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Classroom Management Philosophy Mr. Seth Dills

Classroom Roles

I have been in classrooms ranging from 16 Kindergarteners to 45 Sixth

Graders. The number of adults can range from One to Five (or more). With

so many moving parts it is important that each individual have a very

specific role.

My role when I come into a classroom is to facilitate learning and support

students through their individual needs. Students are continually maturing

so it is necessary for teachers to manage behaviors in the classroom and

teach them how to be productive members of their society. This is

something that has to happen compassionately . Teachers cannot be passive

while managing a classroom, but on the other hand they cannot be

authoritarian in how they approach their students. Students need adults

who model a healthy balance between being authoritative and showing that

they care.

Students are thought of as individuals who come to school to learn, but

far too often students are not loved at home and come to school seeking

that love and affirmation. The role of the teacher is very complex in

providing necessary emotional support and also imparting standards-based

knowledge for the students to soak up.

The other adults in the classroom (paras, volunteers, interns, etc.) have

a variety of roles that depend on the classroom, the school, and the needs

of individual students. These roles are ever changing and are considered on

a case-by-case basis.

Classroom Management Philosophy Mr. Seth Dills

Room Arrangement

The classroom is, above all else, a Learning Community where students

share ideas, interests, experiences, laughter, and a multitude of

opportunities with their teachers and their peers. Students come together

for a majority of their day in order to learn from one another and to grow

as productive members of their respective communities. This means that

the room itself must be designed to represent students of a variety of

backgrounds and experiences. The room itself must be accessible for

students with disabilities or impairments. The room itself must be a safe

haven where students will feel supported, loved, and encouraged in order

for effective learning to happen. Students are expected to support one

another, challenge one another to grow, hold one another accountable, and

give each other their best throughout each and every day in order to foster

an effective and healthy Learning Community full of respect for everyone.

It is difficult to argue the effectiveness of flexible seating in terms of

behavior management, impact on learning, and feel of the classroom. There

are different flexible seating strategies that work for different ages. The

younger students require limited flexible seating opportunities during

instruction as the role of the teacher is to also teach them how to sit in

contexts with traditional seating. While some seating strategies might not

work for Primary Grades (Tall Chairs) and others might not always work for

Upper Grades (Small Ball Chairs), there are multiple seating strategies that

I appreciate implementing:

Carpet time for instruction, classroom meetings, etc

Crate Chairs (Which also increase classroom storage!)

Classroom Management Philosophy Mr. Seth Dills

Stools for sitting at a regular-sized table

Tall Chairs for sitting at raised desks

Raised Desks for standing

Exercise Balls for sitting/ bouncing

Moon Chairs for sitting

Couches for sitting for laying down

Bathtub for laying down

Beanbag Chairs for sitting/ laying down

Video Game Chairs for sitting/ rocking

Exercise Ball Chairs for sitting/ bouncing

Lowered Table & Mats for sitting

“I Chair” for sitting at a stool but being able to wiggle

Traditional Chairs (which can include exercise bands for fidgeting)

All students are required to try out all seats and all students are expected

to choose the seat that allows them to learn most effectively. The teacher

makes sure to model the appropriate way to utilize each seating resource

and hold students accountable to the correct use of each resource. They

adhere to the following rules and procedures:

Sign a “Flexible Seating Contract”

Use a “Smart Seat” that helps them do their best work

Use the seat correctly and appropriately

If they sit next to a friend they’re still expected to work quietly

Move to another seat if their current spot is not working for them

Take care of and put away classroom supplies

Follow the rules or risk being moved by the teacher.

Classroom Management Philosophy Mr. Seth Dills

Classroom Rules

There are benefits to having minimal classroom rules to adhere to. Above

all else, I expect my students to BE RESPECTFUL toward themselves, their

peers, adults, and the supplies. They are expected to BE RESPONSIBLE

for themselves, for their supplies, for their work, and for their words. They

are also expected to BE SAFE at all times. Finally, I expect them to BE

INVOLVED because learning can’t happen without them! All other

expectations can fall under these four rules.

Classroom Procedures

At the onset of the day, students are expected to arrive on time to class,

go to their cubbies, and unpack their folders. They then put their

backpacks, coats, etc. in their cubbies and return their folders to their

numbered mailbox. This allows the teacher to go through it later during the

day. If they have any notes/ lunch money/ etc. they are expected to leave

it in the mailbox for the teacher to take care of later in the day. After this

they will have morning work to complete that is appropriate to the content

being discussed at that point in the year. They go through the day utilizing

a variety of Procedures that are taught (and reinforced) periodically.

