Classroom Management Plan
By: Edward Paxson
Table of Contents
Introduction: ………………………………………………….. 3
Routines/Policies/Procedures/Rules: ………………………… 4
Safety and legal requirements: ……………………………….. 8
Planning and Conduction Instruction,
Student Diversity, Engagement, and Differentiation: ….…….. 9
Collaborating and communicating parents
and educational stakeholders: ………………………………… 11
Summary: …………………………………………………….. 13
References: …………………………………………………… 17
When a large group of teenagers are gathered together in a classroom, the purpose for doing so will likely be for them to learn. However, as it is so easy for people to become distracted and put their social life over their intellectual development, classroom management becomes a necessary skill for the teacher to integrate into all their lessons. The better a teacher is at classroom management, the more time the students will spend learning. A skilled teacher will often implement classroom management strategies as a second nature. Any classroom that appears to run smoothly will likely have many different types of classroom management strategies that the teacher has utilized. Classroom management benefits the students by providing them with an environment conducive to learning. This helps them to gain intellect as well as a good grade in the class. Classroom management benefits the teacher by making their job easier by significantly reducing the distractions and discipline involved with teaching.
Most of my teaching in Social Studies revolves around interactive lecture and short videos. In addition, other forms of differentiation such as “think-alouds” in class, independent and group work on projects, and in-class work on homework are utilized. When I lecture, I encourage students to raise their hand with questions. While this sometimes disrupts the flow of my lecture, it keeps the students engaged and displaying interest in the subject in an orderly manner.
When I am showing a short video, usually to reinforce what I just finished teaching, I frequently pause the video at times when I want to emphasize or expand what was just said. I often walk around the classroom, especially if it is a large and/or talkative classroom to make sure the students stay focused on the subject material. I even bought a wireless mouse, so I can pause the video from anywhere in the classroom. One time while I was showing part of a video on a Hindu pilgrimage, a student started to ask me a blatantly unserious question about the Hindu creation story that merely belittled Hinduism (it had to do with aliens coming to earth). Instead of playing into the trap this student was trying to pull me into, I restarted the video without giving him so much as a response. A seasoned educator who was observing me at the time complimented me on this classroom management technique by saying that student was making a power play: Who was in charge of the class? Me or him? I demonstrated that it was me by ignoring a comment that was not serious and hence, would have distracted from the other students learning about Hinduism.
In my classroom, my view of classroom management includes a strong emphasis on making students comfortable with me but still respectful of me and my position. I need students to feel free to participate and I want them to be able to have their moment to shine when they have something intelligent or useful to contribute. Because of this, an emphasis on teacher-student relationships is paramount to my ability to manage my Social Studies classroom.
Starting off on the first day of class, it is important to set the tone your class will take for the semester. If you are going to have a seating chart, make it now. Personally, I prefer to let my students sit where they please out respect for their maturity. However, I clearly communicate to them that this is a privilege that can be taken away. Since it is given to them out of respect for their maturity, but if they demonstrate a lack thereof, the privilege will promptly be taken away (it has so far been taken away for 3rd and 6th hour). This is one example of making sure that there are clearly defined, yet fair consequences for unacceptable behavior. This is something that needs to be applied to all rules and enforced consistently as to avoid being seen by the students as picking favorites.
Another order of business will be setting class rules. It is important to set class rules, so they can be referenced during student misbehavior. I recommend keeping them limited to no more than five. Any more may become a cumbersome list that gets ignored. Make sure to prominently post these rules in your classroom. I have seen a lot of classroom walls that are covered with endless posters full of words that I am positive, few to none of the students ever read. Below is an example of a well-intentioned poster that students will ignore. (If you need them to use this information, print it out, provide examples, and turn it into an assignment.) Do not let your class rules get lost in the clutter of distractions like this.
Having the students come up with their own class rules is another option. This can be a team-building activity that leads to them self-policing their own behavior to avoid hypocrisy. If you do this, make sure to provide the guidelines you want these rules to fall under. It is advisable to keep rules brief as to allow for your interpretation to be backed up when issues arise. Michael Linsin recommends the following four rules: (cite)
1. Listen and follow directions.
- Raise your hand before speaking or leaving your seat.
- Keep your hands and feet to yourself.
- Respect your classmates and your teacher.
Even setting routines can be an important aspect of rules that keeps a class orderly. Some teachers let the students socialize during the first few minutes of class while attendance is being taken, submitted, and student questions/concerns are being answered. A better routine to get the students into may, however, be have them do an independent assignment during the first 5 minutes of class. In a Social Studies class, this may be responding to a journal prompt which counts as a participation grade. The journal prompt could be something random, such as responding to an interesting quote, or it could be something that gets the students thinking about the subject matter and what they know and do not know about it.
