“Pray, perform, and learn, to excel for a better tomorrow!” is my classroom motto.
In Psalm 78:2-4 it states: “for I will speak to you in a parable. I will teach you hidden lessons from our past— stories we have heard and known, stories our ancestors handed down to us. We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about his power and his mighty wonders.”
We must teach our children about the past and present in order to have them succeed in the future. We must guide them towards the lord, because If we do not, its possible the world will steer them away. The children are the future leaders, Doctors, Lawyers, teachers.
My role as an educator is to provide students with what they need to grow academically, morally, emotionally, and spiritually, so that they may step out into the future as a successful individual. I hope to inspire love and growth in every student that sets fourth in my classroom. My main goal as a teacher is to foster learning. Every person has a different learning style, and its in the best interest of the classroom as a whole if I encourage and teach several different ways in order to meet the learning styles of all students. Creating an atmosphere where all learning styles are welcomed, allows for much more growth in the classroom.
In a classroom with several different learning styles, tends to bring students with several different types of behaviors. It is my responsibility to foster a healthy flow in the classroom. This may include anything from lesson planning to transitions. There are always students who get off task, or create small quarrels with others; in order to create peace in the classroom, I will follow the Interacting Model. The Interacting Model has a medium degree of teacher to student control (Burden, 2013). I do want to keep myself the manager of my own classroom, however I show great concern for the thoughts and feelings of my students in these situations. Off task children will be counseled and confronted. Most of the time the students need to be redirected, or be reminded of the boundaries, rules, and procedures in the classroom. I must guide the students to make better and responsible choices. Everything that happens in the classroom is a learning moment.
Those with differing needs; I will set up an individualized goal which includes input and support from the parents and administration. My lessons will adhere to all learning styles, and during independent study, I can work closely with the student to get one on one instruction.
My school is a Christian P-8th grade school. I teach Transitional Kindergarten where my students range from age 4-5 years. I have 25 students on my roster, most of whom are fulltime, and a few that are half days/part-time. I have 8 girls and 17 boys. There are several diverse students in my classroom, one student has Spanish as her first language, and English as her first. Sometimes the language barrier is tough for her. Luckily I can speak a little Spanish to help guide her in communicating with others. I have a student who is Chinese and his parents have thick heavy accents. His parents are very hard on him academically, and expect nothing but the best. I always make sure he is treated equally in my classroom. Some students are on full scholarship; since our school is a private school, tuition can be expensive for some. Some parents pay for fulltime schooling. There are some parents who work fulltime and cannot spend time in the classroom, and other parents come in weekly to fulfill our request for volunteers. Beyond these diversities, there are several different learning styles, special needs, behaviors, personalities and motivations. I have three students who go once a week to tutoring which is a volunteer who comes and pulls them out of class for 30 minutes. I have 6 children who are extremely gifted, and could easily be in the next grade up. All of these diversities I take into consideration when planning my lessons and organizing my classroom management.
Learning styles play an important role in determining how a student will perceive and respond to a learning environment (Burden, 2013). There are several different learning styles in my classroom now, some students learn better through lecture (when I am explaining our lesson at the head of the class), some students learn by song, some learn by creating or counting by objects, some have to write and rewrite to grasp our lesson for the day. My lesson plans meet the needs of all students, and if any students may need further assistance or one-on-one time, I am blessed with a co-teacher that allows us to take the time with every student.
At the beginning of the school year is when I start to analyze and get to know every student, I give small little tests to see how each child does, where they are academically, and how they do with specific lessons. This will then start to give me clues as to how they learn, and what they need the most academically this year. Some of my students cannot complete coursework like others can. I will always collaborate with these students allowing them to finish their coursework one-on-one with a tutor, or with myself. If some cannot write, or cannot grasp the concept, I always further my examples, or work with them hands on through blocks, puzzles, songs, games or art projects to allow them to learn another way. This way I have created a lesson for every type of learner. All of these avenues allow my students to be constantly engaged, learning, and having fun.
My classroom is currently housing 25 Transitional Kindergarteners. Floor space is crucial for my 4 going on 5 year olds. I keep a pretty open floor plan in my classroom, where we use tables that seat 4-5 students per table. I have a large rug that lays right in front of our white board and calendar. This is where most of the learning, movement, songs, and stories will take place. We have an art table where we can seat 4 students and a teacher. We do most of our crafts and art at this table. Surrounding the classroom, we have several different stations for the students to have free play. I have a red cabinet that houses our dress up. Next to that is a kitchenette with a doll house, baby dolls, and play food. The next station has toys ranging from bugs, dinosaurs, cars, little people, magnets, and stuffed animals. On the other side of the room far from loud noises is a reading nook full of books and comfy chairs. Our manipulatives area has Legos, building blocks, wooden blocks, puzzles, and magnetic gears for times the students need an activity while in transitions. Far off in the corner is my desk, which faces the students, but rarely used since I am up with the students most of the day. This desk is mainly used for preparing crafts, art, curriculum and any communications to parents. I have a small little table with four chairs off to the side of the classroom for students who need to move to have a quieter place to do independent study.
