is a work in progress as I gain experience and encounter new situations in the classroom. It’s important that my approach is student-centered because I want students to develop a sense of responsibility for their actions. My students will have a voice in deciding what appropriate behavior is and I will be confident that all students understand my expectations for the classroom. I will be firm, caring, and consistent when it comes to discipline because I want to ensure that my classroom is a positive and appropriate learning environment for all students. These standards are catered to a lower elementary level class, but I will change my plan according to my student’s needs. Being proactive is an important part of classroom management and I will strive to anticipate and prevent any possible behavioral issues before they arise.
Positive Reinforcement plays a huge role in my classroom management plan. I will praise students verbally with compliments like “I love how you started your morning work right away!” or “John thank you for showing your friends how to be a good listener!” I will also praise in writing with positive comments on student work, special notes in journals and notes sent home for especially great behavior or work.
Group Rewards: Using a “Warm and Fuzzy” jar in my classroom is a great way to reward the entire class for good behavior. I introduce my jar early in the school year and I explain to students that when I see great behavior, I feel warm and fuzzy inside and it makes me so proud of them. Whole group instruction is a great time to remind students that they can earn Warm and Fuzzies if they are being proactive learners. When the class works together to fill the jar to the very top, they will be rewarded together. When I first introduce the jar, my students learn that voting is a fair way to make a decision, and they vote as a class on what they would like for their prize. Prizes can include an ice cream party, pajama day, an extra long recess, or a reading marathon with stuffed animal friends. I find that a great way to give out a warm and fuzzy is to pick a “mystery walker” when students are in the hall. I tell them that the mystery walker could be anyone, and if they keep their hands to themselves, look ahead of them, and stay quiet in the hall, the mystery walker can earn a warm and fuzzy for the whole class. Students really want to earn these, so it’s a great way to get them to stay quiet in the hall or to get them to transition quickly and quietly into another subject.
Individual Rewards: Each individual student has the chance to get rewarded for good behavior through the “caught being good” program I use. I create paper slips that I give to a student if he/she is caught being good. Students cannot ask for a slip, or point out that other students are on their best behavior; I must catch the student being good on my own. When a student gets a slip, he/she can put it into my box and I will draw a slip at the end of the day for a small prize like a pencil or a neat eraser. Students are thrilled to put their names in the box.
Behavioral Intervention Strategies:
Through my experiences of working with children in the classroom as well as my experience in working with children at summer camp, I’ve acquired strategies that help curb negative behavior quickly and discretely. Examples of these strategies are as follows:
1.) Make eye contact directly with a child to let them know his/her behavior is unacceptable.
2.) Stay in close proximity and walk towards or stand next to a student who is misbehaving. A touch on the shoulder can also help a student understand that you are aware of his/her behavior and that it needs to be changed. An effective classroom manager is always moving about the classroom to curb negative behavior and reinforce positive behavior.
3.) Use nonverbal signals to remind students to be on their best behavior. This could be a simple shaking of the head or thumbs up sign that all students will do back to you so you can see who’s on task.
4.) Use verbal signals to remind students to behave appropriately. Saying something like “Wow, Kayla’s group looks ready to line up,” will cause other students to check on their own behavior.
5.) Change a student’s location if he/she cannot behave appropriately next to certain peers or needs to be closer to you to stay engaged.
It’s important to establish clear and consistent rules from the very beginning of the school year. On the first day, I collaborate with students to decide on the appropriate classroom rules. Allowing students to have a say in these rules will hold them accountable for their actions. Students will create a poster with the classroom rules and will sign the poster like a contract. It’s important that the poster is always visual to serve as a reminder. I will guide students to include the following
- Be Respectful
- Be Responsible
- Listen and Follow Directions the First Time
Procedures and Routines
Routines are important for young learners. I will post a daily schedule to put students at ease and allow them to see what comes next in their day. This also curbs questions about what’s happening next. I will also establish and model procedures and routines that will be performed on a daily basis. Students are asked to demonstrate these procedures to show me that they fully understand them. For example, upon walking into the classroom, students will be taught to do the following:
- Turn in homework to the appropriate box
- Use the lunch bulletin board to select lunch choice
- Begin morning work quietly
Having clear and consistent procedures will allow students to take responsibility for their actions. I will not have to collect homework from them because they will know when and where to turn it in. Students will also practice how to effectively move from one subject to another and from one space to another in the school. We will even practice lining up quietly and walking down the hallway. It’s also important to practice rotating during center activities to avoid commotion. Taking the time to get these routines down is important in the beginning of the school year because it will save a lot of time in the long run.
To attain student’s attention quickly and effectively, a consistent attention signal should be used. To gain the attention of my students, I will use a clapping technique. I will clap a rhythm and my students will clap it back to me. They will know that as soon as they are done clapping, their eyes should be on me. This is a simple signal, so it’s perfect for the elementary level. I also like that it appeals to, visual, and kinesthetic learners. It is quick and effective and lets students get out an extra bit of energy before I begin instructions.
Giving students jobs in the classroom is a great way to let students take responsibility and to keep room running smoothly. Another reason I pick classroom helpers is because it will allow me to focus more time on teaching. I simply make cards with the names of each job, and cards with the names of each student. The student names have Velcro on the back, and the cards are placed next to the job that the student has for the day. Examples of useful classroom jobs include the following:
- Line Leader
- Lunch Cart
- Reading Corner
- Paper Passer
- Calendar Helper