Elementary Classroom Management: A Student-Centered Approach to Leading and Learning
Publication Year: 2009
A student-centered classroom management approach that guides elementary teachers in leading their students and managing the classroom
Elementary Classroom Management: A Student-Centered Approach to Leading and Learning provides the information and resources that teachers need to design a classroom management system that incorporates the principles of autonomy, belonging, competency, democracy, and motivation. This text includes stories, strategies, research, and reflection tools to help teachers effectively manage the spaces, procedures, and pedagogy of the classroom environment.
- Stimulates teachers to reflect on the needs and motivations of their students
- Offers a “right question” rather than a “right answer” approach to help teachers design their own unique classroom management programs
- Provides real stories, case studies, and letters from master teachers to help readers construct environments that meet the needs of all ...
- Front Matter
- Back Matter
- Subject Index
- Section I: A Vision for Classroom Management
- Chapter 1: Autonomy, Belonging, and Competency for Children
- Chapter 2: Creating Democratic Communities
- Chapter 3: Motivation and Classroom Management
- Section II: Structures and Tools for Classroom Management
- Chapter 4: Pedagogical Structures for Managing Learning
- Chapter 5: Creating Thinking Classrooms
- Chapter 6: Leading and Learning with a Whole Group of Students
- Section III: Creating Classrooms That Meet the Needs of Individual Children
- Chapter 7: Recognizing, Accommodating, and Advocating for Children with Special Needs
- Chapter 8: Language and Literature as Classroom Management Tools
- Chapter 9: Asking Students, Parents, and School Resources for Help
- Section IV: Making a Classroom Management Plan Your Own inside and outside
- Chapter 10: Creating a Classroom Arrangement That Promotes Autonomy, Belonging, and Competency
- Chapter 11: Managing beyond the Boundaries of the Classroom
- Chapter 12: Making the Classroom Your Own: A Beginning
[Page ii]For Ryan and Tyler
Copyright © 2009 by SAGE Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Williams, Kerry C.
Elementary classroom management: A student-centered approach to leading and learning/Kerry Curtiss Williams.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978-1-4129-5680-2 (pbk.)
1. Classroom management. 2. Education, Elementary. I. Title.
Printed on acid-free paper
08 09 10 11 12 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
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Welcome to Elementary Classroom Management: A Student-Centered Approach to Leading and Learning! This book provides an introduction to student-centered classroom management practices and the theories that support them. It was written with preservice teachers in classroom management and methods courses in mind, as well as for inservice teachers who are working to improve their classroom management practices. The ideas in this book, however, can be applied to a variety of settings. After all, the purpose of classroom management and therefore this book is to create classroom spaces that facilitate academic and social learning, as well as dispositions that foster lifelong learning.
Classroom management, a great influence on students, is a main reason many new teachers get out of the classroom early in their careers. Indeed, our schools and students deserve teachers who know content but also pedagogy, classroom management, and how to work with children who present special needs. Preservice teachers are often taught “tricks” to use for certain management problems rather than to understand the issues of the classroom and school, the students as individuals, and the pedagogical choices that profoundly influence their academic and social success. Tricks often work for a few days or months, and then the teacher is left reacting to problems that could have been prevented. This book is designed to help teachers think about and reflect on why things happen in classrooms, understand the connections between classroom management and learning, begin to utilize pedagogical structures that facilitate success and thus management, and finally design classrooms that work for students who may need something extra.[Page xiv]
Many current textbooks on classroom management follow a model of telling readers what to do in specific instances, emphasizing what to do to students when they____________(fill in the blank), or a model of sharing many different theories on classroom management. This book provides readers the opportunity to understand classroom management theories through research, stories, and cases and then asks them to construct their own philosophy of classroom management and begin to apply it in the classroom. Just as we cannot teach students by merely pouring information into their heads, we cannot ask teachers to implement effective classroom management plans by merely reading about theories or trying to memorize what to do in specific instances. Teachers must have the opportunity to understand the theories that shape students' academic and social learning; to think, reflect, and try strategies, structures, and tools and make them their own; and to realize that constructing a classroom management plan that works requires continued learning even after they are finished reading the textbook. In other words, constructing classroom management plans is about constructing meaning through knowledge, experience, and reflection.Goals of the Book
There are five main goals that create the framework of this book:
Pedagogical Features of the Text
- Thinking and reflecting about key issues of classroom management, such as autonomy, belonging, competency, democratic communities for learners, and motivation. To create effective classroom management plans, teachers must understand what they are doing and why they are doing it. In my experience, many teachers think classroom management is about controlling behaviors. Instead, this book focuses on why students behave the way they do and encourages readers to pay attention to and address these needs with a variety of structures, strategies, and tools.
