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11th grade Language A: Literature Classroom Management Plan 2013-2014

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Susan Galle

on 7 July 2013

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Transcript of 11th grade Language A: Literature Classroom Management Plan 2013-2014

Sue Gallé
11th grade Language A: Literature
Classroom Management Plan

Evertson, Carolyn M. & Neal, Kristen W. (2006). Looking into Learning Centered
Classrooms: Implications for Classroom Management. National Education.
Association Research Department.
Gibbs, J. (2001). Tribes: A new way of learning and being together. Windsor,
CA: Center Source Systems.
The Role of the Teacher
Teacher's Expectations for the course
As a teacher, I expect to enjoy (and generally do) the vast majority of my class time. I expect to have open, respectful communication with my students. While there are certain “non-negotiables” in terms of course content, I am open to students’ suggestions about the approaches that work best for them.
It is my hope that this course will enable students to appreciate the insight that literature offers into the human experience and the power of the written word. For those students whose interests lie outside of the realm of literature, I hope that this course enables them to refine their oral and written communication and analytical skills.
The role of the teacher, particularly at the high school level, is to provide direction, assistance, and feedback to the “team” of students. Ideally, the teacher acts as a cross between a coach and team captain. At times, the teacher will behave more like team captain: offering the other members the benefit of her experience, leading by example, and listening to the concerns of her teammates. At other times, the role of the teacher is more like that of a coach: planning practices to improve performance, emphasizing the importance of hard work, monitoring individual and team progress, and motivating individuals and the team to strive for improvement.
Getting to Know Students
During the first week of classes, students will fill in a basic student information sheet. The student will fill in basic information (parent contact information etc.) as well as information about his/her preferred classroom activities, goals for the class, extracurricular activities, future plans et cetera.

The teacher will greet students at the door at the beginning of every class. In addition, the teacher will take advantage of moments for more casual conversations (during extracurricular activities, at the beginning or end of class, during recess duty etc.).

The class will hold regular, brief class meetings (once a week) to provide a time for group deliberation and decision-making. These meetings will be led by students.

The teacher will have periodic one-on-one conferences with students to check in with then on their progress towards their academic and personal goals.
Communication with parents
The teacher will send out periodic email (or text) updates to parents,
summarizing the course goals and describing the major units
of study. At the middle and end of each grading period, this
message will also list general comments about the student's effort, progress, and grades. Students will often contribute to the
composition of this portion of the message. They will always review the messages before they are sent to parents.
Establishing and maintaining a positive learning environment through appreciations

Students are generally quite familiar with the Tribes agreements: active listening, the right to pass, appreciations, and no put-downs (Gibbs, 2001).

One of the Tribes activities that I would like to emphasize in my classroom is that of “appreciations.” At the end of the first few group activities, I will randomly select two students from the class and model offering them specific praise about their contributions to the group.

This practice will continue throughout the year. Before the end of each group activity, one student from each group will be expected to offer specific praise about a group member’s actions, behavior, or effort. In order to ensure that each student receives and gives positive feedback, the giver and recipient will be chosen randomly.

What I like about this technique is that it encourages/forces the teacher and the student to recognize and acknowledge others’ contributions. The pressure placed on the individual to produce a meaningful appreciation is a positive one.
Establishing and maintaining positive learning environment
through student goal setting and monitoring and just "checking in"
Class Routines
Class time is valuable. Students are expected to arrive to class promptly and be actively engaged in learning until the end of the class period.

The activities for each day will be listed on the white board in the front of the classroom. If there is a warm-up, students should begin the warm-up as soon as they enter the classroom. Class will generally begin with an overview of the day’s activities and objectives and upcoming events or deadlines.

Classroom activities will vary. On some days, students will be expected to work with their groups on a particular assignment. On other days, students will be presented with various options for independent or group work.

Significant deadlines will be listed on the white board located on the classroom’s sidewall.

Homework assignments should be out on the desk at the beginning of the class period. If the assignments were completed electronically, the student should bring them up as close to the beginning of class as possible.

Assignments are due at the beginning of the class period their due date. It is expected that assignments submitted electronically will also be submitted by this time.
Class Routines (continued)

Graded work will be returned in each class’ graded work folder.