When asking to be dismissed to go to the bathroom, to get a drink, etc.,

the student is expected to hold up a sign language “r” for restroom, a sign

language “w” for water, a sign language “t” for tissue, and a sign language

“p” for getting a pencil/ sharpening a pencil. This is to alleviate students

getting up, dancing in their seats, waving their hands, or creating a

Classroom Management Philosophy Mr. Seth Dills

disruption during instruction. The teacher can simply nod at the student to

dismiss them.

While in the halls, students are expected to walk using “Bubbles &

Hooks” in order to remain silent. As the teacher I believe it is important to

reinforce the REASON behind the rule. We should regularly remind students

that we don’t want to interrupt the learning of other students. When we see

a teacher or friend students need to know that it is appropriate to wave at

them but not to jump out of line and hug them (this goes for therapy

animals, too!).

To help with transitions I think that it is important to set limits for the

students and give them count downs so they know what to expect. This

also gives them a sense of urgency for their learning and the next step.

Students need to know what the teacher wants from them and when.

I appreciate the use of the “CHAMPS” model which addresses

Conversation, Help, Activity, Movement, Participation, and Success. This is

helpful to address for each segment of the day and allows the teacher to

clearly communicate expectations with students (an example can be found

on the next page). There are many (MANY!) procedures that need to be

taught and it is difficult to teach them all even during the first week and it

can be even more difficult to continually reinforce them. Teachers need to

be willing to maintain transparency about why the procedures are the way

they are and remind students of their expectations periodically in order for

them to be successful. The following images are helpful starting points:

Classroom Management Philosophy Mr. Seth Dills

Classroom Management Philosophy Mr. Seth Dills
Classroom Management Philosophy Mr. Seth Dills

Classroom Management Philosophy Mr. Seth Dills

 

Student

         

Arrival/

Dismissal

Teacher

Instruction

Small

Groups

Partner

Work

Independent

Work

Centers

C

0/1/2

0/1

2

1/2

0

1/2

 

Come to

 

Ask 3

Ask 3

Ask 3 then me

Raise

H

Teacher

Raise Hand

then me

then me

Hand

   

It’s

Work

Work

   

A

Prepare for

the Day!

Learning

Time!

Together

to Learn!

Together

to Learn!

Work Alone

to Learn!

Play Fair

Together!

M

Move

Safely

Around

Classroom

and Ask

Before

Leaving.

Hands in

Lap,

Spoons in

Bowls,

Respecting

Each

Other’s’

Stay at

Your

Working

Space

Stay at

Your

Working

Space

Stay at Your Working Space

Stay in

Your

center

unless

you ask

the

teacher

Space

first.

     

Work

Work

 

Work

P

Work Hard

on Morning

Work!

Listen

Carefully!

Together

and Take

Turns

Together

and Take

Turns

Work Hard

to Learn!

Together

and Take

Turns

S

Success

Success

Success

Success

Success

Success

Hard to Learn! Together and Take Turns S Success Success Success Success Success Success
Hard to Learn! Together and Take Turns S Success Success Success Success Success Success

Classroom Management Philosophy Mr. Seth Dills

The use of Call & Response strategies are very important for me as it

helps the teacher get student attention without yelling or trying to talk over

students. There are a number of Call & Response strategies I appreciate.

Some of those are:

Teacher says…

Students say…

Class, Class

Yes, Yes

1, 2, 3 Eyes on Me

1, 2 Eyes on You

Holy Moly

Guacamole

Red Robbin!

Yum!

Hola, Hola

Coca Cola

Freeze Please

(Freeze)

Otra Cosa

Mariposa

There are also strategies that I appreciate where the teacher begins the

students in singing a song – Days of the Week, Months of the Year, the

Alphabet, etc., especially done in a dual-language format to boost brain

development. There are other strategies that include chants such as the

following:

“Touch Your Head” (Clap, Clap)

“Touch Your Nose” (Clap, Clap)

“Touch Your Mouth” (Clap, Clap)

“Mouth is Closed.” (Clap, Clap)

The important part of these strategies is that they are taught explicitely

to students. Utilizing a song that students are unfamiliar with will be

ineffective as they won’t know what is expected of them. Using a dual-

language format without covering the other langauge will leave students

confused as to how to proceed.

Classroom Management Philosophy Mr. Seth Dills

The use of songs to transition students is also incredibly powerful.

Singing a song while the teacher hands out paper to remind students to

write their name on it can avoid giving the teacher a headache in the

future. For example, the following song sung to the tune of “If You’re Happy

and You Know It”:

“The first thing on your paper is your name,

The first thing on your paper is your name.

The teacher needs to know who did your work and so,

The first thing on your paper is your name!”