There are several different strategies to get my students motivated to do coursework. I have students who are motivated externally; by way of treats, prizes, stamps or stickers, and some students who are motivated internally; because they want to please themselves, the teachers, or parents. These students may just enjoy the thought of learning. Students who are motivated externally, I tend to reward them when coursework is completed with a stamp and/or sticker. When I see that these students are behaving, or are acting appropriately for the task at hand, I will reward them by moving their clip up on the clip chart. This then allows them to add a sticker to the sticker chart, and turn in a specific amount of stickers for prizes. Some students also are motivated by way of praise, a high five, or hug. Some students enjoy having their art highlighted on the wall. Some students enjoy us teachers showing their parents how well they did on a specific task, lesson or project. This motivates them to continue the desired behavior.
In my classroom we have preplanned procedures to carry out our weekly and daily activities. Every day we start with prayer, the pledge of allegiance, and open discussion. We never change this schedule, because I believe structure and consistency should be kept in my diverse classroom. This is typically the time we discuss the day’s activities, and what we will be learning that week/day, or if we have any special events that we will be having. At the beginning of the year, this would be the time the students help me create the classroom rules. This allows the students to gain ownership and responsibility of the classroom procedures (Burden, 2013). When in transitions, specific times through out the day the students may go to the library portion of the room to read quietly, or pick a puzzle from the manipulatives shelf to work at the carpet quietly. This allows students to finish independent work, without disruptions of other students, and allows students to move to the next task without misbehaving. When the room gets to be too loud, or disorganized, I typically will turn the lights down. Students then must freeze, stop talking, and look at the teacher immediately. This allows the teacher to speak to the students without raising a voice. When we walk in a line with the class, we typically have to walk across a hall full of classrooms who are learning. We require our students to be very quiet in the line. At 5 years of age, this is very difficult for them to do, so we will typically “play a part”. One day we may be sneaky ninjas, or sharks, or we may even have marshmallows in the mouth that we cannot drop. We go throughout the year consistently reminding of the procedures, and finding ways for all students to follow those procedures.
We start off the year, having students list what they find is an important rule in the classroom. We then, will put those rules into categories, and break them down even more into these simple three rules. This gives the students ownership and responsibility for the classroom rules (Burden, 2013). These rules are short, to the point, and easy enough to remember.
Rewards and Consequences
For rewards and consequences, we use a clip chart. The clip chart has 5 colors. The middle color is green and it says “ready to learn”. Every student starts the day off on green. They can be caught “being good”, “doing a good deed”, “being a kind friend”, or following the rules to be able to move their clips up to higher colors. If students have had several warnings, they will then need to move their clip down to “yellow” which says: “think about it”. If the student needs more warnings even after moving their clip down, they move their clip down to “teacher’s choice” which typically means time-out, or note home to parents. The last color is “call home” which usually just means we have them talk to the principle. Rarely do I allow my students to get down to the last color. I spend several moments redirecting them, and having personal talks to get them back on track. After students have moved their clips up on the clip chart, they will get sticker to put on the sticker chart. They can redeem their stickers for a treasure box, time with the class pet, or a game on the class iPad.
In Transitional Kindergarten we do not keep records of grades. However, we do test three times a year, once in the beginning of the year to see where are students are academically, half way through the year for a progress report showing the parents what we have learned so far, and at the end of the year to show they are ready for Kindergarten. We also keep records of our student’s behavior. When an undesired behavior has occurred several times in the classroom, we fill out a behavior or incident report, make a copy, and send one to the office and one home. For some students we will keep a logging journal, so that we can find any consistencies or inconsistencies within certain behaviors.
Our welcome letter to our parents the first week of school states our plan for open communication. We do most of our communicating by way of email or memos placed in their child’s parent folder. We also have a class newsletter we put out once a month explaining what we are learning this month, and any important dates. If emails, memos, or newsletters have failed to reach the parents, the principle has a “Principles Pen” Newsletter that goes out weekly. Parents feel that they can email us any time of the day, and it will be replied to by the end of the day.
- Prior to suspension steps
- Meeting with the student
- Meeting with the teacher
- Meeting with the parents
- Parent Teacher Conference
- Meeting with school counselor
- Intervention methods
- Since we are a Christian private school, we give a lot of grace within reason. Which means we do give several warnings and interventions before even discussing suspension. If all does not succeed, then a 3 day suspension is required.
Burden, P. R. (2013). Classroom management: Creating a successful K-12 learning community. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley.
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