- Thinking, reflecting, and designing pedagogical structures and classroom procedures that, when used, address the key issues of classroom management in very practical and innovative ways. In some ways, the education field is asking new and veteran teachers to teach in ways that they have never experienced. Indeed, many of us grew up in classrooms where our names were put on the board with chances for three checks before we had to go to the principal's office. It is very difficult to break out of what we have experienced. This book was designed to help readers resee classroom management, students with individual needs, and what it means to learn in general by providing examples of flexible structures that can be transformed into their own creations yet still promote the key issues described in other chapters. Some of these include cooperative workshops, thinking routines, and classroom meetings.
- Thinking and reflecting about individual children, including those with needs that require something special in the classroom, so they can be socially and academically successful. New and veteran teachers are often the most worried about [Page xv]students who may need them to try something different in the classroom. It is very easy to worry about disruptions, students who are seemly unable to learn, and being out of control. This book was written to help readers understand and learn about individual students in the classroom, as well as to give them unique strategies and structures, such as language and literature, that will assist them. Perhaps most important, it provides an entire chapter dedicated to working with colleagues, parents, and outside resources when the strategies they are trying don't work. I hope this book encourages teachers to know individual students' needs, to create exciting opportunities for all students to learn, and to ask for help when they need it.
- Thinking and reflecting about how managing the physical classroom, as well as the spaces outside the classroom, influences learning. There are many influences on academic and social learning, including the physical classroom itself and the procedures used to manage all of the various spaces in which students learn throughout the day. Once again, it is not enough to tell teachers what to do. Instead, this book was designed to help readers ask questions and reflect on where they will put items in the classroom, how they will help students walk down the hall, and who will be in charge of materials.
- Thinking and reflecting about creating a classroom management plan that reflects the teacher's beliefs and philosophies so the plan doesn't change with each new problem or issue. We often behave like windblown flowers in the world of education. We bloom every time the latest, greatest trick comes out yet blow away when any problem arises that the trick doesn't fix. I hope teachers who read this book will develop some roots that will help them continue to bloom even when the wind comes. Teachers must understand what they believe about classroom management and how students learn and then create a plan that reflects those beliefs. I put reflection tools in each chapter and then created an entire chapter that addresses readers' core beliefs, their boundaries, and opportunities to keep learning.