At the middle and end of each grading period, students will have a brief conference with the teacher about their progress. Students always have the right to conference with the teacher about their grades.

To use a hallway or bathroom pass, students should sign out and take the appropriate pass with them. The pass should be returned to its location upon the student's return to class. Under normal circumstances, there is no need to request permission to use a hall or bathroom pass.

Students are expected to return chairs and desks to their original location and clear up their work area before leaving class.
Engaging materials
The prescriptive nature of the Language A: Literature program and the realities of text availability result in a fairly canonical program of study. Within the boundaries of the program, I attempt to select works by male and female authors from different backgrounds, historical periods, geographical locations, and disparate writing styles.

One advantage to teaching canonical works, however, is the possibility of working with text pairs (like Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea, and Heart of Darkness with Things Fall Apart). Similarly, many canonical texts can be taught using popular culture (i.e., the Simpson's version of Hamlet).

Although the texts may be canonical, our approach to them is considerably less so. Student engage in exercises in parody as well as pastiche of the authors’ styles. They put characters on trial, create comic books, conduct imaginary author interviews, re-tell the classics through tweets and
Facebook posts.
Responses to off-task behavior
Flexibility and understanding are important to classroom management. Even the most dedicated students have bad days. Teachers have little to gain (and a lot to lose) by expecting or demanding perfect behavior and total student engagement.

Nonverbal interventions (such as proximity) will be the first step to addressing minor misbehavior in an individual or small group of students. If nonverbal interventions prove ineffective, "casual" verbal interventions will follow, like "name dropping", followed by a direct but non-accusatory request for a student's more active participation in the class.

If a pattern of negative behavior has been observed, however, the teacher’s first step should be to speak directly to the student. The teacher should arrange to speak to the student on an individual basis (in recess, before or after class). As Evertson and Neal noted "[s]tudents consider public reprimands ...as unacceptable means for handling conflict and other disciplinary problems" (Evertson and Neal, 2006, p. 11).
Response to acute or repetitive off-task behavior
Although the preferred time for action would be outside of the class period, a student's behavior may warrant immediate action on the part of the teacher (a request to speak to the student in the hallway). During this one-on-one conversation with the student, the teacher should ask the student open-ended questions (i.e., “I've noticed that you seem distracted, worried, frustrated lately. Is there anything going on? Is there anything that I could help you with?”) in order to determine the emotions underlying the behavior. Glasser’s argument, that "[t]he cause of all behaviors is what is going on inside the person, not outside the person" (Sowers, 2004, p. 46), may prove to be a useful mantra in these situations.

Many issues arising from student anger, boredom, or frustration can be improved when the teacher demonstrates a willingness to listen, “What can we do to make this class better for you?” and act, “What can I do to help?”
Response to persistently disruptive behavior
If a pattern of persistently disruptive behavior is observed, the teacher will document the behavior over the course of several days. The teacher will request an individual conference with the student to discuss the results of the documentation. Hopefully, this meeting will enable the student and teacher to work out systems for managing these problems (e.g., instead of acting out, the student writes down his or her frustrations to be discussed at an agreed upon time). The goal is to provide the student with as many opportunities as possible to control his behavior, and to show "respect...by asking all students what they think about...how we might do things differently" (Kohn, 1996).

If these measures do not achieve the desired effect, the teacher may request a team meeting (with the student, members of the administration, guidance counselors, and parents or guardians) in order to develop a behavioral plan. The student's input into the details of the behavioral plan should be actively sought. The meeting should emphasize the team's confidence in the student's ability to improve his or her behavior.

The behavioral plan should focus on specific, measurable, goals for the student’s behavior. As Sayeski and Brown observed, behavioral contracts "work best when they focus on the desired behavior" (Sayeski and Brown, 2011, p. 14).
Class Rules
In general, the class rules are:

Be respectful.
Be honest.
Be a positive member of the class.

The teacher guides students towards the major areas of classroom agreements, but allows students to describe what those areas will look like in action. "Students...assist in creating classroom rules" (Sowers, 2004, p. 70), and therefore have some sense of ownership of the agreements.

