by Harry and Rosemary
First Day Is No Secret
This example is so incredulous
that you may think it’s fiction. It’s
not. It is a true situation.
Elise, a new teacher on her first day of school, brought
in a roll of toilet paper. Everyone took as much
as they wanted without knowing what the assignment was.
She kept it a "juicy little secret!" Then, they
had to tell one thing about themselves for each sheet of paper.
What a disaster!
- Students started giving "inappropriate" information
- The self proclaimed "class clown" that took almost
25 sheets had to
make up 25 silly things to say!
- The terribly shy student had to suffer through making up 5
What a mistaken use of valuable class time. The classroom
collapsed. Needless to say, she was miserable and left teaching
after two days and is a telemarketer today.
Classroom Management with Procedures
Chelonnda Seroyer, a teacher in Madison, Alabama, went
to the same college, took many of the same courses, and began
teaching at the same time as Elise. However, Chelonnda
was successful on her first day of school and is recognized today,
after only two years of teaching, as an exceptional teacher.
On her first day of school, Chelonnda was standing at her door,
dressed professionally, greeting her students. Her friendly
smile and firm handshake hid the fear and anxiety she felt, wondering
what her first class and her first day as a teacher would be like.
Shaking internally, Chelonnda nonetheless had a strange premonition.
She turned to look into her room and breathed a sigh of relief.
All of the students were at their desks at work
– and the bell had not even rung to begin the first second
of Chelonnda’s career as a teacher.
Chelonnda can tell you the answer to her success in one
word, Procedures. She further explains,
“My students enjoy having a predictable environment.
They feel safe because they know exactly what to expect each day.
They like consistency in a world that can be very inconsistent.
Procedures are simple, but their impact is enormous.”
Chelonnda’s procedures can be seen at http://teachers.net/wong/FEB05/
and on www.ClassroomManagement.com.
It's All in How You Start
Classrooms are managed with procedures and routines.
Students readily accept a uniform set of classroom procedures
because it simplifies their task in succeeding in school.
Efficient and workable procedures allow many activities to take
place with a minimum amount of confusion and wasted time.
Procedures help a teacher to structure and organize a classroom
for maximum engaged learning time.
The first day of school is the most important day of
the school year. If you start the first day of
school incorrectly, you may never recover for the rest of the
year. Effective teachers know how to begin the first day
of school and maximize use of class time for learning.
Your first priority when class begins is not to take
the roll; it is to get the students to work. An
assignment must be available, and the students must know the procedure
for getting to work immediately. Do not destroy prime time
with non-prime time activities such as taking the attendance,
making announcements, answering questions, or collecting papers.
Have an assignment ready on the board written in the same place
every day. Some teachers call this “bellwork,”
because at the sound of the bell, work must begin. Teach
your students to enter the classroom quietly and start immediately
on the bellwork. Or choose some other activity to start
each day. The important thing is to get the students working
Classroom Management Plan in a Binder
Have you ever seen the reality show, "Super Nanny?"
A "Super Nanny" goes into a disrupted home with misbehaving
children and she sets up a consistent routine that solves the
problems. Her major message is CONSISTENCY!
Sarah Jondahl, a teacher in California, was ready the
first day of her teaching career with a specific, consistent classroom
management action plan in a binder. Although the
binder took months of work to compile, her plan resulted
in her success from her very first minute of her teaching career.
Sarah’s plan includes a letter she sends to her students
prior to the first day. It tells a little about her background
and sets her students’ expectations for lots of work and
learning. It also has the class’s first homework assignment.
She scripted or planned each activity the first day of school
Greet each student at the door
- Direct them toward their assigned seats (alphabetical)
- Tell child to read and follow the instructions written on
the board – the bellwork
- Introduce myself
- Teach classroom procedures
- Teach classroom rules, consequences, and rewards
- Communicate the expectations of the classroom
The key words in real estate are location, location, location.
In education the three key words for maximizing learning time
are PREPARE, PREPARE, PREPARE.
The two major problems in a classroom are movement and noise.
Sarah had these solved on her first day of school. She planned
out exactly how her students were to enter the classroom in the
morning, come in from recess, line up to leave the classroom,
get ready for lunch, walk in the halls, and get ready for dismissal.
Maximizing Learning Time
Today Sarah Jondahl is an accomplished fifth-year teacher.
She says, “My classroom management plan is based on establishing
procedures I learned from the book, The First Days of School.
Having procedures in place from day one and teaching my students
about these procedures made the educational experience in my classroom
Teachers like Sarah Jondahl will succeed in any kind of a school,
because it truly makes no difference whether you teach in a public,
private, or charter school, whether your school is traditional
or year-round, or whether your students are urban or rural.
All effective teachers have procedures to assist in managing a
classroom and maximize learning time.
Sarah Jondahl had procedures and routines ready for her to teach
on the first day and first week of school, such as:
|Entering the Classroom
Students enter the classroom quietly and calmly, put
their belongings away quickly according to the morning
routine, and do the bellwork.
Each morning there is a bell work assignment on the board
or overhead projector. Students enter the classroom
and get started on the assignment.
|Quieting the Class
I raise my hand to quiet the class.
|Taking Class Roll
A student is taught the procedure of how to be the “Attendance
Keeper.” This student places an “Absent”
folder on that desk of the student who is absent. I can
then glance around the room quickly and know who is absent.
Every morning the class says the classroom motto, which
is posted on the wall in the front of the room.