Learning about classroom management requires understanding the key issues that influence classroom management; actively experiencing practical strategies, structures, and tools; and thinking and reflecting in the past, present, and future. The pedagogical features of this text were designed to assist readers do all three.Stories, Cases, Research
Throughout the text, stories from real classrooms are connected to the latest research on topics influencing classroom management. In addition, cases are included for readers to grapple with and think about what they might do. Key words are bolded and put into a Glossary.Practical Strategies, Structures, and Tools
There are practical ideas throughout the text that readers can immediately take into classrooms and use. These practical ideas are connected with helpful questions that readers can answer as they begin to use these ideas.[Page xvi]Collections
I encourage all teachers to keep collections of everything from lesson ideas to brain tools they might use. In addition, I have included some collections for readers to take and make their own, including Internet sources, children's literature, and thinking routines. Some charts are also included so readers may begin creating their own collections. For example, Chapter 11 includes a chart they can use to list their school district's policies.Activities to Try
At the end of each chapter, a section of activities to try is included. Readers may want to try these activities on their own or in classes. Each activity to try includes a mini action research project so they can continue to look at classroom management issues systematically and deeply.Reflections
Throughout the text, there are questions helping readers go beyond their own experiences and think further about key issues and stories. There are also reflection tools, such as an opportunity to write a classroom management biography in Chapter 1 and a relationship diagram in Chapter 10, that will help them reflect on where to place learning areas in a classroom.Letters from Master Teachers
Twenty-four master teachers took time to write friendly, supportive advice letters for this book. They are real teachers who really do the things discussed in this book. I hope they provide a sense that these ideas truly can be realized.Organization of the TextSection I. A Vision for Classroom Management
This section consists of three chapters on key ideas influencing academic and social learning that will allow readers to create a vision for classroom management. I put this section at the beginning because it is important for teachers to understand the influences on learning and classroom management before creating a plan that works for them. These chapters will become the readers' base for a philosophy that they will come back to throughout the book. Chapter 1 introduces readers to the “what” and “why” questions of classroom management, as well as the need for all children to have autonomy, belonging, and competency in the classrooms they attend. Chapter 2 introduces readers to democratic communities in the classroom and the notion that, rather than trying to change students, we need to change classrooms so learners are successful. Many people have misconceptions about democratic classrooms, and this chapter will help readers see what it is and is not. Chapter 3 is devoted completely to motivation, a topic often left out of classroom management texts yet one of the most important ideas to understand when it comes to creating a classroom where students are motivated to learn rather than create problems.[Page xvii]Section II. Structures and Tools for Classroom Management
This section includes three chapters on pedagogical structures that will help teachers give all students autonomy, belonging, competency, motivation, and an opportunity to belong to a democratic community. Why put pedagogical structures in a classroom management book? Classroom management must be about all ideas that help children learn and succeed socially. Pedagogical structures that provide opportunities for the key ideas listed above are invaluable in creating classrooms where learners are successful. The first structure, included in Chapter 4, is called a cooperative workshop and will allow teachers to design lessons and units within a flexible structure, providing “juicy” problems and meaningful group work. It can also be used to develop differentiated stations. Chapter 5 introduces a pedagogical structure Ritchhart (2002) calls a thinking routine. Sometimes we forget that classrooms should be places where students are thinking rather than just looking busy, quiet, and good. Thinking routines help create thinking classrooms. Chapter 6 is all about pedagogical structures that help teachers manage a whole classroom of students. Class meetings, data collection, and graphing are some examples of structures mentioned in this chapter.Section III. Creating Classrooms That Meet the Needs of Individual Children
This section includes three chapters on working with students who need something special to succeed in the classroom. This might be a student who is just having a bad day, who doesn't speak English, or who is physically or mentally handicapped. The important idea from this section is that teachers should work to do something different that may help the learner succeed. Chapter 7 is about identifying what individual children need. Sometimes we get stuck on labels, and this chapter encourages teachers to really know their students and find creative solutions to help them. Chapter 8 is all about language and literature that teachers can use to help students who struggle in the classroom. Sometimes using a story or just a different way of phrasing something can help students. Chapter 9 is about all of the resources teachers have inside and outside of their buildings that can help them when a student has a special need that they just aren't able to provide. I hope this chapter encourages especially new teachers to ask for help when they need it.Section IV. Making a Classroom Management Plan Your Own inside and outside
This section is about making a plan for classroom management inside and outside of the classroom. Instead of giving them “right” answers, this section really works to help readers answer “right” questions. Chapter 10 is about the physical nature of the classroom and setting it up so all of the ideas in previous chapters can be achieved. Several questions about room arrangement, materials, and aesthetics will help readers determine the design of the classroom. Chapter 11 is about managing all of the places children go outside of the classroom. Whether it is the Internet, the playground, or a field trip, readers will begin to create plans for each place. Chapter 12 is about making a classroom management plan that works for the individual reader. Although it is the last chapter of this book, it is really the [Page xviii]beginning of the journey into creating a classroom management plan. Readers will come away with their core beliefs and boundaries, as well as ways to have their own autonomy, belonging, and competency in the classroom.Ancillary Materials
In addition to the text, ancillary materials further support and enhance the learning goals of Elementary Classroom Management: A Student-Centered Approach to Leading and Learning.Instructors' Resources CD
This CD offers the instructor a variety of resources that supplement the book material, including video clips (also included on the Web-based student study site) with discussion questions, PowerPoint lecture slides, and test questions. Additional resources include teaching tips, sample syllabi, and Web resources. To obtain a copy of this CD, please contact Customer Service at 800-818-7243.Web-Based Student Study Site
The Web-based student study site provides a comprehensive selection of resources to enhance students' understanding of the book's content. The site includes study materials such as video clips, practice tests, flashcards, and suggested readings. Other resources include “Learning From SAGE Journal Articles,” and additional activities created by the author.
