Prepared by Laurie Goode

"Classroom management is not about achieving order for order's sake;
it's about achieving order so that learning can occur."
-C. S. Weinstein

Morning Routines/Transitions

One of my biggest struggles when I first took over teaching full time in elementary school was transitioning between subjects and resources. I knew I wanted to implement positive classroom management strategies in the classroom, so after brainstorming possible solutions I decided to incorporate the “Caught Being Good” with specific areas of classroom management. Each week I would change the focus of the “Caught Being Good” board, though I would randomly include areas from past weeks too. Since transition time was my weakest area, I began to work on transitions in the first week. I “caught students being good” when they had their desk cleared before leaving the room for recess, lunch, and resource class and also when students were quietly prepared for instructions. This helped tremendously and I saw improvements in transitions immediately. By cues such as picking up the jar of popsicle sticks by the “Caught Being Good” board or with a quick verbal reminder such as “Let me see who’s ready to get started,” the students were on-task and prepared to start the lesson.

Third Grade's Caught Being Good Board

Another way I helped maximize transition time in the elementary classroom was during the morning routine. I found myself repeating instructions too many times for students who were straggling in the room at different times and students who were meeting with their friends for the first time that day. Therefore, I began writing the directions on the board. I always began with a note to the students, from something as simple as “Good Morning! Welcome to a Fantastic Friday!” to detailed messages explaining any changes in the schedule for the day. In middle school, I also list the objective and the While You Wait work on the board to help students transition between different periods.

Physical Arrangement of the Classroom
I am a huge proponent of changing the arrangement of the classroom for optimal learning. Within five weeks of student teaching at Berkeley Middle School, I grouped desks in a version of rows when there was more direct instruction and independent work happening in the classroom. However, when I used stations and wanted students to collaboratively work together, I moved seats into groups of three or four. The students knew their assigned seats in both desks arrangements to allow for easy transitions into the classroom. Below are seating charts I used to assign seats.

Seating Arrangements: Group and Independent Work

Another important factor that needs to be considered when arranging the classroom for a learning environment conducive to learning is the accessibility into the room and around the room. Ease of movement around desks, cabinets, doorways, and other objects will limit the distractions during class time. The ease of movement also plays a role in the accessibility of learning materials. The classroom should be arranged where materials and resources are accessible to students to support learning. Examples of these materials may be bins or baskets filled with drawing utensils, scissors, glue, dictionaries, and paper and pencils.

Grouping Students
As a teacher, it is my responsibility to ensure that cooperative learning serves its purpose to support student learning. One way to ensure this goal is to determine whether groups should be heterogeneously or homogeneously based on ability levels for the activity. For instance, I planned a book club that was homogeneous in reading level in order to have the opportunity to read an advanced book, but I also planned flexible heterogeneous small reading groups to focus on particular skills with students from all reading levels. Grouping of students is teacher selected in order to control the group dynamics and abilities. An additional way to ensure all students are involved in the learning process and held accountable for group work is to assign jobs for each individual member. Examples of possible jobs include materials manager, communications specialist, and time keeper. Another strategy to ensure the goals of group work are achieved is by teaching students how to work in a group and cooperate with others. I will do this through role playing and by gradually introducing group work by giving an independent assignment that requires coming together in a small group to complete the last step.

Classroom Management Plan
For a more detailed account of my classroom management plan, including more details about routines and procedures, and policies on managing different types of misbehavior, please visit my entire behavior management and discipline plan. This plan uses best practice research as well as my experiences in the field to create a classroom management plan for an elementary classroom.