Standard 6

Creates and maintains a classroom environment which supports and encourages learning.

Artifacts:

Minute of Silence in Supreme Court and Bill of Rights Lesson Plan

Bill of Rights for Classroom

Seating arrangement

Rationale: 

Good teachers pay attention to both their physical environment and classroom culture. Throughout my student teaching, I made a conscious effort to transform my classroom into an environment that best supported learning. My students at Bath Middle School, though eager and welcoming learners, initially struggled to respond best to my teaching. In order to teach my students to the best of my abilities, I diverted from my mentoring teacher’s standard classroom procedures, incorporating a daily minute of silence, classroom Bill of Rights, and seating arrangement into my classroom.

My first artifact for Standard Six is my lesson plan on how the Supreme Court interprets the Bill of Rights. My inclusion of the “Minute of Silence” in the lesson plan, a classroom activity that I include in every lesson plan, demonstrates Standard Six by fostering a classroom environment supportive and encouraging to learning. My daily “Minute of Silence” establishes a classroom environment that supports and encourages  learning by allowing my students to focus on the upcoming class and remove non-classroom related distractions from their mind. During this minute, students are expected to remain completely silent and still. I encourage the students to focus on our learning targets written on the board and forget any non class-work related thoughts. This minute is effective at creating a learning environment for a number of reasons: it calms the students down from activities in the hallway, it encourages them to focus on our upcoming learning objectives, and establishes a consistent, reliable classroom routine to start each lesson.

My “Classroom Bill of Rights” demonstrates my ability to create a learning environment. During this project, my students created a code of behavior that I hoped they could directly connect to our unit on American Government; I wanted our classroom Bill of Rights to mimic our American Bill of Rights. By including my students in the process of creating this Bill of Rights, I hoped to elicit student involvement in my quest to create a positive, focused classroom culture. Classroom routines and procedures help establish a sense of security and improve my students’ focus in the classroom. I also believe that, if my students are personally responsible for the creation of our classroom rules, they will likely “buy in” more to these rules. This Bill of Rights establishes a clear code of conduct in my classroom for my students, rules that reinforced that my classroom was a place for learning.

I established a seating chart for my class during my student teaching to prevent my students from becoming distracted or anxious due to social pressures. My seating arrangement demonstrated my understanding of Standard Six, since it allowed me to move freely throughout the classroom, separated students who could possibly distract one another, and placed less active students right into my line of vision. With my seating arrangement, I could move unencumbered throughout the classroom to help students with work or prevent students from losing focused with my physical presence. I also made a conscious effort to keep distractions at a minimum; for example, I placed two students who sometimes become distracted when together, at opposite sides of the classroom. Finally, since I tend to focus my attention on students in the front of my classroom, I placed my less motivated and gifted students there to ensure my continued cognizance and support of their learning.

Comments