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The Classroom Environment Matt Dotzman

In my future classroom, I will create an environment of respect and rapport by modeling to

my students the ways in which I would like them to interact with myself, their peers, and our

classroom. In the video, Setting the Stage: Creating a Learning Community, I loved the idea

that was mentioned was teaching students by positive affirmations. At the start the positive

affirmations by students may seem rehearsed, but after they are integrated into the daily routine

they will eventually happen organically. It is important to me that all students thoughts and

opinions are heard and valued by myself and the other students. Through valuing my students

words, providing positive reinforcement in daily class discussions, and taking the time to learn

about my students will be some ways that I can make my students feel safe and respected in the

classroom. I will emphasize positive behavior, and will not tolerate negative behavior. There will

be consequences for those students that choose to treat other students, the classroom environment

or myself disrespectfully.

In the Danielson Framework, Domain 2a states that acknowledgement of students

backgrounds and lives outside of the classroom (Danielson, 33) is a key indicator in creating a

respectful classroom environment. My Cooperating Teacher, on the first day of school this year,

handed each student an All About Me poster that they were asked to fill in. Some of the topics

included favorite movie, favorite book, picture of their family, favorite hobby, etc.

Each student was assigned a time during morning meeting to present his or her poster to the

class. I loved getting to know each of the students on a more personal level and have found that

this information has greatly impacted my interactions with each student. It gives me some items

beyond the classroom to reference and talk about with him or her.
It is important that my students understand that we are all learning together, even myself as

the teacher am learning every day along with the students. By allowing the students to feel that

they are teaching others and we are all working together will provide them with a sense of

ownership and responsibility. It would be my hope that this sense of ownership would cause my

students to enter the classroom ready to learn new things and share with others their thoughts and

opinions on that days topics. In the first video, Praise and Preparation, I enjoyed how one of

the teachers praised the students as a whole group, as well as praised and encouraged students

individually, sometimes even in quiet one on one moments as well. Positive reinforcement is

especially significant for students whom may not receive praise while at home. If students at

home are constantly reminded of how they are not good enough, they will lose the desire to try

and develop anxiety about making mistakes. By encouraging students, even when their answers

are incorrect, it sends the message that their contributions to class are important and that we can

all learn from our mistakes.

In the Danielson Framework, Doman 2b states a key indicator for establishing culture for

learning includes maintaining, high expectations, supported through both verbal and nonverbal

behaviors, for both learning and participation (Danielson, 37). During my field experience I

have obtained some great strategies for verbal and nonverbal behaviors. Some verbal behaviors

include a call response technique. Teacher says, Hocus Pocus and students respond, Lets

Focus. This is an excellent way to keep the students on task and rid them of what may be

distracting them in the classroom environment. A second verbal cue includes saying, Ill wait.

This happens after you have attempted to gain students attention, but it is taking some time. The

Ill wait is a cue to let the students know that you will not begin giving directions until they are

all quiet. A nonverbal cue could represent placing a finger over your lip and putting two fingers
in the air. This signals to the students that it is time to quiet down. A second nonverbal cue could

be simply turning the classroom lights off. This is another way to draw attention to the noise

level in the classroom without directly speaking to the students.

If there is any one thing that I have learned through my student teaching, it is the

importance of routines and procedures. As discussed in the video Setting the Stage: Creating a

Learning Community, the time that it takes to set solid and clear routines and expectations is

not wasted time. The procedures are necessary in order to run a smooth classroom that is not full

of noise and chaos. If the expectations are set from the first day of school, students will know

what is expected of them and how to handle various situations that may arise from when it is

appropriate to sharpen a pencil to how one transitions from whole group to independent work.

The procedures that I will establish in my future classroom will be a set morning routine.

This morning routine will include how the students should enter the classroom, where their

belongings are placed, and what they are to work on once they arrive at their desks. The steps to

this procedure will be written on the board for the first few days of school until the students

know the order of events habitually. An important part of the morning routine includes the

management of instructional groups, as referenced in Domain 2c of the Danielson Framework.

Students will work both independently and cooperatively during this time. The second procedure

will focus on the management of classroom transitions. An important aspect of this procedure is

that students know what to do and where to move (Danielson, 41). Students have been

instructed to move quietly from each part of the classroom during transitions. In an effort to

make transitions easier in my current classroom, students are called by their table number and

move to the next part of the room. This creates less traffic and makes the transitions occur more

quickly.
A third procedure that will be put into place is that of classroom jobs. Each student will be

assigned a job that assists in the daily operations of the classroom, such as pencil sharpener or

door holder. Experienced teachers have all necessary materials at hand and have taught students

to implement routines for distribution and collection of materials with a minimum of disruption

to the flow of instruction (Danielson, 41). Responsibilities of students also carry over into

Daily Five, which takes place during Literacy block. Students will be taught how each center

works and they will be able to move across centers without having to interrupt the teacher during

Guided Reading.