Everyone stands and says the motto together to start off
|Collecting Seat Work
Work is collected according to the configuration of the
desks. If the desks are arranged in rows, students
collect their seatwork by passing the papers across their
rows. Students seated at tables collect their work
by placing their finished papers in the middle of their
table. The student whose job is to collect papers
walks around the room and picks up each table’s
stack of papers and puts them in the finished work basket
at the front of the room.
|Turning in Work
There are two baskets placed in the front of the room.
One basket is labeled “class work” and the
other is labeled “homework.” Children
place their work in the appropriate basket.
|Notes From Home
Students place any notes from home in the basket labeled
“Notes from Home.”
Individual students are allowed to go to the bathroom
four times a month without having a tally pulled.
They use their daily agendas as their pass and have the
teacher sign and date when they are going. Only
one student may use the restroom at a time. Students
are excused as a class to go to the restroom during lunch
|Going to Lunch
Students make two lines by the outside door, one for
“home lunches” and one for “school lunches.”
The students buying their lunches line up in alphabetical
order. Students are picked up after lunch on the
blacktop as they wait in the area of their classroom number.
(Numbers are painted on the blacktop.)
Students follow the cafeteria procedures as well as the
classroom rules. Students clean up their sitting
area after they are done. Students should be on
their best behavior by using “Please” and
|Working in Cooperative Groups
Students are placed in teacher chosen groups at all times.
They are reminded of the procedure for Support Groups.
- You are responsible for your own work.
- You are to ask a “support buddy” for help
if you have a question.
- You must help if you are asked for help.
- You may ask for help from the teacher when the group
agrees on the same question.
Students are chosen to do things in class by picking
a Popsicle stick from the can labeled “Pick a Stick.”
Each student’s name is written on the bottom end
of a Popsicle stick and the sticks are all placed in a
can. The teacher draws a stick in order to pick
students for a variety of things.
|Pinning Up Class Work
Students pin up their work on the clothesline in the
front of the classroom. Whenever an activity that
requires glue or paint is completed, the clothesline is
used to hang the paper to dry. At the end of the
day the students remove their dried papers and stack them
in the “Class Work” basket.
|Keeping the Noise Level Down
A traffic signal is used to remind the students of the
noise level for the classroom. A large cutout stoplight
is hung in the front of the room with three black circles
and a hook on each circle. Green, yellow, and red
circles have been cut to fit over the black circle.
The red circle is hung from its hook to indicate silent
time, the yellow circle for whisper time, and the green
circle for talk freely time.
Classical music is played during class time. Children
keep their noise levels lower than the sound of the music.
|Sending Notes Home
Notes to go home to parents at the end of the day are
placed in the cubbies. This is the cubby keeper’s
job to do. Students are responsible for sharing
all of the notes with parents each evening.
|When a Student Is Absent
When a student is absent, an absent folder with a yellow
sticker is placed on that student’s desk.
Copies of all papers passed out during class or any notes
that need to go home are placed inside the folder.
When the student comes back to school he/she knows to
complete the missed work in the yellow folder. The
absent work is placed on the shelf in the front office
of the school for parents to pick up after 3:00 p.m.
The teacher gives a verbal announcement of five minutes
left before changing centers, lessons, activities, etc.
When it is time to change, a variety of methods are used.
- Play music
- Snap/clap rhythm pattern led by teacher
- A bell is rung
Students know what these different signals mean and make
the change quickly and quietly.
|If the Teacher Is Out of the Classroom
Students remain on task while the teacher is out of the
room. Classroom rules and procedures are followed as they
continue their work. The classroom aide or a teacher next
door is available for help if needed.
|Daily Closing Message
At the end of the day the class reads the daily closing
message, a short summary of the day’s events.
One child is chosen to read this message to the class
as everyone else follows along. The daily closing
message is prepared during the day by the teacher and
then photocopied for each student to share with their
parents that evening. This communication tool is
a great way for teachers to keep parents aware of upcoming
events, important information, and the children’s
day in school.
|Saying “Thank You.”
At all times remember to say thank you to one another.
Along with thank you, “please” should also
be used at all times.
|End of Class Dismissal
The bell does not dismiss the class; I dismiss the class.
Students are dismissed when called upon, either individually
or by groups.
Students follow the school’s rules and classroom’s
procedures even when riding in vehicles on school outings.
When walking to or from the bus or car, the procedures
for the halls are followed. Students stay seated
while on the bus or in the car and respect the property.
Seat belts are worn at all times. Low voices are
always used in the vehicle. There is no eating in
the car or bus unless the driver says it’s okay.
eLearning Classroom Management
Sarah’s classroom management action plan is the
heart of the eLearning course featured on the web site www.ClassroomManagement.com.
The purpose of the course is to teach teachers how to
structure and organize a classroom for maximum engaged learning
The eLearning course, designed to help you produce a Classroom
Management Action Plan
- can be taken on demand, at school or at home;
- is an interactive course. It is not a talking head lecture
course so common with many online classes—boring and a
giant step backwards in modeling how teaching should be done;
- the end result is a two-inch binder with a teacher’s
Classroom Management Action Plan.
This eLearning course is the most advanced and exciting one produced
for educators. It is unlike and far beyond any eLearning
or distance learning course you have seen or experienced.
The graphics, style, and quality of the production will amaze
More importantly, it will help a teacher to produce his
or her own personal classroom management action plan for student
and teacher success.
For a printable version of this article click
Harry & Rosemary Wong products: http://www.harrywong.com/product/
Email Harry Wong: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gazette Articles by Harry & Rosemary Wong:
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