On the first day of student teaching, a key element is to learn the classroom management strategies that the teacher uses. My master teacher Mrs. Eastern uses many classroom management strategies in order to maximize time. At this point, in the year the students are well versed in the rules and routines that take place. The teacher uses different strategies to target certain areas. Some strategies focus on classroom efficacy, time management, and behavior.
The classroom design is a large component of efficacy and time management that makes Mrs. Eastern classroom management strategies function accordingly. The classroom is a large square that has bookcases and storage units along the walls. Instead of individual desks, there are rectangular tables that contain two cubbies underneath the table surface. Two tables form a group of four students. There are a total of 9 groups. There are walkways between all the tables. These walkways allow students to move freely and quickly throughout the classroom. When class begins, only half of the students bring their backpacks into the classroom. The students take out of their backpack everything that they need for the days work and take the empty backpack out to the hall. The other half of the students, sort and retrieve all the necessary items out in the hall. Those students leave their backpacks out in the hall and bring in their materials to class. All backpacks stay outside in the hall. Leaving backpacks outside allows the classroom to feel less cluttered and gives students the opportunity to walk around without tripping on a backpack.
Additionally, another time management and classroom design strategy is that all students have a plastic tub on their desk. The purpose of the tub is to hold all the materials the students use daily. The tub has a name label so when a student is reassigned a seat all they have to move is their tub. Also, each group has an assigned supply box that contains highlighters, sharpeners, pen correctors, a mini-stapler, pens, dry-eraser markers, post-its, and erasers. This allows all students to avoid forgetting and looking for materials. The supply box is a time management strategy that I will definitely implement in my classroom. Besides the student and supply tub, there are assignment tubs. There is a tub for homework, math/science, and language arts/ social studies. The students place their work and there is an assigned helper to put the assignments in order by student number. By using tubs and student number the teacher can quickly check for missing assignments. Also, grading assignments is done faster by having assignments in the list order.
Another classroom management strategy is the use of numbers. Each child has an assigned number. The students label all their material and assignments with their first name and number. The teacher created a sheet that contains four boxes. In each box there is title, date due, and numbers 1 through 40. Each box is for one assignment. The teacher will get assignments from designated tub and cross out students that have turned in assignment and circle students with missing assignments. The process takes less than two minutes to complete. This classroom management strategy is ideal for any teacher. It makes grading and keeping track easier. From this classroom management activity, I learned that it is easy to keep track of your students’ progress and assignment delivery.
There are other strategies that Mrs. Eastern uses to manage behavior. There are table points that are given when students follow rules and behave appropriately. Table points are given to students who are working on task, use the assigned noise level, help a peer, and more positive student behavior. Tables lose points if the opposite occurs. At the end of the week, the table with the most points wins a tasty prize. Mrs. Eastern does not use the point system for academic results but only for reinforcing positive behavior. Another strategy that I would like to implement in my classroom focuses on encouraging reading. When students finish an assignment they can read a novel of their choice. Students pick a novel from Mrs. Eastern’s library and keep it in their tub. A lot of students enjoy this activity because they can read quietly at their own pace. Many students pick a certain series or author. This strategy reduces many unwanted behaviors because students are engaged in an activity that they enjoy.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Copyright © 2013 All Rights Reserved Michelle Villasenor
Michelle Villasenor is a elementary teacher that focuses on educational technology and student-centered learning. She holds a Masters of Education in Curriculum Instruction from University of San Diego.