In order to establish and maintain this classroom environment, I will use fundamental behavior management principles to structure my classroom in a way that promotes appropriate behavior, acknowledges and recognizes when appropriate behavior is being demonstrated, and effectively responds to unacceptable behavior.

Class Goals

Our classroom goals will be posted on the wall of the classroom from the first day of school. I will teach the students the words and the beat of the chant, and we will do it daily during class meeting, and at other times when appropriate. The beat of the chant in musical notation will be on the wall as well as a chart with just the words written without beat. Both versions of this chant will be posted on a wall of our meeting area, as I will be using music throughout the year in teaching, and students will become familiar and use musical notation and beats as the year progresses.

When the class goals are introduced to the class, a chart will be created with student input using words and pictures to show what each element means. We will also together dramatize and model how students are expected to demonstrate our goals using examples and non-examples as well as plenty of practice. I will explain that everyone in the class; adults and students alike, need to demonstrate these positive behaviors every day.

These charts will serve us throughout the school year; to refer to when demonstrating positive or corrective feedback, when reviewing expectations, and during activities including music, writing, reading, celebrations, etc.

Class Rules

The class will also have specific expectations that will be referred to and posted on the class wall. I will construct a list of rules myself for the first day, explaining that these are rules that I need in my classroom in order to teach. I will work with the students to come up with the remaining three by using a chart to list suggested rules, and the following day I will distribute ballots for the students to anonymously vote for their top three choices. The votes will be tallied by the next day, and a chart will be made and revealed during class meeting with the permanent class rules.

Routine and behavioral expectations

I believe that it helps students to feel safe and more able to learn comfortably when they know what to expect in their classroom. Although spontaneity and surprises are fun, and will occur as well, I believe that most students, especially those who's home lives may not be stable, benefit from routine. In order to provide this stability, I will post a daily schedule on the whiteboard before each class, every day. As the day progresses, students can refer to the schedule to know what to expect, and I can make notes around it if needed.

Another way to help my students and myself to be aware of what is expected in the various situations that occur throughout the school day, will be our use of the CHAMPs model of scaffolding students understanding of behavioral expectations during activities and transitions. This model requires the teacher to define clear and consistent behavioral expectations for every activity, to teach them, practice and to post them so that students are aware of the expectations. The acronym stands for: Conversation, Help, Activity, Movement, and Participation; helping to organize what expectations need to be outlined. I feel that this is the fairest way to ensure that all students have the chance to know what is expected, with more references available to help them succeed in multiple ways. I want there to be many opportunities for all students to succeed and receive positive feedback.

Before the school year begins, I will establish expectations for opening routine, teacher-directed instruction, small group instruction, independent work, sustained silent reading, class meetings, taking tests or quizzes, centers/lab/choice activities, group work, lining up, and walking in line. I will add to this list of activity or movement expectations if we have more or changing activities. These expectations will be taught in the beginning days of the school year at the time when the activity or transition is scheduled. As the days and weeks progress, the scaffolding will be gradually removed, leading to just a wall chart with the expectations and reminders or refreshment when needed.

I will promote positive behavior in many ways, including setting up the classroom in a way that supports positive behavior and ensuring that students experience positive results for positive behavior. I will keep track of my interactions with students, being sure to have at least three times as many positive interactions with each student as negative. I also feel that it is very important to positively communicate with every student, and not to allow quiet children to go unnoticed or without praise and acknowledgement frequently. I will greet my students each day at the door, welcoming them and talking with individual children. I will vary the students to ensure that I have the opportunity to speak with them all frequently. It is also important to constantly stay with my class, walking around the classroom as they are working, teaching from all parts of the classroom, rather than just in the front of the room. I feel that interacting, asking questions, being available, and observing help to see where each student is in their learning and to assess what they need; a by product of this interaction is that I can also monitor behavior, and my presence often deters negative activities. Another positive strategy that I find useful is to acknowledge students who are demonstrating an appropriate behavior. This serves a few simultaneous purposes, including allowing student to know that they are succeeding, reminding other students what the appropriate behavior looks like, and possibly stopping another student who is behaving inappropriately without needing to negatively interact with that student. It is my goal to make it undesirable for students to misbehave, giving them attention throughout their day before they need to resort to negative behavior.

In the event of an undesired behavior, I intend to find the function of the negative behavior, and not to perpetuate the behavior by reacting in a way that the behavior is seeking. I will investigate the causes of the behaviors and respond appropriately. Calmness and consistency are very important to implementing corrective consequences. An example of my steps of intervention would be:

  1. First walk by the student who is behaving inappropriately, looking at her or him, establishing eye contact, checking out the situation without speaking, letting them know that they have a 1.
  2. If the behavior occurs again, or if the student argues, I will quietly tell them that this is a 2.
  3. If the behavior happens again, the student will receive a 3 and face the predetermined, appropriate consequence.

If a student argues, I will not engage and contribute to escalation, instead reminding him or her that these are the rules of our class, for every student to follow. The student will be given the opportunity to schedule a conference with me if they need to discuss.

The consequences that I give will be simple for me to use; consistent, appropriate, and fair. I feel that positive reinforcement should be used most frequently, and if a punishment must be used, I will use that intervention three times, and if it is not proving effective, I will re-evaluate and use another intervention. One minute of lost recess, head down on table, removal from the situation that perpetuates the problem, or similar are appropriate consequences for third graders; as long as the consequence does not serve as a reinforcer for the behavior. It is necessary to know the students before being able to use appropriate consequences for them to discontinue inappropriate behaviors. For children who behave negatively to seek attention or out of habit, I will use various interventions including reinforcing other positive behaviors, scheduling times when I can give them concentrated attention and feedback, asking them to devise alternatives, or redirect them to a positive behavior that fulfills their need.

I will re-evaluate the classroom needs after the fourth or fifth week of school, and then shortly after spring and winter vacations; or whenever I see that there is a need.