by Harry and Rosemary
2006 - January 2007
Two College Classes
|Close your eyes and visualize:
A new teacher
Walking into his or her classroom
On the first day of school
With a Classroom Management Plan binder in hand.
|What do you see?
Dr. Lena Nuccio-Lee, Assistant Professor of
Professional Practice at the University of New Orleans, was given
a few hours to get on campus, gather what she needed out of her
office, and get out. With no utilities in the building after
hurricane Katrina, she went straight to her dimly lit, musty office
and took her desktop computer and her textbooks.
If the University of New Orleans was to reopen she said, “We
were not going down without a fight; we had to offer
almost all of our typically, on campus courses, online.
Before Katrina, very few students had taken online courses and
few faculty members had experience teaching in an web-based environment.”
“What a rude awakening!” she says.
She found out only two days before the start of the semester
that she would be teaching 140 students online.
She had none of her course materials at home and the university
was not allowing anyone on campus. So when a sliver of hope
was granted by letting staff on campus for a few hours, she went
EDUC 3110 – Behavior Support and Classroom Management
One course she taught was EDUC 3110- Behavior Support and Classroom
Management. The course description says that this course
focuses on classroom management within school settings.
It includes procedures for group behavior management, strategies
for assessment and responding to individual student behavior,
using a problem-solving approach for changing behavior, and supporting
appropriate behaviors in learning activities and settings.
Most of her course rubrics were on the computer she brought home.
With relief, Lena says, “Rubrics make the students'
lives much easier, but once written, they make the professor's
life easier, too.”
She continues, “Rubrics became extremely important during
the Katrina semester. As you can imagine, at a time of such
uncertainty, it was reassuring for students to know exactly what
was expected of them with respect to specific assignments.”
To review the concept of rubrics, please go to our past two columns,
October 2006, “Assessing
Student Progress with a Rubric” and November 2006, “How
to Write a Rubric.”
Two students, one in each column, say:
“A rubric is a scale that teachers may use to grade an
article of writing from their students. I like rubrics
because they make the student aware of exactly how to answer
the questions or write the assigned article, and it plots a
very fair and easy-to-understand grading system. A rubric
creates a backbone for your paper.”
"Having the rubric was like having the poem in front of
me. The rubric guided me through the process of writing
the poem, when otherwise I would have been clueless."
This is what two of Dr. Lee’s students say about having
Lauren Lunt says, “I like rubrics because they outline
exactly what is expected of you and how to earn a grade.
It also told me that she was prepared to teach.”
Rusty Templet says, “Just as a blueprint supplies dimensions
and details on the internal and external construction of a house,
a good rubric will supply enough detail and direction to help
students construct and complete their assignment successfully.
Her rubric for the course and the execution in addressing its
detail were flawless.”
The Rubrics for EDUC 3110
Dr. Lee uses two rubrics for her classroom management
- Classroom Management Plan rubric
- Transition Strategy rubric
To see these two rubrics, click here.
The goal of the Classroom Management Plan (CMP) rubric
is for the student to create a binder with their own Classroom
The goal of the Transition Strategy rubric is
for the student to create and provide instructions on how to teach
and have effective transitions in a classroom. Transitions
are those times in the classroom when students are to move from
one task or procedure to another.
Her course requirement states:
“As you read the texts and other assignments for this
course, you should highlight ideas that you would like to incorporate
in your classroom. These are the types of things that
you will include in your CMP. You may already have ideas
of your own, or that you have borrowed that you know you would
like to include.
“This is your plan, and you design it to meet
your needs. When you borrow ideas from your readings,
resource books or other notable places, remember to cite the
references, and then include them in a reference list.
“Some of the obvious things that you would have in your
CMP are the following: rules, consequences, seating charts,
procedures, quotes you may display, procedures for the first
week of school, attention getters, transition strategies, and
any other thing that you think are important for the management
of your classroom. Refer to the rubric for this assignment.”
The Classroom Management binder the students create is very similar
to the Classroom Management binder that Sarah Jones (now Sarah
Jondahl) prepared when she attended West Kentucky University.