In addition, make sure a serious of predictable issues are addressed. What is your policy for students who need to go to the bathroom? Who show up late? Who miss class or hand in late work? What are the repercussions for repeatedly failing to follow the class rules? We must remember that we are dealing with children who mean well but will faulter. How are these predictable scenarios going to be handled? In Classroom Management Plans, Diana Greenhouse and Kazim Cicek (2018)
even recommend having carefully planned out notes or a script on the first day in order to ensure that your presentation goes exactly as planned.
Safety and Legal Requirements:
The concern for student safety is paramount to any teacher’s classroom. Above all else, parents want to know that their child is safe in school. Through rules and good classroom management, physical fights should not be an issue. In the 15-year history of my high school, there has never been a physical fight between boys (there have been some between girls). As a tall, strong man with a deep, loud voice, I can command a classroom whenever the need arises. Such a presence should be used only sparingly when students have failed to respond to other, more reasonable requests and techniques.
Education researcher at Dr. Linda Dusenbury recommends that if safety in the form of say bullying behind your back is a concern in the classroom, manage the class so that you do not have to have your back turned. You can place a mirror on the white board or ask students to go write on the board. The latter may be best because it does not let students know that you do not trust them and it gets students out of their seats and engaged.
Make sure to go through safety procedures with your students. In my classroom, this includes ALICE training which is about how to respond to an active shooter scenario. There are other safety concerns to review such as what to do in the event of a natural disaster or a fire. As a teacher, if it important that you make sure to have all your legal requirements, such as a map of the school and the route for fire evacuation posted clearly on the wall by the door. The usefulness of some of these things may be in question at times, but if a legal requirement is not met, the teacher is at fault.
My high school of Hutchison has an array of hands-on classes that contain a lot of potential for accidents. Some of these classes include engine repair classes where students work with hot, running engines, and welding where student work with torches that can reach nearly four-thousand degrees Celsius. Travis Edwards (2007) argues that typical safety instruction tends to be very lecture based and was originally designed to mitigate the potential for litigation in the result of an accident. However, this is not the most effective way to keep students safe while introducing them to the trades. Edwards argues that actual safety intervention through the form of role-playing activities works the best. Students (and people in general) are apt to think that an accident will not happen to them or are apathetic to the need for safety. Lecture alone usually does not move student beyond this stage into being compliant with rules and ultimately, a proactive steward of safety. In a country where only about half of students will complete some level of college education, it is important to keep career and technical education thriving. This can only be done if the students are staying safe in class.
Planning and Conduction Instruction, Student Diversity, Engagement, and Differentiation:
Teachers are in the business of forging student relationships. Students do not learn from people who they do not like. It is therefore important to enjoy being around your students and not let a few bad apples ruin your perception of your job (I have definitely seen this happened to teachers). Taking a genuine interest in your students may go a long way in being able to manage, encourage, and teach the students. Since it is hard to get much accomplished during passing periods, this is a good time to greet students at the door and/or start conversations with students, including ones that are initially shy.
When it comes to the classroom management aspects of lesson planning, it is important to keep the students busy, including during transitions. As I build differentiation into my lessons, I need to make sure the instructions on what I expect students to be doing for each part of the lesson is clear. For example, if I am lecturing, do the students need to take notes? Will I tell them what they need to write down? While it is important to keep the student’s attention, the students also need to know what is expected of them. The class period should typically not be the teacher’s performance the entire time. Find ways to turn the responsibility of learning over to the students at some point. A good class period should combine instruction with guided learning and independent learning.
As you are teaching, there are many subtle classroom management strategies to keep in mind. For example, I recently had a student who was starring off and day dreaming. They eventually noticed me starring at them and in a little shock, asked why I was starring at them. I informed them that they did not seem to be paying attention. The look on their face was that of quiet acknowledgement. I will also use my stern look as I am talking to get the attention of students who are distracting others. If it comes down to it, I will pause class as I stare at them until they get the message. My students know that there is no ill-intent behind me and respond favorably to my subtle ques. Another strategy I use is proximity and walking around the classroom. Moving about the classroom is especially useful when showing a video. I believe videos should be used as learning tools. This includes frequently pausing them to reiterate the point you are trying to get across. It also means walking around the room to make sure the students are paying attention.