The importance of respectful and honest communication between the students and the teacher should be explicitly addressed. In particular, the teacher should make it clear that she would like to be informed of circumstances which could impact a student's performance in the classroom.
Class Rules (continued)
Abnormal circumstances are addressed and communication with the teacher is emphasized in order to contribute to students' sense of feeling "safe...and cared for...valued and respected" (Sowers, 2004, p. 60). Similarly, the emphasis on flexibility and understanding acknowledges the reality that classroom management is not about “posting on the wall a one-size-fits all discipline policy" (Evertson and Neal, 2006).

All students are expected to be familiar with the guidelines for student behavior established in the student guide. Any misbehavior that falls within the boundaries of this guide will be reported to the students’ parents and/or members of the administration.
Marzano, R., Pickering, D. & Pollock, J. (2001). Classroom
instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
Reinke, Wendy M.: Herman, Keith C. & Stormont, Melissa. (2013). Journal of Positive
Behavior Interventions. v15. n1. 39-50.
Sayeski, Kristen & Brown, Monica R. (2011). Developing a Classroom Management Plan Using
a Tiered Approach. Teaching Exceptional Children. Vol. 44 Issue 1, 8-17.
Sowers, J. (2004). Creating a community of learners: Solving the puzzle of classroom
management. Portland, OR: Northwest Regional Education Laboratory.
The teacher will establish general learning goals for students. The goals are shared and periodically (at least three times a year) reviewed.

Students set goals for themselves. They assess their own effort and monitor their progress. Since not all students are aware of the relationship between effort and achievement, teachers "should explain and exemplify the 'effort belief' to students" (Marzano, Pickering, & Pollack, 2001 p. 50). Hopefully, students will notice a clear relationship between effort and achievement.
During student-teacher conferences, these records will help students to recognize their accomplishments. Ideally, these conferences will be an opportunity for "effective praise" of the kind described by Marzano, Pickering, and Pollock, praise that specifies the particulars of the accomplishment" (Marzano et. al, 2001, p. 56). Kalis, Vannest, & Parker (2007) "recommended setting a standard of interacting with students at a ratio of 4 positive interactions to 1 negative interaction" (Reinke, Herman and Stormont, 2006, p. 41).

Some conference time should also be devoted to non-academic concerns because "giving the impression that we value [students] only when they succeed" does not "promote success" (Kohn, 1996).

Establishing a positive atmosphere through team building exercises
During the first day of class, the teacher will ask students to indicate their preferences for work group members. More specifically, students will be asked to list three or four students that they would be interested in working with and one (or two at the most) students that they would strongly prefer not to work with. The teacher will use this information to develop tentative work groups.

As soon as these work groups are determined, students will be given the information for a survival simulation. The scenario is a plane crash in the Cascade Mountains as a winter storm is about to hit. Although the pilot is killed in the crash, and the plane is severely damaged, the survivors are dressed for winter weather. The group is equipped with certain tools and items from the crash site (a lighter, flares, a rifle etc.) that they must rank in their order of importance first individually and then, after a fair amount of debate and persuasion, as a group.

In general, group results tend to be much closer to the ranks assigned by survival experts. This tends to be a good lesson about the power of team work. Even when (or especially when)
teams work very poorly together, there are lessons to be learned from this experience. In particular,
it tends to provide students with the kinds of knowledge not ordinarily rewarded in a literature class
a chance to shine.

Work groups will also set goals for improvement and achievement. At regular intervals, the teacher will include assessments that encourage "positive reward interdependence" (Levin and Nolan, 2010, p. 120). For example, sometimes the groups that achieve their goals will earn extra credit on a particular assignment. At other times, the group with the member whose grade showed the most improvement from one assessment to the other will be rewarded.
Setting the stage for effective cooperative learning teams
In order to facilitate work in teams, desks in the classroom will be arranged in groups of three and four desks. All desks will be positioned in order to facilitate easy viewing of the classroom white boards.

Students will sit on easily moveable stools during class meetings.

Although space does not permit the establishment of permanent work centers, areas of the classroom will be designated for certain types of activities (the silent reading and study area, the writing corner, the quiet discussion area).
During the first weeks of class, students will practice moving between various classroom arrangements to facilitate transitions between group work, classroom meetings, and traditional rows for individual assessments.
Levin, J. and Nolan, J. (2010). Principles of classroom managment: A professional decision-making model. (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson
Kohn, A. (2005).
Unconditional teaching. Educational Leadership. Retrieved from

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