In my opinion, one needs three things from others to write a book: inspiration, support, and love. I was fortunate to have all three throughout this process and sometimes more than one at a time. I want to thank everyone for bringing this book to life!Inspiration
Even though he is gone now, I must acknowledge Dr. Robert Egbert because he taught me all of this through his stories and questions. I can only hope to do the same for my readers. Thanks to George Veomett who believed I was a good writer and taught me about lifelong learning for real. Thanks to all of the Wayne State Learning Community teachers and facilitators for inspiring and learning with me throughout this process. Blair I, Blair II, Fremont II, and Fremont III, all I can say about this book is that it is my sandwich! Thanks to inspirational teachers Rae, Chad, Julie, Mary, Cheryl, Deanna, Jim, Pam, Tom, Brian, Jill, Deann, Mary Jo, Josh, April, Zonna, Jenny, Denise, Kevin, Dene, Lisa, Durkhany, Kelly, and Carla for writing master teacher letters! You are the ones who make classroom management look so easy! Thanks to John Weaver for teaching me about autonomy, belonging, and competency. Thanks to Jesse Kiefer for his wonderful art! The cartoons really help me tell this important story! Thanks to Lisa, Rubi, Laura, Donna, and Kelsey for providing such wonderful first experiences with school for my sons. I often thought of you as I wrote.Support
So many people were interested and supportive of me during this process. First, thanks to Cheryl Larmore and Mary Trehearn, who were my best cheerleaders. They read every word—sometimes twice—and always gave me great feedback. Your compliments and enthusiasm kept me writing. Thanks to Dawn Hanneman, Stacie Wall, Gina Smith, and Shelly Taylor for inviting my boys to come and play when you knew I really needed some [Page xx]time to work! Thanks to Diane McDaniel and Leah Mori at SAGE Publications for a smooth and wonderful journey.Love
You can't write a book without unconditional love from those who mean the most to you because they often have to sacrifice things they need in order for it to be finished. Thanks to my mom and dad, who provide me with inspiration, support, and love every day and who allowed me to experience democracy and many other things in this book through their parenting. Thanks for being so proud and for loving me no matter what. Thanks to Jen, Mike, Bob, Kay, and all of the Williams family for all you do for me and especially for caring about my various projects. Thanks to Ryan and Tyler, my sweet boys, who have love in their eyes each day, even when I am sitting at the computer again. And thanks to John. I can't imagine how I could do much without you, your patience, and your love.Reviewers
Finally, I would like to acknowledge the hard work and helpful comments of the following reviewers. Their suggestions and ideas were invaluable in writing this book.
