It is exciting to prepare for a new school year! The room has been cleaned, the new books stacked on desks, and orientation has been set for Monday. The classroom is ready for my students!
But beginning a new year requires more than just aligning desks and hanging posters. It is really looking at that ‘teaching space’ for classroom management. According to Harry Wong in The First Days of School, classroom management refers to all of the things that a teacher does to organize students, space, and materials so that student learning can take place.
Wong compares it to running a department store. You must consider the layout of the store and the accessibility & availability of the merchandise. In addition, you must have hired help that knows their product, and are efficient and friendly. That makes customers want to buy things and return for additional purchases.
As I set up my classroom, I think about the “layout for learning” and consider the availability and accessibility of learning tools in the classroom. In a 21st Century classroom, I need to consider the space for collaboration with and among students. I need to provide workspace for individuals as well as groups. And I need to create an environment where students WANT to learn. Since I teach Literature, I have provided a rich library of book genres for independent reading. I have placed reading chairs and lamps throughout the room for this quiet time of enrichment. And I arranged the room with paper, writing utensils, clipboards, desks and composition books for reflections on their reading.
So, I am ready to teach Literature to ensure my students turn into interested and productive learners in a well-managed classroom.