As a teacher in training, I have very limited in-classroom experience and depend heavily on the expertise of professors as well as a variety of books and articles published on education. I am convinced that a learner centered approach to instruction is of fundamental importance and that it will inform most teaching decisions I will need to make to become an effective educator. Knowing as much about the students before school even begins will help structure the content material and guide the instruction methods. Along with this, knowing what the school provides in terms of environment and materials will help formulate a plan to give students every possible opportunity for achievement and success. Wong (2005) defines classroom management as “all of the things that a teacher does to organize students, space, time and materials so that student learning can take place” (p. 84).
This classroom management plan was created to address the needs of a first grade, general education, inclusion class. The majority of the students have attended kindergarten at the same school, so they are familiar with the school grounds and know their fellow classmates. Classrooms today are the most diverse they have ever been; population changes have affected the dominance of social and cultural backgrounds; while inclusion has moved to mainstream students with more diverse needs and abilities. Emmer, Stough, Sugai and Horner (as cited in Capizzi, 2009) state, that these changes demand “well-managed classrooms to promote positive behavior and optimize learning and achievement” (p. 2).
First grade marks the transition of students into a more formal, structured learning environment. It is important to make this change as smooth as possible for the students so they are not overwhelmed, disruptions are kept at a minimum and they feel a sense of welcome and familiarity. The seating arrangement will consist of group tables of four or five students, which is similar to the cluster setting they already know (see Appendix A). Each table will be assigned a color and shape and will include a mixture of high and low level ability students to promote cooperative learning and establish a sense of responsibility and respect for one another. Seating assignments may change throughout the year as the students’, teacher or class needs change; the same can be said of the table arrangements if necessary. The tables will be aligned so that every student can easily see the areas of instruction; chalkboard where rules, daily routines and assignments are posted; informational bulletin boards with calendar events and other important notifications; chalkboard/smart board for lesson instruction. The students will decorate name plaques (index cards) to place at the front of their tables to aid me in learning their names and in taking attendance; class will not be disrupted to take roll call out loud. A soft, informal setting for reading stories and music or quiet...