To read about this binder and how Sarah Jones became successful
in her first year as a teacher, please read “How
a Good University Can Help You” in our September 2001
Close your eyes and visualize how successful you will
be with your own classroom management plan in a binder.
You can create your own binder by taking an eLearning
Validation of Lena Nuccio-Lee’s Online Course
Katrina notwithstanding, Dr. Lee’s classroom management
class was held online and this is what students, Lauren Lunt and
Rusty Templet, said about their experiences:
Lauren Lunt says,
“Dr. Lee's online Classroom Management class at UNO was
organized and predictable. We read each week from Drs.
Harry K. Wong and Rosemary T. Wong's, The First
Days of School and C.M. Charles and Gail W. Senter's
Elementary Classroom Management and
posted individual reflections online. The reading was
both interesting and informative.
“One or two pieces of our classroom management plans
were due weekly, and we were allowed to edit and resubmit with
no penalty if necessary, which was very encouraging. The
system made the overwhelming, seemingly broad project of a classroom
management plan more manageable for us. By breaking it
down to prevent confusion and panic among students, allow instant
and specific feedback to students, and to make grading less
general and less overwhelming for her, Dr. Lee was demonstrating
the classroom management skills that she was teaching.
“Overall, the class ran smoothly. Because it was
an online class, and Dr. Lee could not require face-to-face
meetings, she instead announced at the end of the course that
she would be available in her campus office for optional, individual
meetings about CMPs.
“By making herself available, she ended the course
on a note that said she cared about our work enough to want
to personally review it with each and every one of us.“
Rusty Templet says,
“I’m not sure if the environment and the camaraderie
was one spawned from being survivors of hurricane Katrina, but
there was no lack of dedication, intensity, and passionate within
“This was an interactive class that, although it addressed
information in the text, focused on creating a plan for us to
be successful teachers (via our CMP). As we completed
small components of our CMP, Dr. Lee would review them weekly
and would supply us with feedback to improve our work.
“All of us were artists creating a work of art, not to
be unveiled until the last class of the semester. On that
day, there were many successes to be unveiled with much discussion,
laughter, and mirth. The First Days of School
was referenced many times in class and was very valuable to
“Dr. Lee took personal pride in her work and her students,
as she arrived enthusiastically for each class. Her rubric
for the course and the execution in addressing its detail was
“I attribute the outcome of my CMP (Classroom
Management Plan) to Dr. Lee, her instruction, attitude, and
“All courses and instructors are not created equal, and
I am happy to say that I had a diamond for an instructor.”
This diamond of a teacher received the following letter from
a former student:
“It’s Vanessa Flores; remember me? I was
in a couple of your classes. One of them was Classroom
Management last fall. Anyway I wanted to give you an update
because I am now teaching Spanish full time in Cleveland, Ohio.
I moved here a couple of months ago because my husband had to
relocate in order to finish his residency.
“What I want to let you know is that I have been using
my Classroom Management Plan (CMP) to set up my classes.
I must admit that at the time I thought some of the things you
assigned were not necessary.
“I now realize that no matter the age group classroom
management is very, very important and crucial to a successful
year for both the teacher and the students.
“Again thanks... your forever grateful student.”
Classroom Management in Galveston, Texas
PACT stands for Partners in Alternative Certification
for Teachers and is Galveston County’s Alternative Teacher
Certification Program. The PACT program is an alternative
teacher certification program created by two local Texas community
colleges, College of the Mainland and Galveston College, to recruit
and train post-baccalaureate individuals interested in teaching.
They partner with the Galveston County independent school district,
as well as state-approved charter and private schools, to help
them meet their teacher shortages by supplying them with highly
qualified teaching professionals and have since assisted almost
300 new teachers in reaching full state certification. More
information can be found at www.pact4teachers.com/about.htm.
Carla Boone, Director, Teacher Education Center,
conducts the classroom management course at the College of the
Mainland for the PACT.
College of the Mainland is a community college located in Texas
City, Texas, near Galveston.
Some highlights from the syllabus are:
- The purpose of the course is to teach the user how to structure
and organize a classroom for maximum student learning time.