- Alda M. Blakeney-Wright, Kennesaw State University
- Angela Humphrey Brown, Piedmont College
- Kellie J. Cain, University of the Pacific
- Richard H. Costner, Coastal Carolina University
- Laura Latiolais Duhon, Texas State University-San Marcos
- Mona C. Majdalani, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
- Sam A. Marandos, National University
- Sarah S. Marshall, Georgetown College
- Patricia E. Murphy, Arkansas State University
- Lois B. Paretti, University of Nevada-Las Vegas
- Beverly Schumer, University of Michigan-Flint
- Linda Schwartz Green, Centenary College
- Cindy Shepardson, Keuka College
- Judy Carrington Shipley, Hardin-Simmons University
- Jennifer L. Snow-Gerono, Boise State University
- Anita S. VanBrackle, Kennesaw State University
- Kim Wieczorek, Nazareth College
- E. Cam Willett, Laurentian University
- Carolyn H. Wilson, Virginia State University
Abilities: One of three qualities that represent intelligence (e.g., knowledge, memory, creativity, physical ability, artistic ability, and musical ability)
Accommodations: Changes in classroom activities and assignments that allow children who otherwise might not be able to participate to do so
Assessment: Helping a child understand what is right about a task he or she has completed, what is wrong about it, and how to fix it
Assistive communication devices: Electronic or non-electronic devices that help children who have difficulty speaking or writing communicate more effectively
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): A physician-diagnosed condition that interferes with a child's ability to stay focused on meaningful tasks, control his or her impulses, and regulate his or her activity level and whose main symptoms include hyperactivity, inattention, and impulsivity
Attribution: Who or what a child believes caused or was in control of a good or bad performance
Authentic: Relevant, real, and valued by the students (e.g., authentic tasks)
Autocratic environment: A classroom where the teacher has absolute power and voice in decision making
Autonomy: A sense of independence that allows people to make decisions, be self-reliant, and be able to think for themselves
Belonging: A sense that one is accepted or is not alone
Bullying: Intentionally causing another person unhappiness by hurting him or her physically, mentally, or through coercion or harassment
[Page 332]Child-centered: A classroom with a focus on the needs and abilities of students and on the topics that are relevant to the students' lives, needs, and interests and in which the teacher shares control of the classroom and students are allowed to explore, experiment, and discover
Class meetings: Meetings where students either discuss issues and problems they are having in the classroom or other areas of the school, such as the playground, or celebrate what they have learned
Classroom management: Promoting learning with the use of tools that help students develop cognitively and socially in a setting together
Classroom management structures: Routines, plans, problems, questions, furniture, and materials that promote learning
Collection: A system for keeping lesson plan ideas, computer Web sites, literature, and so on, that will be helpful in managing a child-centered classroom
Competency: A sense that one understands or is knowledgeable about a specific subject or in general
Computer-assisted instruction: Drill and practice, tutorial, or simulation activities on the computer that supplement regular teacher instruction
Conceptual understanding: When a person has a functional grasp of ideas that is more than knowing isolated facts or procedures
Conservation tasks: Problems created by Jean Piaget to determine if a child understands that changing the form of a substance or an object does not change its amount, overall volume, or mass
Contagion: A harmful influence
Continuity of learning: Dewey's idea that learning does not happen linearly or in a specific order but that connections are made continually to experiences from the past, present, and future
Cooperative learning: A structure that puts students together to work on problems and projects that promote social and academic learning, interdependence, and individual accountability
Cooperative workshops: A structure that provides opportunities for students to work together or independently on tasks that promote individualized learning and social goals
Culturally competent: Understanding or working to understand the customs, traditions, values, and role of the school in cultures other than your own
Data: Numbers or statements purposefully collected to make sense of something happening in or outside of the classroom
[Page 333]Democratic classroom: A classroom where the teacher and the students share decision making
Democratic environment: An environment in which the teacher and the students have equal power and voice in decision making
Differentiate: To adjust the teaching process according to needs of the learners by adjusting the product, the task itself, or the amount of support
Effortful strategy: A recommended way of completing a task or changing a behavior other than just telling a student to try harder
Energizer: A short activity that helps students move to a state of awareness and energy (e.g., a short game, a song, a drink of water, or walking around the room)
Evaluation: A judgment of another person's work
5-minute writes: A short writing activity where students respond to a question that the teacher poses to better understand what is happening inside or outside the classroom or what students know about a topic of study
Freedom: Students having voice and choice in what happens in the classroom but not necessarily getting to do whatever they want
General education classrooms: Classrooms where all students participate in learning, not where only special-needs students learn