It is also critical that students with IEP’s, 504 Plans, and other special needs students who need other considerations are properly accommodated in your lessons. This requires an understanding of their specials needs and how they fit into your lesson. For example, I have one student with a speech impediment and his IEP states that I cannot call on him in class because of how embarrassing and difficult it is for him to talk in front of an audience. If I am having students present material, I either need to exempt this student from that assignment, personally discuss with him whether he feels comfortable publicly speaking, or assign him something else to make up for it.
Collaborating and communicating parents and educational stakeholders:
During my Psychology class next semester, I plan to have my friend from Student Support Services come and talk to my class of mostly seniors who are college bound. I will have her talk about her organization and other forms of student assistance that are available at universities. Since it is a psychology class, we can also discuss some of the possible psychological reasons why nearly all students chronically underutilize so many free services that are available to them. If I can get a psychologist, either from the Psychology Department at UAF or a practitioner to come talk to the students about their path through the field and how they view its usefulness, I will jump at that opportunity. If this could be the parent of a student, all the better! Kids are more willing to take an interest in a guest speaker if they are related to one of their classmates. This would be an example of utilizing free resources available to teachers. Even having a student or family member from a culture the class is not familiar with come and talk about their culture would be a great guest speaker for any Social Studies class. In an Economics class, you could even invite the principle to speak to the class about how she manages the school and its budget.
I recently volunteered to chaperone a field trip at West Valley High School. It was for a zoology class to the Alaska state virology lab located on the UAF campus. Much of what they deal with includes variations of the rabies virus. This was an excellent, practical application of material students learned about in zoology. As for history, I once chaperoned a U.S. History class at Hutchison to visit the traveling Ann Frank exhibit at West Valley. It was good to get the students out of their seats and show them how an individual’s story can translate into concrete history.
In Figure 2 below is a picture of the Fairbanks North Star Borough School Board meeting that I attended on December 4th, 2018. In a government class, I could invite one of the school board members to come speak to my class about what they do in this elected position and how it influences the school they attend. Considering the public may speak to the board for up to 3 minutes (this is on display in Figure 2), having the students write 3-minute speeches concerning an education issue they would hypothetically address at a school board meeting is an activity idea/summative assessment that could accompany this type of community involvement in the classroom.
Figure 2: (Photo Credit: Edward Paxson)
I am on my first semester of student teaching and will be spending a lot more time in front of the classroom during the second semester. I plan to implement many of the ideas discussed in this classroom management plan during that time when the class(s) truly become my own. I plan to print out the summary of this plan as well as the different section papers I completed from A Handbook for classroom management that works; Research-based strategies for every teacher and review my work every couple of weeks. This will prevent me from letting useful strategies slip my mind.
One thing I want to work on with my second and fifth hour is cold calling because they tend to be filled with very quiet students. Not all of my classes are like this. For example, so many of my third hour students are quick to raise their hands with questions that I do not see myself getting around to cold calling, with the exception of a small handful of students. I also want to forge more connections with students. I plan to do this by making a commitment to spend more time chatting with them during passing periods and greeting them at the door.
Usually when a teacher is dissatisfied with their time spend in the classroom, it is due to some type of failure in classroom management. As a professional, I should be able to properly regulate students that cause disruptions in my lesson plans. I want my students to think I am strict, but fair and even fun. Of course, this all starts and ends with my ability to recognize good classroom management and get comfortable with its implementation.
Figure 3: (Photo Credit: Edward Paxson)
Here is a picture of my classroom. My desk is located in one corner of the room while my mentor’s desk is in the opposite corner. We frequently walk back and forth between the two corner and try to not only walk around the perimeter, but also through the middle. This allows us to check up on all the students.
Figure 4: (Photo Credit: Edward Paxson)
Here is a picture of a fellow Social Studies teacher’s classroom at my school. Their seating is similar in the sense that it still allows the teacher to walk around the classroom to keep the students on task, but has different designs built into it. This picture was taken from the teacher’s desk. If there are students that have trouble staying on task during independent work, placing them by the teacher’s desk would be a place to help keep an eye on them.
Cicek, K., and Greenhouse, D. (2018). Classroom Management Plans. Retrieved from:
Dusenbury, L. (2012). Creating a Safe Classroom Environment. Retrieved from:
Edwards, T. (2007). Developing Welding Safety Concepts and Behaviors Through the Use of Accident Prediction and Prevention Activities (Master’s thesis). Retrieved from:
Linsin, M. (2011). How to Set Up a Simple, Effective Classroom Management Plan. Retried from: https://www.smartclassroommanagement.com/2011/08/06/effective-classroom-management-plan/
Marzano, R. J., Gaddy, B. B., Foseid, M.C., Fosied, M.P.,& Marzano, J.S. (2009). A Handbook for classroom management that works; Research-based strategies for every teacher. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.