By the end of the course, the user will have created a binder
containing a personal Classroom Management Action Plan.
- This online course is designed to improve the quality of
the teacher’s classroom management skills so he or she
can maximize student learning time.
- Students will submit the Classroom Management Action Plan
to the PACT instructor within one week of course completion
To see how student work will be assessed, click here
to see the online course scoring rubric.
This is what Carla Boone says about the rubric:
“Throughout my teaching career, I have utilized various
styles of rubrics. The structure of the rubric has varied
with the type of project assigned. If distributed to students
at the same time the assignment is initially given, I have found
them to be excellent guides that motivate students to contribute
their best efforts.
“Conversely, I have experienced with my own children,
that when teachers fail to provide guidance for activity and
project based activities, students who wish to excel will flounder
and become frustrated as they do not clearly understand what
the teacher expects from them.”
A student, Susan Montes, says,
“The course rubric was extremely helpful. It gave
me a clear explanation of what was expected of me in order to
receive a satisfactory completion of the course. It was
also helpful in providing step-by-step instructions of how the
Classroom Management binder needed to be organized.”
Carla said that she became aware of our online Classroom Management
earlier this year and began offering the course as a professional
development opportunity to teachers that had previously trained
and who were participating in their Transition to Teaching Grant.
These teachers were committed to work in high-need school districts
for three years, and most had just completed their first year
About 70 teachers completed the Classroom Management course over
- Many of these teachers told her that the course taught them
so much and had equipped them with new practices they could
implement in the new school year.
- Others, it appeared, quickly went through the course and did
not take the time to complete some or all of the binder pages
and, therefore, did not really grow professionally from this
As a result of this first offering and the positive comments
heard from those teachers who took the time to complete the course
learning activities, they decided to require this Classroom Management
course of all new PACT students.
To assess the new students at the completion of this online course,
Carla realized that it would be necessary to create a scoring
rubric. She said, “I have always believed that students
must know what is expected of them from the beginning.
“If they know the expectation at the beginning
of the course, they know how to approach their learning activities.
A scoring rubric establishes and solidifies the expectation and,
if written well, clearly communicates to the student how their
product will be assessed. I particularly like utilizing
rubrics for project or activity based learning.”
She further says, “This particular rubric clearly identifies
the course requirements (items to be included in the binder) so
that students know exactly what documents should be included in
their final product. It also identifies the total points,
or point value, for each item to be included in the binder and
a definition of the values 1-5 (Unacceptable — Excellent)
so students know the extent of understanding we want conveyed
for each course requirement.
“The final column allows me, the campus instructor, to
complete the assessment based on the initial expectation.
Once assessed, I will return the completed form to the student
so they can review total points earned (final course grade).
Rubrics Improve Student Learning
As a student, did you ever raise your hand and ask of the teacher,
“How will you be grading us?”
Everyone wants to know up front how they will be scored,
judged, and scrutinized. And did you ever have
a teacher who passed papers back to you, took off points for some
omission, and you muttered under your breath, “That’s
not fair. You did not tell us how we were going to be graded.”
Our jobs as teachers is to create success for students.
Rubrics are the road maps to that success. Students know
up front what the expectation is and you know how you are going
to grade it. Scores should not be a surprise to the student.
Based on the rubric, the students should be able to get a good
estimate of the final grade.
Having a rubric makes communications with the home easier
as well. Parents, guardians, aunts, uncles, grandparents,
care givers—all know the expectation for completion of a
paper, project, or report, and how it will be scored. The
home can use the rubric as an aid to help the child succeed.
Students love classrooms where they know how it will
- These are the classrooms with procedures in place and students
responsible to those procedures.
- These are the classrooms with rubrics in place and students
responsible for their learning.
Students love teachers who share with them the expectations
for success in the class.
We all want to succeed. Look at ways you can add a rubric
to what you teach. You’ll be able to point your students
down the road of success with this simple tool.
Close your eyes and visualize:
Filled with students
learning and achieving.
What do you see?
Calmness in the students as they know
how their learning will be assessed.
Confidence in yourself as a professional
with the skills needs to help children grow and learn.
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