Inclinations: One of three qualities that represent intelligence (e.g., having the desire to continue to learn despite obstacles, addressing problems, and seeking out help when needed)
Individual accountability: A role or structure that encourages a student to take responsibility for his or her own actions in support of a group project or goal
Inquirer: Someone who wonders, ask questions, and looks for the next right answer
Interdependence: A role or structure that encourages a student to rely on others in his or her group
Learning disability: A disorder manifested by significant difficulties in the acquisition and use of listening, speaking, reading, writing, reasoning, or mathematical abilities but not low intelligence
Mastery goals: Goals that encourage learners to develop new skills, try to understand their work, and improve their level of competence and that are based on where the individual learner begins
Metacognitive knowledge: A student's ability to reflect on his or her own thinking and realize when something doesn't make sense
[Page 334]Motivation: The desires, goals, and needs that determine our behaviors Paradox: A contradictory statement that may be true
Para-professional: A person hired by a school district who assists a teacher with various activities in the classroom
Pedagogical structures: Techniques, routines, games, questions, and so on, that help students learn and help the teacher teach a whole group of students effectively
Pedagogy: The activities of educating or instructing; the “how” in teaching
Performance goals: Competitive goals that encourage students to focus on their ability by outperforming others in achievements or grades
Permissive environment: A classroom where students do whatever they want even if it hinders others' learning or their own
Plan-do-review: A thinking routine where students make a plan, do it, and then spend time reviewing what happened
Portfolio: A collection of materials that represent students' work and show examples of their growth in different subject areas
Positive affect: Feeling that life is good and enjoyable overall
Reflection: Thinking about, learning from, and making connections to happenings in the past, present, and future
Relatedness: A sense that you are connected to others in some way
Resiliency: The positive ability of a child to cope with stress and hardship, indicating his or her ability to resist future negative events
Rewards: Something given to a person for worthy behavior or reaching a goal
Scaffolding: A form of assistance provided by a teacher that includes knowing where a student is in his or her understanding of a topic and then using language tools, peers, and visuals, among other tools, to help him or her move forward in his or her understanding
Self-efficacy: A person's judgment (which may be different from task to task and topic to topic) about how well he or she feels he or she will perform on a task
[Page 335]Self-regulation: The ability to take responsibility for and direct one's own actions
Sensitivities: One of three qualities that represent intelligence; the ability to notice that there is a problem or an issue
Service learning: A project where students complete a task that helps others in some way and that provides opportunities for them to learn about different subjects, topics, or themselves
Special-needs students: Students who require a unique tool, structure, or strategy or language assistance to be successful in the classroom
Stimulus-response: A cause and effect link between an event and the action that follows Tally chart: A table or display that shows the frequency of a specific occurrence
Teacher-centered: Classrooms where the teacher gives knowledge and expects the students to take and remember that knowledge
Thinking routine: A teaching strategy consisting of a few memorable steps that are accessible to all learners, are easy to teach and learn, and get used repeatedly to help students think deeply about different topics and problems
Vision: A picture or an image of what one would like to create
Vulnerable: A child who is more likely than other children, for a variety of reasons, to be hurt emotionally or physically, to be behind in the classroom, or to need assistance
Zone of proximal development (ZPD): A term used by Lev Vygotsky describing an area in which an individual student will best be able to learn and in which the material is not too hard and not too easy[Page 336]
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About the Author[Page 369]
Kerry Curtiss Williams taught elementary and middle school in the public school systems of Nebraska and Iowa. Her recent activities include mentoring and teaching undergraduate- and graduate-level students. She currently works with teachers pursuing their master's degrees in curriculum and instruction within a learning community format at Wayne State College in Nebraska. In addition, she teaches undergraduate courses in child development.
Williams earned her bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the Extended Elementary Teacher Education Program (EETEP), a select experimental group. Named one of the college's “Ninety Notables,” Williams has presented at national conferences about math education and thinking routines in undergraduate teacher education courses. She earned a master's degree in leadership and adult development from Drake University and a PhD in administration, curriculum, and instruction from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her published works include journal articles and a text titled Launching Learners in Science Pre-K-5. Williams conducts workshops for undergraduate and in service teachers on pedagogical structures, classroom management, and science education. She lives with her husband and two sons in Omaha, Nebraska.
Dr. Williams can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.