Inclusivity

All students have a right to a comprehensive, individualized, quality

education. No questions asked. This needs to be reflected in the teachers’

attitudes toward all students. If a student thinks that a teacher doesn’t like

them as much as their neighbor, then they are going to be less invested in

their education and are likely to be more disruptive. All students need to be

included, called on, and shown individual appreciation. By creating an

inclusive environment students are prepared to learn and are invested in

the experience. I believe that by creating an inclusive environment where

students can see themselves and their families represented will make the

path toward success that much easier to pave (which is supported by

research on Culturally Responsive Teaching).

There are going to be students who know how to get under our skin.

There are going to be parents that give their students a bad name. There

are going to be tough personal days. This doesn’t mean that our attitudes

Classroom Management Philosophy Mr. Seth Dills

toward those students should reflect those experiences. Each day is a new

day and many of the “problems” that we see have a root cause or function.

As a teacher it is important to ask of all our students’ behaviors “WTF?” –

What’s the Function? By understanding the function behind individual

behaviors we are able to create an inclusive, individualized, and quality

educational experience for all of our learners, especially those who may

need extra support.

Management & Discipline

Behavior modification seems to be a hot topic in many professional

circles right now and many people are unsure of how to approach it.

Through formal observations of veteran teachers and during my time as a

Case Manager I’ve found that there are a number of methodologies that can

be implemented during the “Management” piece to avoid getting to the

“Discipline” piece. Unfortunately, most students will need discipline at some

point in their educational career.

The first thing that I believe is important to consider is the need for

Positive Reinforcement for desired behaviors. When students model good

behaviors for their peers, it is important to reinforce those behaviors. When

students are on task, it is important to reinforce that behavior. Showing

kids that positive behaviors get positive results helps them w ant to have

positive behaviors so they can have those positive results.

The second piece to Management is that we should remember the

importance of modeling positive behaviors, conflict resolution, and

compassion. Students need to see that it is possible to manage emotions

Classroom Management Philosophy Mr. Seth Dills

and respond in effective, authoritative, compassionate ways. When we have

conflict with one of our students, we need to model the appropriate way to

talk to them and how to use our words effectively. When we deal with

sadness or hard days, we need to be honest about tough emotions and

model how to handle them. When we see that there is conflict between

students, it is important to model how to talk it out and work together so

that they can do it on their own in the future.

When students begin to escalate, it is important to work through the

Verbal Escalation Model. Some students may be feeling anxiety. Some

students may have questions. Other times they might even act out in

unhelpful and harmful ways. When this happens it’s important to give

students choices to maintain a balance of power so that they don’t feel like

they are being boxed in. This “boxed in” feeling can lead to crises and

unsafe behaviors. Moreover, setting limits can help students to know what

is expected of them and at which point they should comply. If students

don’t comply with the set limits (which need to be clear), then the teacher

should be absolutely certain to follow through with those consequences.

In order to prevent these issues, it is important to engage in a number of

preventative procedures. Classroom setup is key – Is the classroom

comfortable? Are the colors overwhelming? Is there too much stimulation?

Can you bring down the intensity of the light? These are all things that

should be considered

It is also necessary for teachers to weave lessons on coping skills and

self-regulation tools through the pre-established curriculum. There are

books that address dealing with sadness. There are books that address

dealing with anger. There are other books that deal with how to regulate

Classroom Management Philosophy Mr. Seth Dills

emotions. Setting the stage to teach deep-breathing strategies, doing Brain

Breaks to address mindfulness, or even taking a few minutes to reflect in a

cool, calm environment can have such a powerful effect on allowing

students to learn these necessary skills.

I also set my classroom up to have a “Cool Down Corner” where

students can go when they need a minute to utilize calming tools and/ or

comfort items, with calming strategies listed on the wall. Students are

taught how to utilize these tools and the teacher gives regular reminders

regarding how to use them. If it becomes a problem to over-use this Cool

Down Corner, there are strategies that can be implemented such as tickets

and timers to avoid this abuse of resources.

Conclusion

I believe that at the core of good Classroom Management is the need to

develop relationships with students on an individual basis. Students need to

be taught how to cope with negative emotions and also know that they are

supported. Teachers fulfil the role of facilitator and by modeling procedures

and rules in the classroom the task of facilitating is that much easier. I

believe in having fewer rules to remember which set the teacher up to use

One Liner Redirections in order to have a more efficiently run classroom

experience. Management & Discipline need to be considered in light of

students emotional needs and many classroom issues can be handled

preventatively. Classroom Management is a very difficult topic but by

working collaboratively with Veteran Teachers one can hone in on this

necessary skill.