Classroom Set-Up, Part 1

With about 6 weeks left of summer, my teacher-brain has come alive as I reflect on last year and plan ahead for the year to come. I wanted to share some of my classroom set-up ideas. 
Last year, my room was travel-themed, and I'm planning to stick with it again this year for 3 basic reasons:
1. It's cute and functional, especially for the older kids
2. There's a lot you can do with it
3. It was a lot of work and I don't want to scratch it just yet :)

Here's a picture of my Classroom Jobs board. 

Last year I had 14 students in my homeroom, and I divided them into two groups. Each week 7 students had jobs and 7 were "on vacation."  The students all had a car labeled with their name and they parked for the week in "Lawler's Parking Lot."  I created a document with the student names and I would check off when they were assigned the different jobs. I also have a weekly newsletter that went home on Mondays and the jobs for the week would be posted there.

Here's the organizer template: Classroom Jobs Organizer

For classroom management, I use a "Trafficking Behavior" stoplight system. 

Each student has a clothespin and always starts out the day on green (Excellent). If we have a behavioral problem during the day, they move their clothespin to yellow (Warning). They can earn their way back to green, but if the problem persists, I'll ask them to move their clothespin to red (Consequence). The consequence varies depending on the misbehavior, but it almost always includes an e-mail home (very motivating reason to stay away from red!). Every student who ends the day on Green gets a ticket, which can be used to buy trinkets or coupons (Free Homework, Sit-by-a-friend, Lunch with Mrs. Lawler, etc.).

I found a good idea on Pintrest (where all great ideas originate!) and have modified it to fit my classroom. It's a form that students will fill out if their clothespin moves to red. It's called "Making Smart Choices" and I like how the wording holds the student accountable for his/her actions. (e.g. "I chose to disrespect others, I chose to not follow directions, etc.). It has a place for teacher comments, the student signature, and a parent signature.

Here's the template: Making Smart Choices

And lastly, here's our classroom rules poster. I wanted to keep our rules list short and concise. On the first day of school, I tell the students that I only have 4 rules in this classroom: 
1. Be Ready 
2. Be Respectful
3. Be Responsible
4. Be a Risk-taker

I write the rules on the board and then we have a whole-class discussion about what each rule means. (e.g. Be Ready = Be prepared when you come to school, with your materials, books, homework, etc. It also to applies to being ready to learn by engaging in the lessons, participating in discussions, etc.)

The students really enjoyed this activity - there were only 4 short rules to remember, and yet they felt ownership as they defined what each of the rules encompassed. If a student was breaking one of the rules, I could silently point to the poster and hold up my fingers to identify which rule was being broken. This took 2 seconds, didn't interrupt my lesson, and communicated the message loud and clear.

Stay tuned for more classroom set-up ideas!

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