Classroom Environment to Create a Positive Classroom Essay

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Classroom Environment

To create a positive classroom environment for my second graders, I try to frame everything in terms of what they should do, rather than what they should not do. We use the Responsive Classroom approach in our school, so the first six weeks is devoted to establishing classroom rules and procedures. The children are encouraged to take an active part in this process. During the first week of school, we create a big poster that shows the classroom rules. Each child signs it before it is put on permanent display, so it serves as a contract as well. By second grade, students understand that teachers have expectations. Children know how they are supposed to conduct themselves in the classroom, in the halls, in the lunchroom and on the playground -- even if they do not always do as they should! We spend time at the meeting circle discussing the rules we want for our classroom. If a child volunteers "No hitting!" we work together to reframe that rule using positive language, such as "Keep your hands to yourself" or "Treat others as you would wish to be treated." Children tend to think of rules in terms of "no," so I generally have to help them reframe every rule they suggest.
The rule-making is a long process because there is so much discussion and sharing of examples of both positive and negative behavior. However, the rules become theirs, not the teacher's, and they are much more invested in following them. I believe this practice has a positive effect on behavior because we spend time discussing the reasons for our rules. There are no rules for the sake of rules.

When the first bell rings in the morning, I greet every child as he or she walks into the classroom. After the first few weeks of school, children are very familiar with the routine and know they come in, after having put their backpacks in their lockers, make a lunch choice, turn in any homework, then begin morning work already at their tables. I have to provide a lot of reminders the first months of school and of course there are always students who need reminders throughout the entire school year. I try to keep my interactions with early arrivals short so I can continue to greet each student who comes in….....

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