As I have learned through my work in various elementary schools, parent volunteers can be a

blessing and a curse. I have witnessed some wonderful volunteers that help the classroom teacher

extraordinarily. I have also witnessed some parent volunteers whos presence in the classroom

has been only to spy on his or her child. Danielson states, it takes both organization and

management to help these individuals understand their duties and acquire the skills to carry them

out (Danielson, 41). I will create a Parent Volunteer form that will be distributed at the start of

the school year. Parents will be able to volunteer for a host of activities from chaperoning class

trips or planning student birthday parties. The duties of a teacher are many, so the help of parents

can be appreciated during appropriate times.

As classrooms today become more expansive and more diverse with students with special

needs and English language learners, the need for managing a wide range of student behaviors is

becoming more prevalent. In Domain 2d, Danielson states the need for expectations when

managing student behavior in the classroom. I will set clear expectations in my classroom from

the first day of school. It is important that the students know what is expected of them and what

they can expect from me as their teacher. My number one expectation will be respect. I expect
my student to respect each other and myself. I will show the same respect towards them. Once

the expectations have been established, it is up to the teacher to see that they are implemented.

The article A Good Class Gone Bad by Larry Ferlazzo, provides a lot of helpful strategies

when it comes to managing behavior that is less than desirable in the classroom. I love the

strategy of Daily Evaluations that is referenced in this article. Having the students identify daily

or weekly goals is an ideal way to hold him or her accountable for their actions throughout the

week. If the students know that they will be grading themselves, as well as the teacher grading

their behavior, there may be more incentive for them to listen and follow the rules. The daily

evaluations are also an excellent way to monitor the students behavior. By viewing the daily or

weekly evaluations, the teacher can see if certain negative behaviors are becoming worse and

what may be causing these behaviors to worsen.

I am also a strong believer in rewarding for positive behavior. I will implement Bling

Rings into my classroom. The bling rings are earned when students follow the routines and

procedures, as well as when they respect other students and teachers in the classroom. Students

that earn twenty-five bling rings will earn a reward mid-year, and students that earn fifty bling

rings will earn a second reward at the end of the year. This provides an incentive for students to

demonstrate positive behavior.

One of the most fun and daunting tasks to me as a future teacher is how I will organize my

classroom for learning. My number one priority is the safety of my students. Danielson

mentions, Physical safety is a primary consideration of all teachers, no learning can occur if

students are unsafe (Danielson, 49). If the students cannot move around the classroom freely

while remaining safe, it will be nearly impossible for them to learn. I will ensure that all

bookcases are against the wall and secured firmly onto the ground. All hazardous equipment,
such as scissors, staplers, and electrical outlets will all be stored and sealed properly away from

students.

Another focus of my classroom will be the arrangement of the furniture. Both the physical

arrangement of a classroom and the available resources provide opportunities for teachers to

advance learning; when these resources are used skillfully, students can engage with the content

in a productive manner (Danielson, 49). My classroom will feature a common area for whole

group instruction, as well as a table used for small group work with the teacher, in addition to

each students individual desks. The layout of the classroom and furniture used will also largely

depend on the grade level.

In conclusion, the teaching and learning will be enhanced through all of this careful planning

because it creates a safe, welcoming, organized space. If the people in the learning environment

are not respected, then the learners cannot feel safe to take risks, ask questions, and make

mistakes, which all are necessary for learning to take place. Expectations must be set in order to

students gauge how they are performing in the classroom. By having expectations, it gives both

the teacher and students a foundation for understanding if students are meeting the goals within

the classroom. Management is important because without rules and routines, a classroom full of

students can turn to chaos in a matter of minutes. No learning can take place if the learners

cannot hear each other or if the learners are off tasks whenever they feel like it. Lastly,

organizing the students will allow them to interact with peers on the same level as them, as well

as have purposeful opportunities to interact with students at different levels. An organized

classroom will help students move safely around the classroom throughout the day and get the

most out of their learning


References

Danielson, C. (2013). The Framework for Teaching: Evaluation Instrument.

Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Ferlazzo, L. (n.d.). A "Good" Class Gone "Bad"...and Back to "Good" Again. Retrieved

October 24, 2017, from http://www.ascd.org/ascd-express/vol4/405-ferlazzo.aspx

Praise & Preparation [Video file]. (n.d.).

Rose, S., & Morris, B. (Producers), & Morris, B. (Director). (n.d.). Setting the Stage:

Creating a Learning Community [Video file].